Friday, January 22, 2010

Library Enhancement

You know I love knitting. You know I love knitting mittens. You know I love knitting lace. You may not know that I've been trying to find out what kind of knitting is traditional in the northern part of Holland, or Holland in general.

Well, these three books cover all of the above. "The Mitten Book" by Inger and Ingrid Goddfridsson was given to me by one of the ladies at work. She picked it up at a library book sale some time ago, came across it recently, decided that she'll never knit the mittens so why not pass the book on to me? Why not indeed?

This is a neat little book of Swedish country mitten patterns with traditional designs. The motifs could easily be adapted to any knitting and I can see it being another source of inspiration, something I'm always looking for.

The second book is Marianne Kinzel's "Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting". This softcover book has a lot of patterns that I'll never knit (how many afternoon tea cloths can one person have, after all?), but again, there's inspiration in this book and we all know that inspiration is a good thing!

The third book is one that I've been eagerly waiting for. It's "Ethnic Knitting Discovery" with knitting from the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and the Andes. This is one of very few books I've found that have any discussion at all about knitting in the Netherlands. I'd read and heard, along the way, that the Dutch knit sweaters very much like ganseys, also known as fisherman sweaters, using knit and purl stitches for decoration, rather than working with colour. The book contains patterns (in the section on the Netherlands) for a Seaman's scarf, a pullover with a single motif and a sampler pullover with a drawstring at the neck.

At this point, I can't tell you much more about the book because I just got it Thursday and haven't really had a good chance to go through it. I'm pleased, though, that someone has finally gotten around to publishing something about knitting in the Netherlands. In the reading I've been doing, I've come to the conclusion that knitting in most of the North Sea countries is similar and what's knit in one country is, invariably, knit in most of them, with slight variations. Because they were all seafaring countries that traded with each other and travelled to each other's shores, I'm sure knitting patterns and techniques were just another commodity, whether or not it was part of their trade.

Though I've not had much chance to go through the books with a fine tooth comb, I think I can say that all three are a welcome addition to my library.

On the knitting front, in my last post I mentioned that I was designing a pair of "international" mittens. Well, that design has come together, the yarn's been chosen and the first of the mittens is on the needles.

I stopped by Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft on my way home from work yesterday to choose the colours. In the end, I went with John's suggestion of blood red and navy blue. I did swatch with a variegated background yarn, but it just didn't work well; it was way too busy. This, however, is a very dramatic choice and will definitely work with my jacket.

In the previous mittens I've made for myself, I chose a picot edging before working the wrist pattern. This time, I've chosen a Latvian braid edging with 1" of corrugated ribbing, ending with another Latvian braid before starting the wrist chart. I may work one more Latvian braid before starting the hand chart. I'll decide when I get to that point.

The mittens have a name now; I thought about the name for a couple of days. Yesterday, I looked at each of the individual patterns; the cuff uses a pattern called "Willow Branches", the back of the hand uses a pattern called "Elbistan", the palm is a Fair Isle design, and the braid is Latvian, truly international! In the interest of keeping it simple and evoking some of the romance of the east, I've decided to simply call them the Elbistan Mittens. I like the sound of it; the name has a somewhat exotic ring to it, don't you think?

I'm keeping notes, making sure to jot down every little thing I'm doing on the first mitten so that I'll be able to make the second to match, as well as enabling me to write out the pattern when I'm finished. At some point, I'll make the pattern available through Ravelry.

It's just after 7:00 a.m. here on the West coast; I anticipate getting a lot of knitting done today since I have the weekend to myself. Oh, John called last night and apparently his dad isn't doing as poorly as we were led to believe. Yes, he's declining, but he is, after all, 90 years old. One area of concern is his big toe, which was, we were told, black when he was admitted to the hospital; there was concern that it was gangrenous and that amputation would be necessary. There's still talk of that, but the toe is improving. Unfortunately, at his advanced age, there are more risks involved with surgery and his doctors are reluctant to take those risks. Ultimately, though, it does look like he may be able to go back to his home, rather than to an extended care facility. That's good news!


  1. The new mitten is looking great. The colors will look very good on you too.

    The new KnitPicks catalogue is all about color knitting. I am starting to think I will have to try it again some day. Who knows, maybe the next time will be the charm for me. It won't be anytime soon though, but I am considering it for later in the year. :)

  2. Tea cloths, no, but the "Modern Lace Knitting" book is great for shawls or sofa throws made in sock-weight yarn.