Gather round, fiber friends. Jump up and microwave a mug of cold coffee, and then settle in for a spell. It may still feel like summer where you are (and as Ann points out, summer’s official end is still weeks away), but September has blown in, with even more than its usual bounty of books that are of interest to knitters.
I’ve gotten the chance to lay eyes on a few of these titles, and others have blipped onto my radar more recently, but are Very! Intriguing! As always, there may be a title here or there that has been out for a while, but escaped my notice until now.
(Do I want a prize for gathering all these cover photos? Yes. I would like a small prize, or at least a pat on the head and a cup of microwaved coffee.)
My fellow Rowanettes, rejoice! This glorious retrospective volume celebrates 40 years of Rowan magazine with 40 striking designs. All 64 covers are right there on the cover, and the gorgeous photography inside is in two well-curated sections. The first half is 20 projects as originally shot for the magazine; the second half is re-shoots of newly colored, yarn-ed, and styled samples. The seamlessness with which old and new blend together in this volume is a testament to the timelessness of the Rowan sensibility. Silhouettes change, yarns come and go, but Rowan is always beautiful and current, no matter the vintage. (It’s a particular thrill to see sweaters that I actually knit, back in the day: Winter Flower, Olive. And then there are the ones that got away, but beckon to me still.)
Honestly, I need a moment. Rowan means so much. Here’s to the next 40 years.
Here’s an incredible fact: Norah Gaughan has been designing for Vogue Knitting magazine for 30 years, in which time she has contributed over 120 designs. That would be plenty impressive even if they were conventional knitting patterns, but they’re not. The inventiveness packed into those 120 patterns causes the knitterly mind to perform gymnastics. Producing a single volume gathering up 40 of these designs is a gift to knitters from the editors of Vogue Knitting. Thank you, VK!
Beth Brown-Reinsel’s 1993 book, Knitting Ganseys, has been on my do-not-Kon-Mari bookshelf forever. (Correction: thanks to our Amazon overlords, I am informed that I purchased my copy on February 27, 2008. So: not forever. But: poetic license. I love this book.) As is fitting for a 25-year-old anything, Knitting Ganseys has been revised and updated. I can’t wait to get my indigo-stained hands on this new version. (If you’ve got your copy already, please let me know how it is in the comments!)
In her first-ever book, Melanie Berg collects the wildly popular shawls and wraps for which she is known, and adds in a few new ones. The book is bilingual (German and English), so you can tücher stricken mit stil in addition to knitting shawls with style. I hope this is a trend: books that collect patterns by beloved designers in one volume. Back to the future!
In this unusual volume, bestselling novelist Alice Hoffman and knitwear designer Lisa Hoffman take knitting into the worlds of fairy tale, magic, and fantasy. I have only seen a partial proof of this book, but I read every word and was intrigued by the imaginative ferment of these creative cousins. (Also: the knitting designs are beautiful.)
Not About Knitting But . . .
If your Instagram feed strays from Strictly Knitting into other beautiful areas of handmade endeavor as much as mine does, here are two recent titles that may make your fingertips tingle.
You may not think you know Jen Hewett, but if you’ve coveted a special-edition print Fringe Field Bag, you’ve coveted Jen Hewett’s beautiful block-printed work. My own Fringe Field Bag is plain vanilla canvas, but one year I succumbed to Jen’s tea towel of the month club, an indulgence in beauty that I do not regret. (Yes I’m saving them in their cello sleeves for an Epic Textile Project. They spark joy!) This book is an introduction into how Jen Hewett does what she does, so you can try your hand at it, and get some cool wardrobe pieces in the process.
Make and Mend: Sashiko-Inspired Embroidery Projects to Customize and Repair Textiles and Decorate Your Home
It seems like I should have learned sashiko long ago, given how much I love Japanese boro textiles and their artful mending, and their mending-of-mends. I don’t know what’s been stopping me, beyond time and my knitting habit. (Also: my jeans never wear out in a cute place. Just putting that out there. Real talk.) The sample pages of this book by Jessica Marquez look very promising, putting names and detailed how-to steps to techniques I’ve admired from afar. Mending is the new making! Get on board! (Stay tuned, another beautiful mending book is coming next month. Try to put a few holes in your jeans by then.)