kiwiknitter's blog

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Fair Isle Knitting Handbook by Starmore - Book

This now out-of-print book by Alice Starmore is a great reference for Fair Isle knitting. Of course, there is the mandatory chapters on the history of Shetland knitting which I enjoyed reading. There are also chapters on FI patterns with charts and colour photos as well as a chapter with traditional garment recipes. All this is good but the part I am the most appreciative of is the detailed explanation of Shetland/FI technique which includes cut tubular knitting. Coupled with this is the chapter on designing your own garments using FI patterns and technique. The section on "planning a gansey" has been of great assistance to me on multiple occasions. This section gives instructions on sizing, gussets, necklines and sleeves.

My mate, Simon (MWK member in the UK) sent a copy of this book to me and I refer to it when I'm planning a new jumper. Now that I'm beginning to do stranded knitting, I'm appreciating it even more.

I know that this book is hard to find and then very dear once found (ebay prices hover around US$150.00! But, if you can get a copy, I highly recommend it.

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Fair Isle Sweaters Simplified - Book

This book is written by Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, founders and owners of Philosopher's Wool Company in Canada. It can be purchased with an accompanying DVD.

I have both the book and the DVD and in spite of the blatant marketing ploy, there is a lot of good help for the beginning stranded colour knitter (me). I don' care much for their patterns but I do like their teaching on tubular knitting. I learned the stranded colour technique from the DVD and was given encouragement for cutting my knitting from the book and DVD.

I understand they sell kits for jumpers and other garments as well as sell knitting wool and finished garments. I like their philosophy of sustainable and fair business practices. I am considering purchasing some of their knitting wools. Has anyone had any experience with their products?

If you learn from seeing better than from reading (as I do) then I recommend at least the DVD.

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The Complete Book of Traditional Fair Isle Knitting - Book

First published in 1981, this book by Sheila McGregor is considered a staple for stranded knitters. It is chockablock with charted Fair Isle patterns. Of course, there is the chapter on the history of FI knitting along with some B&W photos and a few colour ones. I like the sections on design, techniques and colour. Yup, she talks about steeks!

I recommend this book for the FI enthusiast - buy it while it's still available.

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Knit Fix - Book

Knit Fix - Problem Solving for Knitters by Lisa Kartus, 2006, has a spiral binding and hard cover with 111 pages.

The book has a brief introduction to knitting and then discusses problems that can arise in your projects. It has a problem/answer format. There are lots of good photos showing problems that a knitter may find in their work and the reasons for the error and solutions.

This book might be useful for someone who is an isolated knitter and has nowhere to go for assistance and advice. But, for the majority of knitters who can go to their LYS for help, this book is rather superfluous. The only section I thought of any value for me was the section on fixing incorrectly crossed cables by using a crochet hook. Since I've never been able to repair a cable by any of the methods using small knitting needles, I was intrigued by this technique.

Don't be fooled by the title - it's nothing extraordinary.

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Traditional Scandinavian Knitting - Book

This book is by Sheila McGregor and was published in 1984. My friend, Aaron (AMBush) kindly sent a copy to me. In addition to the history of Scandavian knitting, there are sections on Norwegian, Swedish and Danish, and North Atlantic Islands (Faeroe and Iceland) knitting styles. the book discusses techniques and styles. There are lots of charted patterns and black & white photos (not enough colour photos for my liking). As you might have guessed, I enjoyed reading about circular knitting, steeks and cut knitting along with seamless garments. There are also chapters discussing and giving patterns for jerseys, gloves and mittens, stockings and caps.

If you are interested in stranded knitting in Scandavian patterns, this is a great reference book. I recommend getting a copy while it is still available.

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Knitting Rules! - Book

This is a new book (2006) by the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee). True to form, she writes in an entertaining manner and gets a lot of chuckles out of me. There are lots of fun and useful tips, peppered with funny comments. What I found the most useful was her section on beanies and how to do the pattern on your own "The No Pattern Hat". I have used the ideas in this chapter on multiple occasions and now I can successfully measure a person and knit a perfectly fitting hat for him/her.

This is a fun book and would make a good gift for your favourite knitter.

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Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets - Book

"Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets - expanded - Ingenious Techniques and Solutions for Hand and Machine Knitting and Crochet"; Pam Hoenig, editor; Taunton Press; 2006; 186 pages.

The book is a compilation of knitting tips sent in by US knitters. The chapters are:
Hand Knitting Techniques, Multicolor Knitting, Garment-Making Tips, Managing Your Knitting, Machine Knitting, Crochet Tips, Finishing and Caring for Your Project, Knitting Abbreviations.

I think this is an interesting book as knitting books go but I don't think I'd recommend running out and buying a copy straightaway. I couldn't sit and read it through but found I could only tolerate it in small doses. There are lots of good tips in it - some are very elementary and some are rather basic. I will admit to learning some new things but I don't think what I learned was worth the price of the book. The title is bit of a come-on.

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The Big Book of Knitting

This book has been discussed by a few members on MWK; I thought I'd get a copy to see what I thought of it. When I first looked through it I had 2 immediate impressions: 1) it looks European; and 2) it looks fantastic! It turns out both impressions are correct. It was originally published in German in 1996. I can't really describe why I think that this looks European rather than American; it just "feels" that way to me. Now, for why I think it's fantastic. This is unlike other knitting books I've seen. Yes, it has the basics that they all cover but this book goes beyond and gives multiple different methods for knitting techniques. I was so impressed by the fact that this book actually teaches a person to personalise the commercial pattern and to make alterations and changes for own's own taste. For example, this book covers multiple ways to do the neckline; I've never seen it covered like this in any other book (just this section made the purchase of the book very worthwhile for me).
This book is all about "professional" knitting. It was now taken it's place in my knitting library as my MVB (most valuable book) and would definitely have to join me on that desert island.

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Fair Isle Knitting Books

I have just learned to knit Fair Isle and frankly, I'm addicted! I love it and wonder why I waited so long to give it a go.

I would like to purchase some books on Fair Isle knitting but I see that they are very dear on-line (none to be had here). I don't want to spend a lot of money on books I know nothing about, so I'm requesting recommendations - or warnings - about any FI books.

Your assistance will be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Jesse

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Fair Isle vs Mosaic

As Arron (rooboy) said in his posting about his fantastic beanie, the Transtasman Knitting Circle is working on learning how to do Fair Isle. Arron is light years ahead of me; I'm just slogging along.

I'm wondering what members think of the Fair Isle vs. Mosaic knitting. Do you find much difference in the final product? Is one easier than the other? Are there advantages to one over the other? What comments do you have, please?

I've tried both and I find the Mosaic slightly tighter than the other. I can't figure out if it's me or just the way it works. It seems that Mosaic may be easier but that being said, I have no difficulties knitting with both hands at the same time.

Thanks for your input.

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