This Thing of Paper (with bonus stitch pattern)

When I went to library school, one of my favorite classes was about the history of books and libraries. I thought it was fascinating, both in terms of the changing ways that information has been conveyed in text throughout history, and in terms of the kinds of physical objects that can be described by the word book. I also learned to be a reference librarian, which led me, in a moment of strange inspiration in the library stacks, to my techniques for turning words or library call numbers into knitting stitch patterns.

Learning about various ways of filling a page with words also influenced the patterns. For instance, the layout method I use most often for my encoded words was loosely inspired by the way that line breaks in some medieval manuscripts might come anywhere in the middle of the word, without benefit of hyphen or syllable boundary. And sometimes I toy with the idea of boustrophedon.

So as someone who combines words and knitting and who is interested in the history of books as physical objects, I am filled with glee by Karie Westermann‘s Kickstarter for a book that combines her academic background in the history of the book and her skill in designing knitting patterns. I’m pleased to report that the Kickstarter was completely funded within 25 hours. (It’s reached 135% of the original goal as of this post!) I gather that Karie has some stretch goals in the works since there’s been such tremendous interest. Keep an eye out! I hope you’ll join the people who’ve pledged  so far.

This Thing of Paper will contain ten knitting patterns based on imagery from old books, as well as essays about the history of books and the way that people’s access to information changed with the invention of the printing press. I want to hold this book in my hands. I hope you do too.

Teaser_image TTOP2
© Karie Westermann

I’d like to thank Karie for including me in the blog tour to share her Kickstarter. It’s feeling a little like an online party, celebrating the community of people who think that this book should happen. Karie’s clearly thought hard about what’s involved in the complete process of running a Kickstarter and publishing a book.

The next post on this blog tour (lots of posts by interesting people are coming up) will be by Meg Roper at Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet. I hope you’ll visit her tomorrow – I’ve been reading some of her posts and think I’ll be adding the blog to my reading list: mending and making, bookbinding, thoughts about reuse and careful choices in clothing purchases… and yes, knitting.

Because I was so excited by all this, I couldn’t resist making a stitch pattern as a gift to my visitors. Naturally, I had to choose a word somehow related to books. I’ve always liked the sound of the word folio, and so here we are: one lace pattern and one chart for any craft.

Folio: a free lace knitting stitch pattern
© Naomi Parkhurst

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Book Review: KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned this book in the same post as Sequence Knitting, then went on to only review the latter. Now it's this book's turn.

KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, by Felicity Ford. KNITSONIK, 2014. ISBN: 978-0993041501. Website: knitsonik.com. Ravelry group: KNITSONIK

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Book Review: Sequence Knitting

Book review of Sequence Knitting.

For my birthday this year, I bought myself two books I’ve been yearning for: Sequence Knitting and the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. Both have to do, in rather different ways, with demystifying particular design processes, though sequence knitting is also a new method for knitting complicated patterns using extremely easy-to-memorize methods. I am pleased as can be with both these books. I’ve already learned a lot from both of them. I have so much to say about each of them that I can’t possibly review them both in one post.

Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics, by Cecelia Campochiaro. Sunnyvale, CA: Chroma Opaci, 2015. ISBN: 9780986338106,  website: sequenceknitting.com, on Ravelry: Sequence Knitting

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A Knitting Library: On Color

I’ve seen friends of mine talking recently about difficulties in choosing color combinations. These are some books that I hope might provide some good ideas, both with choosing colors and with different techniques for working with multiple colors in knitting.

The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques, by Margaret Radcliffe. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978160342040

The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques starts out with basic information about the color wheel, how neighboring colors affect each other, and some ways of testing yarn color combinations. Lots of books include this information, but it’s a good idea to have access to the theory somewhere. Radcliffe then moves on to what I consider the really valuable parts of the book: how to play with color in textured stitch patterns, how to work with different kinds of multicolor yarns to best effect, and in-depth information about how to work stranded knitting, intarsia, twined knitting, and other techniques. If I could only have access to one book about knitting and color, I think I’d pick this one.

Digression

One of my favorite ways of choosing colors (if I’m not limited to choosing from yarns that are at hand) is to look around me for something that has color combinations I like already, whether a piece of fabric, the view out my window, or a picture. The next three books all have examples of this, and I suspect this might be a more helpful method for choosing colors for some people than the color wheel. You might also want to look at the Color Exercises I did a few years back to get some ideas for software to help with this.

Color from the Heart: Seven Great Ways to Make Quilts with Colors You Love, by Gai Perry.

“What?” I imagine you saying, “a quilt book?” Yes, a quilt book. I learned more about working with color from this book than anywhere else, and I am certain that there’s a lot that anyone can learn from it. For instance, she shows that if you’re combining a lot of different blues in a project, throwing in the occasional blue-green or violet will still give an overall impression of blue. She discusses some ways of working with regular color theory as well as pulling color combinations from things that you like. There are exercises that I suspect can be used for scrap knitting (sock yarn blankets!) as well as scrap quilting. If I could only have two books about working with color, this would be the second.

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting, by Alice Starmore. Dover Books. ISBN 9780486472188

I’m including this not only for Starmore’s instructions on how best to arrange colors in traditional Fair Isle colorwork, but also because she talks about how she pulls color combinations out of photographs and her surroundings and provides examples.

Knitting Color: Design Inspiration from Around the World, by Brandon Mabley. Sixth & Spring Books. ISBN 9781933027074

The beginning of this book is Mabley’s suggestions for pulling colors out of pictures that the student likes and also about swatching (not gauge swatching – just learning to put colors together). I think I’d recommend getting this book from the library and then purchasing it if the book as a whole inspires you.

How about you? What books about working with color would you recommend?

Book Review: The Twigg Stitch

review of a book about Twigg stitch, a new knitting technique.

Twigg Stitch: A New Twist on Reversible Knitting, by Vicki Twigg. Interweave, 2014. ISBN 9781596688223

(Ravelry listing)

I picked this up at the library because Twigg stitch is billed as being a brand new knitting stitch method. It might well be – that is, I haven’t seen it in any of the books I’ve read, and certainly people are constantly reinventing techniques that other people came up with separately. Anyway, if anyone else has invented it, those instances are pretty obscure.

I had a good time playing with a tiny swatch, though I’m still not very good at the technique. (If I go on with it, practice will help a lot.)

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A Knitting Library: Lace design

Knitting Lace, by Susanna E. Lewis.

I’ve come a long way in lace design over the last few years, but I feel I still have a long way to go. There are three major things I’ve learned from:

  1. Knitting lots of lace swatches out of stitch dictionaries. Stitch dictionaries will be a separate post, I think.
  2. Being persistent with my own lace designing, and being willing to swatch multiple times to get a single stitch pattern to look good. (I don’t always, and I have to do this less and less often as time goes by, but still.) Also, using a mistake in one design as a design feature in another.
  3. Reading what I can find about how lace works. And that’s what this post is about.

Here are the two books I’ve used the most to learn about designing lace stitch patterns so far:

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A Knitting Library: basic reference

I wanted to add  book posts to the mix again. I am, after all, a reference librarian by training. Also, I learn best from text and diagrams. A conversation on Ravelry led me to the idea of gradually posting a list of books I’ve learned from, and possibly a few websites as well.

I’m going to start with the books I turn to when I have a question—one part of my core collection.

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