Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm in stitches

In my previous batch of Crafty Years I learned my knitting tricks from patterns and put all my book dollars into sewing instruction. This time around, I'm cursing myself for not buying knitting books then. So many great titles! All of them out of print now and rare and insanely expensive in used form! To make matters worse, this time around I'm less content to follow patterns. I shouldn't be surprised: all the sewing I did was because nobody else was coming up with the exact thing I wanted for myself or my windows or my furniture, so why should it be any different with knitting?

All of which is to say I'm looking for books to fill my knitting reference shelf. And when I say 'shelf' I'm referring to a space about 10 inches wide. Small house, you see. And with only 10" for immediately accessible books and another 14" or so scattered in three or four slots elsewhere, the 10" gap books have to be amazing. Quite a few of them will have to be stitch dictionaries, too.

I settled on the first two volumes of Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns because they get the best reviews of the rave-reviewed series. I also picked up an early printing of the Harmony Guide to Aran Knitting, because Amazon reviewers say the originals are so much better. I am pleased so far but missing a particularly attractive cable from the original Harmony Guide To Knitting, which I have to return to the library in a week, and have had no luck picking up second hand.

I'm planning to buy Beautiful Knitting Patterns at some point even though it's totally throwing me off that none of the stitches is given a name in the copy I also borrowed from the library. What does it say about me that I want all my new stitch friends to have names? Perhaps I should name them myself to help me get over it. Even if I don't, though, the patterns in the book are indeed exceptionally beautiful and well worth their shelf space.

At least I don't have to make shelf space for The Field Guide To Knitting, because on the rare occasions it's out of my hands, it's in the project bucket. Great stitches, great photographs, and the details on each entry include whether it uses up more or less yarn than stocking stitch, whether it's good for variegated yarn, and whether you can watch TV while knitting it, among other vitals. Love, love, love that book! And also the fact I had the good sense to buy it while it was fresh from the publisher. Who knew I would be so roundly punished for not buying enough books?


Anonymous said...

Good grief, this is amazing. Having wasted too much of my day pondering the same issues (if only I'd read your blog first instead of afterwards), and come to some of the same conclusions. Wowee, sychronicity: I just ordered the Field Guide (thank you for reassuring me on that one), and swore to keep a weather eye out for some of the others for a while before leaping into purchase. Especially as being in the UK makes all the options more expensive (even ordering from the US carries a whopping shipping surcharge). And what, my dear is the ultimate lesson? Once again and all together now: you can never have too many books, only too few bookshelves.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Did you know that Barbara Walker is going to teach at the Sock Summit? I get to meet Barbara Walker!! Or at least I get to gaze at her from afar if I am too afraid to approach such greatness.

Mary Keenan said...

Helena, you will be SO happy you paid the shipping surcharge for your Field Guide! It is such a lovely little book. Even the cover feels nice.

I've just spent the last hour or so poring over The Principles of Knitting by June Hiatt, being so fortunate as to have a single lending copy left in my local library system (what a lot of Ls!) Otherwise I'd have had to spend $250US plus a massive shipping fee - it weighs a ton - to get a look at a copy. It's apparently due for re-release in the fall of 2009 but they said summer 2008 before so who knows. It's marvelous though and completely exhaustive and I will buy a copy the instant it's out.

Kathleen Taylor, you are so lucky!!!! Oh how I wish I wasn't reduced to a quivering puddle at the mere thought of getting onto a plane. I don't even knit socks but I would give a lot to sit beside you listening to Barbara Walker. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

You do so knit socks, or are about to, or are about to sell me your sock yarn (remember - I'm sure you agreed to this:-). And the Field Guide was available on amazon uk, so with luck it should be in my hands within the week (and no shipping at all)

Mary Keenan said...

I swear I wanted the sock yarn for mittens! HONEST!!!