Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Knitting Books

I recently got some money for watching the neighbors dogs while they were away for a few days. I had no idea what I wanted to spend it on, but finally I discovered the need for two new knitting books. They arrived from amazon today, and I have to tell everyone: they are the most lovely and useful knitting books I've ever seen.

The first one is called Cables Untangled: An Explanation of Cable Knitting by Melissa Leapman. If you've never knit cables before or if you're so good that you're practically an Aran native, you still need this book if you're interested in knitting cables. It is so full of the most amazing cable patterns I can hardly contain myself. There are sweaters for men, women and kids, scarfs, hats, a skirt, a cute purse... But I have to say that the most amazing things are the "accents for the home." There are at least two pillow patterns, a gorgeous rug with faux cabled tassels (which is so going in my room as soon as I've made it!), and several afghan patterns. It also has an index of over 100 cable stitches with pictures of each in the back. Totally stunning! I bought it because of the pattern featured on the cover of the book, but this will quickly become my favorite book to drool over for all the other wonders hidden between its covers. I cannot wait to get started on some of these patterns. The hardest part will be deciding *where* to start.

The other book is perhaps a little more out there and odd: The Knitted Rug: 21 Fantastic Designs by Donna Druchunas. The cover of this one was also what attracted me to it, but the patterns are all equally stunning. In addition to the patterns, there is discussion of the history of knitted rugs, basic stitches, types of yarn, needle sizes, as well as tips on technique and care instructions especially for knitting rugs. Then on to the patterns...

It starts with the simple garter stitch rugs. They might be made with the simplest of knit stitches, the first thing that most knitters learn, making them appropriate for knitters of all skill levels, but they are still beautiful. There are spiral knit circular rugs, simple rectangles, mittered squares and log-cabin patchwork.

Then it's on to knit-and-purl rugs, where texture is created by juxtaposing garter stitch, reverse stockenette, and stockenette. There are more spirals, moss stitch, and basket-weave.

The next section is about something I didn't know was possible: knit rugs with pile! There's a shag rug (made with Lion Cotton!), something that looks kind of like a verticle-patterned berber, a traditional thick-piled type rug, and a rug which alternates smooth stockenette and thick shag for something very unique.

The next section is about "color work." There's an intarsia, a fair isle, a mosiac (I'm not sure what the difference is, but the distinction is made), and a color block rug (which is very bright and also very textured and is pictured in a baby's room).

Then the last chapter: Textured Rugs (as if the earlier ones aren't textured). There are two felted rugs and two cabled rugs. My obsession with cables will continue on from the Cables Untangled rug to these and all three will eventually go into my bedroom. They might overlap, but they're going to be in there!

Several of the rug patterns have variations which are also pictured and instructions for how to make coordinating pillows and other home decor items. All kinds of yarns are used, from cheap synthetics to expensive designer yarns, homespun, natural fibers, to ambiguous generalizations of "bulky yarn" or "super-bulky" based on a rough guage recommendation. These are rugs, so guage is not a huge deal, as long as the fabric is of the desired finished consistancy.

I don't know what I'm going to do with myself this summer because I want to knit pretty much every pattern in both of these books... and that's over 40 patterns! Whatever will I do! ... Whatever it is, it's going to be a lot of fun!


Olivia said...

Man, I wish I had that patience, seriously.

Thought I'd surprise you with a comment on here. Your blogs make me want to create a public blog here on Blogger. Should I? :)


Rachael said...

Olivia!! Hey! Surprise me you did! Yes, I think you should make a blogger blog. You might use it and that would be nice, and if you don't, you haven't lost anything, so why not?

As for the patience... I'm convinced that it's because of knitting and spinning that I have any patience at all. For me, it is quite theraputic and satisfying. I can't wait til classes are out so I can start on some of this stuff. I'm already making a list of things I need to knit/spin/dye in the most efficient order possible to get as much done as I possibly can in the first two weeks of Summer break.