Cables Untangled

Cables Untangled - paperback and hardback

Cables Untangled – paperback and hardback

Guess what happens when you have way too many knitting/crochet books? You buy the same book twice. Guilty! The main problem is which to keep. The paperback is lighter and if I’m thinking about books by pounds, I definitely should keep it. On the other hand, the hardback is really nice and firm and is likely to stay intact on the book shelf. Decisions, decisions!

Cables Untangled - trade paperback

Cables Untangled – trade paperback

Cables Untangled - hardback

Cables Untangled – hardback

 

I’m not sure which cover I like, but I think the hardback cover is more appealing.

So down to the book – I’ll give this one a thumbs up.

I’ll start by talking about the author, Melissa Leapman. She is a designer, teacher and author. Her hand in this book, published in 2006 is evident though out.

The illustrations are very well-drawn and cover lots of info on creating all sorts of cables. There is info on working from cable charts, although there are many variations used in creating cabling symbols and the ones shown in this book might not be ones a knitter would find in other publications. Techniques and abbreviations are covered throughly. I really like the way the book has been laid out so that all of this important info precedes the patterns.

illus

illus_2

 

The charts are also very clear and make the knitting of the projects much easier.

stitchpats

If I had one beef about the book, it’s the size of the photographed stitch patterns in the Cable Stitch Pattern Dictionary. I wish they were a larger size. That said, there dictionary is extensive and organized by yarn color of the swatches to group patterns such as allover cables and cable panels neatly into sections.

Some of the projects I like are following. Note that the ones I liked the best are all home decor. I wasn’t such a fan of the fashions, although there was one really nice man’s sweater.

Sampler Afghan

Sampler Afghan

Aran-style Afghan

Aran-style Afghan

Entwined Cables Pillow

Entwined Cables Pillow

 

Cables Untangled - backcover paperback

Cables Untangled – backcover paperback

Cables Untangled - backcover handback

Cables Untangled – backcover handback

 

http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Untangled-Exploration-Cable-Knitting/dp/0307586480/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411333946&sr=1-1&keywords=cables+untangled

 

 

 

 

Debbie Bliss Classic Knits for Kids

Classic__Kids_Knits

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

Aran History

men_Aran

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!

Revelations about Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting Book

 

 

 

AranKnitting     oldAran

After reading the new intro for this book, I realized that I have have the original 1997 Aran Knitting book. That’s what comes from having way too many knitting/crochet books.

Alice’s comments in the new preface in the paragraph titled “The Forces of Obfuscation” were unsettling. Basically she believes that what people know as “Aran Knitting” is somewhat of a made-up, mystical history. Basically, she strongly  states that the word “Aran” has been mis-used as a type of cable patterning used mainly in sweaters that have nothing to do with the Aran Isles off of Ireland.  That’s kind of a short, cliff notes version of what she actually said.

I somehow made it into her book in a round-about way. When I was working for Knitter’s Magazine, we created a contest that ultimately turned into a booklet of squares made up of various patterns that we loosely called “Aran Knitting”. It was titled  The Great American Aran Afghan. While we had no intention of saying these patterns or squares were authentic, historical designs from a country not anywhere near America.  Somehow Alice thought they “purports to be a showcase of Aran patterning”. Wow! Who knew! One of the squares used motifs picked up from Alice’s book. The square was created to honor a sister who had died of breast cancer. I’m sure the square’s designer didn’t realize that it was not correct to take someone else’s patterns to create a square for a published booklet.

After reading the new preface, I had to ponder before going on. I’m sorry for my part in Alice’s distress. Next week I’ll read more about the historical background and share….

Aran_book The Great American Aran Knitting booklet.

 

Alice_intro  diamond

Alice’s Original Patterns from her book.

Square_new

 The square that used designs created by Alice Starmore.