Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Free to me, free to you, too?

I went to one of my book groups last week and several knitting books were bestowed upon me. The husband of one of the members is a notorious auction junkie and is always bringing home strange (to his wife) things. She regularly shows up to the book group meeting with bags of things. Last week she had clothes, books (both knitting and fiction - I also scored an Anne Tyler paperback), and dahlia bulbs (I meant to grab some of those on the way out and forgot). It's quite entertaining.

Anyway, I now own these 3 books. They aren't books I normally would have sought to acquire, but upon closer inspection, they each have something to offer:
  1. Knit Ponchos Wraps & Scarves, by Jane Davis, 2005. There's some novelty yarn featured in this book, I'm not going to lie to you. Some of it is furry and sparkly. Novelty yarns were soooooo 2003, don't you think? Some of the scarf patterns have possibilities. There is a stitch pattern for a simple ascot that I might use in something else (certainly not an ascot). The Fanned Rib Scarf is kind of pretty and would showcase a smooth, classic, solid or semi-solid yarn. There are a few cabley scarves that are very respectable (though not reversible, the true mark of an awesome cabled scarf, in my opinion). Many of the patterns feature fringe or tassels, and the book includes detailed instructions for creating those. That could be helpful if you needed it. I'm not a big fringe person, but you never know when you might need a fancy tassel for something or another.
  2. Knitting Loves Crochet, by Candi Jensen, 2006. This is the most sophisticated looking of the 3 books, at least at first glance. I'm one of those knitters who isn't afraid of her crochet hook, but who isn't entirely acquainted with it, either. The introductory chapter includes the kind of basic information that would actually be helpful to me - the anatomy of a hook, for instance. I expected the basic "how to make a single crochet," "how to make a double crochet," etc. to be here at the beginning, too, but I finally found it in the glossary at the back. The patterns in this book combine knitting and crochet. Some of them are really home-y looking. I admit it, the granny square still doesn't look "vintage" to me - it just looks old-fashioned. Would a child really want a granny square backpack? Does your dog need a granny square dog sweater with matching leash? No, probably not. However... there are some simple knitted cardigans with pretty crocheted edgings. My favorite pattern is one for Mix-and-Match Pillows, which are nicely textured thanks to the knit/crochet combos. That is the one I'm most likely to make.
  3. Funky Chunky Knitted Accessories, by Jan Eaton, 2006. This is one of those beginner books that includes instructions and photographs (nice) of all the basics, from making a slip knot and casting on to buttonholes and binding off. Then it moves on to 5 super basic patterns (bag, scarf, mittens, hat, capelet). Next, it introduces edgings and trimmings to dress up the basic patterns. Then it moves on to buttons and bangles. Then embroidery. And so on... While this is very much aimed at beginners, I found some of the yarn choices puzzling. A pair of long fingerless mittens calls for "variegated handspun chunky yarn." Why don't they just specify a commercial yarn? Further inspection shows other generic yarn specifications, like "pure wool chunky yarn," "novelty felt finish chunky yarn," and "pure wool double knitting yarn." The closest we get to a brand is "pure wool Icelandic Lopi yarn." Interesting. Maybe this is supposed to help newer knitters not freak out over finding the exact same brand?

If you have any interest in or use for these books, I'm happy to share the bounty. Just let me know. Funky Chunky might be good for a new young (child or young teen) knitter. I might use the crochet book as a reference, but not a lot more, so if you can do more with it, you should have it.

Now, I'm off to start a new office sock. I have 2 pairs on the needles currently. Neither works well as the office sock. So now, I'll start anew...


1 comment:

Steven said...

I cracked up when I read, "I'm not going to lie to you. Some of it is furry and sparkly."

I love your reviews of these odd books. I'm not going to request any, but to each book, its reader, no?

You can't have too many socks going at once.