Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let's not...

I've sometimes gotten assignments about summer knitting, wherein I was supposed to show readers how much fun it is to knit when the temperature and humidity levels are insanely high. Hello? Obviously this tack runs counter to reality, not to mention common sense.

I do understand, however, that the knitting-addicted allow their obsession to override sanity. I think of my job, in such situations, as that of a practical abetter:  a friend who says, in effect, Look, I know it's ridiculous to knit under such conditions, but I understand this is about being possessed by a knitting demon.  In these cases I tend to recommend very small projects done of lightweight or non-wool yarns.

Here in New England the temperature and humidity levels have been disgusting for the past two weeks, with little rain (we're talking drought conditions), and small prospects of immediate relief. Truthfully, gentle knitters, it has been an ordeal for me to knit anything at all, even with the benefit of air conditioning. If you, too, are suffering in a similar way, I'd like to propose a brief vacation from the act of knitting. Admittedly this sounds horrifying, but you can feed your lust by reading a knitting book! A good knitting book can be almost as enjoyable as knitting the most beautiful cashmere yarn on the planet.

Photo credit: Carrie Hoge.

So, here's one to start with--new this month from Lark Crafts publishers.  I reviewed another Carol J. Sulcoski book not too long ago, and I own an earlier volume of hers that I purchased in 2012, SockYarn Studio. Ms. Sulcoski is a writer of merit, with many interesting patterns and projects for your delectation.

Self-Striping Yarn Studio might be my favorite book of hers so far, because it contains an engaging and informed discussion of the properties and quirks of self-striping yarn, acknowledges the fun of knitting yarns that change colors randomly, programmatically, and gradiently, and offers useful ideas about how to manage the layout of a particular yarn's dye patterns.  In addition, there are quite a few inspiring designs for cowls, sweaters, blankets, baby jackets, hats--really anything you'd enjoy knitting.

Photo credit:  Carrie Hoge.

I think this "Damask Iris Cowl" pattern, by Barb Brown, particularly beautiful. The majority of the volume's twenty-five patterns (designed by contributors as well as Ms. Sulcoski), arranged according to yarn weight, are equally lovely, so they offer much food for thought. And that's what we're aiming for right now as a way of getting through all the heat--food for thought, a.k.a. knitting in the abstract.

Next post I'll be raving about Deborah Newton's recent awesome volume, Good Measure:  A Perfect Fit Every Time.  This came out about ten months ago and I've been waiting to talk about it for ever so long, but really needed a while to digest it.  (Plus, someone--you know who you are--has borrowed and not yet returned my volume of the prequel, Finishing School:  A Master Class for Knitters, and I've wanted to look at the books that's also been causing the delay.)

Well, I would be dishonest if I didn't undermine my opening disquisition by confessing that I actually have been knitting a little bit...another toy, this for a baby who was supposed to arrive several days ago, but who obviously hates HHH weather as much as everyone else.

He's the second sheep dog I've made, and the design is from Knitted Farm Animals by Sarah Keen (2012).  For a free copy of the pattern, courtesy of Lion Brand Yarns, check out one of my articles about knitted toys.