Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Roundup.

Usually at this time of year, I feel kind of inspired by the list of things I have completed.  This year, not so much.  So many of the things I did this year were non knitting things, but things that play such a large part on my day to do life.

In January I moved.  That meant not too terrible much knitting but there was furniture building and book loving and so much more.
February was more settling in and lots of sock knitting.  There was also a little bit of embroidery and mulling over the inspiration I found in books.

March was the work of an epic project, to get most of my yarns photographed for Ravelry and getting them uploaded.  That was a huge work, and I love having it listed and pictured there. March was also pondering lace weight yarn and the start of a lace project that didn't get worked on very much.  It was also the start of dishcloth knitting while the brier was on.

I did have a sweater that I was working on all along and March sort of took it to as far as it went.  I did not care for it and took it apart just a few weeks ago.

I think I started to find real joy in April.  The last several years, joy has been much less visible in my day to day life.  In April I started a sweater I adore where I couldn't stop knitting short rows.  In April, I also experienced huge stress and endings.

May was the end of things.  The houses and the sweater and the start of a second sweater and almost to the end of that second sweater too.  May was also ten years of knitting and of blogging.  My life changed so much those last ten years. 

June was letting go and looms and the start of another new sweater. It was the start of really feeling settled. Because June was also the month of furniture building and a fresh new look and of lots of fun.  And boxes. 
When you furniture at Ikea, you get lots and lots of boxes.  And lots. June was a month of dreams fulfilled and plans and so much good and happy things.

July was about meeting old friends and getting looms warped

and monster socks and fingering weight sweater knitting.  August was the fullness of summer and was about twirly skirts
and weddings and more furniture building and grandchildren.  It was ripe and busy and I think I started feeling tired.

September was wool comforters
and wool shawls and wonderful special yarns and knitting and the start of Christmas knitting which didn't really start out being Christmas knitting. October was the month of the start of hand pain and struggling with it.  It was also the month I finished the lovely large shawl
and pride that I did. It became a month of winding yarn by the end.  

November was embroidery month. Figuring that out, doing it, loving every moment of it.  November was mittens and hats and more mittens because little people love it when Grandma makes them things. 
November was also a month I spent thinking about what my sweater needs are now.  Each place of residence the last few years needed different things.  With my wee house, came the realisation that I loved pullovers more than cardigans. My house was a great vest place but as much as I like vests for their sleeveless practicality, this house, with it's sofa back to the front door, means a chilly neckline and chillier arms.  This is a collared sweater house.  It's kind of a turtleneck sweater house.  It's a small shawl over a sweater house. But it was a very interesting revelation that is leading to some changes in plans for certain yarns.  Not all yarns, but it changes some long term thinking.

December gave form and order to an old project that needed life and purpose.  It was a more embroidery month and it was accepting that I couldn't make all the gifts I planned.  With my hand issues, I just ran out of time.  It was also the month I faced up to how exhausted I was making myself, just by the way I was thinking about life and things and what I was reading and what I was seeing everyday.  It was a month where I did some things I had to do and I had a good time, and where I decided that some things that seemed possible last year just don't feel right anymore.  Maybe next year.

December was also when Canadian humour strikes out strong and utterly unique, such as it is, when I arrived home the other day, the guy filling my car at the gas station said it was much better in the afternoon than it had been in the morning.  Much better was -27 rather than mornings -31.  This is really very funny.  It is also the landlord, saying gee it was so much nicer outside this morning, till he checked the weather office and it was -30.  Yup, nicer.  By one degree.  See?  Canadian humour.

But mostly the last few days, after feeling somewhat down in the dumps lately, as if I was under a bit of cloud all the time, I wake and the first thing I think of is how much I am looking forward to the day. How much I am looking forward to tomorrow and the next day and the next.  I think the nice long drive for Christmas with my family was good for me.  It made clear some things I have to do and some things I want to be.

And then, December, is when I see all the good things this year.  My knitting and house settling didn't quite go as planned.  It is what it is, but that doesn't really matter a whole lot.  I am warm and comfortable and that is more than many in this world and that was enough.  I played with kiddies a lot.  That is big.  Huge.  I visited and babysat and played. 

Wherever I go, whatever I do, however much they grow, I love those wee kiddies and with the prospect of more, I am content.  2017, a better than average kind of year.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Knitting Merrily Along.

Yup still knitting happily along.  Today is a travel day home so not too much knitting till much later. 

This is another Shalom But this one is going to be a full sweater with long sleeves.  The yarn is recovered Three Irish Girls Felicity from my failed Elfe.  I have added some dark grey Patons Classic Wool for the main part of the sweater, and I am very pleased with the combination.

I actually did a fair amount of work on this yesterday, but about 3/4 of the progress was ripped back.  I knit where I ought to have purled and just couldn't leave it.  This next and possibly last color section will go fast though, so by this evening , I expect a fair bit of progress. 

I am sitting at my brother's as I write , sipping his coffee and wasting his internet.  It's beastly cold this week so I'm waiting to drive when the sun is up and the world warms up just slightly.  But as of tomorrow, back to the usual blogging .

Thursday, 28 December 2017


yes there is knitting,  i am still traveling so no regular posting. 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Here at Santa's Workshop

I knit for almost 30 whole seconds today.  The entire day was put over to getting things done for Christmas.  We have been slowly doing stuff to get ready, but now we are at crunch time and we are moving along like lightning at a snail's pace.

The boys Duplo tables are pretty much done, though Keith needs to make some brackets to fit under the tables to hold up whatever containers they want to use for the Duplo.  After that these big gifts, just need wrapping and delivering.

And the mastwork, the Batcave/Wayne Manor.  Serious query:  Does Batgirl live at Wayne Manor.  I wasn't sure, but I have a feeling that she lives in the city in a posh condo apartment with a Batcave hidden below.  It is probably in the same building that the Avengers work out of, or at least in a building where they have a lab.  

It doesn't look like much yet, but trust me, other than putting the unit together, and deciding how we want to treat the top of the back, we are doing pretty well.  

We weren't 100 percent sure about a lot of things but I think we are hitting the mark.  Cassie likes purple, so the decor is purple.  Batgirl is apparently wearing purple, so we are good to go.  The kitchen furnishing are pretty much done.  Kitchen cabinets and fridge and stove just need a few tweaks and they are ready.  Table and trendy bench seating is already planned and just needs building.  Couch is all ready but for assembly.  Beds, dresser, bath fittings, all planned and ready to go. 

So are the soft furnishings.  I have collected a bunch of cool things for special touches and have only a few things that need a little sewing.  Some things are just going to be done with glue and magic.

I was planning for some knit throws and cushions and stuff for the dollhouse part, but seriously, with my hand problem, through the fall, it's just not going to happen.  I will make enough to keep my girl happy and if she wants more I will make more.    

Tomorrow is a long babysitting day, but there will be time when I get home to wrap presents.  Saturday it is going to be early to late, to get everything else ready and installed for delivery on Christmas Eve. 

It's all coming so fast.  It's all going so fast.  I was looking at all my kids and oh my how they have grown.  Isaac is 9 and he is going to melt hearts someday.  He is a wonderful caring brother.  Cassie is 5 and oh so ladylike and yet every inch my tomboy.  My two little princes are not so little.  Carter is 3 going on 4 and  has a twinkle in his eye.  He is so sweetly silly he just makes me laugh.  And then my powerhouse Marcus who lives big and dreams big and imagines even bigger.  How I love these little tykes.  And not too far down the road, well springtime, there might just be another wee one to hold at Carter and Isaacs house.  My heart is full and that is my best Christmas gift of all. 

On the subject of Bags

When I go out and about in the world, I always have something to knit with me.  You never know when you will have to sit and wait, and I just can't bear just sitting there.  And I almost always have my knitting tucked in a ziploc style plastic bag.

There are dozens upon dozens of bag designers out there.  Etsy  is simply filled with delightful bags. Specifically for knitting.

I even have some sweet project bags.  I have a couple really nice ones from River City Yarns and a couple others that did not start life as knitting project bags, but sure work well for it. Heck I have all sorts of fabric scraps and more than enough skills to make a simple drawstring bag.  I could even get fancy and insert zippers and sew shapes and be funky because I have those skills too. I could certainly make my own.  

So why don't I?  Well, I kind of like to see what is in any particular bag.  If you add 'clear' to the search terms above, you can even get those so clear poly to sew must be out there.  Heck, you could even insert a fine netting panel and be able to see through it.  

But I seem to stick to Ziplocs.  They are cheap.  They are handy.  I never run out.  For sweaters, I have very large bags that can accomodate yarn and project and smaller ones to accommodate smaller projects like socks.  I use these working bags over and over and use them till they really don't keep closed.  I don't generally care if the bag has a small hole or two.   It just has to keep it all together.  

Why such a generic topic for such a fine morning?  Because my laundry drain pipe was plugged a couple days ago and I cleaned the drain last night.  Now I am sitting running a first test load to see if everything draining again.  This is the second time it has happened.  The first time, was, we thought,  was from fuzz compacting in the drain from a torn dryer vent pipe.  We thought fixing that would take care of it, long term,  but no. I woke one morning to find a dampish rug that shouldn't have been damp and my sorted piles of clothes wet from the bottom up.  Further inspection showed that water seeped downstairs into the unfinished area.  It seems to be working now but I think cleaning the drain is going to have to be something I do every couple of months.  

So.  Load complete.  No water on floor, or in even worse places.  It all seems to have gone where it was supposed to go.  So busy day planned for me.  Get laundry complete before holiday adventures.  Plus wrapping and organizing gifts.  And finishing gifts.  Oh and yes, building gifts, but that's ok.  It's fun. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

And now the sweater.

And now the sweater.  

I started this little red cardigan style topper back in May for a summer wedding in the family.  It was dreadfully hot and sunny the day of the wedding and I didn't end up going.  Some of my medications say pretty clearly on them to avoid direct sunlight and I have never good ion really hot days, not even inside the house. I puff up like a balloon. Current medical advice is so don't do that, so I don't.

Anyway, the sweater is more or less complete.

All that remains to do is the bottom edging, which started out being a variation on the rolled edge I like, but is going to be taken out and turned into a garter stitch edge to match the collar.

I think you can see the edge here. 

It's 3 rows of reverse stockinette followed by 5 of stockinette but the rool, as it is wont to do, rolls to the reverse stockinette side here, rather than the stockinette side that happens on the very pleasing front edge.  

You can clearly see the difference in look between the heavier double look rolled edge on the sleeve and the much daintier edge on the fronts.  

If left as is, there are 3 different looking edging treatments, the dainty front edge, the garter stitch at the collar, 

And as on the sleeve edge.  I like the way the first two look, but I am not very happy at all with the look of the double roll.  

I think I will take out the double rolls on the sleeves and pull back the bottom to the end of the last pattern repeat, and I'm going to do that simple little garter edging.  I think to give it that tiniest bit extra weight, I will knit 5 rows and cast off on the 6th row, rather than just the two garter ridges here, but it will be much more in tune with the rest of this sweater, than if I kept the overly heavy looking double rolled look.     

Once that is done, I want to knit a bit of i-cord to tie it together right at the neckline.  I won't have to search for buttons that way.

When I started knitting 10 years ago, buttons could be found everywhere and you could do a sweater for 6 dollars easily.  It has changed dramatically.  The price of buttons has jumped and the number of places to get good buttons is fewer.  Unless you look online.  Unfortunately, while there are many places to get buttons, I haven't had much luck finding a supplier that just had what I was looking for.

It is also possible that I am looking for something that isn't out there anymore, and that promises a new adventure for next year.

Dorset Buttons , available now for kindle and a new book coming out May of 2018, Creating Dorset Buttons.


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Not the sweater

but something else very special.

For a while now I have been working on something special.  I started it last Christmas but didn't get it done.  With the trouble my hand has had this year, it still is not done.  So something special next year, but in the meantime, how do I say Merry Christmas and Thank you to a very special person.

My original replacement plan, Option B isn't arriving on time, so I had to go for Option C, but C is a definite winner.

Do you recall the very fine blue linen toweling I had? 

It wasn't quite long enough for two towels but I thought a towel and a bread cloth would work.  Well, not quite.  There was a stain that would not come out pretty much in the middle of the linen, so what that fabric is going to make is two bread cloths and some really nice scraps of linen for some small special thing down the road.

This pretty blue edged linen became Option C.

As I searched the internet for small embroidery patterns to use on the other towel sets, I found all sorts of interesting things, many of them sheep.  Sheep are a favourite subject for rug hooking, it seems.  The mass of their fleece means they don't require a lot of shaping lines to show off what they are.  I also found an awful lot of sheep cartoons.  

And that is sort of where I ended up when I was searching for Option C.  Cartoons of sheep.  

This first is from a free printable colouring page and the others all have attribution attached on the photos.

Any of these would have been great, but seriously, when I saw this, I knew where I was going with this breadcloth.  

© Bunny H. Davies , 'The Gods of Knitting' August 24, 2007

And so we have



all working together to make

something unique for a very very special friend. 

Frazzledknitter, thank you and have a very very Merry Christmas.

Monday, 18 December 2017


I set up my tree this weekend.  I wasn't sure I was going to do one at all, but I am glad I did.  

I am debating setting up my slim pencil tree too but I am not quite sure where to put it.  I had it in my study when I bought it and loved having it there.  I sat in my study in winter more than my living room because it had a ceiling light.  My living room is well lit now, so I tend not to sit here in my study, but for when I am sewing or playing in yarn. I have listened to audio books here, but not lately.  I need to restart this because I have some great books downloaded that I can't wait to read.  I have to make a decision today so I can get all the storage boxes away.

The hard work was being done on all the Christmas stuff so this week is going to be filled with soft dollhouse and Batcave furnishings.  There will also be painting of the streets on duplo tables too.  It is going to be good healthy silly fun. But in between decorating trees and sorting out Christmas, I knit.  

I have pretty much finished the little red sweater, but that will get it's own post tomorrow.  Today I want to talk about other knitting.

As you all well know by now, I love socks and there are always socks on the go.  Earlier this year, I seemed to be getting really into patterns.  Once I finished the plain socks last week, I took out some of the others I had on the go to give some knitting love.

I knit a lot on this sock.  I've used the Broken Seed Stitch Sock by Hana Levaniemi.  And it is fascinating. I've made these before but with different colours and discovered something new to learn making these.

This is my sock, rife with errors, but it is a sock so no one is going to notice but me.  You can one place where something weird happened and part of a needle turned to be a funny rib (traced to a dropped stitch so the pattern was out of sequence), but you can also see some other weirdness, a distinct difference in a section that will be the foot.

When I first started knitting the sock, I was using the Phildar sock lavender as the row where the knits and purls happened, and the multi coloured Austermann Step for the row I knit plain. Technically, this was not what the pattern asked for.  I should have been doing it the other way round, 

but  I loved how the lavender softened the colours and made the whole thing look icy cool wonderful. I still do. 

There was a period where I took this sock along knitting and that knitting was usually during the chasing of small children and often was under low light conditions.  Somewhere along the lines, the rows switched colours.  Lavender was suddenly knitting plain rows and multi was doing knits and purls.  

That funny or different looking section, shows off the darker colours of the Austermann, and the lavender becomes the element that defines rather than softens.  It has the look of what the dark lead lines in a stained glass window do.  It is much more true to the spirit of the pattern and is really quite lovely.

I debated staying with the more defined look.  The bit on the bottom of the foot wouldn't show up at all unless I was wearing sandals (Yes I do wear socks in sandals.  It's Canada.  It's what we do.) but I still do love the soft icy sort of look.  I went back to using the knits and purls for the lavender.  

The Austermann is a rather large ball of yarn.  It will easily make another pair of socks if I used another colour with it.  I do have a few single balls of plain colours around here somewhere that might work nicely with this, to make another pair where the Austermann colours will carry the show.  Not lavender, though.  Only 1 ball of that. There is a yellow somewhere, and a bright strong clear blue too, both of which would give smashing results.

Anyway, it has been so interesting to see what the stitch pattern does in this play in colours.  Helps me see how such a small thing can make such a huge difference.  

Knitting.  Never boring.  Certainly not on socks.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Merry Christmas me.

I didn't just give myself a book for christmas.  I also gave myself some very special yarn.  I bought some yarn from a local to me person who had some really lovely things on offer.  On Ravelry, look for the Edmonton Knitters Group thread called Spring Cleaning - Major destash Handpainted yarns.  

I treated myself to a some very special things.  

She had some of my most loved Fleece Artist BFL 2/8.  If I make a sweater from this, I need a little more of the grey, but a sweater is not out of reach.  The other thing this would look great as is a colourwork shawl, using the two together for a massive thistle or something like that.  No matter.  It is really wonderful stuff .

And then, a yarn I looked at seriously when I bought from this person before. Yarn Love's Amy March in the Silent Night colourway.

I have a lot of navy cascade 220 and I can think of several sweaters that would perfect using that in combination with this. 

There.  All my Christmas shopping is done.  All my gifts are here except for one book and if that doesn't arrive on time, it is okay.  Well and the maker ones we have yet to do.   Amazon did pretty amazing this year.  Having the post office do the delivery job has been a real bonus in my eyes.  Everything is safe and dry and warm till I go pick it up. 

I love small towns.
Tuesday, the same day as I dug out and put away all my books several times over, I did some other stuff too.  I went through all my WIP bins to make sure they were clean and tidy and to see what was in each of them.  

I spent some time taking apart Amy's Pole Sweater that I have been avoiding working on for months.

 I was deeply, fundamentally unhappy with the joins.  Such ugly work, and I didn't quite understand why.  Still don't.  I've done perpendicular joins before and they have been fine, so I have no idea what the difference was on this project.  I am restarting and will do better.

Then I took out all the socks and some of them have had work done on them.  No real surprises there.  I always work on socks and I knew these were out there somewhere.

Then I pulled out the red sweater to see what was what.  I had decided to knit the little cap sleeves so that I could just knit till the yarn was gone.  Of course I made that decision before I realized I still had a whole skein of yarn that was not yet wound in this colour and this dye lot.  So no worries.  It will be long enough.  I also realized that if I could finish this little top, it might be nice to wear at Christmas.

And there you have it. Cap sleeves.

Well, maybe just a tad longer than a cap sleeve, but a nice short sleeve, to wear with many different combinations of what I already have. Sleeve one took one evening of knitting time.

Two sleeves! Sleeve two took another evening but now they are done and my hands once again will have some relief on the long sweater rows.  

I am pretty sure it was the small scale circulars I was using that made my hand hurt.  I am not really sure what I do with them, but there was a place on these sleeves where I couldn't knit with dpns and it has made my hand just a bit more tense and inflamed it the smallest bit.  So easy knitting only today and then I will consider retiring my entire fleet of small dimension circulars.  Dpns have never hurt my hands.

So, bins cleared and ready for after seasonal knitting.  I should wrap up the sewing project today, or very close to it, so all that remains, of big things to do is the Batman Batgirl Avengers batcave/dollhouse.  I might just make it to ready for Christmas yet.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Birdies Set Two

Well, there you have it.  After a day doing nothing, there was a day of prodigious output.  First the epic post about stitch dictionaries and then, completion of set two of the towels.

Little birdies all complete with wings and decoration inside as on the pattern.  I may yet add some tummy decor on the singing birdie.  She seems to be missing something.  But, all in all, pleased with it. 

I finally got the second towel finished as well.  That took a lot of planning, first to find the repeat and then to decide exactly what I wanted to show.  And yes, this part did feel a little like art.   Each set of towels is reflective of my families.  The first set's red balloons was something from their wedding photos and the second, the little birdies, mom and little ones, reminds me of my daughter in law's mum and how she is always looking cheerfully forward, family close to her, and how she radiates this through her family.  Warmest heart on the planet.

This sets birdies are singing symbols of nations both dear to that family's international heart.  The second towel is inspired by a photo from one of Olga's visits to her mom's home in Kyiv.  The photo comes from a trip they took to her grandmother's house in Rivne (spelling this phonetically) of the flowers and things growing in the ditches and edges of fields.  There was a shot of cornflowers poking their clear blue tops through heads of wheat and grasses.  It was just such a beautiful composition.

A teatowel is not the place for a representation except in the simplest form.  But I tried to include the grassy edge, golden heads of wheat and tiny bright blue buds. It is really quite striking and the colours are much much stronger than you can really tell here and for a winged it design, I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out.

I am so pleased to have these embroidery projects done.  I have been planning them for years, right from the time Olga brought me this lovely linen back from Kyiv.  There is plenty of linen left for but I want them just as plain linen.  I have some cotton tea towels for more embroidered ones for me.  And then there is a whole long roll of a natural coloured linen that I would like to do some hardanger and some blackwork embroidery on. 

That is for another day.  For today, I am putting down my needles and threads for a bit and am going straight to work on pants.  Lots and lots of pants, with knitting in between.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Living It - the Further Tales of If You Give a Mouse A Cookie.

I did take a wee nap after posting yesterday.  It was lovely and by the end of the day, I felt so much better, human, almost even adultish (translation:  no longer whining for her mama).

Because there was not a lot of knitting or other work going on, and because my mind was thinking about all the books spilling all over here for Christmas, I started thinking about my library. Specifically I started thinking about my library of knitting books. More to the point, I started thinking about how I ought to put away the stack that has piled up in front of the bookcase on the floor.  If I ever mean to put up a tree and get these gifts wrapped, they need somewhere to go and that somewhere is right there, where the stack of books was.

I took the one book that was on my coffee table, and wandered over to the pile.  You saw the Japanese Stitch Dictionary I got earlier this year.  I started to put it on the shelf, but 

it reminded me of my other Japanese stitch dictionaries.  I hadn't seen them lately so I searched and there they were.

As I was finding them, the thought crossed my mind that I had a lot of stitch dictionaries, and I wondered if I had ever really looked at them en masse or if I ever talked about why I love stitch dictionaries so much.  If I did, it probably was a long while ago.

So I will begin with the Japanese books, any of them, all of them, even the ones I don't have.  These are fantastic books.  There is a distinctly Japanese sensibility to the design of the stitches, the calm ordered approach to something where a small change can make an old stitch extraordinary and utterly creative in ways that change what you see and do with them.  Unique happens in each of these volumes and I highly recommend them.  There are a couple of others I wish I had, but you can't have everything, though I do try.  :)

If you were looking for good basic dictionaries you cannot go wrong with the classics.  I bought these early on in my knitting life and I have never regretted it.  On a Saturday afternoon when my hands are tired, and my mind is done with thinking, I will sometimes have a cup of tea and just sit back and pull one of these off the shelf to thumb through.

I usually spend a lot of time mulling the first two volumes, though I may have to change that up a little.  With my recent forays into slip stitches, I find myself becoming fascinated by what happens when you use them.  There are a lot of designs out there lately where slip stitches play a big role, and familiarising myself with one of the best sources for them may be a thing whose time has come.  All the volumes have significant sections of slipped stitch goodness.

And one of my oldest groups of stitch dictionaries.  

I had a full complement of the Harmony Guides but one crochet volume has gone walk about.  Good basic stitch guide and an entire volume of knitting techniques too.  Sadly these are no longer sold in this format. 

I have one more basic stitch dictionary , though to call it basic in any way, under rates it in the extreme. 

This is a truly fantastic book, all texture all the time.  It verges on lace without being lace.  It verges on cables without being strictly cables.  Like my lovely Japanese stitch dictionaries, this too, has a very particular sensibility about it. 

This books makes me think I heard about something I read about Bach.  " It was within the "confinement of the law" that Bach burst out with unprecedented creativity. This proves, against all expectations, that the "finiteness" of the law leads to infinite riches. What Bach proved as nobody else was that it is not in novelty that one reaches the deepest of all human creative experiences, but in the capacity to descend to the depths of what is already given. Bach's works were entirely free of any innovation, but utterly new in originality.  "  (from an article by Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardoza )

This isn't a book that colours outside the lines.  This book isn't one that colours the leaves of the trees anything other than green.  This is a book that makes you see and feel every single shade of green  with every, nuance and variation and hue under heaven.  It plumbs the depths and heights that green can be all the while staying within the lines of green and leaves you feeling utterly sated and pleased with the world as it is given to you, in stitches.  This book is a masterwork.

And then my favourite old stitch book, or rather encyclopedia.

I love this book.  It has a nice beefy section on knitting and some wonderful stitch patterns.  It's only limitation is the patterns are all written only, no graphs, but I go to this again and again.  When I cannot decide, it is sometimes helpful to have fewer to choose from.

Then there are the technique based dictionaries.  There is lace.

This Barbara Abbey book is a particularly fine collection of edging stitches and insertions or what we more commonly use them as today, borders. It does have a few patterns in it, but on my bookshelf, it is all about the edgings.  A serious lace lovers book to be sure.

If I could have only one book that I viewed as a lace stitch reference book, I would go with one of the Haapsalu books, any of them, just for the sheer beauty of the book.  There is a third one out recently too but it hasn't quite made it to my shelf yet.  So many books, so little shelf.  I have to keep telling myself this. 

 Technically neither of these are stitch dictionaries, but that is how I use them and think about them.  They are a superior resource of tradition and of stitch patterns. These books are really works of art, with knitting inside and at least one ought to grace a well curated shelves. My must be doubly well curated then.  I do have two.  So far.

There are oodles of nice little books out about sweaters for what we generally call a gansey.  This is one of the oldest and while some of its history may be suspect, the stitch patterns are some of the finest ever collected.  There are smaller collections of stitches in every other book on traditional ganseys, but they all refer to this one. 

If you are talking stitch techniques, one of my favourite dictionary type books is this one. 

This marvelous resource of twisted stitch knitting made me dream of a sampler.  My large project that once was a tube and now is a wrap was knit using stitches from this book.  There will be many more things using this book down the road.

In the technique dictionary class, I also put these lovely books from Nicky Epstein.  These are a dictionary of shapes and cool interesting things you can do with the shapes of your knitting.  There are some truly amazing things inside each of these.  Take a basic shape and see how you can play. It's a fascinating way to look at your knitting.  I remember Nicky Epstein from the pages of  McCall's Needlework magazines in the 80's.  Nicki Epstein made me dream of knitting.  She still makes me wish...well that is really for another post. Meanwhile, I am just thrilled that I had the chance to meet her in person.  One of the highlights of working at the yarn store, without a doubt.

But there is another much admired person I recall from those selfsame pages of McCall's Needlework, Kaffe Fassett.    I got to meet him too, at the yarn store, which was another truly lifetime thrill.  I got to chat with him on a quiet afternoon.  What a nice man.

A couple years ago, he published a book of  forms from his knit designs.  Many of these are like old friends, some having been published in those same McCall's magazines and in the many books published by him over the years. A lot of intarsia if you were trying to nail down a technique, but you know what I think of this book as?  A dictionary of colour bravery, for that is how I see his work.  His colour forms shapes and those shapes turn into things and fabrics and movement and life and art.  This is a dictionary of inspiration to the colour timid.

Before I get into the last category of technique dictionaries, there are a couple others I have that I have very mixed feelings about.  Each of these are on my 'if I need to make room on my bookshelf' list.  I often think about giving them away.  It isn't that they are bad books at all, but they don't strike my imagination for the most part.

The Up Down All Around book was a disappointment, not because it isn't a great book, but more that I was looking and hoped for something more.  I  wanted a book to teach me how to take some of the lovely motifs I see in all my other books, and knit them so that the leaf  or patterning remained oriented in the same way as in the original presentation, rather than just recharting motifs to present the motif upside down.  Some knitters may not feel comfortable doing this on their own, but I do.  I was searching for something more, something that would blow my mind to a way to get what I wanted without having to figure out the possibilities and impossibilities myself. 

The 400 Knitting Stitches, too.  Just an ordinary batch of stitches well presented, well displayed, but nothing that blows the top off my imagination.

This one too.  I bought this just as I was learning to knit.  It was in a bin at a grocery store, those remaindered book bins they sometimes have.  It was 5 bucks, so not a huge investment.  I thought it would go the long haul, like my owned since forever ago Harmony Guide crochet dictionaries.  Knitting went someplace very different than crochet ever did for me and the book, while nice in every way, just isn't quite enough anymore.  I am sure you already see that from the long list of books above!

Now to my last category of stitch dictionaries, the stranded colourwork dictionaries.  Yes, ah yes, and entire category of things all on their own, special and unique.

There is something special and unique here to be sure.  It is a masterful collection of shapes that work magic in your knitting just by changing the colours within the rows as you knit.  But that is one of it's challenges for me.  It is simply the patterning in black and white.  There is a huge section of colour advice at the back of the book, wonderful marvelous advice, but this book kind of intimidates me.  I know that what I need to do is to change my perception of the book so that I see it as a challenge and I am working on that by using a few other stitch dictionaries and oddly enough an embroidery book about colour too.

There is a  lot of comfort in seeing how the stitches look laid out not just in different colour variations in the same pattern, but seeing the array of colours used across many patterns to help you gain a feel for what colours choices you would like to see in your project no matter what stitch patterns you want to use.

Though the approach to motif is quite different here, this book does the same thing.

 There is a level of comfort in seeing a motif in living colour laid out along other motifs.  If you are colour chicken like I am, this is a level of comfort and reinforcement that I am not crazy, that my choice will work, without being weird or overwhelming.

And that kind of takes me back to the beginning of this post, The Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible. A couple of weeks ago,   I posted about how difficult a choice it was between that book and Alterknits for my fall book purchase. Well, difficulty no more.

Frazzledknitter had borrowed the library copy and kindly brought it for me to look at one morning.  A choice between these two books is simply not possible and I decided that one of my Christmas presents for myself is this.  I love this book.  I already have serious plans for a sweater featuring one of the sweet little motifs.

I am living If You Give a Mouse a Cookie aren't I? 

If you give a knitter a book, well, really if you give this knitter a book, she needs another book.