Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Good yarns but not the kind with strings.

I came across some books the other day, and well, I fell down a little hole.I keep hoping I can avoid that hole, and one day soon, I'm sure I will be able to make it to the library to see what they have rather than to buy books all the time, just not yet. I have a couple of nice new books to talk about. Some are about lace, some are books filled with designs, some are new to me stitch dictionaries. I'll write about those another day, because today, no matter what else I want to write about, the real story I want to tell is about one of the authors. Today it seems, I want to talk about Ann Budd.

I'm not familiar with her as an editor at Interweave Knits. I found knitting after Eunny Jang took over the role (and Eunny is doing a wonderful job). I'm familiar with Ann Budd as a writer of things I need to know.

I've had The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements in my carry along bag for a long time. I've had her Crocheter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements even longer. The only quibble I have with either of these is that the crochet guide is woefully short of sweater information. I could have used that. These little leaflets are an excellent resource.

The next time I came across Ann Budd was in my much beloved copy of Wrap Style. I have her Grand Plan Capelet on my needles (still, big WIP needing finishing) and absolutely love the way she built the pattern to work with you rather than you working it. It was absolutely meant to customise size, yarn gauge, and whatever trims, collars, and lacy bits you wanted to incorporate. It was as if she was giving me the challenge to get out there and flesh in the project all by myself on a skeleton, a framework she sets out.

I noticed Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns tucked in the bookcase with the extra copies at the store a while ago, and recently purchased it. Sure I know I can find basic stuff on the Internet these days, but what about when I am in the mountains, and don't have a connection? With its collection of mitts, gloves, hats, vests, and even a basic sweater, I can knit whatever I need without a whole lot of thinking.

I knew Ann had a book of sweater patterns out there with the same fine framework and I came across it the other day at Needle Arts Bookshop. Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns is everything I hoped for and more.

Good basic frames for several different kinds of sweaters, in particular a seamless yoke framework that I am going to use sometime this fall for a sweater for Mr. Needles. The raglan plan is going to stand me in good stead if I ever want to up-size that seriously fine Tangled Yoke Cardigan from IK FAll 2007. Its going to help me when I rip back the Picovoli Cardigan and make it small enough to fit my very tiny daughter-in-law(4 inches extra when the fit should be a mild negative ease. I am heartbroken. Totally and absolutely heartbroken, even though turning it into a cardigan went really really well. It just doesn't fit my intended knittee.).

Maybe one day I'll know exactly the sizes I need for a hat for me, or mittens for a child, or a sweater for those closest to me but right now, its all new territory. I wish I could think like Elizabeth Zimmermann, and could figure it out all on my own. I wish I could just sit down and knit up a sweater, starting with just the gauge of a yarn on the needles and a shape in my head. Sometimes I just don't have the strength, the gumption to stand on my own two feet, much less think about these things. Sometimes, all that thinking and figuring sleeves, and armscyes, is more than I can do and trying only leads to disasters.

I am going to play it a little bit safe to get the knits I want, but I have few illusions that I can design. The brain I was gifted with at birth is not that kind of brain. I think that given good bones, I can choose colours, yarns and custom touches that will combine in a pleasing way. I don't design but I can style.

Bless you Ann, for saving me from myself. Keep em coming.

Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns - Treble Crochet**

Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns - Double Crochet

Wrap Style - Treble Crochet

A Knitter's Guide to Yarn Requirments - Double Crochet

A Crocheter's Guide to Yarn Requirments - Half Double Crochet

**See the bottom of the blog for what my ratings mean.

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