It’s rare that I like a craft book as much for the writing as for the craft content. But Embroidery Companion is just such an exception. Alicia Paulson understands the process of craft. For many of us it’s not so much the finished project as the exercise of creating. During her recovery from a serious accident she re-discovered the soothing, healing effect of quietly stitching.
She encourages her reader to just try, that practice makes more-perfect, she says “I never say ”perfect”, because I don’t believe in it, and anyway, enjoyment, not perfection, is my goal.” It’s wonderful to get permission to just enjoy yourself, make something for someone, try a new stitch, give yourself up to less than perfection and relax.
Besides all the good advice on the mental and physical virtues of stitching, she includes 30 projects in decorative embroidery, counted cross stitch, and crewelwork. I like the cross stitch using gingham fabric as the basis for the squares, including the chicken scratch stitch. These are yummy projects from the simple to the more complex. Alicia suggests picking and choosing parts of projects if you don’t want to tackle a large project.
Alicia Paulson’s blog Posie Gets Cozy, is a delightful combination of projects and inspiration.
I just got two new knitting books and want to share. First, is a spectacular little book called Nature’s Wrapture. OK, the title is a little hokey, but it’s about re-inventing the shawl. The colors are gorgeous, 20 patterns, new twists and turns on how to wrap yourself up in yarn. Look at this red wrap, just adding arm holes makes a very nice statement.
I’ve even bought a copy for a friend.
I also bought Knit Prayer Shawls, by Leisure Arts. I always think I’ll get some made, but my eyes are bigger than my time or knitting expertise. It’s an interesting pattern book in that it’s spiral bound and small enough to go in your knitting bag or purse. Some of the yarns used are too pricey for charity giving, but they have included patterns with less expensive brands to show nice results for the less endowed pocket book.
I’ve got the Crochet Prayer Shawls on order as well. I need to get off book order websites, before I buy something else.
I’m half way through Marshall Karp’s Cut, Paste, Kill, which has it’s own craft oriented murder theme. Beware of Scrapbookers. I always thought they were an odd lot. Here’s a quick review at Elizabeth White’s blog site. I’ve not been to this site before, but will definitely return. The book is funny, a fast read, and falls into what I think of as “Made for TV” books. This is the fourth in the series.
Powell’s book store sends me an email, so I was wandering through it and saw a Night of Knitting, which of course intrigues me but then because I truly believe we are the Center of All Things, I saw where an Oklahoma photographer, Angela Cash, had a showing at Powell’s Bookstore in the Basil Hallward Gallery.
The Basil Hallward Gallery is pleased to present Insomnia, a photography exhibit by Angela Cash.
Originally from Oklahoma, Angela now lives in Portland, where she works as an editorial photographer.
So as you browse the internet are you as interested or okiecentric as I?
So back to Knitting. Right now I’m obsessed with a new pattern called entrelac. Here’s some examples, http://craftlover.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/instruction-to-entrelac-knitting-with-illustrations/ I have this one with sticky notes all over it, http://knittyotter.typepad.com/otterknits/2007/03/entrelac_scarf_.html
After I learn this I can probably launch a space shuttle or take up rocket science. Anyway the book, Scarf Style, is very inspirational for all kinds of scarves including entrelac. Fortunately I had someone who helped me “live” with the pattern or I don’t think it would have happened. Thanks CB.
Knitting again has saved me.
When my life is in chaos around me, I turn to crafts, so my newest find is Pints & Purls.
What could be more wonderful than knitting patterns you can drink by. The patterns are rated by the number of beverages that can be consumed before you are in trouble with the knitting pattern. If you see that you need a designated driver than you better put down that beer and concentrate on what you are doing. But the underlying philosophy is hey, so what if you drop a stitch or forget what row you’re on, you’re knitting in a bar, so just order another round.
I thought this was a very fun book, and it had many patterns I would be interested in making, some just because they have great names; i.e. zori coasters; drink like a fish beer cozy and drunken sweater. Of course I have treasured the advise of a long ago blogster who told me to put my red wine in a sippy cup so it wouldn’t spill on my knitting.
So drink up, knit some, socialize with other crafters.
I know some people freak out when you start talking prayer or knitting, but I just checked out at the library, The Prayer Shawl Companion by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo. The book talks about their prayer shawl ministry and is full of 38 knitted patterns.
You don’t have to pray to get their lovely shawl patterns and the spirit of giving doesn’t have to have any particular religious context. The book includes simple to complex patterns (mostly simple it appears to me, and I’m no sophisticated knitter). I like the fact the yarns are easily accessible, or at least in gauges or plys that are possible to find. They look like they would be simple enough to imagine a grandma, friend or stranger wrapped up and happy in one.
There are stories surrounding each shawl and how it helped someone with it’s warmth but you can skip that if you want and just knit away. There’s always going to be someone out there that could use a little knitted warmth.
I love Pablo Nerudo’s Ode to Socks.
Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.
Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
as learned men collect
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.
The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.
It reminds me that giving is good and socks (and shawls) are warm and welcome. Since I’ll never be able to get socks knitted I’ll try and settle for these lovely shawls. Even Christopher Hitchens couldn’t object to toasty toes and a warm cover.
I just opened my Lion Brand newsletter and more amigurumi jumped out. Here’s the Lola cartoon.
Hopefully they won’t mind if I posted this, since I’m directing them to their website and the free Amigurumi patterns and their new book.
I need some cute crafts in my life right now, so Amigurumi may just be the trick. Ok you ask what is Amigurumi? Straight from the wikipedia, it’s the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically cute animals (such as bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, etc.), but can include inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features. Amigurumi can be either knitted or crocheted. In recent years crocheted amigurumi are more popular and more commonly seen.
Here’s a picture from the book Amigurumi World. (notice the word cute seems to follow these critters around).
I personally want to make some of the Creepy Cute Crocheted critters from the book of the same name. There are several people on my Christmas list that need to get the Death amigurumi (the Grim Reaper in crochet), in their stocking.
I haven’t been on lately, have a cold and suffering from cold medicine malaise. Since the wind is howling I began to think afghan, and my favorite book on the subject. Back in 1985, Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss, put out the book, 7-Day Afghans. It is absolutely the best all around afghan book, (IMHO) that has ever been done. The afghans are reasonably doable (unlike many afghan books with instructions running 10 pages and yarn no one could afford or find).
As you can see by the cover the colors were 70′s and 80′s but the afghans work no matter what your color scheme. There’s knitted, crocheted and baby afghans. I’ve made Rippling Shells, in browns, blues, multi-colors, and out of the old dazzleaire, and every kind of worsted. I’m not a knit/crochet purist, I like to make afghans out of some regular worsted weight that can be thrown in the washer and dryer.
So then in 2004 Sterling re-published this classic, with updated colors and yarn suggestions. And I bought that one too. Even though most of the afghans are the same, this volume works because each afghan has it’s own color photo and in more contemporary colorways. The first volume put some color pictures in the middle and the individual pictures were black and white. This is much better.
Ok, I’m panicking, I just found out I need 35-45 scarves for my charity knitting for Christmas, holy cow. I really like knitting and I like giving it away, and since most of my husband’s family want gift cards not handknitted scarves, I try to find alternate homes for them. But 35-45, I’ve got about 9 1/2 finished to date! HOLY COW.
Anyway I have a very easy one from the new Fons & Porter’s Love of Knitting (not Quilting but Knitting!) going. My favorite knitting magazine is Creative Knitting, it always has a couple of patterns easy enough for me, and good gift giving patterns, afghans, scarves, washcloths (now called spa cloths) .
And thank goodness for Lion Brands free patterns. The internet is so full of patterns and knitters, crocheters and charity projects. But I don’t know about all of them, but I’m in panic mode. And when I can find my camera cord, I’ll download some pics.
Try some knitting blogs while you’re waiting for me to finish a book because I’m knitting, Yarn Harlot is as good as any place to start.