Monday, 18 October 2010
Both patterns in this swatch are from my latest purchase, Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore, which is a treasure – easily the best knitting book I've bought in a long time! There are ten adult sweater designs in it (plus five other garments). I would say two or maybe three of those sweaters are for women and the rest of them are unisex, possibly with major or minor modifications. I'm definitely going to knit some of the sweaters! (But when?)
There are many things I love about the book: the variety of patterns and garments, informative and fascinating chapters about different aspects of the history of Aran knitting with photos and detailed descriptions of sweaters in museums etc, a section about different kinds of pattern elements and how to knit them, and a chapter about how to design one's own Aran sweater. I think Starmore is a good writer too: she has a way with words, not only with stitches and colours. And I find her dry sense of humour very appealing. "To claim that one has discovered something on public view in a shop on a busy city street is to stretch the meaning of the word..." (p. 10)
When it comes to the designs, I really like her combination of traditional elements and personal touches. Some of the patterns are Celtic-inspired, for example. The designs all look timeless to me, which is something I find very attractive indeed - a book to use and sweaters to wear now or in fifteen years.
Anything I don't like about the book? Actually, no. I only got it a few days ago, though, so I haven't studied it in detail. I guess there could have been more photos of some of the garments: I like being able to see many details, and I believe it could be helpful seeing things like the wrong side of “Boudicca’s Braid” and close-ups of the saddles of “Irish Moss” and “St Brigid”. Photos of these designs here.
More designs would have been nice, of course, but on the other hand I easily prefer quality to quantity. There's a lot of quality in this book - and quantity too, in my opinion. Fifteen designs is enough, and then all the other things between the covers count too. A truly rich book.