In the recent trend of knitting books that promise to be the last word on whatever you please in the ways of working with yarn, a few actually make good on their promise to the knitter's pursuit of excellence.
Lily Chin is one of those yeoman knitting and crochet teachers who knows enough about just about anything related to making stitches with hooks or needles to be able to write a decent book on it, and to give even traditional techniques her trademark witty and modern flair in the bargain. To take a class from Ms Chin is to be charmed by her, and to leaf through one her books is no less enchanting.
Embedded in the title of Power Cables: the Ultimate Guide to Knitting Inventive Cables are all the clues you need to know that here is a book that will both coddle the new cable knitter and intrigue even the experienced Aran accumulator. Here are cables expected and surprising, simple and "phony", rendered in brioche or intarsia, with suitable applications for every new idea guaranteed to open your switch stitching horizons. The Staghorn Cabled Coat is an inspiring application of a reversible (and beautiful) cable, and the Honeycomb V-Neck Pullover from the cover is a fresh take on the Aran sensibility. The stoles and scarves are remarkable for their wearability and the quality of enjoyment they promise to the knitter. Not everything included is indispensable, but who knows when you might require a resource for intarsia cables?
In the age of the internet, knitters seeking wider adventures in technique face the vexing barrier of language. Some of the best teachers hail from other linguistic climes, and few knitters have the heart or patience for the inadequacies of knitting glossaries. I would be the first person to sign up for a class in Finnish or German for knitters, but who will host such a seminar? (I appeal to you.)
Happily, and in the meantime, the publishing world has recognized the value of the work of German designer (and frequent Twist Collective contributor) Stephanie van der Linden, whose several books published abroad are finally becoming available in English, like this one which she shares with her frequent co-author, Ewa Jostes,The Sock Knitter's Workshop, Everything Knitters Need to Knit Socks Beautifully. Want a sock to fit your pointy foot, a toe-up heel that won't wear out by tomorrow, a pretty cast off for said toe-up sock, or simply something different but not too crazy to add to your sock repertoire? Need a great all-around (dare I say it?) sock knitting bible? Here is your answer.
Adrienne Martini's terrific new memoir, Sweater Quest, My Year of Knitting Dangerously is exactly the sort of book I have become suspicious of lately, and I cracked it open not expecting to give it more than the obligatory glance. I am a wee bit fatigued by knitting-circle-as-support-group titles that seek to cash in on knitter's supposed susceptibility to buy anything that casts a pop-cultural eye in our direction. If I actually enjoyed such offerings, I would probably be more charitable in general, but while I have been known to buy a movie ticket just to see if the sweaters in Dan in Real Life were any good (meh, and not even handknit), two hours of my life I begrudge no one if I can knock out 40 rows on a sock in the dark. But a book is a possible threat to knitting time itself (don't preach to me your tales of Audible, I've tried it with varied satisfaction), so a book must be good.
And similar to this particular train of thought, I looked up from my "obligatory glance" about 30 minutes later and found that I had indeed been enjoying myself. Tremendously. And I haven't put it down since. Check out the excerpt on the Simon Schuster page linked above, but delve if you will into chapter 2 or 3 to find the beginning of the most compelling subject matters, to say nothing of the truly delicious stuff further along. Any knitter who has faced down a daunting project will understand and possibly laugh out loud, and any who has not will be inspired to find their own Mount Everest.