Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Report Time and (Non-Knitting) Eye Candy

Since getting back into the knitting groove, I've added a few books to my knitting library. Some of you may be in the market for knitting books, so I'll comment on my new ones here briefly.

Pub. Date: February 1993
Publisher: Reader's Digest
Hardcover, 318pp
ISBN-13: 9780895774675
(There are a couple editions of this book around, so I'm including the details of mine).
Provenance: Purchased

I've had many handy-dandy knitting guides over the years. The Vogue Ultimate Guide to Knitting (first edition) is one I used to turn to frequently. But as my knitting skills grow, I want a book that has more: more methods for cast-ons and bind-offs, more troubleshooting tips, and so forth. This book isn't perfect, but it has 40 (yes, 40) different methods of casting-on, including 2 variations on the Channel Island cast-on. It calls the Guernsey cast-on the knotted cast-on, but that's a minor quibble (maybe that's a UK nomenclature, since Alice Starmore calls it the knotted cast-on in her books too). Along with the explanations are Montse Stanley's personal observations, such as her observation on one cast-on method: why bother? It has illustrations rather than photos (they are very clear). It's not spiral-bound (too bad!), and it doesn't have nearly enough on fixing mistakes (also too bad). If you are looking for patterns, this book isn't for you, though it has enough essentials to start you on designing your own. The 1993 edition can be found for as little as $13 if you hunt around. Recommendation: It's a good book to have in your library, even if you're an advanced knitter.

Next up is Scarves and Shawls: The Best of Knitter's Magazine

Pub. Date: Jan. 1999
Paperback, 106 pages
Publisher: XRX Books
ISBN-13: 978-0964639164
Provenance: Received from

I had some of these in separate issues of Knitter's, in fact I made some of the designs already. I thought it would be nice to have everything in one place. Well, the republished patterns are fine and EZ's explanation on making Shetland shawls is superb, but what's up with the new patterns included in the book? They are not complete. As in, the directions for one Faroese shawl shows you a chart, tells you how long to follow the chart, then tells you to finish as per yellow shawl. Only there are no instructions for yellow shawl. Yellow shawl is a snippet of a chart. If you've made a Faroese shawl, maybe you know how to finish. If you haven't, you'll be stumped. If it's in errata pages on line at XRX, I haven't yet checked (and for the record, I deplore sloppy redac editing that forces you to check a website for every pattern or knitting book you buy). Perhaps this is why the book was up for swap. On the positive side, the Eugen Beugler patterns are lovely (I made the Lace Dream shawl; blogged about it here. Those patterns and the Shetland shawl section make the book worth keeping for me. Prices for used copies start at around $12. Recommendation: if I rated on a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give this a 3.5.

I'm awaiting delivery of two more books, Evelyn Clark's Knitting Lace Triangles and Wrap Style by Pam Allen and Ann Budd. I'll write another book report on those when they arrive.

Meanwhile, one of my lab assistants just returned from an extended trip visiting family in India. Look what she brought me as a present:
Hyderabad pearls 2
The pearls are from Hyderabad, a center for pearl jewelry in India. I love South Asian jewelry. I have some Pakistani jewelry sets from a former post-doc whose mother is forever sending me gifts. When I have a chance, I'll post photos of those; they are equally exquisite.

In the meanwhile, Milkshake is nearly up to the armhole in the front. With DD#2 back at college, I think I'll appropriate her bed and pin the edges of the completed back. Don't tell!


fleegle said...

Wow! I wish I had a lab assistant like that! You are one lucky boss!

BB said...

Yes, I am lucky and thanks.