Sunday, July 08, 2012

Book Review: My Grandmother's Knitting

I just finished reading this book by Larissa Brown. As someone who re-started family tree research recently, the combination of ancestry and knitting is quite interesting to me. The book ism ore than a pattern book, although there are many patterns in it. 17 contemporary designers are profiled with emphasis on family members that inspired them to be creative and knit.

Some stories stick out to me more than others. I loved the idea of Ysolda Teague going to pre-school thinking that all sweaters were knit by grandfathers instead of grandmothers. Jared Flood's father's art was always rooted in a utilitarian mindset - something Jared came back to after exploring "art for arts sake." The most inspiring story, to me, was actually the Family Trunk Project that Emily Johnson has undertaken. Not only did she research her family tree but she decided to design a garment for each member in her tree.

There are also some patterns in this bok that have gotten stuck in my head that I'd like to knit. The Concetta Cardigan by Cirilla Rose feels both vintage and classic at the same time. I think we all know I'm a sucker for sequins and the sequins in this pattern are just the right amount of sparkle to glam it up without getting kitschy.

Cosette Cornelius-Bates designed an Ice Skating Cape that can double as a skirt. I love the concentric circles of purls and how the simplicity of the cape/skirt is dressed up with buttons and a ribbon at the top.

Emily Johnson's 'Olina Socks do remind me of my trip to Hawaii, and I will probably end up knitting them sometime. The Wan Jai socks by Cookie A. are also spectacular with the meandering line of stockinette that represents her family's journey.

But the one pattern that I'm completely enamored with and inexplicably can't get out of my head is Wendy Bernard's Helen's Slippers and Wendy's Slippers. They just look so cosy and warm. I also feel like they look familiar, as though someone in my own family members might have worn slippers like these, maybe even I did! It's entirely possible that I might knit a LOT of these as Christmas gifts.

As you can tell, I was quite inspired by this book. It's been reminding me of the role my own grandmother has played as my crafting muse. Be on the lookout for an essay on that sometime soon!

*psst! Those pattern links are Ravelry links!

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