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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Knitting Book Review

Three years ago when I stopped working at paid employment, I decided to cease buying books.  It wasn’t a hard decision; I no longer had any cash to spare for purchasing books. 
Since then I have begun a growing relationship with the Public Library System in New Brunswick.  http://visions.gnb.ca   I cannot obtain every book I want, and some I can get, I have to wait a few weeks to take out.  Because of the library, I have been able to keep myself supplied with good reading materials. 
It is easy!  At the library, I applied for a library card, so they can keep track of me and the books I borrow.   I request help from the pleasant librarians, in finding authors and books I want or I can go online at  http://visions.gnb.ca  to search, to request a hold on a book and to check on the due dates for returning those I have at home now.  The library system is most cooperative; they will deliver the books to Riverview Library, the closest one to where I live.
The library provides me with a place to do research, to work on my writing, to use a computer, to attend workshops, to participate in authors’ readings, to learn about writing contests and publishers and lots more.
It is fun to take out several books by the same author, to have the luxury of reading a variety of that person’s work back to back to back.  A great learning experience about their style, as well as their evolving talent.
Currently, I have borrowed a book on knitting.  Doesn’t sound exciting?  But it is!  In addition to the practicalities of patterns, knitting how-to’s and instructions (most of which are aimed at more proficient knitters than I am); this book is full of fascinating stories and facts about global traditions, techniques and design.
Its title is Knitting On Top of the World, written by Nicky Epstein.  The book divides traditions into subsections: Far North, Windswept Isles, Old World, Around the Mediterranean, Far East and New World.  Each subsection begins with the history and techniques that are indigenous to that particular area, complete with stories of the men and women who developed these basic historical styles of knitting.
Nicky Epstein herself says that this book is “not meant to be a scholarly approach to knitting.”  Her book bounces around from Scotland to Iceland to Japan to Sweden to Russia to Latvia and around the globe exploring the history of the designs produced by different climates and cultures.  
 She then designs newer pieces to be knit based on those historical works.  And, labels them with “degrees of difficulty” (novice knitter, intermediate knitter, skilled knitter, master knitter) for those talented knitters who will use the book.  While I would love to be able to knit complicated designs, for me, knitting functions as a way to relax.  It is not relaxing for me to count stitches and to have to pay minute attention to each tiny stitch on my needles.  Perhaps I am at the pre-novice knitter category?
Having stated my bias, I still enjoy reading the information about the creative history of knitting and will be returning this book to the library soon, so that you could enjoy it too. It is an inspirational read and if you're a talented knitter, you'll really enjoy Nicky's designs and clear instructions. Happy knitting!
Photos of the book and page are mine.  Copyright belongs to Nicky Epstein, of course.  Click on links to learn more about Nicky Epstein and her many books of knitting designs.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I can't knit, but that looks a fascinating book, I'd love to see all the different designs!

Carol Steel said...

The book is wonderful. Besides the designs, it provides historical background on how and why and where the designs evolved. You'd enjoy those pertaining to the "Windswept Isles". They include Scotland, England and Ireland, as well as Isle of Aran, Guernsey, and the Shetland Islands.

wendy said...

knitting ---- i like it !!! xox wendy

Carol Steel said...

Me too!