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Knitting Book Round-Up

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Sock Innovation by Cookie A is a collection of knitted sock patterns and techniques. This is not meant for first-time sock knitters, as the techniques discussed are not so much “here’s how to do it” as “here is a new/cleaner/more advanced way to do it.” The techniques section is a great overview of reading and writing charts, how to follow complex cable patterns, and advice on how to create your own pattern. The patterns themselves –- all named after people in the artist’s life — were not as “innovative” as I had hoped. The cables and patterns are complex and obviously take a lot of work, but a lot didn’t really stick out. “Wanida” is knit to look like narrow strips are woven through a flat fabric. “Devon” is a diamond cable design that I rather like. “Bex” is an eccentric mix of a dozen different cable patterns that works beautifully together. “Cauchy” creates a subtle zig-zag pattern using knits and purls. “Rick” creates a spiral that travels all the way up the sock. “Kai-Mei” is a ribbed sock with an eyelet pattern swooping across it.

Knitting More Circles Around Socks is Antje Gillingham’s follow-up to Knitting Circles Around Socks. While not strictly a beginner’s guide to knitting socks, it has some really useful diagrams and tips. The book is divided into two sections: cuff down socks, and toe up socks. Each section starts with a pattern for a basic sock; knit two at a time on circular needles (to ensure evenness). The patterns are not particularly innovative: a slip-stitch pattern, simple cables, diagonal ribbing to name a few, but all are written specifically for knitting two at a time. There is also a handy guide to converting traditional double-pointed needle sock patterns to circular needles.

Knits From the North Sea by Carol Rasmussen Noble and Margaret Leask Peterson is a collection of lace shawl patterns in the “Shetland tradition.” The book does not explain what defines the Shetland tradition, but promises projects for a wide scope of skill levels. Sixteen patterns cover projects for scarves, stoles, triangle shawls, and “squares” (square shawls or blankets).

New Twists on Twined Knitting by Laura Farson includes over 20 patterns for accessories, using the Swedish technique of twined knitting. “Twined knitting” utilizes two strands of yarn (can be of varying color and weight). Stitches are made by alternating the strands, causing a “twisted” look to the yarn. The projects are small, simple, and easy, making it perfect for beginners, but may bore more experienced knitters. Unfortunately most of the patterns don’t really take advantage of the twining; it just looks like something that has been knit with thick yarn. “Traditional Swedish Sail Hat” is the only one that really shows how beautiful this technique can be, by twisting a strand of black and a strand of white to create a twisty pattern.

Amigurumi Two! by Ana Paula Rimoli is a follow-up to Rimoli’s Amigurumi World. Popularized by Japanese girls, amigurumi is the craft of crocheting tiny, adorable toys. Projects include a airplane, a bird mobile, a teddy bear in a hot-air balloon, a momma turtle, her eggs, and the babies that hatch from them, fish, squirrels, tigers, robots, bumble bees, peas in a pod, mushrooms that look uncannily similar to Super Mario 1-Ups, a tea set, cookies, and more.

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