Unsolicited Book Reviews
I confess. I'm a packrat. And I hoard books like nobody's business. While my yarn stash is quite prodigous, my collection of books is frightening. And knit books is like a double threat for me. I can't resist the lure of glossy photos and patterns that I might one day make. Nevermind that knitting books seem to be mostly in the $30 price range now. I must have more! So, below find book reviews.
Big Girl Knits - I can't say enough good things about this book. I am a big girl. And the standard Rowan pattern is sized to accomodate a 40" bust. My bust hasn't seen 40" since I was in middle school. Seriously. And some patterns will go up to the larger bust sizes that i need (ususally Interweave), but the shaping isn't always flattering. Enter this book. Even without the patterns, the beginning pages of instructions for measuring and properly customizing patterns make it worth it. Lo, I will fear short-row bust darts no more. Amy Singer and Jillian Moreno have given me back Rowan patterns. As far as the patterns go, they're mostly beautiful. There are a few things I would never go near (i.e. the variegated cable sweater) because they're not my style, and I would never survive endless stockinette for the Yo Ga Pants. But mostly, the patterns are fantastic. And because it's such a nice, glossy book, it's like pattern porn. Overall, best knitting book I've bought this year.
Mason Dixon Knitting - Most people have read Ann and Kay's blog and appreciate their fun style of writing and their obsession with log cabin knitting. I did not expect to love this book. I like their blog, but I usually like books that I feel are targeted to me. I tend to think of myself as a little more punk with an alterna-knit perspective. I curse like a sailor on shore leave with Turrets Syndrome, and Ann and Kay always seemed too nice to really appeal to me. I was wrong. Sure, the book isn't full of Stoller-esque puns and there is no profanity in the name, but it inspired me. I had never knit a dishcloth. And why should I, when I could make a sweater or socks instead. But the simple joy of picking up something I made every day when I'm at the sink is pretty intense. It's daily use, functional knitting. And so quick to make. Now I'm thinking my apartment needs a knit bathrug, more knit potholders, etc. And when Ann and Kay came to the store, they were wonderful. They helped inspire me to get a blog, and were so friendly. And didn't seem at all fazed when I dropped the f-bomb. And even though they spelled my name wrong in their blog, I loved seeing my picture up there.
SuperCrafty and Bizarre Bazaar - Both all purpose craft books with a little bit of everything. For the kind of crafter who still hasn't found his/her niche. I prefer Super Crafty because it has more projects and is glossy. Glossy photos are key. Bizarre Bazaar is seriously punk styled, and I consider myself fairly punky. But apparently, I'm not. I don't know that I'll make many or any of the projects in the book. Super Crafty has some awesome ideas and is very girl-focused. Think Martha Stewart with attitude. And seriously, the sheer number of projects is overwhelming. I've already used it a few times (cupcake card and a line skirt), and it's more my style.
Stitch N' Bitch: The Happy Hooker - Debbie Stoller does crochet. Awesome. Some of the patterns are silly, but most of them are pretty great. And it's written with subtle attempts to convert knitters to crochet as well. I do both, but I'm new to crochet. I prefer the fabric that results from knitting. I think it looks more professional. But I'd wanted to learn to crochet. I'm a DIY gal, so I figured I'd teach myself. Not so much. I kept getting pissed off and switching to knitting. But once I learned, I was converted. I sitll prefer knitting, but crochet goes so fast. Seriously. So fast. And it's simple, once you get going. And easier to make certain motifs. And adds a nice finish to knitting. So knitters out there, learn to crochet. You'll be glad you did even if you only ever use it to finish knitting projects.
The New Crewel and Subversive Crosstitch - I think I'm the only crafty lady that had never done crosstitch. But it's simple, and now I have even more opportunities to surround myself with profanity. Julie Jackson is the queen of rude language surrounding by happy cutesy scenery. And I love it. All my friends should watch out for gifts from me that say "Happy Fucking Holidays" at Christmas. Check out some of her kits at her website. You'll be itching to stitch some swear words in no time. The New Crewel is a collection of patterns by Katherine Shaunessy of Wool and Hoop. I did one of her kits, and loved the precision of crewelwork. And her patterns are mostly abstract geometric shapes that are very modern and abstract. The book has awesome ideas for crewelwork pillows, a lampshade, and a journal. Very sophisticated gift ideas for people who wouldn't be caught dead with a crosstitched pillow.
So, now go buy books. Or, you know, borrow mine.