Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maybe the slump is over?

I have been knitting away on my featherweight cardi. As you can see, I have made progress beyond the yoke and am about half-way down the body. It is a lovely knit, lightweight and soft, and since it is just stockinette, it is pretty mindless. The only thing I have to watch out for is that I don't miss one of the 3 strands as I knit.
I was going to put a lace border on and have been scanning my lace pattern books looking for an appropriate design. Unfortunately, nothing is calling to me right now so I may just stick with the stockinette and leave the lace for another version. I have lots of lace weight yarn and this pattern is a very easy one to wear as it is lightweight.

Today's topic, though is the follow-up on the other two books I recently purchased. Dover had a sale so I bought the two re-published Alice Starmore books and the new commemorative Knitter's Almanac. Now to compare and contrast the old and the new editions of these.
I had the UK version of the Fair Isle Knitting book. So the cover is a bit different from the US version. The left is my older hardbound copy and the right is the new paperback. The paper is glossy and nice in both editions. There is no new content as far as I can see. This is a great book to learn the techniques of Fair Isle knitting and also to get a compendium of fair-isle motifs to pick from.

The patterns for garments in the book call for 2-ply jumperweight. The older edition mentions Jamieson and Smith. The new one doesn't. The older edition mentions the shade # in J&S as well as the name. The new edition just mentions the name. So you will have to find a supplier who keeps the name along with the number if you want to source it.

At the back, there is a new About the Author section which has a bio of Alice Starmore and a list of her books. On the facing page are photographs of 3 of her later designs Mara, Marina and Oregon Autumn. Both the back and the front of each are photographed.
The last of the 3 (I did Aran Knitting last time) compare and contrasts is Knitter's Almanac. Both of these editions are currently available from both Dover and Schoolhouse Press.
As you can see, the new edition is much larger and is hardbound. The content is of course, unchanged but there are some goodies in it.
The first is a lovely reproduction of a Andrew Wyeth painting featuring the Maltese Hat. Andrew's wife is a knitter and an Elizabeth Zimmerman fan and this is a favorite.
There is a new introduction by Stephanie Pearl-McFee.
The garments have all been re-knitted and are photographed in color.
There is the mystery blanket...and some mittens for winter.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Confessions of a book addict

I thought I would show you some of the things that have been occupying my time lately. I grew the tomatoes and peppers above in pots on my patio and porch. The tomatoes are called Sungold cherries and they are the most amazing, sweet tomatoes. Eating them is like eating candy!
This gorgeous bowl of red cherry tomatoes came from the Community Supported Agriculture farm. Also, the lovely heirloom varieties below. They come in all colors of the rainbow. I didn't get any of the purple ones this year but there are green, yellow, orange and red tomatoes and each has its own unique flavor.
I am really enjoying the vine ripened tomatoes, peppers and greens. I love greens. I could spend my life eating just greens. The only thing I don't like is cleaning and cooking them. But one can't have everything that one wants.

Today I am going to do a comparison of the original and the new editions of Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting. I can't resist buying books. I bought the new edition published by Dover even though I had the original book. But it provides a good opportunity to see what has been updated in the years since the original version was published.

The books are approximately the same size. The new one is softcover whereas the original publication was hard bound. The new one is slightly smaller than the original.
Some of the photos are the same but many garments have been re-knitted and feature new photographs. Here is Irish Moss in the new edition (left) and in the original (right). The colors of the new garments are generally more vibrant and feature Alice Starmore's Hebridean 3-ply yarn. Some call for Bainin (which I believe is being reissued) and Scottish Fleet. You can see the newer versions of the patterns at Virtual Yarns. The new edition also includes an additional pattern as well as information about Alice Starmore's yarns.

I really like the new pattern. It isn't boxy and is very feminine. It is called Eala Bhan and Alice Starmore says that she originally knit it for herself. She includes the pattern to show that Aran patterns can be fitted precisely to the body. As you can see, this is one curvaceous garment!The instructions are a combination of written instructions and charts and cover 11 pages. This is because of the precise shaping instructions that are included and I think the end result is worth it. Of the many patterns in the book, this one immediately caught my attention. Now, maybe that is because the others are very familiar, but it might also be because the body skimming Eala Bhan will suit many real women. It doesn't hurt that it is knit in a color that I love. The yarn used is the 3-ply Hebridean yarn.Next, I will do a compare and contrast of Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Knitting and also one of the commemorative edition of Knitter's Almanac. The latter was brought out by Dover to celebrate Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday in August.