Books: A Spring Fling
It’s spring, when a maker’s fancy turns to … books. Enjoy this brilliant bouquet of my current faves. (The open books in the gallery above are in the order in which they appear below.)
Sheepology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia by Ilaria Demonti and Camilla Pintonato
Sheepology is and outstanding book about all things sheep. It says it’s a kids book, but I had a great time and learned a bunch reading it. This visual encyclopedia covers so much, the history of sheep, raising sheep, sheep breeds, the anatomy of sheep, how to make cheese, how to make yarn, knitting, and weaving. It looks at sheep and shepherds all around the world, and even talks about sheep in folktales and mythology. My favorite fun fact, the oldest piece of cheese discovered by archeologists is sheep cheese and is dated to 7,200 years ago!
Mrs Anne Sykes spent decades as a fabric magpie, collecting fabric scraps from garments to put in her diary along with careful annotations. Fashion historian Kate Strasdin connects these fabrics and their annotations to every day Victorian life. A fascinating read that pulls history from scraps of fabric.
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin
The Creative Act gives us the map uber-producer Rick Rubin uses to draw out his musicians and his own creativity. The words and work are familiar, but resonate like a bell if you are feeling lost or stuck within your creative endeavors. His method is encouraging and freeing, and works for any medium, including anyone who just wants to walk through the world in a more creative and open way.
52 Weeks of Easy Knits by Laine Publishing
A perfect book for any time knitting gets more social. The patterns of 52 Weeks of Easy Knits are easy to follow and can be knit while chatting with friends, during vacation travel, or next to a campfire as the light wanes. The patterns for sweaters and other accessories are uncomplicated in their style and will make great garments for a core wardrobe or quick to knit gifts that will delight the recipient.
On Mending: Stories of Damage and Repair by Celia Pym
Mending is a beautiful and thought-provoking book that explores some of the meanings behind mended fabric. Through photo and story, Celia Pym studies garments and accessories she has mended for herself and for others over the past 15 years.
Celia ponders what it means to have a garment that needs mending. How the way a person moves through the world shows in how and where their sweater wears out. She also speaks to the care that each mend represents in relationship to the garment and the relationship between the person mending and the owner of the garment. (For a visible mending how-to book, see my recommendation here.)
Kaffe Fassett: The Artist’s Eye by Dennis Nothdruft
Published to accompany the exhibition “Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern” running through July 8, 2023 at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh Scotland, Kaffe Fassett: The Artist’s Eye showcases many of the most famous designs of our favorite maximalist. It’s packed with insightful essays by designers and fashion historians, and there is a wonderful interview with Kaffe too. Even if you don’t read one word in the book, you will still be inspired by the explosion of color and pattern that always draws us to Kaffe.
Neons and Neutrals by Aimée Gille
Aimée Gille’s new collection is full of patterns knit up in exciting combinations of yarns and colors. Sixteen designers took the theme of mixing different types of yarns in each design and created sixteen patterns. There are no particular brands named in the patterns—just yarn weights, gauge, some description, and yardage. You will love your bountiful stash even more once you look through this book. The designs are fun, modern, and wearable, designs that make your outfit and turn heads as you stroll down the street.
The Knitted Fabric: Colourwork Projects for You and Your Home by Dee Hardwicke
Dee Hardwicke is a masterful colorwork knitter and designer. Her work echoes the Arts and Crafts movement in being both beautiful and useful. She designs three motifs in The Knitted Fabric, and develops each into several projects, including shawls, cushions and sweaters. It’s intriguing to see how the feeling of each motif changes depending on the size and shape of the projects. Some feel still and soft and some are a riot of color and motion. The photography is stunning and she includes original watercolors of her motifs.
Anna Hunter of Long Way Homestead in Manitoba, Canada is a crusader for Canadian wool, particularly small-scale breed-specific sheep farms like her own. This beautiful book celebrates the diversity of Canadian wool and the tenacity of Canadian sheep farmers, by visiting 11 sheep farms and learning about how farmers choose their flocks, raise their sheep in alignment with the land, and make beautiful yarn.
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