there’s been a lot of looking through patterns, swatching, knitting, ripping, sketching, and reading but nothing seems to stick. I really have nothing to show you since I have no sweaters on the needles, the socks aren’t finished, and the shawl is stalled. you would think that I really don’t want to knit yet it’s the opposite. I think I’m overwhelmed by everything I want to knit or rather how much I want to knit. so I read instead.
sure, a knitting book snuck in there, but mostly I started working through a pile of books I picked up last fall and slacked on. since I last posted I must’ve finished three and I finally started Son of a Witch. the other book that regained my attention is thai food by david thompson. this is the type of book that makes me weak in the knees. sure, it sucks you in with the gorgeous food photography within, but it’s the first 200 or so pages that win me over. not most cooking books will take that many pages to go over the history of the food and the culture, the different techniques used, and what the particular ingredients that make the food unique are. actually most cooking books are 200 pages or less with a ton of glossy pictures and recipes you may or may not have seen somewhere else. the 400 pages of recipes that follow are droolworthy, well written, and always opened to interpretation.
don’t worry, this isn’t becoming a food blog but I did want to give you a hint into what I’ve been looking for in a knitting book and have yet to find. if a cooking book can be considered a scholarly work, why can’t a knitting book? I’m not looking for a book high in theory, full of ‘art patterns’ that scream “I’m deeper than you!” but at the same time I’m tired of the general knitting book formula. most books, not all, start off with why the author wrote the book, then some words on a few techniques (swatching, blocking, increasing, decreasing, etc) that never go very deep, and then patterns that range from sweaters, hats, blankets, and fillers (i.e. egg cozies, chair covers, door screens, and so on). there are a few exception to this formula (thank you Knitting Nature!), but for the most part there aren’t too many surprises in the knitting publishing world.
so with all that baggage, what do I think about melissa leapman’s upcoming book, cables untangled? first off, a few things: I received this book (an uncorrected proof) for free at tnna, I even got it signed by the author, I love cables, I was sorely disappointed in inspired cable knits, both books share the same publisher, no one besides a few blog readers asked me to write on this book (this is not an advertorial), and I created a flickr set showing the projects from the book so you can judge for youself. phew!
I’m always excited when I hear about a cable book coming out and immediately start to think about cute sweaters and cardigans with well placed cables and maybe even some chunky cashmere hats to match. the best part is when cables are all the rage on the runway. you can have fun knitting and be fashionable to boot! my excitement was tempered after looking through leapman’s book. there are eight tops (including two for men and one for kids), two scarves, one hat, one poncho, one skirt, one bag and eight home accessories (mostly afghans, but also some pillows, and a rug). umm, where’s my mcqueen coat or balenciaga sweater? ok so the designs aren’t my style, but I can’t’ say they aren’t extremely well thought out to the fine detail or that leapman isn’t a master of cables (she designed many of the cables herself). I can’t help but stare at all the afghans and imagine how great the textures feel, I just, most likely, won’t knit them. I love how the cables fall into the ribbing in most of the sweaters or how the cable seems to follow the raglan line, but the shaping or styling of the rest of the sweater isn’t for me. something about them makes them feel heavy, that’s the only way I can really explain it. the book’s strength lies in the cable stitch dictionary, with over 120 cables to look through and the basics chapter that is great for any cabling beginner. BUT I’m not a beginner, I understand how to cross and twist cables. I did enjoy how she explains how to cable without a cable needle and wished she went deeper in other areas. there’s only two pages on ‘designing with cables’ that I wish was expanded on, it could have turned this pattern book into a reference book.
I’m glad the version I have is printed as a black and white book, it let’s me not fall for the colors, photographs, and art direction. rather, I feel like I’m seeing what is truly there. these are just my opinions of course, check out the pictures and then the book this fall to make up your own mind.