Tuesday, October 30, 2007

OK, How COOOOOL is THIS?????

I'm at the public library this afternoon, perusing the "new" books shelves and I spot 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. I've been waiting for this book to be published as I have a design in there! Yep, there's a picture of my "eyelet shruglet" on page 25, with the directions (and designer acknowledgment) on page 179. So, I'm grinning like the Cheshire Cat, seeing my name in print.
On a whim, I also pick-up Babies and Toddlers: A Knitter's Dozen from XRX Books (publishers of Knitter's Magazine). I look at the introduction and there's a sweater/cap set I'd done about 5 years ago. Yep, out of all the baby and toddler designs Knitter's magazine has published over the years, MINE is one of their "favorite 12" (in the book, it's the 4th pattern if that is an indicator). My "Mexicali Baby Ole" baby sweater and cap, made with self-striping sock yarn, looks as good today as it did 5 years ago.
Again, how cool is this -- I get to knit AND occasionally, see my name in print!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Charity Knitting: Knitting for the Homeless

What better way to spend a Saturday morning: String Bean and I met up with my SIL, neice and SIL's mom and knitted from 9-11 a.m. (and this was after being up till midnight watching the fantastic movie Bella)! But, it wasn't "aimless" knitting or selfish knitting -- this was knitting hats, gloves and other things for the homeless!

Yep, seems Panera Bread at Cherry Creek North has teamed up with The Shivering Sheep at Coppelia's to host a weekly "knit-in" at Panera. From the first Saturday of October until the last Saturday in April, knitters from all over town converge on Panera at about 9:00 a.m., settle in with a complimentary cup of coffee, and begin the process of knitting articles for the homeless. All ages come -- today String Bean (at 7) and crocheting neice (at 10) were the youngest -- including a young engaged couple (where the male knit his FIRST hat and started on his first scarf, all to be donated to homeless folks), 30 somethings, my SIL and I (who are 40-somethings!) and older ladies too.

This is the 5th! year Coppelia's has sponsored this unique Charity knitting project! Over the past 4 years, this project has netted over 4500 pieces for the homeless in the Denver area. And if today's turnout was any indication, we'll be able to add ALOT to that total this year!

Because of course, String Bean (and I) wants to go back ....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hmmmmm .... might have to add this to the

ever-growing list of projects to tackle:

sounds like a lovely way to cover an old gas station, doesn't it?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Retreat -- more feedback

One of the wonderful ladies I met at the retreat, Marcia Ford, has a very cool blog titled Postmodern Misfits. Marcia is a very gifted writer and kindly wrote her impressions of the retreat -- both before and after. It is very heartening to know that I met and exceeded her high expectations.

And the lovely woman wants to have a get together in the Spring as well as next Fall -- ya gotta love enthusiastic knitters, huh?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Books -- Must-Haves for Knitters

Here is the annotated bibliography I included in the retreat-participants' packets. If you click on the hotlink, you'll be brought to the Amazon page for ordering these knitting must-haves.

Knitting Resources
“Must Haves” for the Hand-Knit Designer: a somewhat {ok, VERY} biased list
(listed by retreat session topic)

Session 2: History of Knitting
Hartley, Marie & Ingilby, Joan – The Old Hand-knitters of the Dales covers the history of the women who throughout the Yorkshire Dales knit for a bit of extra money. This book is pure history with no patterns or details of the patterns; this book, rather, celebrates knitting in and of itself.

Macdonald, Anne – No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting; published by Ballantine Books. This book reviews ante-bellum knitting up through the 70s hippie days and beyond. It’s well-written and well-researched by this former English professor.

Rutt, Richard – A History of Hand Knitting; reprinted by Interweave Press. This is considered the definitive history of knitting (although there is some discussion of inaccuracies, but these are minimal). If you can get your hands on the original published in England by this retired Anglican minister – it’s worth it as there are color plates that are missing from the reprint!

Session 3: The Design Process
Budd, Ann -- Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns published by Interweave Press, will take all the mystery out of most knitted garments. In these two books by the former editor of Interweave Knits you have basic patterns in multiple sizes for traditional knitted garments. The first book covers hats, gloves, mittens, sweaters, scarves, and socks -- simple, clean designs that can be made with any kind of yarn, in any kind of gauge, and in most any size and, best of all, Budd has done the math for you. The second book delves into more design options for sweater-styles -- raglan, circular yokes, saddle shoulders, etc. Both of these books will free you to create your own designs -- in any size you want. These would be two of the half dozen I'd grab from my collection if the house was on fire or flooding!

Ellen, Alison – Hand Knitting: New Directions is an innovative knitting book with suggestions for turning the knitting on it’s side, bias, whatever to get the look you want. She has a great first two-thirds of the book where she discusses the technical details of knitting and why stitches do what they do. The last bit of the book gives detailed information about some projects – but Ellen encourages the reader to “go their own way”.

Fee, Jacqueline -- The Sweater Workshop – published by Down East Books is a wonderful, unique book, In knitting a sampler “thing”, you learn all the different techniques needed to create/design your own seamless sweater. This is a great book!

Michelson, Carmen and Davis, Mary-Ann – The Knitter’s Guide to Sweater Design is a complete design course (or degree!) in one book. Similar to a seamstress design book, this one shows how to chart/design different necklines, sleeves, silhouettes, etc. This is an amazing book packed with design information specifically for the hand-knits designer!

Michler, J. Marsha – Design & Knit the Sweater of Your Dreams – OOP but definitely one to hunt for as she goes through all the steps of designing with wonderful schematics and clear instructions. Her designs included in the book are average, but they do illustrate the methods she’s trying to present.

Newton, Deborah -- Designing Knitwear -- published by Taunton Press is a great designer’s tutorial. She goes through each step of designing while giving concrete examples from her own design notebooks. This was one I’d been waiting for for years and finally someone published it!

Righetti, Maggie -- Sweater Design in Plain English – is a classic, curl-up-and-read knitting book with lots of tips on design, fitting and general seamstress tips translated for hand-knitting. The book is a bit “dated” but still contains very valuable information.

Session 5: Ethnic Influences
Brown-Reinsel, Beth -- Knitting Ganseys is the definitive book on knitting the heavily knit-purl patterning sweaters from the British Isles. The author does a fabulous job of explaining the history of these sweaters, describing the basics of a traditional sweater and then showing the reader how to make one. She leads the reader through either a sampler sweater (doll size) or a full-size sweater so that you not only learn how to make a gansey, you learn about all the parts of the sweater and why they are made the way they are. This is a classic!

Bush, Nancy -- Folk Knitting in Estonia updates traditional Estonian knitting patterns and creates lovely designs for the American knitter. Bush does a great (and interesting) job of explaining the history of knitting in Estonia and showing the traditional techniques – often in a non-traditional manner.

Christoffersson, Britt-Marie – Swedish Sweaters: New Designs from Historical Examples is just what the title says. The author took sweaters that were old, moth-eaten or museum pieces and recreated these traditional works in today’s standard. Because the author is from Sweden, some of the “new” sweaters may appear a bit anachronistic; but the ideas that spring to a hand-knitters mind are only limited by time!

Dallas, Sarah – Scottish Highland Knits is a perfect example of traditional designs jazzed up for today’s clients! Working with two of her students, Dallas has created a lovely book of gorgeous knits in extremely interesting ways. This is a great idea book.

Danielsson, Birgitta Dandanell-Ulla – Twined Knitting: A Swedish Folkcraft Technique shows the traditional way of knitting in Sweden which is similar to two-color knitting but you use two strands of the same color and carry the yarn in front to create the pattern. This makes a tightly knitted, super-warm product that is simply beautiful (and the number of antique pieces in museums attest to the longevity of this type of knitting).

Don, Sarah – Fair Isle Knitting is a classic treatise on the knits that have traditionally been done on the Fair Isles in Scotland. Charts and written directions are included in this book that gives both detailed instructions for projects and guidelines for creating your own classics.

Gibson-Roberts, Priscilla -- Knitting in the Old Way is a treasure trove of ethnic knitting patterns. This book also shows many different ways of knitting; methods that folks have used throughout history and the world to create works of art from just two sticks and a bit of thread. Some carry the yarn behind their necks; some use their left hand to throw the yarn; some wind the yarn 'round their hands -- the bottom-line is that the final result has knit stitches looking like nice, even V's and the purl bumps looking like nice, consistent dash lines.

Gottfridsson, Inger & Gottfridsson, Ingrid – The Mitten Book: Delightful Swedish Country Mitten Patterns with Tradtional Designs to Use for All Your Hand and Machine Knitting Projects is basically a stitch-ionary of traditional two-color patterns used on mittens. The bit of social history included in this little book is priceless.

Harrell, Betsy – Anatolian Knitting Designs is published on cheap paper with non-traditional symbols for the charted designs, but a hand-knits designer will be thrilled with the plethora of traditional Turkish patterns included in this book. All of these patterns are from socks/stockings knit in the Anatolia area of Turkey – and they are gorgeous works of art similar to the Turkish rugs that cost a fortune.

Interweave Knits Folk Series(various authors) -- Folk Shawls, Folk Socks, Folk Vests, and Folk Mittens are all well-thumbed books on my design shelf. I get lots of inspiration and great ideas from these as well as feeding my fascination with knitting old and new. I love reading these books, over and over again; each time I read them I get new ideas or learn an ancient technique that I never knew ... and my knitting is better because of these kind of books.

Khmeleva, Galina & Noble, Carol R. – Gossamer Webs: the History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls is a book about the type of shawls that can be pulled through a wedding ring. These shawls are literally as thin/wispy as webs … but what a challenge! Also, the patterns included could be easily translated to a larger gauge, different type of yarn to create a unique knitted lace product – maybe curtains?

Keele, Wendy – Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition and the Women who drove this Swedish cottage industry is a book that celebrates a cottage industry that kept a geographic area solvent. Sweden was in a major recession when a group of women began to create a hand-knits design that took the world by storm – a combination of colorwork and knit-purl stitches created a whole new way of knitting from the late-30s to the ‘60s.

Lavold, Elsebeth, Viking Patterns for Knitting is a gorgeous book with lots of knitting history and contemporary renditions; lots of heavy cable twists make this book a great resource for heavily textured knitting.

Lewandowski, Marcia -- Andean Folk Knits reinterprets traditional Andean motifs and knitting methods into contemporary hand-knits (including bags, cushions and garments). Wonderful background information about this South American country and its knitting tradition.
Lind, Vibeke – Knitting in the Nordic Tradition covers not only the history and techniques of traditional Nordic knitting, it also covers sweaters, caps, mittens, shawls, and stockings. A beautifully done book – although some color plates throughout would have been nice.

MacGregor, Sheila -- Traditional Fair Isle Knitting is a classic coverage of Fair Isle knitting with wonderful illustrations of antique and contemporary hand-knits as well as charted motifs and suggestions for designing a truly authentic Fair Isle hand-knit. The Complete Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting is another classic, this time discussing knitting from Scandinavia. History, how-tos and a plethora of lovely examples make this book one to use again and again to make these lovely hand-knits – sweaters, hats, mittens, and socks.

Norbury, James – Traditional Knitting Patterns from Scandinavia, the British Isles, France, Italy and Other European Countries is an amazing stitch dictionary that covers the history and folk knitting for Western Europe. Colorwork, lace and knit-purl combinations are all covered in this book.

Parker, Mary S. – The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing: Easy Ways to Sew and Embellish Fabulous Garments from Around the World is NOT a knitting book. But, it has gorgeous traditional garments that could easily translate to knitted garments. This book also details quite a bit of the history/social history of the garments and the countries and is wonderful for inspiration!

Shea, Terri -- Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition, contains the history of this unique cottage industry (that began with one young shepherdess tending her flock) and contains 30(!) patterns for mittens and gloves using the traditional designs of the Selbu. This is the result of her work on a certification for museum studies with research on the Selbu knitting tradition in Norway.

Thompson, Gladys – Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans: Fishermen’s Sweaters from the British Isles is one of those classic books every designer should have on their shelf. This goes into the history of the different types of fisherman sweaters (dispelling some myths along the way) but also discusses how best to re-create these classics.

van der Klift-Tellegen, Henriette – Knitting from the Netherlands: Traditional Dutch Fishermen’s Sweaters is packed with history, techniques and patterns. This is a Dutch version of Thompson’s or MacGregor’s books.

Zilboorg, Anna -- Simply Socks: 45 Traditional Turkish Patterns to Knit and Magnificent Mittens: The Beauty of Warm Hands are both works of art. Sadly, these are both OOP, but take time to search for them – you’ll never regret it. Taking the traditional patterns of Turkish knitters (where the yarn is tensioned behind the head and flicked in a very unique manner), Zilboorg has charted these gorgeous multi-colored designs and created simple socks for the sock-knitter. These are amazingly beautiful as is the text which lovingly describes the history of knitting in Turkey. Her mitten book continues this work of amazingly beautiful multi-colored designs and blends the designs in such a way as to create unique works of art. I love the long cuffs that are meant to go over the coat/jacket sleeve to keep the wearer toasty warm. Zilboorg also describes how to do three different thumb treatments on these mittens – thumb with gusset, invisible thumb and sore thumb – which can actually be interchanged on the specific designs. But one thing I like about Zilboorg’s books – she encourages the reader to go beyond her designs and create your own work of art!

Session 7: Stitches to Add Texture
Abbey, Barbara – Barbara Abbey’s Knitting Lace is mentioned by EZ as being THE lace encyclopedia to own. Although these lace designs are gorgeous, this book was written before the advent of charts, so all the directions are written row for row! But still, definitely a book to have on your shelves and worth “translating” to chart form.

Epstein, Nicky – Knitting on the Edge, Knitting Over the Edge, Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Embellishments, and her Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Flowers are amazing books for showing you exactly what happens when you knit “outside the box”; these really are great books. I’m not as enthralled with some of her others, but you have to give her credit for pushing the knitting bubble!

Erlbacher, Maria – Uberlieferte Strickmuster aus dem Stierschen Ennstal (teil 1, 2, 3) are Austrian books with charted stitch patterns for traditional Tirolean/Austrian style knitting (sweaters, hose, caps) from items in the Landschaftsmuseum in Southern Austria. I got my copies from Schoolhouse Press which doesn’t seem to carry them anymore.

Fanderl, Lisl -- Bauerliches Stricken 1 , Bauerliches Stricken 2, Bauerliches Stricken 3 are Austrian/German knitting books with detailed charts of knitting stitch patterns traditional for the various area. Fanderl (the Austrian Barbara Walker) compiled these charts from articles in folk-museums and private collections throughout the region. FYI, “bauerliches stricken” roughly translates to farm/country knitting.
Harmony Guides Knitting Techniques: Volume 1 -- Copyright 1998; published by Collins & Brown.
Harmony Guides 450 Knitting Stitches: Volume 2 -- Copyright 1998; published by Collins & Brown.
Harmony Guides 440 More Knitting Stitches: Volume 3 -- Copyright 1998; published by Collins & Brown.
Harmony Guides 250 Creative Knitting Stitches: Volume 4 -- Copyright 1998; published by Collins & Brown.
Harmony Guides 220 Aran Stitches and Patterns: Volume 5 -- Copyright 1998; published by Collins & Brown.

Kinzel, Marianne – First Book of Modern Lace Knitting and Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting are both published by Dover Books and are excellent references for lacework.

Lewis, Susanna E. – Knitting Lace: A Workshop with Patterns and Projects is more than just a stitchionary of lace patterns. Lewis came across a knitted sampler and proceeded to recreate each block for this book. But not satisfied with just recreating the blocks, she imparts her lace-creating knowledge and design details for the designer. If you want to use lace in knitting, this is the book to get!

Miller, Sharon – Heirloom Knitting: A Shetland Lace Knitter’s Pattern and Workbook – copyright 2002; published by The Shetland Times. Definitive workbook on how to use lace in design work; amazing, encyclopedic book about lace. Beautiful! OOP but definitely worth hunting/getting if you’re interested in lace.

Stanfield, Lesley – 150 Knitted Trims – copyright 2007; published by St. Martin’s Press. This is a nice collection of trims and edgings to add to your designs.

Thomas, Mary – Mary Thomas’ Book of Knitting Patterns – Copyright 1972; published by Dover Books

Threads Magazine – Great Knits: Texture and Color Techniques – Copyright 1995; published by Taunton Press.

Vogue Knitting -- Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit & Purl: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine , The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Two: Cables: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine and The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Three: Color Knitting: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine

Walker, Barbara -- Mosaic Knitting, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns , A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns , Charted Knitting Designs – a Third Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Fourth Treasury of Knitting Patterns are all published by Schoolhouse Press and are considered classics of stitch treasuries. Many are charted with row-by-row directions.

Waterman, Martha – Traditional Knitted and Lace Shawls includes history, stitch patterns and designs for creating various types of traditional shawls.

Session 8: Color
Fassett, Kaffe – Kaffe Fassett’s Pattern Library is a gorgeous example of color knitting at its best from this amazing British colorist. The first 80 pages are color plates of different, colorful geometric designs; the second half of the book includes charts to replicate the plates as well as other helpful information.

Melville, Sally – The Knitting Experience – Book 3: Color; published by XRX Books. Excellent overview of color in knitting and how to “work the wheel”. Projects are interesting and she has an interesting suggestion – if you think you like the design (but NOT the color combination), copy the picture on a b/w copier and see if you still like the design.

Roberts, Luise -- 1000 Great Knitting Motifs is a spiral bound reference with tons of motifs already charted. I like this book because the charts are done in color and it's easy to see the repeats. The only downside is that many of the really cool charts have more than 2 colors per row -- a no-no for a "traditional fair isle" sweater, but still wonderful ideas for colorwork!

Threads Magazine – Colorful Knitwear Design and Great Knits: Texture and Color Techniques are published by Taunton Press.

Session 9: The Pros – famous and not-so-famous
Ashforth, Pat & Plummer Steve – No-Pattern Knits: Simple Modular Techniques for Making Wonderful Garments and Accessories is the result of two mathematics teachers (who also knit) getting together and creating a book. This one shows how to use geometric shapes to create just about any knitted thing. The authors are well-known in England for their unique, artsy knitted wall-hangings. They have published other books including: Creating Knitwear Designs, Making Knitwear Fit, and Wooly Thoughts: Unlock Your Creative Genius with Modular Knitting.

Bordhi, Cat – A Treasury of Magical Knitting and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting are books that show the artistic creativity that can result with knitting. Bordhi analyzed the infamous “moebius strip” and went on to create scarves, hats, socks, capes, bowls, etc. The imaginative, uniqueness of these two books may just fire up your artistic streak! This is the knit-designer who helped popularize the “socks knit on circs” – which I take a step further by knitting both socks at the same time on the two circular needles.

Falick, Melanie – Knitting in America: Patterns, Profiles and Stories of America’s Leading Artisans is a beautifully done book that brings some of the lesser-known designers into the limelight. This is a gorgeous book that highlights hand-knits designer-artists and the work they create from two sticks and a string.

Neatby, Lucy – Cool Socks, Warm Feet: Six Exceptional Sock Patterns for Printed Yarn is much more than the six patterns; anything and everything you ever wanted to know about socks is contained in this book. I wish Lucy would write more books – she gives all the info you need in a wonderful format. This is a good introduction to her pattern writing; check out her web-site for more great knitting techniques/tips.

New, Debbie – Unexpected Knitting. Wow! is about the only thing you can say about this book that is part “coffee table art book” and part crazy knitter’s dream (or nightmare). These projects are crazy but wonderful; New does a great job at showing knitters that just about ANYTHING can be knitted. This book really opens up the artistic side of knitting.

Roberts, Patricia – Variations: Knitting Patterns for More than 50 Seasonal Designs is a wonderful inspirational book. Her color-work is reminiscent of Fassett but the garment shapes themselves are simply lovely. This book is jam-packed with designs – many more than you usually get in a knitting book. The only down-side to this book is there are no design schematics so you’ll know the dimensions. But for inspiration, this one is great!

Stanley, Montse -- Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Techniques of Handknitting covers all the basics in an encyclopedic fashion. Ms. Stanley was a popular British knitwear designer (who died a while back) who really compiled a book packed with the tools, tips and techniques necessary for expanding your knitting.

Vogue Knitting – Designer Knits covers half-dozen plus designers and their knitting as showcased in Vogue. Gorgeous, timeless designs as only Vogue can do them!

Zimmermann, Elizabeth -- Knitting Without Tears is THE bible about knitting (IMHO). Mrs. Zimmermann is the mother of all knitters; she explains in this very readable volume that knitting is not hard, knitting is not difficult, and knitting is what YOU make it. She wrote a few other books, sprinkled with her words of wisdom and pearls of tips – that are well-worth having on your resource shelf: EZ’s Knitter’s Almanac – which has a year’s worth of fabulous projects with lots of knitting advice included; Knitting Around – which gives you a glimpse into her private life and her innovative brain; and the Knitting Glossary has not been updated but still well worth having on your shelf! The Knitting Workshop on DVD (and the companion book, The Knitting Workshop) and A Knitting Glossary on DVD. Both of these DVDs have been “digitally remastered” and Meg Swansen, EZ’s daughter has add tons of great additional information/clarification. Finally, a salute to EZ was compiled by Meg after EZ died called, The Opinionated Knitter, which includes reprionts of many of her first newsletters – which are priceless knitting prose!

Session 10: Outlets for Creativity
Christansen, Betty – Knitting for Peace is a great little source book for finding outlets for your knitted products.

General Knitting Books with lots of practical advice for all knitters:
The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice is a mouthful of a title to describe this book that is packed with useful info! At first glance, it looks like a pretty coffee-table book -- it's large-ish, 10+ inch shape and it's glitzy graphics fool the casual reader. But DON'T stop -- read each article and remember that you've got this sensational book on your resource shelf and re-read the articles when you need a knitting "fix". And there are tons of articles to choose from. The articles about a few of the 40-some (!) cast-on methods are particularly enlightening. There are other articles on ethnic knitting, designing your own, and finishing like the pros. There are articles about men who design and women who design. There are articles about folks who make their living shearing and spinning and those who make their living writing about knitting. There are articles about the history of knitting and articles about the latest innovations in techniques. In all, there are 13 chapters with a total of 100 articles covering virtually every aspect of knitting.

Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book is a classic that covers all things knitterly. Design is a subject for the last 20% of the book and is very well done!

The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle and The Joy of Knitting Companion: A Knitter’s Handbook by Lisa R. Myers are pretty unassuming volumes by this Pennsylvania yarn-shop owner. Don’t be fooled by the covers – both of these books have lots to offer. The first volume goes through all the aspects of knitting uniqueness – texture (through stitch patternings, yarn choice or needle choice), color (whether traditional ethnic design or random intarsia) and overall design. Myers gives great, clear explanations. The only down-side is that there are no photographs, just drawings of the suggested projects – and we all know that “artist renderings” are a bit more fanciful than the camera’s eye! The companion book, which I actually read first, is a working notebook – with lots of blank record-keeping forms, graph paper and other helpful tools (including a needle sizer and a gauge ruler “built-into” the cover). Suggestions abound for designing your own – or adapting a have-to-have design to really fit you! I only wish they had bound the book with a spiral (rather than a glued paperback) so that the book could lie flat.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting Projects Illustrated by Barbara Morgenroth is one of those “knitting for dummies” books that I usually don’t like. In fact, if you read the blurb about the author, you find that she has very little knitting experience but instead is a “cookbook and craft book writer”. Now surely, they could have found a KNITTING writer to write this book. That said, I found this book to have GREAT, clear illustrations and instructions, interesting projects and a wealth of information about my favorite activity! The photographs of the finished items could be better, but this would be a wonderful starter book for beginning knitters.
The Knit Kit Book by Sandy Carr, Josie May and Eleanor VanZandt is sadly out-of-print, but well worth the hunt to find a copy. This book teaches all the basics – with great illustrations and directions – as well as a whole section (or really, a second book) on designing basics including measuring, sketching, adapting existing patterns, etc. Hunt for this one – you’ll be well-pleased you did!
Knit it Now! Turn Great Yarns into Great Sweaters by Julie Montanari has some really cool designs. Also, Montanari, who’s been knitting since she was 8 (same as me!), gives ten easy steps for ensuring a good fit of the final sweater. Many of the sweaters, ironically, look like crochet (which I can do but avoid) but are so lovely that I think I’d break down and knit them!
Barnes, Mary Galpin (editor) -- Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets, Expanded: Ingenious Techniques and Solutions for Hand and Machine Knitting and Crochet (30 percent more content) or the original Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets: Clever Solutions for Better Hand Knitting, Machine Knitting and Crochet -- Copyright 1996; published by Taunton Books.

Bliss, Debbie – How to Knit – Copyright 1999, published by Trafalgar Square Publishing

Buss, Katharina – Big Book of Knitting – Copyright 1999; published by Sterling Publishing Co

Hiatt, June Hemmons – The Principles of Knitting – this encyclopedic book is OOP (and costs a fortune to try to buy) but is well-worth hunting for in used book stores or estate sales. Hiatt took EVERY conceivable aspect of knitting and dissected it, breaking each thing down to its smallest piece and explaining it in this huge book. She can get a bit didactic, but ignore this and devour the text. This thing is PACKED with everything a knitter would need to know to knit, to design, to create using yarn and needles. I wish someone would reprint this one that I somehow missed when it came out in the 80s!

Knitter’s Magaine – The Knitter’s Handbook: Essential Skills and Helpful Hints – copyright 2005; published by XRX Books. I like this one because it’s small enough to fit in a knitting bag, spiral bound so it stays open, hard-covered to protect the contents, and has wonderful graphics and clear descriptions.

Levine, Betsy (editor) -- Hand-Knitting Techniques from Threads Magazine -- Copyright 1991; published by Taunton Press.

Melville, Sally – The Knitting Experience – Book 1: The Knit Stitch – copyright 2003; published by XRX Books. (I don’t like the Book 2: The Purl Stitch as much although she does a great job of explaining the interplay of knit and purl stitches and how best to use these two together in designing.)

Righetti, Maggie -- Knitting in Plain English -- Copyright 1986; published by St. Martin's Press.

Thomas, Mary – Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book – Copyright 1972; published by Dover Books

In the Spirit of Design: A Knitting Retreat

This past weekend I spent up near the Wyoming border at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Walburga. I was leading a knitting retreat and it was SO MUCH FUN! A wonderful group of 17 ladies (including my dear SIL) came to the beautiful valley in Virginia Dale where the Benedictines have created a haven of peace only two hours from Denver.

We all arrived around 4:30 pm on Friday and knitted and talked and participated in the sisters' prayer-life and just generally had a superlative time. So great, in fact, that the ladies have asked to "do it again" next year!

I gave talks on the history of knitting, the design process (where do ideas come from; getting those ideas from your head to your needles; tools of the trade), ethnic influences, fiber choices and "hand" of the fabric, color theory, stitches for textures, the "pros" (famous and not so famous hand-knit designers), and outlets for creativity (charity knitting). Over the next few days, I'll be posting the text of my talks so that those who couldn't join us will get an idea of what we covered.

Additionally, Sr. Genevieve Glen, who edits the Magnificat, gave a fabulous talk on the spirituality of creativity and the link to God's ordering from chaos as shown in Genesis 1. As soon as she posts her thoughts on her own blog, I'll link to the talk as it really was wonderful.

Intermixed with talks and prayer time, we had LOTS of time to sit and knit and chat and really get to know each other.

I can't wait for next year's retreat!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Color: now this is cool

Thanks to a mention on Mia's One Hour Craft blog, I have found a very cool site! Have you ever wondered what combination of stripes would look best? How many rows of one color and another and another? Would the red really look good close to the yellow?

Well, the Stripe Generator from KissYourShadow. Kiss Your Shadow is an online journal and if you click her home page -- well, you just better have a full belly because she has pictures of some of the most gorgeous food you'll ever want to try! Click on her crafts link and you'll see some of her knitting as well as other crafts.

But back to the Stripe Generator -- you click on as many colors as you want, how many rows for stripes (you can click one number or every number). The program that generates a random mix of stripes in the colors and numbers you've chosen. If you don't like the first set, click F5 on your keyboard to refresh the screen and get a newly generated mix ... VERY COOL! She also then has a text box that gives you the "directions" for obtaining the picture.

I tried to do a screen capture but was unable to do so. Just go play with it ... you'll see what I mean by the coolness of it all!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Turning knitting on its ear!

Sometimes, a design is just better if you knit it sideways.
Here's the back .... and here's the front with a pair of coordinating socks!