I find that sometimes my knitting mojo wanes. It’s not for lack of projects on the needles, or ideas for projects, or yarn to knit with, or even inspiration, perhaps just slight burn out? So I tend to turn to all things knitterly or fiberish in print or online to try to occupy my cravings for my fix.
My local library system surprised me by adding a few scholarly reference knitting titles to their shelves and I jumped at the chance to loan them. I’ve been geeking out ever since! So go and search out these titles yourself:
Knitting around the world: a multistranded history of a time-honored tradition by Lola Nargi. A wonderful retrospective of the art and history of the handicraft. I was drawn in by the detail with which she researched each of the chapters and the historical photographs. There a few patterns, the knitter in me would have liked a few more, but as a library reference book this title is quite inclusive. I was a tad disappointed to not find any mention of the country where my ancestors harken from; Poland. I have yet to see it mentioned in any ethnic knitting book, I know there are lots of elaborate folk embroidery patterns from there and the Ukraine area, but I couldn’t help being curious and hopeful for a mention. Personal let downs aside I still had to renew it after the three-week loan because it was such a fascinating read. (Voyageur Press, 264 pages, $35.00 list price)
After reading about the international history of knitting I loaned the title, Knitting in America: A glorious heritage from warm socks to high art by Susan M. Strawn Forward by Melanie Falick. It’s not often I enjoy a forward or introduction to a nonfiction book as much as I did this one, each wet my appetite for this enjoyable and readable retrospective. The images were the first thing that grabbed me on the cover, because of course we all love to judge a book by the cover, but that is like assuming there is nothing inside a creme puff! Yet inside this volume there were delectable chapters of our eras in history complimented by savory images I had never seen before. Some of my favorites were the modern art pieces towards the end, they inspired me to knit outside the pattern so-to-speak. There are twenty historical knitting patterns and the best part is that they are indexed separately in the back of the book! I do enjoy a good index. (Voyageur Press, 208 pages, $24.99 list price)
The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn, by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius. This title had me ignoring the family for many a night as I studied its pages learning about the many varieties of natural fleeces, how to use them best and where on earth to find them. Did you know that there are eleven classic colors to the Shetland rainbow? or how about the controversies surrounding upbreeding/upgrading? It’s in here! There are even entries for horse, cow, and wolf which I thought were among the more unusual. Most every entry has a photo of the fleece in various stages: raw, clean, spun, woven, and knitted when available. I enjoyed reading the histories behind many of the breeds, especially ones that were left feral for decades or possibly centuries to fend for themselves and how they adapted to the local conditions and lack of shearing. I know now more than ever that there needs to be a space in our family for a fiber animal or five soon, perhaps some angora goats and some guard llamas. (Storey Publishing, 488 pages, $35.00 list price.)