26.10.2006 | 16:15

Books for a change

I haven't bought new books in a long time, so it was a time to do something about it.

These arrived some time ago and now that I've been home having the flu, it's good to have something to read. Nice pictures are also... nice.

Marianne Isager: Knitting Out of Africa

Knitting out of Africa by Marianne Isager seemed interesting mostly because of its name. Africa is not a word I would first combine with knitting.

The coloured knitting patterns in the book have been inspired by the handicrafts in Africa, for example by mattrasses and baskets. The book contains 16 patterns, they have been beautifully photographed and I do like the earthly tones. As always, some of the patterns seem more appealing to me than some others and somea ideas seem to work better than others.

The sweaters are boxy which makes them a bit boring but, on the other hand, more classic because the shape does not age. The patterns also bring memories from the 80's... But that does not matter. The patterns give a lot of inspiration and ideas and I have always liked the ethnic style. The entrelac knitting in some patterns was also interesting.

I haven't been able to decide what I actually think of the book. First it seemed to be a bit blaah but now that I've been browsing it, I've actually started to like the book more and more.

Norah Gaughan: Knitting Nature

Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan was love at the first sight. The book contains 39 patterns that have been isnpired by the shapes in nature: pentagons, heptagons, spirals, fractals...

Of course some of the patterns go into the "what the..." category, for example the holey scarf made of pentagons (ed. note: I reserve the right to change my mind later and tell how ingenious the scarf is) but most of the patterns are grrreat. I love different, demanding cabled knits and those you can find in this book in addition to some lace and coloured knitting.

At this moment my dizzy head also appreciates beautiful pictures and amusing texts. Like Isager, also Gaughan tells where she got her inspiration from. Sometimes reading those sections may be more interesting than the actual knitting patterns... And I don't mean that the patterns are bad but that the background information makes them even more fascinating.

The book also has an own Knit-along.

Wendy D. Johnson: Wendy Knits

I've been reading WendyKnits-blog for years now (and not only for the cats) but I managed to order the book WendyKnits: My Never-ending Adventures in Yarn now. The book came out in April so I thought of this for six months! It's been interesting to read about the whole process: how the book got started, how the patterns were designed and knit. (See - background information strikes again!)

Now I finally got the book. It contains 20 patterns from socks and scarves to sweaters and tank tops and stories about Wendy's knitting history. I like the style so the book is fun to read, and the patterns range from easy to demanding. Of course, from the European perspective it's a bit boring to browse through pages of "k2tbl, yo, p2, k1" when a simple chart would do that in half of a page, but let's not think about that. (The book has both written out instructions and charts.)

Apparently the yarns used for the patterns are lovely as I was able to spot words like "silk", "cashmir" and "merino". But alas! What a drag! The book is printed in black and white! How can I now admire the hand-painted Koigu Kersti or picture the softness of kashmir? The lovely red yarns in the book cover are so tempting that I would have loved to see the same colours also inside the book. I could have paid some more for that. (Now the book was fairly cheap. Of course the textx do not need to be printed in colour but I wonder how much, for example, a colour inset would have increased the price?)

Of course you can see the knits and the yarns in Wendy's blog but still... However, if you're a fan of the knitblogger books, this book is a good one.

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