Wednesday 11 March 2009

Phyllotaxis etc.

Creative Spinning by Alison Daykin and Jane Deane: I borrowed this book from the library a few weeks ago when I was wanting to start experimenting with spinning. It is a lovely book. The first part is basic spinning instructions, for both spindle and wheel, and this is pretty clear considering it is quite a hard thing to describe well in words. The remaining chapters are rather like a recipe book. It has a series of quite specific yarns and instructions on how to spin them. The photography is lovely and the whole book is very inspirational, really giving you starting points for your own creativity. While I probably wouldn't buy it, it was an excellent starter book and well worth a look.

Stitch and Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller: Considering this was actually quite recently published (2005) I found the patterns rather dated, I don't think there was a single thing that I found flicking through where I stopped and thought "now that is really nice". What I did enjoy were the little stories. scattered through between the patterns, of 'Stitch and Bitch' groups all over the world, how they came about and where they meet and just little personal touches. I really liked one of the stories that told of a group meeting in some community centre, who were told that they weren't allowed to have the word 'bitch' in their group title as it was offensive, so they changed the group name to 'Cast Off' which seemed both craftily appropriate and described how they felt at the time.

One Skein by Leigh Radford: I picked this one out because I found a couple of patterns on Ravelry that came from this book so I decided to take a look. A nice book but really quite simple, nothing very exciting or experimental about any of the patterns, and I thought a bit of a cheat because one of the patterns is for a bath mat, and her excuse is that the yarn she used came on a 1000g cone (it seems to me that's not the sort of thing you have lying around by accident, but then I am still growing my stash:-) There is a really cute newborn baby jacket which I will probably scan and keep but other than that I was not overly impressed. At the same time I also borrowed a book called "Fabulous Felt" by Sophie Bester. I did not even bother with a photo since it turned out to be not what I was looking for at all. I was hoping for a felt project book but it was a 'making cutsie things that I wouldn't give house room to out of manufactured felt' book. Apart from the covered glass tea lights which were quite nice I only flicked through it.

Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan: Now this is the kind of knitting book I really love, and the inspiration for the title of this blog entry; phyllotaxis is the principles governing leaf arrangement, and is used in one of the chapters of this book. I actually read the introduction of this book, not something you often bother with in craft books as you want to get to the pretty pictures. Norah describes her background in both creativity and science and how they have influenced eachother, and also how she was encouraged to pursue science as a young woman because it was what women were supposed to aspire to and how the women's movement had something of a tendency to devalue traditional female pursuits (we are talking the 70's and 80's here), and as such she felt she had to continually justify her decision to go into professional knitting design. So the book is all about using mathematical shapes and relationships as a basis for patterns and garment structure. I love it because it is truly experimental and original. There are chapters based around hexagons, pentagons, spirals, phyllotaxis, fractals and waves. Some of the garments are a little unconventional in structure but the overall impression is so imaginative and I just loved the whole book. I am not sure how many of them I might knit but the point with such a book is that it inspires you to be creative and imagine different possibilities. This one is already on my amazon wish list and I can see it making it's way into the basket some time soon.

52 books list: I am really struggling with The Voice of Hope, it is not a well written book at all, just conversation transcripts, talking round in circles rather badly so I am not sure I will finish it.

1 comment:

  1. that knitting book is one i shall actively seek...and thanks for visiting my clearing in the forest, the pebble you left drew me back here


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