In my capacities as features editor here at Twist Collective, I do sometimes get some lovely packages in the mail. Generally, I ask people to send me things so I can take pretty pictures of them to put in the magazine. It is my practice to send them back in perfect condition, since most of those kinds of things are handmade or from small producers, much like the work of the designers we champion.
But I also get some books for review. It had been my original plan to blog about knitting books much like how The New York Review of Books
writes about books in general: take a few books with a common thread, and spread them out on the table in front of me, compare and contrast, play up the merits of each, and sound smart in the process. I had big plans before I knew how much of my time this job would take up, and how little time I would have left for spending leisurely Saturdays reading through all the new books (note to self: scale back on need to sleep).
To be honest, only Interweave Press sends me any. Happily, Interweave happens to be cranking out my favorite new knitting books lately, so I am happy to say the nicest things about what they send me if only one at a time. Yet some of them merit such undivided attention.
To whit: French Girl Knits
At this point, I feel it may be unncessesary to say how lovely is this collection of patterns from Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, because the preview pages
and the video
on Interweave's website is so captivating, so conducive to wistful longing that my eyes well up at the thought of it. Oh, to be in France, at a little cafe in Saint Remis nibbling Croque Madame and knitting away at a little lace fling to just throw on, as I flirt in my broken french with the dark and handsome fellow sitting at the table next to mine. . . You can click there for yourself and get a very good sense of what it feels like to hold the book in your lap, and of the need to cast on for any one of the many beautiful designs, each and every one of them able to transform the knitter out of place, and into the chic and creatively dressed creature we all have the potential to become.
My own knitting queue is lengthy, and I am committed to knitting so many of the things out of our own pages, but the Stella jacket on page 54 is a masterpiece of dress, a signature item in the right yarn I could wear both as robe and raiment, curled up on the couch, or over a silk dress out to the opera. Bravo, Kristeen. (I can call you Kristeen, can't I?) I am weak when it comes to good patterns. I have a shelf of knitting books that I purchased each for the love of one pattern to prove it, so the Stella jacket would have been enough for me. But I haven't even mentioned other projects in these pages I could also fantasize about, and use to justify my outsize collection of Kid Silk Haze.
The book also offers a study of one piece construction methods and thematic chapters each more charming than the one before. Nicely designed, styled, and photographed, it's a feast even if you never knit a thing from it, so why deny yourself the pleasure?