August is the time of year when every child is suddenly scrambling to finish his summer reading list before the first day of classes. With all that frenzied page-turning going on, you’re sure to have some quiet time to do a little reading of your own. When tackling a novel for book club seems a smidge too daunting, crack open a knitting book for a little light reading and a lot of inspiration.
It’s no secret that I love knitting books and I love hoarding patterns. I spend far more time drooling over gorgeous patterns and fantasizing about the artistic genius of knitting designers than I do actually knitting. I know I sound horribly unmotivated, but the truth is that flipping through knitting patterns is the only way to get myself excited about knitting when I’m in the middle of a difficult or tedious project. If you’re stuck in a funk or need a creativity injection, try checking out a knitting book on your favorite subject (hats, socks, shawls?) or an unfamiliar techniques (Fair Isle, entrelac?). You’ll be surprised by your renewed enthusiasm for knitting projects!
If you like shawls: Shawl knitters tend to be knitting addicts fascinated by texture and pattern. If you like the simple comfort of a handknit shawl, check out Knitted Prayer Shawls, which also includes a collection of prayers and blessings to send along with each shawl. Charitable shawl knitters will also find inspiration in Debbie Macomber Friendship Shawls.
Another wonderful facet of knit shawls is their ability to reflect motifs and design concepts in their beautiful stitch patterns. Unencumbered by shaping or practical elements like armholes and collars, shawls are free to express a designer’s vision. In Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter’s Magazine, you’ll find shawl patterns inspired by lotus blossoms, evergreens, arrowheads, theater curtains, and even mathematical formulas. Ocean Breezes: Knitted Scarves Inspired by The Sea narrows this concept even further, drawing design concepts only from marine elements like cockleshells, coral, and sea foam.
Other awesome books on knitting shawls:
If you like samplers: Some knitters like to play around with technique and motif in small projects, like dishcloths or afghan squares. Maybe they have short attention spans (like me!) or maybe they’re just trying to learn as much as they can. Sampler books and “stitchionaries” are great for knitters who like to experiment with technique. For the ultimate beginner’s project, look for Easy Knit Squares at your local library to create a simple sampler afghan, or try knitting a few of the dishcloths in Garden Dishcloths to Knit. If you’re a bit more advanced and want a challenge in your knitting samples, try making swatches from 400 Knitting Stitches or play with some of the fascinating finishing techniques in Knitting Over the Edge.
If you like garments: I’m one of those picky knitters who needs her projects to be both functional and beautiful. I can’t resist knitting elaborate items for my wardrobe that take several months (and sometimes years) to complete. If you’re like me and you love a taste of both fashion and crafty genius in your knitting, (along with a healthy dose of garment construction) you might enjoy perusing Interweave’s French Girl Knits. I’ve never actually made one of these timeless, delicate knits (see pattern hoarding confessions above), but I just know that someday those lovely sweaters will grace my dresser drawers! For those of you who tend more towards practicality and comfort, check out Knit Kimono, a collection of drapey sweaters with bold designs.
If you like hats: Hats are favorites for many knitters. These projects knit up quickly and show off new stitch patterns and techniques. They’re also practical, fashionable, and generally seamless. What more could you want in a knitting project? For tons of quick and satisfying knit hats, check out Hip Knit Hats, which includes 40 patterns in a variety of styles; Kids’ Knitted Hats, for the little ones in your life; or Just Hats, a varied collection of projects to knit and crochet.
What are your favorite knitting books?
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