Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Inspiration on loan

Although there is lots to complain about in Woking, I must say its library is quite good. I'm always finding interesting knitting books whenever I go. Last time, I picked up some unusual choices for me.

I'm normally not that big on colourwork. Most of my knitting is single-coloured, and my Silk Garden scoop neck gave me a few minutes of nervous twitching before I accepted it. So this was a suprise:


I know some of Alice Starmore's books are rare and out-of-print. I don't know if this one is, so I don't know if it's worth crazy amounts of money. I'm going to return it, I promise! I've flipped through some of her books before, and I've looked through her website. I understand she has a genius eye for colour. I know her colourwork design is inspired. I know her use of traditional motifs and design is extraordinary.

But.

I would never wear any of her designs. It seems like she puts her energy into the colour and motifs and therefore her sweaters are squares with tubes for sleeves. Long, boxy, shapeless things, they are merely canvasses for the design. They make the models look bad! In this book, even those designs where she has used set-in sleeves have that voluminous, bunched look of drop-shouldered sleeves.

I think this is why Eunny Jang's fair isle designs are so popular. She's got a good eye for colour and motif, but her sweaters have actual shape! They're flattering to wear as well as interesting to knit.

Still, the Starmore book is great for colour inspiration. There are also a few lovely cables that I may adopt for other uses.

The next book is of colourwork:


There is a general recipe for knitting Turkish socks, but the bulk of this book is made up of charts for traditional Turkish stranded colourwork motifs. I'm not that excited about the traditional shape of the Turkish socks, but some of those colourwork designs are gorgeous. I will definitely be using some of those charts for future projects- maybe in hats or for the legs of "normal" socks. They're a natural for mittens, too, of course. In fact, I swear I've seen those motifs, or very similar ones, in some of the current crop of popular stranded colourwork mitten patterns out there.

I bought some great plain red wool gloves in Iceland a couple of years ago, and lost them this winter. (They're on a train in Guildford somewhere, I'm certain!) Instead of buying a new pair, I thought I'd knit myself some. So this book came up just at the right time:

But I should have looked through it more carefully before taking it out. Everything is knit flat! The hats and gloves are seamed! It makes no sense to me to seam gloves- that's just silly. Each finger has a seam! Who wants seams right on your hands, where you're so likely to feel them and be annoyed? I think hats and gloves would be the natural place to have people start knitting in the round. Hats, especially, would not be too fiddly a first in-the-round project. So it looks like I won't be knitting my new gloves from this book.

3 comments:

jacqueline said...

I first learned to knit a hat in the round with the 4 needle technique. Joey taught me. That was a good winter.

Cheryl said...

Back in civilization with free wifi and able to say that I'm inspired, too, with the colourwork. Very lovely! But not sure I'd wear it and that's a lot of work to just look at! Also great to see your WIP. So cool to be able to make a new favourite jumper! Dublin's missin' ya, by the way.

PĂ©itseoga said...

have looked at the hats gloves scarves and thought exactely the same! how stupid! i also have an erica knight book and only after buying wool for gloves did i realise they were supposed to be knit flat... i will have to adapt the pattern to a round one. i wonder is there lots of seam allowance or can i just join and use whatever numbers of stitches it says?