Sunday, October 31, 2010

Whereupon I Post About Knitting Books I've Recently Acquired

Sorry for the long subject title, I've been reading Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and a lot of his chapters are titled in that manner. I have three books here that I recently have acquired, though, and really want to share them with you!

First up is The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. The book is comprised of the history of, you guessed it, the Ohio Knitting Mills. The Mills kept a copy of every sweater they'd ever knit for commercial use (back before all commercially bought sweaters were knit in sweatshops), and the author got a unique chance to visit these gems. There's some examples of 1950s sweaters as well as some vintage labels as well as just a huge amount of history about the Mills, the people that worked there, as well as the patterns that were inspired by this Mill. It's honestly, a little slice of America that's fascinating to read about. The patterns in this book are timeless, vintage, and rather fabulous. The cover dress resembles and reminds me of Piet Mondrian, the artist, and while I've got a not so great track record with knitting dresses that involve color-work, I'd absolutely love to give this one a go. There's a few menswear patterns in this book that are actually wearable. I'd be lying if I didn't get it because I saw a page that expressed that the sweater the Dude is wearing in The Big Lebowski (my favorite movie) was from the Ohio Mills, though. The patterns are so classic that I think I'll be going back to this book often, and there's so much information about the Mills and the knitwear industry in America in this book that reading it is rather fascinating as well.

Yes, I know. I keep bringing this book back! But this time the book is finished and on shelves! The patterns in here are great! A little more toned down and knitable, I think, than the other books Debbie's put out. There are a few things in here I'm just DYING to knit. In true Debbie Stoller fashion, this book really takes those scary topics like steeking, designing, adding a hood to a sweater, different kinds of cast ons or cast offs, beading, embroidery on knitwear, and more advanced stitch patterns, and turns them into something even a caveman could do! When I brought this to the NYC SNB on tuesday, we were all rather pleasantly surprised with the amount of knowledge in this book and how advanced it was (how many books tell you how to cable without a needle?).

FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked pretty hard on The Needlework Book for DK Publishing as the US Consultant Editor. Their books are generated in the UK, and I tried hard to make sure there weren't any silly words like "habberdashery" in there for the American audience. That being said, I'm quite intimate with this book. It's really great if you want to see all the different needlecrafts out there and want to experiment. DK guides you in the best way they know how, via pictures and diagrams to ensure that you're learning how best to do something from real examples. The book focuses on Knitting, Crochet, Embroidery, Needlepoint, Quilting, Applique and Patchwork. For each craft, the tools needed for the craft are displayed, a general how to do that craft is explained, there's a stitch dictionary (or, in the case of the quilting section, it shows different ideas of how to arrange quilt squares) for each craft, and a project. There are also a few projects in the back. Really, it's a great reference for those, like myself who consider themselves a knitter, and would like to employ some other, and interesting techniques while knitting.

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