Category Archives: Book Review

The Architecture of Socks

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.43.35 PMWhen people ask me, “What’s your favorite thing to knit?” the immediate answer that pops into my mind has never been, “Socks, of course!”

I’ve never been a ‘sock person’ (heck, I don’t even wear socks very often!)

I’ve knit many socks, I’ve designed a sock (okay, a pair of socks…) but although they’re not my go-to project of choice, I definitely appreciate sock knitters.

I’ve long felt that most of the staying power that the popularity of knitting has experienced over the past decade is due to the army of sock knitters who keep so much excitement bubbling in the knitting world.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.44.54 PM

Great Illustrations

In my quest to more fully appreciate the mystery of the sock, I’ve read several great sock books (Cat Bordhi, Ann Budd, Andi Smith and Charlotte Schurch have all written amazing sock books)

I would put Lara Neel’s* new book, Sock Architecture, up there with them.

What I particularly like about Lara’s book are the instructions and images. She uses clear graphics and photographs to work,  step by step, through the techniques.

For a non-sock knitter like myself, these type of illustrations are very helpful. I can visualize a technique much better when I can see a few images, I really appreciate the amount of work that went into creating these images.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 1.45.45 PMThe book begins with an explanation of certain sock verbiage, why different heels and toes are named as they are, and the main differences between Eastern and Western socks. Foot shapes,  sizes, and tailoring a sock for a specific foot are discussed in depth, as are tips and tricks for creating a really good-looking, well fitting sock.

The remainder of the book is divided into Top-Down and Toe-Up sock construction, with myriad heels and toes discussed under each topic.  Patterns are provided for each of the variations discussed, and helpful charts allow the knitter to determine whether one of the standard sizes listed would work for their sock, or how they can do the math to create a custom fit.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.30.28 PMOne of the nice things about the book is – for lack of a better description – a ‘cut-and-paste’ layout which allows the knitter to either use the designs as written, or create their own design combining elements from various patterns.

As someone with rather long toes and a low arch, I find this SO helpful. Breaking down the patterns in this way also allowed me to understand more fully the actual construction of a sock.

I can’t see myself becoming a great sock knitter, but with Sock Architecture I will feel a bit less adrift when I tackle my next sock pattern.

*in full disclosure, Lara’s a friend of mine and photographed my upcoming Bolero book for Stackpole Press.

Giveaway

Cooperative Press, the publisher of Sock Architecture, is allowing me to give away a copy of the book (as an eBook) to a lucky blog reader!

Simply leave a comment below, tell me the most challenging technique (in a sock, or in any other type of knitting) you’ve attempted and you’ll be entered to win the eBook.

I’ll be selecting one winner on Monday, Dec 8th, by the end of business day.  Good luck!

Brioche Bonanza!

0ly8d0nZNG1meuMegKlhD91lsWsRXpMn4s0Ms4dMmR8I have played around with brioche in my knitting life, and I will admit that in the past I have not been the biggest fan of this intriguing way of creating a rich, deep fabric with yarn and needles.

Perhaps it’s because I’m gluten free?

I’d read articles by Nancy Marchant, which were fascinating, but never really grabbed me the way that Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark’s new book, Brioche Chic, has sparked my imagination.

Clear

Beautiful cowl for first time Brioche knitters.

Beautiful cowl for first time Brioche knitters.

Brioche can be a complex subject, and Mercedes breaks down the process of creating lovely one and two-colored brioche in simple, easier to comprehend bits.

The book itself is bright, light and cheerful – which would make it a terrific gift for a knitter on your list who is ready to move into a new technique – with very clear illustrations, many charts (love that!) and excellent photography of the garments and details.

The book is also available as an ebook, which I love because it allows the knitter to make the text large and the charts even larger as I knit!

 Fun

I'm in love with Lattice!

I’m in love with Lattice!

I loved the patterns in this book!

Ostensibly a technique book, it’s really a book of amazing patterns that just happen to be worked using the brioche technique.

I especially loved the accessories sprinkled through the book, although I may be giving the Lattice Edged Cardigan a go (I’m DIGGING that lapels/collar simple shaping!)

Intriguing

I'll be making this for Gerry!

I’ll be making this for Gerry!

The use of 2 colors to show off the beauty of brioche might actually make this possibly-daunting technique more accessible to the average knitter than they might think!

In much the same way as when working double knitting, two colors makes the technique pop!

I feel the same could be true of brioche. This seems especially notable in the deceptively simple Colorblock Pullover.

Yarns

Gorgeous use of 2/C Brioche

Gorgeous use of 2/C Brioche

Mercedes has done a wonderful job of marrying lovely, well-matched yarns to the projects.

(I especially loved the O-Wool (Flame Cable Scarf & Hat), and the Fancy Tiger Heirloom Yarn (Star-Crown Beret)

With a background as a shop owner AND a yarn dyer, Mercedes is well placed to fit the best yarn with the appropriate pattern, and it shows here!

The Down Side

Rich, deep and textural! Brioche at it's best!

Rich, deep and textural! Brioche at it’s best!

Having said that I love this book – and I do – I don’t think the charts are as helpful as they might be (and I’m a chart LOVER!)

I felt a bit intimidated by the charts, which is a very unusual feeling for me.

However, I’m not sure there IS a way to make Brioche Charts less formidable.

Perhaps that will be Mercedes next book…
Simple Charted Brioche!

Giveaway

I’d like to give a copy of this book to a happy reader, simply tell me if you’ve ever tried Brioche, and if so, how did it go for you…?

Leave your comments in the section below, anyone who comments is eligible (even if you’ve never worked Brioche, leave THAT as your comment!)

I’ll be determining the winner this coming Saturday, and will announce it on the Blog on Monday.  So comment away – and good luck!

You Have Two Weeks

I’m always so torn at Valentine’s Day.  I love chocolate (too much!) and I love flowers, but if I’m going to be showered with gifts I’d love to get something less fattening and longer-lasting than the traditional Valentine’s Day haul.

So – because my husband and I have a long-time, pragmatic marriage – he actually likes it when I tell him what would most appeal to me for Valentine’s Day. And I’m happy to accommodate!

I present you with my 2014 Valentine’s Wish List. I honestly don’t expect to get all (or any) of it, but I figure if Gerry has good, firm hints I’m more likely to wake up on Feb 14th with something I can fully enjoy!

Remember, there’s nothing more satisfying to a gift giver than the knowledge that their gift is appreciated and loved. Sometimes a well-placed hint can make this possible!

Work Bags

snap1Oh, Snap!

Namaste is an amazing company.

They support good causes, they make some of the most beautiful vegan ‘leather’ bags around, and they truly GET crafters & their needs!  This year high on my list are the Oh, Snap! bags.

I am (in)famous for carrying around various ziplock bags filled with yarn and projects-in-process. Sometimes I seem to be more bag than knitter once I get all my work spread out. But not only is it a waste of plastic bags, they just look shabby.

Cool colors!

Cool colors!

The Oh, Snap! bag is roomy, easy to get into, and – best of all – see through! I love to see what I’m working on, and show stuff off without taking it out of the bag! It comes in a variety of colors, in sets of 2 or 3 bags.

Reusable and STRONG, I have one long-wearing green one that’s taken the place of at least 20 ziplock bags!

The Wristlet In Red

The Wristlet In Red

Wristlet

Looking for something less crafty, but just as utilitarian? I can HIGHLY recommend the Wristlet as one of the most useful small bags I’ve ever owned!

It’s well designed,with multiple zippered pockets and credit card slots and a useful wrist strap. Along with the pockets are two separate compartments in the purse (I use one for personal items, the other for knitting tools) and to top the whole thing off it’s absolutely charming.

wristletThe exterior is made of PVC-free vegan faux leather, the interior  of PET microsuede in gray (made from recycled plastic bottles)

I am constantly getting compliments on this cunning little purse, and have no problem carrying it at a dressier occasion. If you have been wanting to give Namaste Bags a try, this is a great ‘trial bag’, and—highlight this sentence when you print this out to leave on your significant other’s pillow—the Wristlet would make a GREAT GIFT!

Reference Book

Like many knitters, I have dozens of stitch dictionaries and pattern libraries on my shelf. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to get a new one, what could possibly be new?

Melissa Leapman’s The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook is remarkable. I will admit I got a free copy, but if I didn’t believe that this was one of the most useful books you can get, I wouldn’t write about it!

Melissa Leapman's book is a MUST HAVE!

Melissa Leapman’s book is a MUST HAVE!

Not only is The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook filled with different motifs (as you’d expect) Melissa offers excellent suggestions for USING the motifs in an actual garment, with tips on charting for a neckline, fitting motifs into a schematic and decreasing while remaining true to the stitch pattern.

This is a book every knitter should have!

And if you can acquire it as part of your Valentine’s Day festivities, then everyone is happy!

 

Crochet At Play! Book Giveaway!

I have a great book giveaway, just in time to work up some fun items for your favorite Hannukah child (or any kind of holiday child!) Or for any kid for any reason!

The book is crochet_at_playCrochet At Play by Kat Goldin.

Her stated goal in writing the book was to “keep the fun-factor at the forefront of my mind.”

She strives to make the items in the book fun to make, fun to wear and fun to see.

I think for the most part she’s succeeded quite well, there are many items I would have loved to have worked up for my own kids when they were smaller!

Among my favorite pieces in the book are the whimsical ‘useful’ items, the sorts of thing that can be worn every day, but with a cute little twist.

I LOVE the Hedgehog Mittens – so adorable that a child might actually keep an eye on them and not lose one! They’re clever, simple, and absolutely delightful!

hedgehog_mittens

mermaidAnother delicious item is the Mermaid, which is so silly but so fun that I’m afraid I’ll be making them for new babies in my life for years to come!

I especially love the concerned look on the baby’s face in the picture, “Hello… I believe the tide is coming in!”

Kids grow up way too fast. This book will help a parent, aunt or uncle, cousin or friend enjoy many moments of magic in their young lives.

The how-to crochet section is clear, the instructions are well laid out and the models are absolutely adorable.

The projects run from rather easy to slightly challenging, I didn’t see anything that a committed and passionate new crocheter couldn’t tackle (some with a bit more effort than others!)

Another lovely piece is the Leafy Cape.  I can easily see someone working this up for a new baby, it could easily double as a favorite blanket until the child is old enough to run around the house in it!

leafy_capeSo are you enchanted?

Would you like a copy of Crochet At Play?

Simply leave a comment below telling me the MOST FUN ITEM you ever crocheted or knit. It doesn’t have to have been for a child, just something that was a blast to work up, something you thoroughly enjoyed!

Double Vision

I’ve had a lot of press lately with many items showing up in various magazines and books, which is always terrific!

I wanted to mention two sweaters I’ve recently done which have more than a passing resemblance!

2018.Dreamcatcher-Cardigan

Dream Catcher, Interweave Knits Winter 2013

My Dream Catcher Cardigan in the Winter 2013 Interweave Knits is getting a lot of attention – it’s a really fun knit, and it’s worked up in a chunky yarn (Brown Sheep Shepherd Shades) and it looks a lot like my Rose Window cardigan I’m currently tech editing and test knitting for release next year in my Stained Glass Knits collection.

Rose Window

Rose Window

Rose Window was actually the original inspiration for Dreamcatcher, but aside from a similar center back motif, the differences in the garments are greater than their similarities.

The shaping is different (Rose Window uses short row shaping to create an oval body) and the sleeves are worked differently (Dreamcatcher is straight garter, Rose Window sleeves are mitered)

But the largest difference is the yarn choice – Bulky for one sweater, worsted for the other, with all of the associated pattern writing differences.

I don’t really think of these as the same sweater, but as the same shape used in two different sweaters – rather like two Lopi sweaters with similar yokes, but which are entirely different garments.

I wanted to mention this here because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m trying to slip anything by the knitting world! These are similar styles, but very different garments! This is something a lot of designers struggle with, I know I do! We come up with a unique shape that we love, we want to see it worked up in many different ways, but we want to be original, too!

The basis for these designs has become so much a part of my ‘design language’ that I will probably use it again. Maybe not in the near future, though!

Knitting Outside The Swatch

One of the really nice things about being in this biz for [mumble] years is that I get to make a lot of wonderful friends!

The latest from Interweave/F+W Media; $24.95 Click here to order! bit.ly/19CnMTN

The latest from Interweave/F+W Media; $24.95
Click here to order!

Designing hand knits and crochet can be solitary at times, so when we get together at knitting conventions it’s great to see sister (and sometimes brother) designers and share our victories and war stories.

I am SO looking forward to this aspect of my upcoming trip to Interweave Knit Lab in San Mateo Oct 31 – Nov 4

Sadly, I won’t be seeing my friend Kristin Omdahl there, and I love to see her pretty face!

Happily, I can drown my sorrows in the pages of her new book, Knitting Outside The Swatch

Infinity Loop

Infinity Loop

I’m an unusual knitter (aren’t we all, in our own ways?) and I love the approach this books takes in exploring new techniques to create unusual knitted motifs.

One of the cooler motifs was the “Infinity Loop”, which is shown in several incarnations (St st, garter, lace) and uses short rows.

I find myself wondering if it would be possible to join the ‘points’ of the piece as I work, instead of stitching them later – something to ponder on my plane trip out to San Mateo!

Mia Brioche-Stitch Scarf

Mia Brioche-Stitch Scarf

Once you’ve mistressed* the ins and outs of the individual motifs (many of which are worked from the center outward) Kristen provides 10 patterns you can use to show off your new mad skills!

My favorite pattern was the Mia Brioche-Stitch Scarf which utilizes small scallops worked together on a brioche-stitch spine, a lovely effect!

So, Would You Like This Book?

Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite knit technique, or knit fabric, is. It can be as simple as “Garter Stitch” or as complex as, “Triple-drop stitch short row shaping”

I will choose a comment at random, and F&W Media will send the winner their very own shiny copy of Knitting Outside The Swatch!  This contest will run until Saturday, so get your comments in!

*In a craft where 94% of the practitioners are women, I WILL use the term mistressed!

Sock It To Me! And Win A Book!

So, are you ready for some stunning sock artistry as the Fall weather arrives..?

I’m a newish sock convert. I’d knit socks in the past, and I wholeheartedly embraced the sock movement.

Personally, I feel sock knitters have done more with their passion and skill
to raise the level of our craft than any other specific group of knitters!

BFK_coverBut I never wore socks much.

You see, my family is rooted in West Virginia. We’ve lived in that incredibly beautiful state for over 300 years (long before it was WV, or even VA!)

And, whether it’s my own personal preference, or a cultural phenomenon, I like walking around barefoot.

But, as I age, this is changing. My toes grow cold, and in the past year I’ve come to admire the warmth of a great pair of socks.

Unfortunately, I have HUGE feet, so making a pair for myself is
akin to a smaller woman making a simple shrug.

But a book has graced my doorstep by an insanely talented up-and-coming knittress & designer, Andi Smith.  Watch this woman!

BFK_heel

Easy to Follow Techniques!

BIG FOOT KNITS
Andi Smith
Available through Cooperative Press
$26.95/$16.96

12 patterns + more than 50 pages of
step-by-step guidance on adapting socks to your feet
132 pages

In Big Foot Knits, Andi Smith walks us through the process of fitting a sock perfectly to your own foot (be it supersized or teensy-tiny!) 

BFK_gaia

Gaia

Andi covers the basics, shaping the foot and leg of a sock, heels, toes, and using measurement and gauges in the way the sock god intended.

All of this is priceless information, very well presented and easy to follow.

That in itself is a wonderful thing, but the true joy of this book are the beautiful sock designs.

 Two of my favorite designs are Gaia (a long clog-friendly style) and Eidothea (a sweet, lacy short sock with an adorable picot cuff.)

This is a wonderful book – and if you purchase the paperback copy you’ll receive the pdf file for the single price of $26.95 (pdf only is $16.95)

Buy a copy as a gift, keep the pdf for yourself!

BFK_eidothea

Eidothea

If you’ve been casting about for a good, solid sock book with great designs and a comprehensive, easy to follow technical section, this is your book! (Well, actually it’s Andi’s book but you can buy a copy.)

If you, like myself, have a friend you’ve shepherded through the learn-to-knit process, this book along with a ball of beautiful sock yarn might be the best holiday gift you can give!  How many gifts can offer beauty, education AND hours of pleasure?

WIN A COPY OF BIG FOOT KNITS!

Would you like your own pdf copy of this great book?

Leave a message below telling me what your favorite sock yarn is.  If you’re unschooled in sock yarns, make one up (seriously, there are so many yarns out there now who is going to know the difference?)  I will randomly pick a comment and you’ll receive a pdf copy of the book, deposited by the Cooperative Press elves into your Ravelry library (or emailed to you if you aren’t on Ravelry*) and then YOU can start knitting up socks with grace & aplomb!

I’ll pick a winner on this Friday, 9/20 – stay tuned!

*Seriously? You’re not on Ravelry? Check it out!  If you’re a knitter or crocheter, this is a wonderful resource with SO many facets that it’s silly not to be involved!

Hat Couture

It’s widely known that I love hats, and ANY book that brings more folks to the hat-loving fold is absolutely dandy with me!

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.28.59 PM Cooperative Press is releasing a new book, Hat Couture, by Theressa Silver, which contains 13 hat patterns, all worked up in Cascade wool yarn.

I interviewed Theressa about her upcoming book and her designs process, here is the text of our chat:

What is it about hats that compelled you to put together this collection of patterns.

I’ve always loved hats, but the idea for making fancy knit hats came about 3 years ago when a knitter friend asked me to join her in a retail gallery show.  She makes purses and suggested I could make hats.

Since this was a fairly upscale place, I wanted to make something that was more than just knit caps.  I had a lot of fun playing around with shape, structure, and embellishment and came up with a collection of hats for the show that became the inspiration for the book.

Was there a certain technique or point of view about hats that you would like to share with your readers?

I’m having a blast playing with structural, 3-dimensional shapes.  I create them by choosing yarns with lots of body and then knitting them at a very tight gauge.

Making knit objects that stand up on their own is really cool!  I like knitting things that make you do a double-take.  I mean, who expects a knit top hat?

What is your millinery background?

None, other than looking at a lot of hats.  I do have a sewing background, but really I taught myself by trial and error.

I’d love to take a millinery course and learn some of the tricks of the trade.

What millinery techniques are used in the book?

Shaping the hats during the blocking process has quite a bit in common with shaping a traditional millinery hat over a hat block.

I also used buckram to create a frame for one of the hats.  But mostly it’s about capturing the feel of classical millinery in the shapes and decorations of the hats more than actually trying to transfer techniques.

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.13 PMWhat is it that you consider has raised your knit hats to a ‘couture‘ level?

Each one is lovingly hand made, that’s “couture,” right?

Seriously, I wanted to distinguish my hats from the more typically casual knit hats.  I love a good slouchy beret or cozy beanie and wear a lot of them, but these are special, more elegant.

I encourage the knitter to indulge in lavish materials for the embellishments.  It’s about taking the knit hat to the next level.

Do you have plans for any future books?

Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 3.33.47 PM

Theressa Silver

I have a couple of ideas, but nothing for sure yet.  There will be a piece coming out in Knit Edge Magazine Issue 3 discussing this knitting tight technique and applying it to the construction of knit bowls.

I’d like to curate a group book next.  I like the idea of blending many artistic visions into a coherent whole.

GIVEAWAY!

If you enjoy creating unusual knit hats, I feel that you’d really enjoy this book!  I’m giving away an ecopy [pdf] of Hat Couture to a lucky [random] reader who leaves a comment answering the following question:

Have you ever worn a hat specifically for an Easter Parade, and if not, would you?

I can’t wait to read your comments – and good luck!  I’ll declare a winner by Tuesday, 3/26/13.

Knit Edge Magazine

If you’re interested in reading about Theressa’s tight-knitting technique in Knit Edge magazine, a new online-only magazine brought to you by Cooperative Press, you can get $2 off a subscription by using the code “modeknitsilver” when you subscribe.

TWO Book Giveaway

Today’s giveaway is for TWO books, and I’ll ship them on Thursday Priority Mail so you actually have a chance of getting them by Christmas!

boyfriend1The Boyfriend Sweater
by Bruce Weinstein
photos by Jared Flood

This is a very handsome book.  It’s absolutely beautiful (I would expect NO less from my good friend, Jared Flood, who photographed the sweaters with such sensitivity!)

A follow up, in a sense, to Knits Men Want, this crosses into new territory with sizing for women as well as men, a definite PLUS!

boyfriend2The pieces tend to a very simple shape, but as most knitters know, recipients often LOVE the simpler sweaters.

The start of the book features 19 short, pithy tips and techniques that will allow a new knitter conquer any project in the book, and are a good

boyfriend3

The complex, cabled, lace covered stuff
is what we do for OURSELVES.

The Boyfriend Sweater
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Potter Craft (December 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0307587121

farmanimal1Knitted Farm Animals
Sarah Keen

I love a book that is exactly what it says it is.  This is a book of – guess what? – knitted farm animals.

Sarah revisits her earlier theme books, Knitted Wild Animals & Knitted Noah’s Ark.  Whether these are created as toys or creative embellishments for unusual scarves and hats, they look like a crazy good time.

farmanimal3They’re perfect, hug-able, and the fabric shaping mimics the anatomy of each animal in very clever ways.

farmanimal2My favorite is the hen and her chicks, but then I’ve had a thing for hens for quite a while…

Knitted Farm Animals
Paperback: 128 pages

Publisher: Potter Craft
(December 11, 2012)

Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823085945

ISBN-13: 978-0823085941

WIN THE BOOKS!

All you have to do to win either book is leave a comment stating which farm animal your most memorable boyfriend (or girlfriend) reminded you of.  I’ll pick two winners at random, it will be up to pure chance which book each winner will receive!

How’s THAT for an unexpected holiday gift!

Giveaway for the Holidays!

I know I’m a bit late for Hanukkah, but I’m in time for the other solstice mid-winter gift-giving extravaganzas!

I have a few books to give away – none of them mine – but all of them very nice!

I’ll give away one every few days so I can get them shipped to you by Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate!)  Ideally, if you win one of them it will be a lovely gift for YOU!

ONE + ONE HATS

This is another one of Iris Schreier’s books which use her lovely Artyarns and focus on projects which use a limited amount of yarn.

The specifications for these designs were hats which use ONLY two balls of yarn.

I have two hats in the book, which makes me very proud and happy!

The first is a color work toque (square top) shape.  The lighter color is variegated, the dark is a semi-solid, with a squarish top and garter / i-cord trim at the bottom.

The second hat is inspired by a military hat, and because the side flaps can be worn up or down, I used a reversible cable technique.  It was my first time using it in a design, I feel that it worked very  nicely.

I created the reversible cable by working cables over a 2×2 rib, and being careful with the placement of the yarn as I form each cable.

Here’s the chart (you may find it helpful, or it may make your head spin!) so you can get an idea of how I think through the reversible cables.

WIN THE BOOK!

YOU could be the happy recipient of this book – all you have to do is leave a comment and tell me about your favorite hat of all time!  It doesn’t have to be a knit hat, or even one that you’ve owned – just a hat that has meant something to you!

Leave a comment below, and I’ll select a winner and send the book off on Friday.  If your name is chosen and you live out of the USA, I’ll ask you to split the shipping charge ($5 from each of us), otherwise the shipping will be on me!  (When you put your email in the specified field, no one can see it but me!)

I’ll have two more books to share with you over the next few weeks, now tell me about a great hat!

purewool4

Furthering My Education

Pure Wool: A Guide to Using Single-Breed Yarns is not a typically beautiful book.

Some books are like girls who are all dressed up for the London season, curled and powdered and full of frills and gorgeous glossy pictures. They sit poised to pounce on any titled gent who attends the ball, and they get their share of the attention.

Sue Blacker’s Pure Wool is like the country lass who stays home, away from the ball, caring for the farm with a strong back and a healthy beauty.

There is nothing glossy about this book, but that is fitting. Wool is not a glittery fiber, it deserves a solid, hearty book.

INFORMATION RICH

The images are lovely, but the soul of this book is the rich bounty of information about breeds of yarn – presented in an easily manageable manner – so that even a non-spinner, non-sheep savvy person like myself can feel better educated.

I knit, I design and I write. And I crochet (simmer down..) But I don’t spin. I have serious asthma, and the few times I’ve been around a spinning wheel for an extended period led to a prolonged asthma attack, so I steer clear of flying fibers.

Without the intimate, tactile connection with fleece that my spinning sisters have, I feel as though I’m a piker when talking about different types of sheep. I know the basic facts about different breeds, but I lacked a connection between my knitting and my knowledge.  Pure Wool is a book that I will be using to bridge that gap.

I tend to get overwhelmed with wool “encyclopedias”, or maybe I’m just lazy.  They’re excellent for reference, and I am glad to have all that information at my fingertips, but they don’t speak to me personally as a volume with which to curl up in bed and spend a chilly afternoon.

The information in Pure Wool is presented in a way that makes it clear and complete without being overwhelming.

I especially love the tables in the back of the book allowing a knitter to match a yarn to a pattern, determine which fibers would dye best, and obtaining a better understanding of specific breed’s wool characteristics and yarn qualities.

The patterns are hearty and satisfying, laid out like a kitchen table laden with a huge, delicious country breakfast. I can see the garments in Pure Wool becoming perennial favorites among knitters of all levels, they’re good, basic, beautiful garments.  Nothing flashy, just comfortable.

Like wool.

WIN THE BOOK

So would you like a copy of this very useful and very beautiful book?  Leave a comment telling me what your favorite fiber is.  It doesn’t have to be wool – it doesn’t even have to be natural – I’ll make the selection of the winner at random.  If you’ve won lately I’ll pass over your name when drawing the winner, but I’d still love to hear about your favorite fiber!

The images shown on this page are from Sue Blacker’s website.