Some More Book Reviews For You.......................
I was very excited when I saw a huge box from Amazon and had only just remembered that amidst my chaotic week last week I had ordered a set of new books. Here are the books I bought and I'll explain why.
Punk Knits Sharon Ross
This is somewhat similar to an idea I had about 8 or so years ago, shame I didn't get there first! however, I found myself mildly disappointed in some of the projects and very happy with some others. I realised that the ones I admire most, are the simplest but the most tailored in their design. I am not against holes, ladders and the like but I have more admiration if these can occur at the right places and actually add to the shaping of a garment. Yes I know this seems to be against the philosophies of Punk, but being from the Punk generation myself, I remember most clearly that women like myself who would have been plain in any other walk of life could use the make up and clothes to our advantage, highlighting the good things about ourselves(in me it used to be my cheekbones and eyes) and hiding away the things that weren't so great (my lack of boobs). Therefore, despite its holeyness and grunginess, punk should sort of flatter, be dramatic and make a statement all rolled into one, but I didn't feel these knits were strong enough for that.
Fitted Knits Stefanie Japel
Flick through the pages and you would imagine that these tailored sweaters and garments would all be in 4ply and 2ply and would have endless instructions on tailoring. You would be wrong, Stefanie can make even the bulkiest of yarns on 8mm look as delicate as a fine lace weight yarn and her methods of waist shaping involve a clever use of stitch type. I realised that being a big girl myself these days, that I won't be tempted to drape myself in bagginess to hide it, I will most definitely be attracted to the waist shaping and bell sleeves and I am a big fan of deep ribbing and other simple features that make a garment look irresistible. Yes, I could have been ever so proud if I had written this book. I wouldn't be squirming inside for the want of putting someone else's name on it! As I flicked through this book I found myself slowly turning a shade of green with envy. Stefanie is working on another title at the moment, can't wait to see what goes into that one.
Whip Your Knitting Into Shape - Domiknitrix Jennifer Stafford
And talking of envy, this is a most beautiful book. I loved this, a true mistress of her craft with regard to techniques, shaping and charts and I can see the pages packed with variety proving that she is no one trick pony. The knits are quite tailored, but the technique is so simple and beautiful, you don't get the feeling that the author just cashed in on the new wave of alternative knitting books for the sake of it. In these pages you can see a lifetime's achievements and know she has driven this project herself. I am quite excited though that the book I worked on earlier this year (compilation of patterns by The Anticraft) which is coming out this Autumn is handled by the same publishers as this one.
Naughty Knits Nikol Lohr
Cheeky, funny, naughty but not as totally original as you would think. A little too much lingerie of the same sort of shapes and some projects taking up too much space that are nothing more than an adapted scarf. I wonder how many of these ideas were the author's or how many were pushed upon her by her advisers.
Now for myself.....I feel like writing a really alternative book about knitting that will shock and offend even if it didn't sell.....................
Tams Mary Rowe
Lastly this is a book recommended to me by Woolly Wormhead's Ruth Paisley. Ruth was right to recommend this book and how relieved I was to see that the way I had worked out designing a Tam pattern on a wedge is indeed the correct way to be doing it. One look at this book and I knew it was going to be a gem, I just want to plunge into it straight away! It is isn't often I see something in a book I hadn't thought of myself, but in this case, it confirms that I am not wasting my time on lengthy techniques when a short cut exists.
There is no short cut, designing a Fair Isle pattern that works as individual shapes but again as part of the whole as a kaleidescope is absolute genius, shows how mathematically intricate our ancestors must have been. Shows the perfect relationship between mathematics and aesthetics. The circular intricately patterned Tam fits in with all those creation theories about Fibonacci sequences and fractals and how a higher being has hidden these messages for us in flowers and other objects of natural beauty. Knitting is seen as a handicraft, as something that our ancestors did out of necessity but as a separate skill from intellect or book learning. I believe this is not so, those of us that knit totally understand the wholeness we feel when we achieve something close to perfection and crafts have long been relied upon by historians as a way to find out how a society was linked to their spiritual life, whether this is shown in the henges or the paintings and carvings or the brightly patterned clothes they wore.