In times of stress – this certainly counts – I often turn to reading or just flipping through books of things I could do if I had more time. When my son was a tiny baby and I couldn’t clean the house at all, it was Home Comforts. I turned to it again at the beginning of quarantine, to help the newly emphasized cleaning seem calming and restorative. Now what I’ve been craving is knitting, and most especially knitting in bright colors. Since I have more reading than knitting time in my day, it’s very satisfying to look at the beautiful things I might choose to knit next, or just enjoy that someone came up with the idea, even if I may never knit it myself.
Operation Sock Drawer
by the Knitmore Girls.
ISBN 978-1632506962. Received as a gift.
What sock knitter doesn’t dream of a drawer full of hand-knitted socks? The Knitmore Girls and their friends are here to help you, with this book that contains some answers to common sock-knitting problems, different ways to knit those tricky heels and toes, darning instructions, and encouragement for those aspiring to that full sock drawer. But the heart of this book is the collection of 20 new patterns from a variety of different designers. Many of these patterns use bold colorwork to make eye-poppingly bold patterns, like Funhouse by Lisa K. Ross. I Scream by Caitlin Thompson uses tan yarn and a waffle pattern on the foot and stacked colors with wavy borders so that the whole sock looks like an ice cream cone. But there are also some nice textured and cabled socks, like the Gentle Drizzle socks by Emily Kintigh. So very fun, and so much inspiration!
Knit Happy with
by Stephanie Lotven.
Page Street, 2020.
Read from library copy.
More bright knitting, even without needing to do colorwork! Why hide your beautiful self-striping yarn projects inside your shoes? asks the author, and provides a whole book of patterns for accessories – hats, mittens, fingerless gloves – as well as larger shawls and sweaters – all using beautiful self-striping yarn. Most of the smaller projects are relatively simple, though one of the mitten patterns used an intellectually fascinating but somewhat intimidating center-out technique to make a rainbow curve around the outside edges of the hand. Happily, she also includes thoughts on matching solids to your self-striping yarn for larger projects, and how to swatch to see if your yarn will work for any given project. If I had the stamina for large projects, I’d happily knit and wear the Sock Arms cardigan, the Drop a Rainbow pullover, or the Daring Double shawl – but feeling mostly up for small projects right now, I’ll see if the new yarn I bought will work for the Wave at the Rainbow cowl and knit the Rainbow Adventure fingerless mitts (pictured on the cover) if not. Or maybe socks after all, or as well if there’s enough yarn? The dilemma is real!
Seasonal Slow Knitting by Hannah Thiessen.
Read from library copy.
Too much of modern craft culture encourages crafters to work at a frantic pace to be able to work on the latest hot projects and be able to make things for gifts, too, the author asserts. But much of the value in knitting is allowing yourself to slow down and enjoy the process, the connection to your local yarn stores and/or creators, fellow crafters, etc. There are many essays on the particular tasks and types of knitting the author associates with each season – the loving washing and putting away of handknits in the spring, attending yarn festivals in the summer, digging into knitting in the fall and winter. And there are ten different projects, including knitting, sewing, and general body care, a couple for each season. I am by nature a very slow knitter already and have never been able to keep up with the knitting speed, but I enjoyed her meditations on season and craft nonetheless. My favorite pattern from this book was the Friendship Bracelet cardigan, knit in the round in moss stitch, with charming Latvian braid trim around wrists and hem to look like friendship bracelets.
Here are some other knitting books I’ve reviewed: