Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One thing leads to another...

Perhaps you saw the Flavorwire piece by Emily Temple on The Twenty Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World that's been making Internet rounds. I forwarded it to the several folks I know who still buy actual books with actual money. One of them--a rising star in the world of standup comedy who happens also to be a blood relative--offered to take me to The Last Bookstore, a Los Angeles biblio-temple noted in the article, when I went west last week. Thus I found myself trolling its aisles on Thursday, the first of March.

The bibliophile-comedian browses.

Notice the floating quasi-sculptural panels in the background.  These are assembled from deconstructed books.
So, the appealing features of The Last Bookstore are its funky Atheneum-like furniture, the mosaic tile floor, the lofty, coffered ceiling, the decorative floating wall panels evoking ecclesiastical murals, and the stately columns. A cashier told me the building was, in a prior incarnation, a bank. That was obviously when banks were Temples of Mammon rather than drive-thru ATMs.

Oh, and all the books for sale at The Last Bookstore are used and quite reasonably priced.

Naturally, I checked out the Knitting section.  This is what I found:

Knit Knit:  Profiles and Projects from Knitting's New Wave, by Sabrina Gschwandtner (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007).  (A signed copy, no less!) This is what I read on the plane as I returned to Rhode Island.

What you won't find in Knit Knit are conventional knitting patterns for clothing. You'll find patterns for a giant teddy bear knitted from fiberglass strips, for a large, loose sweater that's knitted into a wall, for a knitted banner that proclaims "I'm So Angry," and for "Mini-Sweater Earrings," to mention only several.

The wearable clothing featured is, to say the least, edgy, and even if you can't see yourself knitting up one of these patterns, they are all, from a design perspective, thought-provoking and inspirational. For me, the book is great not just because it links the featured patterns to their creators, some of whose names will be familiar to you (e.g. Norah Gaughan, Annie Modesitt). It's great because it shows you how designers who are truly original see and think about knitting. People who are artists--no matter what the medium--view life in a way that those who aren't cannot. By gathering and presenting these profiles and patterns, Knit Knit offers an exuberant discourse on creativity, original thinking, and what it means to be an artistic soul.

I hope there's a Knit Knit sequel forthcoming.


  1. I will not fail to go and visit on my next trip to LA. Thank you for the hint.
    Knit knit seems a truly unusual book for a knitter, and a good find!

  2. It's a very cool destination. Other worthwhile places nearby are the Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry (a fabulous building surrounded by an amazing public garden), and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

  3. The Knit Knit book looks fascinating!