Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh Those Skinny Yarns

Really thin yarns (fingering weight and smaller) often are very luxurious, but it can be hard to motivate yourself to knit a large project with a small yarn. This would mean more stitches, and more hours. The books below have patterns that will be so tempting you may not be able to resist.

Knit So Fine: Designs with Skinny Yarn by Liza Myers, Laura Grutzeck, and Carol Sulcoski.

My first impression of this book is that I would gladly purchase many of the items shown in this book from a store at the mall. The projects are knit with really fine yarn, so they would take a long time, but I am inspired to try to create some of these objects.

The Patterns
  • Simplicity (Ruffle Scarf, Drapey Silk Top, Cowlneck Pullover, Cabled Vest, Kimono Top)
  • Speed (Ribby Vest, Anemone Beret, Eyelet Halter, Mohair T-Neck, Dolman Top)
  • Style (Skater Sweater, Lace-Trimmed Raglan, Wrap Dress, Bamboo Skirt, Asymmetric Cardigan)
  • Shine (Bohus-Inspired Pullover, Traveling Stitch Legwarmers, Lattice Lace Pullover, Lace Stole, Fingerless Elbow Gloves)
In the intro, the sentiments that the authors utter are true. Many people I know have fears of yarns skinnier that worsted weight. I knit mittens and gloves with fingering weight, but the idea of making a whole sweater and the hours that it would take me is daunting. These patterns are so beautiful that I may have to change my mind.

There is discussion on how garments knit with finer yarn are more flattering. There is a great example with barbie, showing how a dress knit in a thin yarn is more flattering. There is also more space to showcase fun stitches, such as cables. It is true, you can do more with more stitches per row and more rows per inch. The tips are helpful for an experienced knitter, not just the beginner.

My favorite patterns: Cabled Vest is simple with a snake cable winding down one shoulder. Since it is sleeveless, there is less places where you would need to worry about fit. The Kimono Top is shown fastened with a bamboo knitting needle. Since it is a wrap top, it looks like it would be easier to make fit, even if you have big fluctuations in your weight. Mohair T-neck looks like many sweaters that I have in my closite. It is knit with a loose gauge so it should be faster than many of the other projects in this book. I think this is in my queue right now. I just regret that the mohair yarn I have is a lighter color than the one shown in the picture! Too bad that yarn would cost around $100 for the project. Wrap Dress is not something I could knit myself, but man I want someone to make it FOR me! The Asymmetric Cardigan has beautiful texture and is super flattering. The Fingerless Elbow Gloves fit a niche I have been looking for. I purchased some alpaca on sale last winter, and have been looking for the perfect fingerless glove pattern. I don't have enough wool to make them to my elbows, but I will enjoy a complex cabled pattern for something I can wear often while I knit!

This is a book I would not mind adding to my personal collection (hint, hint!) I think that the patterns are classic timeless and fashionable.

Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns, and Traditions by Nancy Bush

Lace fascinates me. It is the reason I'd like to learn how to crochet, I have inherited some beautiful lace bread covers made by my foremothers and would love to be able to create things that would be just as cherished. I have limited experience making lace, and I know that using such thin yarn makes the project take a long time. I borrowed this book to get a glimpse of the beauty, since I do not think that I am ready to commit myself to such a large project.

The Projects:
  • Queen Silvia Shawl, Triangular Scarf in Leaf Pattern, Peacock Talk and Leaf Scarf, Lehe Square Shawl, Raha Scarf, Leaf and Nupp Shawl, Maikell Shawl, Madli's Shawl, Triangular Summer Shawl, Lily of the Valley Scarf, Lilac Leaf Shawl, Miralda's Triangular Shawl, Triinu Scarf,Crown Prince Square Shawl
As you will see from the pattern titles, they are all shawls (9) and scarves (5). Leaves are a common theme among them as well. I find the projects stunning, and if I didn't know exactly how long it would take me to finish one, I'd be adding them to my queue for Christmas gifts.

In addition to presenting beautiful patterns, this book brings us into the history of this knitting tradition. I love it when I am presented in the traditional and more modern methods of crafting a particular project. Who knew that it is traditional to make the lace edge separately and then sew it on?

The book ends with a dictionary of lace stitches. I do love a book that has uses that extend beyond the provided patterns. When I'm ready to explore lace more, I will return to this book.