Monday, 3 August 2009

Three books


I haven’t been knitting much the past couple of months. Therefore, I thought I’d write a few words about my first impressions of the latest additions to my knitting library, three books that arrived in the mail last week.
There are so many knitting books and magazines these days I actually find it rather difficult to decide what to get! Who would have thought that only some ten years ago? I at least used to buy almost anything about knitting, since there simply wasn't much to choose from. Fortunately, I got all my grandmother's knitting books, as nobody else was interested in them. What I didn't realize at the time was how rare some of them are and how lucky I am to have them.

To return to my new books, what I like best about Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila McGregor is the abundance of pattern charts, which I'm sure will come in handy in the future. Also, a Scandinavian myself, I find it interesting seeing what is presented as typically Scandinavian, and it's a treat discovering new (old) pattern shapes that can be used in garments of one's own. Personally, I do like connecting with the past by making use of traditional elements.

A Gathering of Lace is a very rich book with a lot of variety in terms of garments, styles and skill levels. Not to mention tastes! The “Points of Departure” chapter is easily my favourite section, and my favourite design is "Mediterranean Lace" by Maureen Egan Emlet. The border is absolutely beautiful and the shape of the garment seems very functional in addition to being elegant. I will probably knit it some day.

Saving the best for last, I have now added Japanese inspired knits by Marianne Isager to my list of top favourite knitting books. (Hold kæft, hvad flot! to use an expression I'm fond of, one of the few phrases I know in Danish.) Her attention to detail is simply amazing, and I am in awe of her ability to blend shapes, patterns and techniques into a whole.
For example, the more I study “The Carp”, the more I notice in it: to name just a couple of things, how the shape and pattern of the sleeves blend with the body, and how a triangle is added to one of the mitered squares to form a wedge under the arm. Exquisite. Pictures of different designs here: Knotions magazine.

I first came across Isager’s immense talents ca 1995, when my friend Elisabeth asked me if I would considering knitting her a sweater – she already had the instructions and the yarn and all she needed now was a knitter. (If I remember correctly, her mother was supposed to have knitted it, but couldn't for some reason.) It wasn’t difficult to accept, since I loved the design. Unfortunately, since I hadn’t seen a knitted version or pictures of one, I misunderstood the charts and knitted dark lines on light background instead of the other way around. My second Isager design was “Fingre” (fingers), which I have knitted twice, in 1998 for myself and for my sister in 2006.

8 comments:

OldRound said...

Glad to hear you are just recharging your batteries. Me too!

Asplund said...

Good to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back. I have the McGregor book and love the abundance of charts as well. Am about to embark on the lace tam (as I have left over yarn) in "Gaterhing of Lace". What did you do for vacation this year?
Ron in Mexico

Asplund said...

Thanks, Ron! Look to forward to hearing about the tam project - it's cute. I've been travelling and seeing friends and family. And reading! How about you?

Anonymous said...

I have been painting my house here in Mexico and playing a lot of bridge. Will take a few trips before I return to Canada.
Ron in Mexico

Borntoknit said...

Jag älskar gamla stickböcker och har också en liten samling.
Kan du inte vara snäll och berätta vilka böcker du fick ärva efter din mormor/farmor? Gärna med bilder!

/Johanne

Lolly said...

Thanks for the great reviews! I have the MacGregor and Isager books myself - and you are right, they are both very good. I like all of the history in the MacGregor book, and the designs in the Isager book are very inspiring. I hope to make some of the patterns some day soon. I would love to see what you have planned from these books!

Asplund said...

Thanks Lolly! As for my knitting plans... Well, I think the more Isager, the better! But where to start?
I'm working on some swatches to understand her techniques better, and that in itself is truly rewarding!