I have still been spending most of my time lately not knitting. Because of this I have been filling my free time with reading. Since I have finally made friends with the Library again I have checked out about 15 knitting books in the last 3 weeks and thought I would share some of my favorites.
Today’s book: Traditional Knitting: Aran, Fair Isle and fisher ganseys by Michael Pearson. I only looked for the book at Amazon but it seems to be out of my price range, collectors item or something. I picked this up on Elinor’s recommendation and really enjoyed it.
The book covers the knitting history of the British Isles. The author travelled all around England, Scotland, and the Aran islands to collect the patterns offered in the book. Most of the patterns and notes were obtained from actual knitters which is especially interesting to me. You can only get so much out of a museum visit.
After an introduction into the knitting tools and techniques used the book covers three major knitting traditions. The fisher gansey chapter takes up almost half the book and was my favorite part. The author shows the different patterns used in each separate fishing village. There are charts for all the different stitch patterns and a few full sweater patterns. I found myself wanting to make a fisher gansey, although I have no idea who I know that would actually wear one.
The next two smaller chapters cover Fair Isle and Aran knitting. The Fair Isle chapter was all new information for me. I have never been interested in color knitting because I tend to really like solid color garments. There are quite a few traditional Fair Isle sweater patterns and even more charts included. The book has almost made me want to knit a Fair Isle sweater. The amount of time involved and the knowledge that I would more than likely never wear the sweater have stopped me, so far. The Aran chapter is short and contains mostly written instructions (no charts) for Aran stitches along with 6 sweater patterns.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I read it cover to cover which I rarely do with knitting books. Pattern stitches and sweater patterns aside, the amount of knitting history contained in the book make it well worth reading. I find myself wanting to knit a traditional sweater but I am pretty sure that I won’t knit one any time soon.
More book reviews soon if anyone is interested, and because I have no new knitting, more reviews even if no one is interested. (Knitting books bridge my two favorite hobbies, knitting and reading.)