Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Knitting News...How About Some Book Reviews!

Hey, that rhymes!

So, I don't have anything exciting to report about my knitting, except that last night I finished up a sock (I know! I don't even knit socks!) that I had been making for The Brain out of some Knit Picks Essential Tweed I bought over two years ago for just that purpose. I knitted them toe up and they fit him perfectly the whole way through...until I bound them off. He can't get them over his heel. If anyone can tell me what kind of bind-off you're supposed to do on the tops of socks, it would save me a hunt through all the magazine articles and blog entries I have never paid attention to before because, excuse me, but I DON'T KNIT SOCKS!

So...I have nothing else to talk about...except for how freekin' hot the sun is down in California! I'm a Minneapolis girl, and I know as well as any other Minnesotan that it gets so hot and humid up there you feel as though everyone might as well walk around in towels because it is like living in a sauna. (We're talking high 80s and 90s all summer with, like, 99% humidity.) Up in Minnesota when it gets down to 75 degrees everyone breathes a sigh of relief and stops breaking into a sweat just reaching for the remote. But down here in SoCal, that sun is HOT! It was 75 degrees this afternoon and I wouldn't even consider putting on pants. I had a job interview today that was only a mile away from my house and I had to leave home half an hour ahead of time just so I could walk as slowly as possible so I wouldn't be a hot, sweaty, wobbly mess by the time I got there. The trick seems to be to keep moving. If you stand still, you will fry up on the sidewalk. Just a little tip from me to you.

All right, on to the book reviews. These are books that I picked up at Interweave's hurt book sale a while back. Without further ado (and in no particular order):

Knit So Fine: Designs with Skinny Yarn
This book spent a lot of time (25 pages) talking about the advantages of knitting with "skinny" (DK or lighter) yarns. None of their arguments are particularly revelatory (better fit, better drape, less expensive overall), but I didn't get the book for the information so that was OK. And at least they didn't include a chapter on how to knit, although they did spend some time talking about the differences in types of knitting needles. Yawn! I got the book because I was hoping there would be some cute patterns in it. There are a couple (like the Kimono Top and the Anemone Beret), but most of the patterns are just too plain for me to get excited about at the moment.
Verdict: Meh. None of the patterns jump out at me and my queue is so long already that I doubt I'll be knitting anything from this book.

Wrap Style
This is a book that I have been meaning to pick up for a while. I flip through it whenever I'm in a bookstore, but it has never been a book that I needed to have, so I never bothered to buy it. As I sit here writing about it, I'm kind of wondering why I ended up buying it at all, since I don't wear shawls or wraps or capelets or anything of the kind. I think maybe I fell prey to the "I can totally see myself tossing that over my shoulders as I head out to drinks with friends!" fantasy. Except that my go-to outer garment is my denim jacket, and more importantly: I don't know a single soul in San Diego, so going out for drinks with friends really is a fantasy!

But pathetic personal revelations aside, about the only thing I can seriously see myself making from this book is Twisty Turns, the Norah Gaughan capelet thingy, but that would probably only happen if I ran out of other things to knit. As in: not likely.
Verdict: Another meh. The stuff in here is nice and I can imagine them looking cute on other people, just not on me.

Knitting Little Luxuries
Now here is a book that I have walked past at the bookstore several times and just left on the shelf. Why? Well, I primarily enjoy knitting sweaters, and even though I might knit the occassional scarf, a book full of little things to knit hadn't really appealed to me. (I do have to say though, that I think the purse on the front is super cute.) It turns out that there are some cute things in this book that I can see myself making: The Cecily Beanie with all those buttons, the aforementioned Daphne Purse, the Dixie Pillow, the Alicia Tabard (although something about it doesn't quite sit right with me...I would have to tweak it somehow), the Diane Cardigan, and the quirky Emma Hat. Wow. That's a lot of little projects! I will have to keep this book in mind the next time I'm in the mood for something small.
Verdict: It's a keeper. Now I have to get over my tendency to forget all about the books I have on my shelf and fall for the latest cute little thing I see online.

No Sheep For You
I remember seeing this book when it first came out and thinking, "Oh, those poor people with sensitivities to wool. At least they have an obscure little book just for them!" Um...yeah. May I remind you that I had just started knitting and had maybe two pillow covers and half a sweater body under my belt? I am so glad I finally got this book and read through it! It is packed with information about all the different plant and man-made fibers out there: how to use them and what to expect. For someone like me who tends to focus mainly on the wool/alpaca/silk side of things, it was a welcome education. And then there are patterns! I particularly like the Eileen tank top and the Bespoke cotton/linen coat. The Cables and Os cardi is cute, too. And even though I would probably substitute animal fibers for them if I made them, the patterns do show you the versatility of plant fibers and how nice they can look in the right project.
Verdict: A definite keeper for all of the valuable information. Some cute patterns.

I have made more knitting acquisitions in the past couple of weeks, but I am still waiting for them to get shipped to me. I will (try to) keep you updated as fun things arrived. And I will also (try to) get all those projects blocked and buttoned so I can get some FO action shots up here!


Dana KBS said...

Try Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bindoff...I had to redo the bindoff on my husband's sweater (couldn't get it over his head!!) and this worked like a charm.

Yarndude said...

Did you do ribbing at the top of the sock? You could try doing a tubular bind off or something of that sort, but I always knit my socks top down (for just that reason), so I don't think I'm much help either.