Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Last month's reading

I finished up Sweater Quest, in which the author writes about her "quest" to knit an Alice Starmore sweater. The book started out well, as many knitting projects do. There's all the excitement of deciding you want to knit something, the adventure of finding the materials (in this case a true adventure since the book containing the pattern and the yarns called for in the pattern are no longer being produced) and the joy of casting on. But after it gets going, the boredom and tedium set in. When knitting a fair isle sweater in a fine gauge, no matter how how intricate the pattern may look in the end, you are essentially just making stitch after stitch after stitch, thousands of times. You do need to keep track of which color stitch to make, but even so, there's only 2 colors in the row, not exactly rocket surgery. The book suffers the same monotonous cadence. Once it gets past the fun stuff,  the book becomes page after page after page of the same questions being asked of various knitters, most of whom have very similar points of view. Perhaps because all the interviewees were knitters who's blogs I read and have heard the exact same answers and stories before, this was exceptionally boring. I stuck with it till the end because I wanted to see if she would finish the sweater and how it turned out. The answer is given, of course, but even that I found disappointing. I had high hopes for the book. I love knitting. I love AS. But this one just didn't come together. If you want a good knitting read for summer, read Rachael's How to Knit a Love Song and give this one a skip.

I've set Dead Witch Walking aside for the moment. Ah yes, another reason to love my Kindle.  So easy to skip between multiple books without losing my place or having to lug them all around! Anyway, DWW is very good, but it's moving too slow for me. I'll come back to it at some point, but for now I have a taste for something lighthearted. So it's on to Mossy Creek. I'm only about a fifth of the way in but am finding it delightful so far. Another southern charmer in the vein of the Biggie Weatherford books.

I caved and picked up another Alice Starmore book in the midst of Sweater Quest. This time The Celtic Collection. Where Fisherman's Sweaters is devoted mostly to cable and textured stitch patterns, Celtic Collection contains more Fair Isle designs (although there's still a good dose of texture in here as well). Lismore (you can see a scan of the sweater photo here) is one Fair Isle design I may someday endeavor to tackle. Absolutely stunning. The cabled sweaters call most strongly to me. Iona is high on my queue. (See it here, second picture). The yarn called for is, as expected, discontinued. It would have been cost prohibitive anyway, so I'm looking for an alternative. The original is chenille yarn, a yarn with a dubious reputation for being unpleasant to knit with. I've ordered a small amount of a similar cotton chenille to do some test swatching before committing to a sweater's worth. Other options include Knit Pick's Comfy Bulky which would have a much different look but would, I still think, look stunning. Wool is always an option too, but I'm leaning towards a cotton since the yarn is bulky weight and I'd like to wear the sweater more than one day a year. More on my little Starmore journey in future months.

No comments: