library love & book reviews

I am thankful that I can stop by and browse the stacks of the various branches of the Westchester Library System, I often find gems I’d otherwise never encounter. I love that I can take a virtual stroll through the offerings of New York Public Library when insomnia strikes. Without these services, I doubt I’d discover half of the interesting titles that I encounter. It is through these services that I can read to my heart’s content. Please support your public libraries!

Following are a few titles from the library that recently caught my eye. I initially received review copies of the following titles from NetGalley: Cable Left, Cable Right, One-Skein Wonders for Babies, and Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies. Those electronic copies expired a while ago and I checked the titles out from the library in order to write these reviews. The FTC wants you to know.

Cable Left, Cable Right: 94 Knitted CablesCable Left, Cable Right: 94 Knitted Cables
by Judith Durant

While we have many stitch dictionaries available to us, sometimes it’s the little ones that step out from the pack and surprise and delight us. Cable Left, Cable Right is one of those great companion titles. Whether you are new to cables or highly experienced, there is something for you in this book. Over seven chapters we learn the basics and advanced techniques in beautiful clear detail. This is the book I wish existed early in my knitting career when I crossed my first cable, the step-by-step tutorials show attention to detail with helpful photos and accompanying descriptive text. Durant includes general tips for tightening up loose stitches in cables, and other tips when working specific cables throughout the book. After mastering the basics the chapters progress through different styles from simple ropes to curves to braids and pretzels. The final two chapters cover design. In chapter six we learn ways to dress up cables with textured stitches or embellishments. The final chapter covers design considerations whether we need to balance a the cable on fabric or to work on fit based on how cables influence take up and splay. I highly recommend this book if you love to knit cables.

One-Skein Wonders® for Babies: 101 Knitting Projects for Infants & ToddlersOne-Skein Wonders for Babies: 101 Knitting Projects for Infants & Toddlers
by Judith Durant

This is a delightful book, the 7th in the One Skein Wonders series. It includes a few designer names you may recognize and many new ones. There are a range of projects suitable for any baby, with many clothing items designed for a range of sizes beyond newborn/0-3months. While most of the projects call for (what I term) standard baby yarns, at fingering or lace weight yarns, there are a few in dk and worsted. The straightforward designs will help you keep little ones in handknit love. If you are a crocheter do not fear, there is a book for you, Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies (review of that title coming soon, it was published in May 2016)!

The Joy of SpinningThe Joy of Spinning
by Marilyn Kluger

This is a beautifully illustrated (by Nanene Queen Jacobson) surprise from the shelves of my local library. Published in 1971, the story telling is lovely and I think best enjoyed with a cup of tea. It isn’t very useful as a spinning reference or even a learn to spin book, however it wonderfully captures the joy of spinning wool.

Dutch Traditional Ganseys: Sweaters From 40 VillagesDutch Traditional Ganseys: Sweaters From 40 Villages: with 60 knitting patterns
by Stella Ruhe

This was another surprise from the (top) shelf of the library. While I don’t see myself knitting any of the patterns, I found the history and the sweater designs compelling. I enjoyed learning about how many of the included photographs were found. This bookworm took extra delight in tiny details, the front endpapers show a map of the included fishing villages and the back is a picture index of the sweaters.

Finishing Touches for the HandweaverFinishing Touches for the Handweaver
by Virginia M. West

I initially read this title in September 2010 when I was weaving primarily on an inkle loom. At that time while I found this book nice, it was not suitable for my needs. Today I am in a different place with my weaving. Unfortunately it is still not the answer to my finishing questions, however it is very lovely and has provided sparks of inspiration. Based on rereading this title, I now have sketches of ideas that incorporate various hem stitches and simple lace could transform otherwise plain weaves.

Embroidered Landscapes: Hand Embroidery, Layering & Surface StitchingEmbroidered Landscapes: Hand Embroidery, Layering & Surface Stitching
by Judy Wilford

This was sitting in the ‘new books’ area and the cover caught my eye. I was able to resist it for about a week. I no longer have the urge to embroider florals, as I once did, though I still find the embroidery beautiful. I was not disappointed by the gorgeous work found in this title. Wilford’s work is stunning. Her use of layering stitches and fabrics (often silk) create beautiful embroidered landscapes. She leads the reader through how she composes her landscapes, the layers, the colours, the stitches. This book has me contemplating picking up an embroidery needle and untangling my floss collection. Even if you don’t embroider, this is a beautiful book to enjoy.

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