Sunday, December 27, 2020

Books and Knitting

When we receive gift cards for Christmas, we usually don’t use them right away. We’ve just received other gifts and aren’t feeling the need or want to buy anything new, so they tend to sit until the spring.

This spring, we were distracted by the pandemic — so much so that we forgot about our gift cards until we were beginning preparations for this Christmas. Yes, we added to the shipping backlog by ordering belated gifts for ourselves even as we ordered new gifts for others.

Between my gift card shopping and the gifts that were given to me this year, I had four knitting books to read this winter.

A stack of four knitting books with two skeins of sock yarn on top and a small packet of stitch markers to the side.
  • “Socks from the Toe Up” by Wendy D. Johnson is a book of patterns and techniques for knitting socks from the toe up. I knit a lot of socks, but my sock pattern collection is almost entirely top-down. Toe-up offers different design opportunities and challenges, and it is a useful technique when unsure about yarn quantity — there’s no need to guess how long to knit the leg since it can be knit until the yarn runs out.
  • “100 Knits” is a collection of 100 popular patterns from the editors at Interweave. The projects span a wide range of wearables, and there are only a handful that I didn’t want to add to my to-knit list right away.
  • “Selbu Mittens” by Anne Bårdsgård provides an interesting history of Norwegian mitten knitting from the Selbu region, along with 35 patterns and hundreds of charts. I enjoyed learning fine details about requirements for mitten proportions and pattern placement. While the mitten construction is virtually unchanged between patterns, the two-color knitting varies in complexity and all of the patterns call for an Experienced skill level. I think a less experienced knitter could focus first on creating simple one-color mittens, then gradually add in rows of color as their comfort level with the technique grows.
  • “Socks from Around Norway” by Nina Granlund Sæther includes more Norwegian knitting history and patterns. The sock patterns are insprired by traditional designs with a more modern aesthetic. There is a greater variety of skill level suggested for these patterns than in the mitten book, and not all of the socks are knit with multiple colors.

I enjoyed reading all of these books, and I’m looking forward to expending my skills as I try the various patterns. Happily, I also received two skeins of sock yarn and a set of stitch markers for Christmas this year. All are from Miss Babs; the yarns are Putnam in the colorways Dark Andromeda and Believable.

Now, what to make first?