Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Greetings from the Knit Café, Weekend Knitting and Luxury Knits

Today I had a minor medical emergency and spent almost two hours in the doctors' office. Knowing before I left how long the wait might be, I took my knitting. I am an almost compulsive knitter at times (some obsessive tendencies, here) and have been seen knitting everywhere. There's been a bit of a hiatus, and I felt the need to take back up my needles.

So I sat and sat and knit and knit and in walks this woman. Her beret was nearly horizontal on the side of her head, and I thought; 'Now THAT's a jaunty angle!' She's one of the types of people most of us avoid eye contact with. She stands in the middle of the waiting room and asks, 'Would anyone like a glass of water?' I politely decline, but undeterred, this offer was made to each new-comer to the room.

Then, from her capacious bag she pulls out crocheting and sets to work, just like me. How strange it struck me. You just don't often see needle work of any kind in public anymore, and here we were two kindred spirits, with very little else in common.

From across the room she nodded at my lap and enquired, 'Scarf?' I replied, 'No, slippers.' She worked quietly for the rest of my wait, only pausing to offer liquid refreshment.

And in my rambling way, this brings me to my current bedtime reading. I must now confess that despite the amount of time I've spent over the years working on my knitting, I am only consistently successful with flat, rectangular projects. Washers, dishcloths, scarves, wraps, coasters and hot pads. I churn them out. And they are wonderful, but I am longing to make more things that are shaped properly, you know, with armholes.

So, like a kid unable to ride a two wheeler who spends hours watching motorbike races, I read knitting books. I lust after the patterns and the photos, and imagine myself wearing something that makes people say, 'That's really lovely!' instead of, 'Did you make that yourself?'

And below are some of my current bedtime books. I nod off and dream of wearing some of the creations in these beautiful books.

Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick has projects that look simple enough for me. They are trendy, colourful, cheerful and small.

Amanda Griffiths' Luxury Knits has beautiful, classic designs, but they look way out of my league. I read some reviews on Amazon that said one of her books had lots of errata, too. So for me this is a definite 'dream' book.

But my favourite in the stack is Greetings from the Knit Café by Suzan Mischer. It's so cheerful and bright, with a large variety of patterns. Baby, adult, simple, elaborate, large and small, they are all here, even flat ones! You can knit for a person or your home with this book. It also has recipes, music suggestions and the history of the Knit Café, an actual place in West Hollywood, apparently. The models are real customers and the book has a scrapbook style that is very appealing. This is a great book for lusting over.

Am I the only one who reads about projects she'll never accomplish, or does anyone do something similar? What's your favourite fantasy DIY publication?

And, by the way, I never worked out where that glass of water was going to come from…


  1. I tried knitting but I unintentionally made up a stitch every few rows that left the scarf with a moth bitten look. I love to watch it being done though. Do you have wooden needles? My dream books are complicated cookbooks with recipes in them that call for things like asafoetida or ajwain among 20 other spices required to make a garbanzo bean curry.

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  3. DeLynne, those are beautiful books . Since we were teens, I've always been so impressed with your talent in sewing, knitting ect.

    You tried to teach me a bit in the late 80s but my needlework gene just hasn't kicked in.

    Oh yes, cookbooks are irresistible for me too but the DIY books that make me weak in the knees are kitchen design, landscaping and gardening books. Those projects are big and labor intensive so I just dream and ponder.

    I also have tons of gourd art project books that I grew gourds for but never tackled. I kinda have a thing for woodworking books... and soap making books and...

  4. +JMJ+

    DeLynne, I am in awe that you can knit anything! I'm so hopeless at crafts. My grandmother is a virtuoso with her crochet hook (with some dabbling in cross-stitch) and my mother isn't bad with a needle herself, but my talents don't like in that field. =( I imagine it must be so satisfying to make something with your own hands and then get to use it for years!

    Perhaps the only project books I have are cookbooks. Well, yes, I have scrapbooking books and crochet books, too, but I'm just holding them as the family librarian. They're really my grandmother's.

    Just last week, I was leafing through a quilting book and telling my mother that I wanted to try making a quilt because the cold months are coming on and the patterns in the book were just so lovely. She just laughed at me. =P

  5. Tracy, funny you should ask about the needles. My mother gave me the most beautiful complete set of Harmony Interchangeable Circular needles. They have the most scrumptious colours of laminated birch, and I will never need to buy another needle again. They make knitting that much more fun. I broke one while knitting at the beach, and the company replaced no probs at all.

    To T and L, I have just the cookbook for you! I will review it soon...

    E, keep dreaming, and don't let anyone stop you! I have taught myself all manner of craft with books. Find one and start if you really want to!

  6. DeLynne, you have inspired me. I found a knit shop a few miles from home and am going in this afternoon to schedule a class. I'm hoping they offer a Knitting for Thumbies.

  7. A nearby town (14 miles) is now offering community classes and I know there was a quilting class and maybe a knitting or crochet class-- I'm starting to feel inspired too. But like I've said my needle work gene never kicks in-- it twitches occasionally but that is it.

    E: my grandmothers both quilted and one knitted/crocheted and was a seamstress for the public-- I now exactly how you feel. We may surprise everyone yet...

  8. My advice for new knitters, since you asked (well, almost, it was implied, wasn't it?) is this...

    Choose the simplest project you can find and buy the most fabulous yarn you can afford. Even a holey garter stitched scarf will be wonderful in your favourite colour of silk or cashmere. Repeat after me, 'Acrylic is the enemy!' You can buy that already knitted at Target for peanuts.

    And signing up for a class is a wonderful idea. Your LYS (local yarn store) will be like a support group for you.


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