Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not Just a One Note

The books in this review are about a single type of project, either socks or scarves. Yet these books are not just a one note, but have many interesting variations on a single theme.

Knitted Socks: Over 25 Designs for Fab Feet and Cozy Toes for the Whole Family by Anna Tillman

Many (most?) knitters love socks. They are finished quickly, and, unlike hats and scarves, you always need more. The introduction of Tillman's book includes a sizing chart, which isn't perfect but should give you an idea about what size to choose as you're knitting.

These patterns are creative, fresh, new, exciting... just WOW.
  • Fabulous Feet: Pop-out penguins (PENGUINS!), Strawberries and Cream, Crazy Fur, The Whole Hog, Rainbow Toes, Thigh Highs, Zitzag socks, Sock Buddies (pickets for toys), Fly away home (turn a kid's feet into ladybugs... I cannot wait to make these)
  • Cozy Toes: Covered in Cable, Frilled to Meet You, Fab for Flip Flops, Going Dotty, In Jest (Jester shaped...), Slouch Socks (ruched), Winter Warmers (makes me think of the Harpoon beer...), Felted booties, Felted Slipper Socks
  • Well-Heeled Wonders: Verticle Stripes, Flower Power, Cable Cuffs, Do The Twist (A twisted rib tube sock), Footlets (pompom on the heel), Fair Isle Stripes, Lovely Lace, Classic Fair Isle (which would make cute mittens too).
  • The chapters end with Mix&Match and a bit about creating your own sock patterns.

Do you want to put your feet together to see a whole pig? I'm just so amazed by how different the patterns are from each other.

Knitting New Scarves: 27 Distinctly Modern Designs by Lynne Barr

Who said that scarves had to be a rectangle that was boring to knit?

The 27 Patterns include:
  • Ruffled Edges
  • Beads on a String
  • Stashbuster Projects
  • Circles
  • Batting, Texture & volume
  • Drifting Pleats
  • Linked Ribs
  • Waves (both flat and 3D)

I don't know how wearable all of these scarves are... but they are innovative. It's a good way to give a gift that is definitely unique.

Sock Innovation: Knitting Techniques & Patterns for One-of-a-Kind Socks by Cookie A

This book has the best introduction to more advanced knitting techniques and design that I have ever seen. There is discussion about converting written patterns to charts (and back). The design discussion is more than just technical, but there is a discussion about the asthetics of design. Do you make the socks symmetrical or not? If you don't want them symmetric, how to make it look deliberate versus a mistake. Frequently, Cookie included sketches of her designs before the patterns, she would think about the shapes first, then how to achieve that with knitting.

I had to wait on a list of about 17 other people for the library to lend me this book. Talk about high demand! The socks are amazing, beautiful and look like they'd be fun to make. (I am tempted to try the cover pair even though I know it will take me a year to finish. This is a pattern for 2-at-a-time so I don't quit after the first due to the complexity!) I HIGHLY recommend you take this book out for a read, or even as a reference book! It's on my "purchase once I am not broke" list.