Thursday, December 20, 2012

gift ideas + book reviews + footnotes

Annotated. Because who doesn't have a few more words on the subject....
My fellow knitters & crafters! Unless you're casting on a chunky quick project*, or demonically speedy, it is time to put down the needles and step away.  Shift the focus.  A promise of the handmade, perhaps? 372_1212GaleZuckerFV
These three from PotterCraft. They do good books. **
So you're short a finished project?  A bookmarked page with a promise of the item in January is a loving gift.  Infinitely preferable to snarling at your dear ones "Don't even TALK to me, dinner, uh NO,  I NEED to get this done...."***
To help you along , here are reviews from my opinionated self:
 Bruce Weinstein**** totally nails it in his new book, Boyfriend Sweaters. He delivers  on his premise: rock solid designs for guys that anyone would want to wear.  Including straight non-metrosexual guys.  And you. And, um, me. All sized for, and modeled by, both genders. 390_1212GaleZuckerFV This is the rare knitting book that keeps disappearing in my house.  I've had "wouldja make me" requests from it, across 2 generations and two genders and their friends, ages 17-55. That's a pretty good road test right there. The sweater above was 1st choice from 3 people.***** 387_1212GaleZuckerFVI'm all over this one. Maybe I'll make it for Dave and then steal it sometimes.388_1212GaleZuckerFVHere's another one. Win-win-win. Props to Jared Flood's photos, too, for the commerical yet natural catalog-ish appeal.389_1212GaleZuckerFV 
I hate knitting fitted sleeves for myself but I really really want a Z sweater. The whole alphabet is charted. Love it

Warm Knits, Cool Gifts from Sally Melville and her daughter Caddy Melville Ledbetter also gets my thumbs up.  It has a broad range: baby knits, accessories, sweaters, xmas type things, cute kid knits, anafghan. A keeper, but I have to admit, it's been here most of the year, and I haven't knit anything from it.
Then I offered Giuliana , who appreciates my knits in the most endearing way, a sweater of her choosing****** I pointed her at my shelf of knititng magazines and stack of books.
379_1212GaleZuckerFVShe chose this Center-Paneled Vest / Sweater , which I'd totally overlooked. Oversized, interesting front hem shape with shirt tail in back, nice drapey neck, and knit in worsted weight but with a center panel of fingering weight yarn. What a fun way to incorporate a skein of something too special for socks, right? I'm looking forward to casting on for it.383_1212GaleZuckerFV 
I kind of love it as a vest, too. 386_1212GaleZuckerFVExtra snaps to the book for the Flatter & Fit comment boxes along the way.

Next category: handknit dolls & toys. Love 'em. Almost never make'em. When my fabulous niece Ariana joined me at Rhinebeck this year, the one thing she wanted most was to cast on for stuffed animals, her fave kind of knit. So, I have the perfect gift for her:
A Kuku Doll kit. (This is Bella).  When Lisa , of The Creative Warehouse had me teach last month, she brought a bunch of her dolls as subjects. They are adorable, and come in every ethnic mix imaginable. If you have a multiracial family like mine, you perhaps have spent some fruitless hours looking for sweet non-caucasian dollies?  Lisa and a partner  have a very cool social initiative business, with the knitted/felted dolls available for purchase, or as kits & patterns to make them yourself.  Read more about the Dolly-Mamas here.
Then, there is this new book
Knitted Farm Animals by Sarah Keen
There's a lot to like inside. The animals are not twee, in fact some are downright soulful.
If I were a good granny, I'd be knitting this for Zoe. She loves her some sheep. (Me? Responsible? M-a-a-a-ay be). Instead, the book'll go to Ariana as well, and she can be a good cousin.******* In case you're wondering if I've slacked off the gift knitting, compared to other years, the answer is, sort of. Details when all done and delivered. I'll show you what I'm knitting today though. It'll be done later, I'm sure.393_1212GaleZuckerFVI't's that reversible variation of Fishermans Rib stitch again, related to the Decibella pattern. This is a smaller, dialed down, more subdued cowl. I'm  thinking of it as Sottobella. Pattern soon.
* A few chunky cowl projects you can whip out between now and 12/25:  Decibella, WhamBam, PuffDaddyBulky Mobius Cowl...those are just a few, add yr faves in the comments, please! (yes I am on a cowl bender, thankyouverymuch)
** My last book with PotterCraft, Craft Activism  still makes an awesome gift for anyone who appreciates handmade. (Just saying).  They sent me the books above, for review.

***Not that I've done that the last 2 weeks.

****Bruce Weinstein has also published several cookbooks, and shares his homemade nosh at his book signings. Whatta guy.

*****Unfortunately, I had to trot out the "nuh-uh. not knitting sweaters for anyone on size 4US needles" clause..

******As long as the pattern called for size 7US or larger needles. See above.

*******Is this offloading guilt? Maybe. Works for me. What's your strategy?


craftivore said...

Happy Holidays!! I'm hoping to find a copy of Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island under my tree. Hope 2013 is a good one for you and your family.

Susan in Katonah said...

Boyfriend Sweaters looks like a great book. Since I'm SABLE, I feel like I need more pattern books.