The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book

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The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book cover – Margaret Klein Wilson

After a long hiatus, I’ve realized that my mission to remove knitting and crochet books from my shelves has really stalled. Got to get back to it in a big way!

This book is a perfect one to start my book removal quest. It’s a nice book for someone looking for classic knits. The Green Mountain Spinnery has a wonderful back story that is worth a read.

Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book was published in 2003 by The Countryman Press in Woodstock Vermont.

Before I begin, I’ll start out by saying that I’m moving this book off my shelves. It’s a nicely done book, but not really relevant to my knitting these days.

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Back Cover – Green Mountain Spinnery Yarn

history

The Green Mountain Spinnery History

Where it all began. A 3-page section on the company’s history is a good way to start.

guernseys

Guernsey-style pullovers and Fair Isle cardigan

I liked the still life photos. They keep the mainly classic designs from becoming dated.

jacket_pattern

Instruction example

The instruction pages had a clear layout. There were shaded designer notes, size, materials and experience level. The instructions below were clear and included a schematic drawing with measurements.

charts

Pattern Charts

Good charts and a side-bar of 4 color ways make this project approachable and easy to follow. One might have to enlarge the chart to make it more readable.

raglan_pullovers

Easy Raglan pullovers

I love these top-down pullovers. The pattern comes in child’s and adult’s sizing – a real plus! I might copy this pattern before I move this book to a better home.

cables

His and Hers Aran Pullovers

Love these classics that are sized from chest size 37″ to 54″. A great range!

accessories

Classic Accessories

The last project is a group of accessories.

patterns

Chart of Patterns

This was something I don’t think I’ve seen in a book of patterns. It’s a very helpful chart outlining everything you need to know before starting a pattern including skill level, gauge, needle size, finished measurements and yarn needed. Great!

references

Favorite References

Another excellent feature was a page giving some great classic books that definitely should be in a well-rounded knitter’s library.

yarn

Green Mountain Spinnery Yarns

The 3-page section on yarns would best be described as “a word from our sponsor”. It is after all a book produced and edited by a company who sells. It’s also great for helping a knitter substitute other yarns.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Green-Mountain-Spinnery-Knitting-Book/dp/088150579X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473276436&sr=8-1&keywords=the+green+mountain+spinnery+knitting+book

Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids

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In keeping with my “baby/kid” book quest, I took a gander at Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids with 30 Traditional Aran and Guernsey Designs for 0-6 year olds.

It was published in 1994 so some of the sweaters are a bit on the oversized look. However, I do know that Debbie does love to style and show baby/kids sweaters that have a loose and oversized look. She’s known for creating the kind of sweater that is perfect for growing into and will last for several years.

This is definitely a thumbs up book. I will say that when I looked it up on Amazon, new copies go for over $30 so I can’t be alone.

What did I love about the book: the photos are so sweet and the whole book has lovely styling. I love the fact that all the sweaters are one color with tons of texture in knit and purl stitches and interesting cabling.

What did I not like: I would have preferred to have separate stitch patterns or charts rather than row after row of patterning. When this book was publishing the default wasn’t charts for stitch patterning so that’s a minor complaint. The language is a bit “English” style rather than “American” which could be a bit off-putting to some.

My favorite sweater (especially after my Aran journey) is called Cotton Aran Sweater:

denim_aran

A few others I like –

yellow_sweater  gernesey

Baby_Arans

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Knits-Kids-Traditional-Guernsey/dp/1570760268/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402606597&sr=8-1&keywords=Debbie+Bliss+Classic+Knits+for+Kids

What is an Aran Sweater?

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Great trip to UK. Not so great for my blogging. I feel a bit stuck in the Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore book. I know once I read Alice’s conclusion, she goes into Aran stitch patterns and then into actual sweater designs. The light at the end of the tunnel is coming…

I staggered through Alice’s conclusions on Construction and Style. The circular Scottish and/or British Gansey  was the beginning point for the final very commercial Aran Sweater (knit in flat pieces). Then she went on to how the patterns occurred. I’m not sure I completely understood the whole concept. Some of it came from designing sweaters and patterns that could be easily commercially executed. Some of the patterning came from ideas based on the original Gansey concept.

The best and most concise think I learned was how Alice defined the Aran Sweater.

1) Handknit garment of flat construction (in pieces)

2) Composed of of vertical panels of cabled patterns and texture stitches

3) Each piece of the sweater has a central panel flanked by textured patterns (usually somewhat mirror each other)

4) Made of heavy, undyed cream wool – not always

After that “Ah ha Moment”, I decided to stop for the moment. These pages are really text heavy – in small type I must say. I’m not sure that is a good thing. Not light reading!

The sweater above is a good example of a Classic Aran Sweater.

 

Alice concludes the mystery of the origins of Aran Sweaters

 

 

men_Aran

In my last post, Alice was off to study sweaters in the Dublin National Museum of Ireland.

In my recent reading she dissected 4 garments beginning with an early piece (donated in 1937) from Aran that had the structure of a Scottish Gansey. Her dissection was complex and through. Actually, I was awed by her knowledge of knitting structure.

From the first garment, she concluded that what began as circular knit garments without seams evolved into Aran Sweaters knit in pieces. This seems to have been done to allow a knitter to work with textured patterns without being a mathematical genius needed to work out some of the shaping points in the sweaters.

One remarkable conclusion made by Alice is that Aran women learned Gansey knitting skills from Scottish sources.

Also, Aran sweaters (often called f) were not made as a fisherman’s garment. Will talk more about this in my next post.

I want to talk more about Alice’s conclusions, but I’m off to visit the UK tonight and have a plane to catch! I’ll be silent post-wise for a couple of weeks. Sadly, I’m not visiting Aran, although it is on my bucket list!

 

Aran History

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I’ve hit a blogging wall. Maybe it was reading about the plight of the Aran people against big landowners that did it. These people did not have an easy life.

Maybe it was reading that what we know about the truly Aran Sweater is really a fantasy that someone dreamed up. There is no long-past historical Aran Sweater? Who knew?

I’m not sure what exactly. I’m trying to slog through the rest of the chapters on the history and the Aran people through the eyes of Alice Starmore.

Notice in this vintage picture of men from the Aran Isles that they are wearing sweaters that really seem more like designs I would call Guernsey Sweaters with cabled rope patterns in the upper front. Maybe they are the precursor to the Aran Sweaters done in natural (off-white) yarns. I’ll give you an update when I get to that far!