So I may have been doing a little shopping lately.
It seems someone’s been pushing my design button, because that’s the reason behind almost all of these. Well, Scarf Style was mostly because I was so impressed with someone’s Camelspin scarf (Ravelry link; wow, huh?). The Barbara Walkers and Righetti can be filed under “everybody else has them, why can’t I?” (Or even a sort of guilt… like, how can I pretend to be a designer* without these Seminal Texts?) New Pathways was all about wanting to understand alternative constructions; similarly, I’d seen enough of Knitting New Scarves to think there was some very unorthodox fabric construction going on there, and I wanted to explore that, even though I’m really unlikely to actually make many of those as scarves.
And then there’s Inspired to Knit. Which was pretty much a whim, as I’d hardly had a chance to peek at the book at all – but I had vaguely heard something about there being stuff about how to write patterns in it, and it looked sort of pretty, and I just *wanted* it, although I really didn’t know what to expect.
I love it so much, I sort of don’t want to put it on the shelf. I want to tuck it inside my bra for safekeeping. I want to sleep with it under my pillow so I can absorb its genius in my sleep. Which is possibly a strange sort of overreaction. I mean, for starters, the design-school stuff is actually not that interesting. (At least, not to me, but to be fair, I’ve read a lot of design books already; I’m not sure what I might possibly wanting out of any more books, but it’s not going to be found in any mostly-patterns book.) And then the designs themselves are not actually groundbreaking. It’s not like something from Norah Gaughan, or Cat Bordhi, or indeed Lynne Barr (that New Scarves book), something that makes you go “wow! Who would think of *doing* that?”
It’s just really, really, really pretty. Almost everything in it has that WANT! factor. And a lot of it seems like something I might have designed myself (if I were as talented as Michele Rose Orne, that is; that wasn’t meant to sound quite so presumptuous!). They’re right up my style alley. Look! Victoriana!
I love the concept of this – a lacy scarf attached to a heavier jacket – although I’m a bit bored by the jacket part of it. And I’d change the closure. How about holding it together with a shawl pin? Or even tying it with the scarf collar itself? Or maybe just using a satin ribbon? Hm. I guess I’m not sure exactly why I’m so un-enthused about that knitted tie. I just think it could be prettier. But still – the overall design? Lovely.
There is pretty much nothing at all I’d want to change about this, though.
The book’s layout, with a little design sketch included for each pattern, is very appealing. I love fashion drawing. And it’s interesting to see how, in some cases, the design seems to have changed a bit from its (presumably) initial conception. A minor example here:
The closure at the neck gives quite a different effect to the zip used in the final version, and I doubt I would have thought of doing that myself if presented with a zip design – but I much prefer it. Incidentally, don’t you love how these big cabled cuffs suggest a furry muff?
Totally yummy book. Yum yum yum. It’s got lace, cables, colourwork, shaping, beautiful finishing details and carefully worked out construction – everything a knitter who likes her projects to hold her interest could possibly want.
* Which I don’t, as it happens, but that’s a whole other complicated issue.

5 thoughts on “Booksbooksbooks

  1. You have excellent taste in knitting books! The Barbara Walker books are hands down the most treasured volumes I own, Scarf Style is classic (though I have to admit to just checking it out of the library so far), Knitting New Scarves is mind-blowing, Maggie Righetti is so down-to-earth and amusing… I just bought the Cat Bordhi book (it was still in stock at the Knitpicks 40% off book sale) and am looking forward to its arrival, although I’m still at a grand total of 1.5 socks made, ever. I was tempted to buy Michele Rose Orne’s book, too–I always like her IK designs, and the cuffs on that Snowdrift Cardigan are luscious.

  2. You’ve inspired me to catalogue my needlework books :). I don’t have that many knitting books, but I’d like to get some of just different stitch patterns to add to other patterns. I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need to design my own knitting pattern, I’d rather do that with a sewing pattern. I’ve managed to find enough things to knit out on the interweb.

  3. I’ve bought Inspired to Knit too – for the snowdrift cardigan and I much prefer the button closure. Gorgeous designs throughout.

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