Friday, May 26

Book Report due on Friday

T-minus-5 and counting...just days away from the annual family trek to Provence. All you Texans out there are thinking, "OK, Little Miss La-Di-Dah, why in the Sam Hill would you spend good money to park your butt on some frog's hardscrabble land with a bunch of cicadas and no AC? You want yer nature? Cheap local wine? Local crafts and food? Hell, just load up the war wagon, drive to the Hill Country and stop in Fredericksburg where the Germans use deodorant for God's sake!"
edited to add: And those Texan drivers? Just listen to this!

Honey, the French do it better.

Oh, and the Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or factory outlet shop is 45 minutes away. Need I say more?

This stripey little gem arrived from my Dye-O-Rama buddy. Isn't it fun? Don't you just love that blue and yellow? It reminds me of the sno-cones we got yesterday at Sno-Beach. Green Apple Sour with Lemonade and Blue Coconut. My stash has been overrun with pinks and oranges(Sugarfree Red Grapefruit if you're at Sno-Beach), so this rounds out my sock stash rainbow quite nicely. Please march over and give mookitty a shout. She needs some positive vibes from all of us.


Stash enhancement has dwindled due to pending departure but that hasn't stopped a couple of trips to the bookstore and Here's a brief round-up of the latest in the library:

Knitting Nature, by Norah Gaughan (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006). This book is published under the Melanie Falick imprint so that should give you a heads up that some treats are in store. Maybe a first for knitting books, is the foreword written by a scientist. Gaughan then explains in her introduction how she became intrigued by a book on pattern formation in nature which led to the 6 chapters here. Don't worry, there's a not a test at the end of each one. So let's skip the higher thinking and get down to the reason why I plunked down $30 for this book. 'Hex Coat,' 'Swirled Pentagon Pullover' (check out Grumperina's FO), 'Phyllo Yoked Pullover,' 'Ogee Tunic,''Coastline Camisole,' 'Turbulence U-neck Pullover' and 'Droplet Hat' all have some intriguing techniques. For instance, 'Coastline Camisole' has a wonderful edging that reminds me of Morrocan tiles, while 'Droplet Hat' has a no-turn bobble---NO-TURNING, people, and the hexagons/pentagons are just plain cool. I would definitely check for corrections on the publisher's websight before jumping off these technical cliffs. Gaughan is the design director for Berroco Yarns(which is misspelled on the jacket flap, FYI, better fire that intern) so a few of their yarns are featured but there's an array of others. The photographs are pretty straightforward, like an old Tweeds catalog shoot on Mount Desert Island or Big Sur. This all begs the question, "Norah, darlin, what are you doing with those Berroco patterns?"

Simply Fabulous Knitting, Montse Stanley (David&Charles, 2006). I saw this at and thought 'Yippee, another tome from the venerable Montse Stanley, oh happy day!' Whoa, Nelly, just back up a bit there. This is 'Based on the work of Montse Stanley.' This is a sampling of Stanley's earlier books tarted up with an irritating cartoon and geared for beginners. For a few dollars more you can buy Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook (The Handknitter's Handbook in the UK) or Creating&Knitting Your Own Designs For A Perfect Fit(Harper&Row, 1982) for the real Stanley. She's one of the grande dames of knitting and you should treat yourself to the original and not this slapdash wannabe.

Knitorama, by Rachel Mathews (MQP, 2005) and Funky Knits, by Carol Meldrum & Julie Marchington(Interweave Press, 2006) are two books that fall into the kitsch knitting category that is so krazy!kool! these days. Knitorama has a whole kitchen sink of knitted objects such as fried eggs, ham sandwiches, vegetables, Battenberg cake, Bakewell tarts and even a pint of crochet stout. This seems to be bigger trend in England than here(the authors are British) and I hope it stays that way. Personally, knitted/crochet food creeps me out but with squeakers they'd make great dog toys...for about 2 seconds.
Funky Knits is marginally more practical with the requisite iPod cover, beanie, felted slippers, a guitar case and a washbag made from recycled plastic bags. There are a few sweater patterns, even one with 'distressed holes.' It's a toss up as to which group of models I'd like to strangle most.

Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary:800 Stitches Patterns(1963). I love my Mon Tricot 1500 Stitches and when I spotted this on eBay, I couldn't resist. I look at knitting stitch patterns they way other people pore over gardening catalogs or Jane's Fighting Ships. The variations, the detail, the nuances... the possibilities are endless for complete world domination by knitters. 800 Stitches has some promising weapons; their 'wasps nest stitch' is different than Stanley's with crossed stitches versus slipped, the 'swarm' and 'ant egg' stitches have nice nubby textures and their insect names make me smile, the intarsia squirrel is darling and the 'horizontal bat stitch' will be swatched very soon. If you find 1500 Stitches then go for it, but you won't be disappointed with 800.

Weldon's Practical Needlework (Facsimile edition, Interweave Press, 1999) is the basis for Knitting Vintage Socks, by Nancy Bush (Interweave Press, 2005). This is just fun for historical interest. The 'Men's Smoking Cap', antimacassars, and 'invalid's knitted boots' are all wonderful examples of Victorian knitting. There's even a 'Ball knitted like an Orange' that's a whole heck of a lot more practical than the fruit protectors in the Knitorama and Funky Knits books. You may not attempt any of these patterns, but the 'Gent's Shooting Mittens' and other glove patterns would work on today's needles.

Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales, edited by Kari Cornell(Voyageur Press, 2005). Maybe it was after a long day or my mind was not in the mood, but I found this collection to be a downer. I wasn't expecting happy-ha-ha, but many of these essays deal with loss and loneliness. If you're in a contemplative mood, you'll probably enjoy this. If you're just plain tired, then skip it.

Generation T, by Megan Nicolay (Workman, 2006) Ok, not a knitting book, but I did just pick it up. There's another t-shirt book out there, but I found the tops too skimpy--at my age, some things are better left to the imagination. I saw Nicolay on 'Martha' and my first reaction was, "Megan, why don't you trot over to the gals at Knitorama and Funky Knits and introduce yourself?" Later, I was in the bookstore and gave it a glance. Not bad...really...oooh skirts!...ugh, tube tops and bikinis....a braided rug, cool...a pic of Jean Seberg...and, good Lord, a t-shirt wedding dress! Any redblooded American has a jillion t-shirts--it's our most common cultural bond--and you're bound to find something fun here, just in time for summer.


HPNY Knits said...

thanks for the book report! so many books these days are disappointing.
Have you read Carolyn's account about Knitting Nature?

Larjmarj said...

I do love the yellow and blue, I realised upon perusing my sock stash that I don't have much in the way of blue which means (obviously) that I need more sock yarn. Right? Marj

lobstah said...

Great book reviews and love the pretty yarn from your buddy.
I'm jealous of your trip to Provence! Bon voyage!

aija said...

Great book report! I'm slowly transitioning from stash accumulation to books, too.

A question though-- I have the mon tricot 1500, are the patterns repeated in the 800? I always am tempted to buy the other mon tricot series, but don't know if they are just "building" on one another or repeating in the later editions.


Bonnie said...

Great reports but I am thinking about Knitted Flowers.....what's your word on that one?