for lunch yesterday, one last bowl of the tomato soup i made a week ago, so good and warm. just the right thing to go with some good reading . . .
tuesday’s mail brought me a copy of alice starmore’s book of fair isle knitting, first published by taunton press in 1988 and recently re-released in paperback by dover press.
this has long been one of my favorite
knitting books—i purchased a hardcover copy back in the early 90s on remainder and practically wore it out, scouring the pages for insight into combining patterns and colors in textiles.
i learned a great deal from this book about putting my mind and my skills to work to take my knitting to another level. my favorite aspect of the book is the photographic juxtaposition of environmental patterns and their translation into knitted color patterns.
as a painter, i was able to appreciate and relate to starmore’s explanation of how to channel inspiration into textile surfaces. my vision about what was possible in knitting was opened wide. i’d been encouraged before by clothing designers i worked with to “do something with your knitting”, but didn’t know how to start, and being non-knitters, they didn’t know how to help me.
the book started me in the right direction—because i possessed established skills and experience (both in knitting and garment construction), and a good vocabulary of stitches and techniques, i had confidence about approaching my knitting in a different way, once i was pushed to see how.
i’m not saying that the book gives step-by-step instructions to accomplishing a great mental leap—that’s a really personal process—but that for me, it offered an example for using my mind and skills in a way i hadn’t yet, at least not with textiles.
though i have yet to knit a fair isle sweater, the book inspired me to spent a good deal of time swatching color patterns as well as lace, cables, and knit/purl motifs to understand how the elements of scale, color, negative/positive, texture, etc, can be used to express ideas and inspiration AND be visually/universally pleasing AND work mathematically within the structure of a garment.
in addition to the section about design inspiration and translation of visual imagery, the book offers concrete information on pattern geometry and mapping, a library of motifs, sections on techniques for fair isle stitchwork and garment construction, as well as historical background on the practical and aesthetic aspects of fair isle garments. plus a beautiful section of patterns for fair isle sweaters, for those that do not wish to design their own.
whenever i am asked to recommend a book about designing, i point to this one; i’m so glad that it is once again available to everyone—and at a reasonable price.
one day, i will knit one of these incredible sweaters for myself—it will most likely be my version of “wearing purple”. on the other hand, i should probably tackle that project before my eyes get to be anywhere near that age . . .
despite the cold and rain, our neighbor has begun the process of getting his house ready for halloween. the ramp-up toward the holiday has begun in earnest—i can’t wait tos ee what he does this year.
well, i thought i had a ton of other stuff to talk about, but now i’m not sure . . .
for some reason, my sock knitting has been going very slowly—well, i know why, but i wish i could get it together; sock weather is upon us now and i’m going to need a few more pair for gifting in just a little while. i’m still working on this first cabled sock, but not often enough. must get busy.
my brown sock is growing at about the same snail’s pace. i really must get back to making socks my regular late-night knitting or they just don’t get done.
last evening i went to debby’s to knit and we both worked on neckwarmers—she’s test knitting hers in a solid color and it’s amazing. i didn’t have a camera with me to take a photo, but i’ll be sure to get one on monday when i see her.
we worked through a few last kinks in the pattern and now i think it’s all good. carissa is knitting one too, so she’ll tell us if we missed anything.
my second one was tooling along nicely until i did, indeed run out of yarn. drat.
so, i have to loudly recant my statement that the neckwarmer takes just 100 yards of yarn—make that more like 120 yards. you can’t get two of these from one skein
i’m going to set this one aside just the way it is and hope that someone decides to make one in the same colorway, and might be willing to sell me their remainder yarn.
i moved on to another project and got sorta sidetracked in the usual beginning tangles. i had to rip and re-cast on a few times, then decided to make a change, so ripped again . . . that sort of thing. i thought i’d have time to get some work done on my green sweater, but no.
still, a very nice evening of knitting. and you can’t beat the company.
on a completely other note, my bianchi flies once again.
you remember i got a new bike about a month or so ago? well, after riding it for a while i was experiencing pain in my back and knees, probably caused by a poor fit—i’m freakishly high-waisted, which creates problems in finding a bike.
this one just isn’t right for me. i feel terrible because it’s brand new, but i decided not to keep it—might as well sell it while it IS still new. and it will be right for somebody else.
i went back to the bianchi and it feels so much better. plus, it’s way cuter, hahaha.