Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winter is a great time to knit

Caps and "doughnuts," caps without tops, knit on circular knitting looms.

The rain that fell on Saturday accelerated my interest in knitting hats — and in reviewing my favorite books on the subjects of knitting and crochet.

I had just enough time to spend time volunteering at the local library before it began to rain. The library is a great place to look for books on arts and crafts; you can find books on knitting shelved in non-fiction under 746.432. Books about crochet are shelved close by, under 746.434.

Parents, take note: the same numbering system is applicable for junior non-fiction too if you’re looking for young readers’ craft books in the children’s room.

My list begins with my newest acquisition through the Lake County Library: “Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti” by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009).

The words “bombing” and “graffiti” do a disservice, I think, to this textile street art: there is no damage to property involved; the creations are stitched or tied in place and provide splashes of color, brightness and warmth.

The book profiles various textile artists and offers patterns and instructions for creating one’s own displays.

From decorating and softening at-times harsh urban landscapes, my thoughts segued to other ways of making the world a better place through application of knitting and crochet: specifically to a book called “Knitting for Peace” by Betty Christiansen (STC Craft, 2006).

Christiansen profiles groups that have organized around various altruistic projects that involve creating blankets or clothing and distributing them to people (or to animals) in need. Project instructions are included, as is contact information for the organizations featured in the book.

“Charmed Knits” by Alison Hansel (Wiley, 2007) features projects that have been inspired by the “Harry Potter” books and films. I turned to this book for ideas and then attempted the pieces in crochet.

The projects are grouped by themes that include household items from the Weasley family home, Hogwarts school-color designs and items that could have been procured at shops along Diagon Alley. My favorite project among assorted gifts are Dobby the elf’s mismatched socks that feature broomstick and Quidditch designs.

The subject of socks suggests a book called “Crocheted Socks! 16 Fun-to-Stitch Patterns” by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood (Martingale, 2003). I’ve relied extensively on this book to create my own hand-made socks.

This book demystifies the sock-making process and offers several patterns. It’s ideal for a person who would like to make socks but does not know how to knit.

All of the books I have mentioned in this list can be acquired through the combined catalog of Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries. One final book is available to readers through the “SuperSearch” database that is accessible through our libraries’ online catalog: “Loom Knitting Primer” by Isela Phelps (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007).

From the catalog, follow the link to “Books From Other Libraries” to access “SuperSearch.”

“Loom Knitting Primer” offers a comprehensive explanation of loom knitting techniques: types of stitches, binding on, casting off and making increases and decreases in the knits. It also features several projects for the crafter to enjoy.

Rainy weather is definitely here and winter is fast approaching; books like the ones that are featured in this list — all available through our local library — can help soften winter’s chill.

Published Nov. 8, 2011 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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