A Textile Traveler’s Guide – Peru & Bolivia

 

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A Textile Traveler’s guide Peru & Bolivia – Cynthia LeCount Samake

After my long hiatus, I’m happy to review this 150-page book packed with useful information written by my friend, Cynthia LeCount Samake. It was recently published by Thrums Books with Linda Ligon at the helm (of Interweave fame). I’ve been to both Peru and Bolivia with Cynthia many times and as I read the book, it was like taking a trip down memory lane.

Before you travel to Peru or Bolivia or both, this is a “must-have” book to review and pack in your suitcase. You can find everything from “getting there” to favorite hotels to affordable restaurant choices. Basically everything you might need to navigate both countries. It’s like having your personal travel advisor at your fingertips!

Am I keeping this book? How could I not! I feel like it’s part of my history and one that I could refer to again and again.

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Peru & Bolivia – back cover

After my long hiatus, I’m happy to review this 150-page book packed with useful information written by my friend, Cynthia LeCount Samake. It was recently published by Thrums Books with Linda Ligon at the helm (of Interweave fame). I’ve been to both Peru and Bolivia with Cynthia many times and as I read the book, it was like taking a trip down memory lane.

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Colorful socks hand knit from a Peruvian market

Be sure to look for colorful textiles at various markets. You’ll find newer textiles as well as vintage pieces. Most are one-of-a-kind irresistible textiles including socks, hats, woven pieces and bags.

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Cynthia LeCount Samake

Cynthia has the “street creds” to write this book. Her many trips to both countries has made her an expert. I was so happy to see so much practical information included.

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Have a true cultural exchange!

Cynthia makes good suggestions on what to bring to give as gifts to people you’ll encounter as well as appropriate ways to give them out appropriately. Sharing your skills with others is a great way to immerse yourself into the culture. The photo on the lower right was taken on one of my trips to Peru. I was showing a knitter one of the hat I had knit.

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Chinchero dying workshop

Even if you are not a knitter or weaver, a day at the village of Chinchero dying yarn outside over an open fire is a memorable experience.

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Machu Picchu

Everyone who goes to Peru wants to visit the famous Machu Picchu. It’s an obvious choice, but you’ll find at the end of your trip it won’t be the only memorable part of your visit. Below are an amazing array of colorful hats from a market at Machu Picchu.

Bolivia

Bolivia Highlights!

I’ve spent much of the the review talking about Peru, but Bolivia is an “not-to-be-missed” experience. Shopping for textiles in La Paz is a treat. Be sure to read the information on Artesania Sorata started by American, Diane Bellomy.

 

 

 

How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

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How to Knit – Debbie Bliss

I’m starting this book review in a quandary – to keep or not to keep. On first pass, I was ready to chuck this one. As much as I love Debbie Bliss (fantastic UK designer), I didn’t think this book offered enough to keep on my shelf. On 2nd pass, I’m conflicted.

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How to Knit – back cover

The back cover could have added a little more info for the reader? What were the publishers thinking?

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Great illustrations

The illustrations in this How-to are very clear and would be easy for a novice to use.

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Aran Workshop

This section comes pretty early in the book – Chapter 3 as a matter of fact. It’s really Debbie Bliss’s favorite style so I’m not surprised to see it covered extensively.

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Cable Workshop

In the middle of the Aran chapter, this simple cabled sweater is a simpler version of some of the other knits.

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Lace Workshop

The best thing about this chapter is the 23 lace stitch pattern samples.

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Edgings

Love the edgings. This makes the book a winner. I just used the leaf edging for a project. Wish the instructions were charted and not so UK centric with yf terminology that is not used by US knitters.

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Entrelac illustrations

Ok – I know you’re asking – what the hell is Entrelac. Not a common technique, but these illustration make it very clear.

 

What did I decide? I might keep this book for awhile and see if I refer to it before moving it along. My copy is a bit worn and I probably couldn’t sell. I do think the UK vs US make it less valuable for a new knitter, but then again – I’m not a new knitter.

 

https://www.amazon.com/How-Knit-Definitive-Step-step/dp/1855856964/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497383208&sr=8-1&keywords=How+to+Knit+Debbie+Bliss

Knitting for the First Time

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Knitting for the First Time

Knitting for the First Time by Vanessa-Ann (is this a real person?) was published by Sterling/Chapelle in 2003. I think it was put together by an editor and the author is just a made-up name. The first question is do I think this is a good book for a beginner. This is what I thought about as I reviewed the book.

Before I go further, I’ll say: Thumbs Down for this book.

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Knitting for the First Time – back cover

The answer would be no, no – not a great beginner book. It does start with a decent review needles, tools and yarn.

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Illustrations

I do like the drawn illustrations as opposed to photo illustrations.

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Abbreviations

The order of all the basics is a bit strange. First abbreviations, then adding a new skein of yarn, then fixing mistakes and then finishing. I think a true beginner might find this a bit confusing.

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Basic Techniques with patterns

For me, here’s where it breaks down. Really – a color work Christmas stocking in beginning patterns. Plus, other than the cute baby pullover and hat, the other patterns are not great.

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Cute Baby Hat

With the sweater, this hat is very cute!

Beyond the Basics

Beyond the Basics

More unimpressive patterns.

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The Gallery

This spread and the next couple pages show sweaters designed by some of the designers within the book. No patterns for these – just pictures. I guess it’s inspiration, but all are really, really beyond a beginner!

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0806964154/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Exquisite Little Knits

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Exquisite Little Knits by Iris Schreirer & Laurie J. Kimmelstiel

Exquisite Little Knits is a nice little book for “Knitting with Luxurious Specialty Yarns” as the subtitle suggests. Lark Books published Little Knits in 2004 in the hay day of specialty yarns.

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Exquisite Little Knits – Back Cover

Do I love this book? It’s mainly a project book of simple accessories that depend of the yarn rather than stitches to make them interesting. Thumbs Down for me!

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Photographed How-to’s

I liked the photographed how go’s. They are clear and easy to understand.

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Gemstone Scarf

Once the basics are covered, the book is broken down by various types of yarn. This scarf is from the “Lattice” section. It’s nice that a photo of the ball plus an image of the strands of yarn used is included.

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“Hat for All” from the Wool section

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North Cape Balaclava from the Silk section

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Golden Threads Boa from the Ribbon section

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Flying V Scarf from the Wool section

I do like this scarf. True to form, I’m always more interested in projects that are made in simple yarns rather than novelty yarns.

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Hot & Now Scarf from the Wool Section

Nice unisex garter stitch scarf! A good project for charity knitting or a gift.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Exquisite-Little-Knits-Luxurious-Specialty/dp/1579905366/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476305973&sr=1-1&keywords=exquisite+little+knits

Got books!

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So I’m back in my office with ALL my knitting books. Well, not really all of them, but let me say MOST of them.

What to read next. That is the question. Clara Parkes‘ book was so technical, so I think I’ll go for something a little lighter.

Truthfully I’m not quite done with Book of Yarn. I’ve promised myself that by next blog, I’ll be finished. Ok, almost finished. Still have to knit the 2nd Princess Mitt!