As promised, I am writing about more library books I like. This time they are all by the same author. After finishing Michael Pearson’s Traditional Knitting (my thoughts on the book here) I picked up Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting on a whim. What a decision that was. I had heard of Alice Starmore, but never read any of her books. I have to say, I love this book. I read it from cover to cover. The chapters on the history of Fair Isle was great fun to read. The color chapter was amazing too. I have never looked at color in that way before, very eye opening.
The best part, for me, were the pages and pages of charts (I think I counted 16 pages of charts) and the chapter on designing your own fair isle project. As a person who rarely wears patterned color anything, I was surprised by how much I loved this book and how much I really want to make a Fair Isle sweater. Not just follow a patter either, I plan to make one up. I know this is crazy because I have never knit anything with color work. No one ever said I was smart. The plan is to do some charting while my back still hurts, make a small stranded color work project this summer (Endpaper Mitts maybe?) and then hope that either the summer or year end Yarn Barn sale bring me a lot of lovely wool. Can you tell I am losing it slightly over here in I can’t knit land? Well so what. A girl has got to have dreams/delusions. (I am not even going to touch on my unease about making something I am not sure I will want to wear. I have thrown that thought out the window. I was excitedly discussing my plans for a new sweater with my mother while waving around the book and trying to show it to her and she smiled and said “Well, you are your mother’s daughter.” I am taking that as the compliment and reassurance that my plan is brilliant that she surely intended the remark to be.)
All this Starmore love had me looking for the book to purchase. When I first looked two weeks ago the book was out of print and expensive, but in case you have not heard there will be a reprinting. You can preorder on Amazon here. I am going to order mine if I can’t convince someone else to buy it for me.
All of this nuttiness prompted me to look for more Alice Starmore books. This lead me to an amazing library discovery (bear with me if you already knew this) the library has an oversize shelf where there are even more knitting books. I usually just wander back to the knitting section (746.432) and look around. Also, I found that there are knitting books at catalog number 746.92. Now I have at least 3 places to check for knitting books, next trip I will see if there are any other hiding places to be found.
Quick takes on the other Starmore books:
Scandinavian Knitting – Short but interesting bits about the different knitting traditions from Norway, Lapland, Sweden, and Finland. The patterns are new but based on traditional knitwear from Scandinavia.
The Celtic Collection – Very interesting color work and some very neat cables. All the patterns have traditional Celtic motifs.
Tudor Roses (borrowed from Audrey, thanks!) – Each pattern is named for a member of the Tudor family with a bit of info about that person. Very interesting concept, I found it really fun and interesting to read about the Tudors.
Those are all I have picked up so far by Alice Starmore and I find that I really enjoy the combination of history and knitting that fills these books. I am not sure that I will be knitting any patterns from the books, but I find they are really great for inspiration. My favorite is the Fair Isle book, the colors and patterns are just so much fun to look at and break down. I know almost nothing about Fair Isle so there may be better books out there but I really enjoyed this one. I recommend taking a look if you are willing to turn into a crazy Fair Isle dreamer like me (although I admit it might just be me who is crazy.)