January 18, 2022

Gifts of books will keep creative friends warm and fuzzy

If a knitter or other fiber aficionado is on your holiday gift list, there’s no better way to say, “Have a merry,” than with books.

“The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years,” edited by Ann Budd, offers timeless designs for sweaters, shawls, vests, jackets and tank tops selected from past issues of Interweave magazine. The lace knitter will swoon over the romantic peignoir and the Forest Path shawl. Those who favor less-intricate projects will adore the stylish Lotus Blossom tank top and the trendy striped top knit of hemp. Those who love traditional sweaters patterned with cables or multihued yokes with find plenty to inspire them.

Nicky Epstein’s new book “Knitting Never Felt Better” is a compendium of felting projects sure to put one in a creative mood. The book takes the knitter through the process of dimensional felting used to create quirky scarves, capes, bags and holiday trees. Photographs of before and after felting teach the reader what to expect when felting items knit with cables, in multicolor, lace stitches and intarsia. Learn the how-tos of felted flowers and leaves, and how to turn old wool sweaters into adorable felted animals, and other items. If you aspire to felt, this book is the prefect place to begin. If you already felt, you’ll find lots of new ideas.

Is there a dyed-in-the-wool sock knitter dear to your heart? Vogue Knitting’s “The Ultimate Sock Book” has what it takes to keep a knitter interested – sock knitting history, the lowdown on casting on and knitting in the round, sock anatomy, stitch patterns for socks, sock knitting techniques from around the world and enough sock patterns to keep even the most diligent knitter happily occupied for the next several years. From argyles to Renaissance socks, whoever knits patterns from this book will warm many a foot.

Knitters who want to deepen their knowledge of the craft should reach for “The Best of Vogue Knitting: 25 Years of Articles, Techniques and Expert Advice” compiled from Vogue Knitting magazine. This book offers knitting history, articles about fiber, information on basic knitting techniques, deciphering charts and schematics, and advice on finishing, designing and shaping hand-knitted garments. This is not a pattern book, per se, but it does contain several projects.

Those who crochet will find much to get excited about in “Vogue Knitting: Stitchionary 4,” a compendium of crochet techniques, including basics, geometrics, color, lace, edgings and embellishments. Each page in the book offers a different technique and instructions on how to achieve it. The book does not contain projects, but any crocheter who wants to learn how to create original designs will find much of use for afghans, caps or sweaters.

Add to that two more by Nicky Epstein. “Crocheted Flowers” will put needleworkers into a Victorian mood as they create sweetly pastel flowers that can be used to embellish knitting and crochet projects. Create felted trumpet flowers, beaded Irish roses, pansies, daisies and many more posies. The book also contains lovely patterns that make use of the fiber flowers.

“Cover Up with Nicky Epstein” is a collection of knitted afghans from the author’s personal collection. The intricate and beautiful charted designs are geared for the experienced knitter. Outstanding designs that grabbed my attention are the Proposal Sampler, the Wedgewood and Trees Breeze, but all the designs are awe-inspiring. Those who embroider could adapt easily segments of the charted designs to cross-stitch projects.

Put a little history into your knitting with Sabine Domnick’s “Cables, Diamonds, Herringbone: Secrets of Knitting Traditional Fishermen’s Sweaters.” Discover what complex sweater artistry can be achieved with the simplicity of knit and purl stitches. Sabine’s book includes a collection of traditional patterns that are rich in symbolism of the sea, and deeply rooted in the history of Great Britain.

If color is the key to your knitting pleasure, opt for “Kristin Knits” by Kristin Nicholas. Her book vibrates with colorful and clever designs, including scarves, hats, socks, mittens, gloves and sweaters. Nicholas’ designs play with stripes – narrow, wide, horizontal and vertical – and circles, diamonds and waves, combining the fanciful with the utilitarian.

New for children who aspire to learn fiber arts is the Show Me How series of books, by Susan Levin and Gloria Tracy, which consists of two paperbound booklets housed in a hardbound case. The book on quilting consists of “The Friendship Quilt,” a story about learning to quilt, and “Mary Ruth’s How to Quilt Book.” The book on knitting consists of “Knitting to the Rescue,” a story about knitting, and “Mary Ruth’s How to Knit Book.” The stories are charming and the how-to booklets are filled with detailed instructions for easy projects.

One or several of these books under the Christmas tree is sure to create something warm and fuzzy in the heart of your knitter or crocheter.


Dana Chevalier, librarian at Peavey Memorial Library in Eastport, is seeking advice from other libraries about forming a knitting group aimed at bringing tweens and teens into the library to learn to knit. Adult facilitators who knit would offer expertise and assistance. If librarians have tips, ideas on what works, format, etc., call Chevalier at 853-4021 or e-mail peaveymemoriallibrary@yahoo.com.

The Bangor Area Sewing Guild is offering the class What Your Serger Can Do For You at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Hampden Municipal Building, Route 9. The cost is $10 guild members, $15 others. Call Kathy Childs at 941-8815 to register or for more information.

Talk to me. Call 990-8153 or e-mail ahamlin@bangrordailynews.net.

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