~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~ Ginny at small things

Yarn-along - September 25, 2013

Yarn-along – September 25, 2013

Good morning … it’s promising to be a lovely day – 50 right now (0700) with a high of 72 and sunny … perfect weather for schooling and researching and knitting away. Besides, it’s my birthday, so I don’t even have to make dinner tonight!

A very good day indeed.

The majority of the books on the table are research for my class on cables that I’ll be doing this Saturday (September 28), up at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. I love researching the history of folk knitting … and cable-knitting is particularly interesting as there is no definitive answer for who twisted the first stitches and developed the ability to make such gorgeous, textural hand-knits. The Mary Thomas’s Book of Knitting Patterns, the first book to highlight a cabled sweater, is a classic knitting reference. Thomas, a British fashion editor and knitter from the mid-20th century, gives us a few clues to the origin of the cabled work … but it’s Gladys Thompson’s book, Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys and Arans: Fishermen’s sweaters from the British Isles that really analyzes the examples themselves and tells the reader HOW to replicate the classic cabled sweaters. I particularly like Thompson’s book as she delves into the linkage between the sweaters from all of the British Isles rather than sticking just to analyzing the Irish/Aran Island sweaters. Richard Rutt’s A History of Hand-knitting adds to the story a bit, describing how Aran got so famous for cabled garments but it’s Alice Starmore’s academic treatise on the history of Aran Islands and the Aran knitting style that really helps explain the whys and wherefores in the first chapters of her book. Starmore’s Aran Knitting delves deep into the islands and knitting history to dispel much of the romantic mythology surrounding the cabled hand-knits — links to the Book of Kells and ancient, Druidic/Celtic knot-work are explained and a clearer picture of how cabling came to be known as “Aran knitting” make for a wonderful read.

Regardless of the “truth” of the knitting, though, it’s hard to deny the beauty and intricacy of cabled knitting and I’ll be trying to imbue my class with a feel for the design potential inherent with understanding cabling — a knitting technique that uses more yarn and takes longer than any other hand-knit method. But the results are so worth it … here’s the project we’ll be working on in the class on Saturday:
bag 2

All this research into cabling has re-ignited my love of working cables — as you can see by my work-in-progress in the top picture, I’m hard at work on a new cabled design that is such fun to knit! I’ll keep you posted about that particular design.

School has been going well so far …. Bunny and HamBone are enjoying their time up at the high school (altho not so happy about the commute and early-morning departure time) while Kit and HotRod are reveling in sleeping later than the teens and being taught by their favorite teacher. We’re really enjoying Brotherband #3 – The Hunters … it’s so good and hard to put down to move on to other subjects! I’m finding myself quite tempted to read-ahead of the read-aloud … but so far, I’m being good. Yes, it is that good a story. I can’t wait for Flanagan’s latest Ranger’s Apprentice, Royal Ranger, to come out in November (I’ve pre-ordered it for HamBone).

So … what’s on your needles and reading table … any fun, new knitting books you’d like to share?

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