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Friday, May 4, 2007

. . . greetings from the Chic Knits TGIF Library . . .

Ah, the power of BOOKS!

Without them, I, and my knitting, are nothing! I learned to knit when I was 10 years old, but my teacher was more entranced by the hook, and turned to the needle only during the winter season when the grandchildren needed mittens. Many a snowy afternoon was spent knitting to “The Guiding Light” with my Busia. My first finished project was a pair of lopsided gems — one with a normal sized thumb, the other with one fit for a golf ball. Grandma was unconcerned.

So books became my guiding light rather quickly. There was just no single person to turn to when my need surpassed my technique. Many of you have written to me about this too and have asked me to share my library with you…

Here’s something small and precious right-off-the-bat that would’ve changed my life in the day:

Basic Knit

I have become especially entranced with Japanese knitting books – their graphs, line-art and economy of text just key into my brain with direct information.

This book by Ondori is no exception – and just look at the cover with the lace-mitted Demo Hands! Deelightful!

After you are introduced to the Basics, you are shown how to Shape Armholes (Left & Right); How to Shape Shoulders without Binding Off; and my favorite: Sewing in Sleeves, using a Back Stitch or Crocheted Slip-Stitch.

These are all the fabulous techniques that can launch the beginner into the world of the expert, where craftsmanship is Queen.

And speaking of queens –

If you have traveled beyond the basics and are hungry for Total Inspiration, look no further than this:

Knitting Beyond the Edge

From the needles of the incomparable Nicky Epstein, springs the third collection of her incredible decorative edge finishes. I have to confess, I have looked through this book many, many times now, and each time is as the first: EUREKA!

In this outing, we are treated to a stupendous variety of cuffs and collars; corners and edges; necklines; and closures. I own many a stitch pattern book but there is something about seeing them in action that enables me to go to a next level like no other.

My friend and muse, Edie, is a dedicated knitter of kid’s clothes and her simple decorations on the garments using Nicky’s series keeps inspiring me to higher ground. For instance:

used with permission

This is an Edie favorite – she sprinkles flowers randomly all over the garment – but how it changes when shown as a complete collection of finishes – placket, collar, decoration.

Page after page of incredible suggestions are packed with possibility – many have multiple treatments represented and you can isolate details at will to fit your inspiration – this is probably why I keep coming back for more – everytime I open it, I see something different. And, for those of us who are shy about finishing – the book includes engineering advice about all the edgings used – from how and how many stitches to pick up on a neckline, to buttonbands and more.

This is the kind of book that leaves you ready to explore and expand on your own — excuse me while I go visit a special Shawl Collar…

the Chic Knits TGIF Library is always open HERE. . .

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