Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Knitter's Life List

The Knitter's Life List by Gwen W. Steege (2011)

Here's a book unlike any other knitting book I've seen before. It's essentially a huge compendium of things to try in your knitting life. The chapters are topical ("The Yarn Life List," "The Know-How Life List," "The Sweaters Life List") and each chapter begins with a full-page list of things to learn about, techniques or projects to try, and places to visit relating to the chapter's theme. The rest of the chapter tackles some of the items in-depth. It's not all one narrative flow, rather the chapter is chopped into small, digestible bits that can be read independently of the rest. This is the sort of book you can just pick up, turn to a random page, and learn something new or get a great idea for a project.

Topics include:

Knitting retreats, mobius knitting, knitting in books and movies, origins of the terms "cardigan" and "raglan," Andean hats, double knitting, kitchener stitch, felting, Norwegian mittens, afterthought thumb, Maritime "wet" mittens worn by fishermen, twined knitting, calculating a good fit, beading, craft-related tours, designing garments for babies, yarn-bombing, backward knitting, fiber arts in myths and legends, weaving, spinning, dyeing, charity knitting, classic knitting books, speed knitting, classic Aran sweaters, embroidering your knits, as well as profiling many well-known knitters.


This is a really awesome book. The lists are great, sure - I love lists - but the real treasure is all of the information and inspiration jam-packed into each chapter, peppered with luscious photos. I learned a lot of interesting things - there's a lot of knitting trivia, but also advice and tips and ideas for projects.

 My intention when I got this book from the library was just to skim through it, but I ended up reading almost every word. There were definitely topics that interested me more or less than other topics. I'm less interested say, in weaving or spinning than many knitters, but there is something (ok, many things!) for everyone in this book. If, like me, you borrow it from the library, I think you may end up buying yourself a copy so you can use it as a reference and turn to it when you need inspiration. I know I plan to.

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