A few books knitters will enjoy

Posted April 25, 2011, at 9:24 p.m.

Knitting books are an ever-present factor on my desk, and even though I try my best to stay ahead of the stack, I’m always too far behind. So in this column, I’m going to play catch-up.

If you like knitting history (and who doesn’t?) mixed with knitting trivia, look no further than Vogue Knitting’s “Knitopedia: The Ultimate A to Z for Knitters.” This useful and entertaining reference book is sprinkled with essays by well-known names in the knitting world, including designer and author Nicky Epstein, designer and author Debbie Bliss, author Clara Parkes of the online Knitter’s Review and Linda Cortright, publisher of Wild Fibers magazine. The book also is brimming with tips about knitting techniques, information about designing garments, ethnic traditions, fiber and yarn substitution — plus illustrations, photographs, technical drawing, maps, schematics and tables.

There is much to admire in “Knitopedia” — some of my favorites are the photo of a knitted bathing suit that appeared in Vogue’s Knitting Book in 1947, a photo of the painting “The Visit of the Angel,” painted in 1390, that shows the Virgin Mary knitting; an essay by Elaine Eskesen of Damariscotta and author of “Dyeing to Knit”; the illustrations showing the different neckline, sleeve, hat and other styles, the instructions for making a French, Dutch or short-row stocking heel; the photo of the fabulous knitted lace christening gown designed by Margaret Stove; and how to read a yarn label. And that’s only scratching the surface of the wealth of information in the book. Browsing this book is like having the world of knitting in your lap.

And speaking of Epstein, her “Knitting Over the Edge” is now in paperback. This is the sequel to her “Knitting On the Edge.” Essentially, this, too, is a reference book for knitters that supplies instructions for unusual ribbed trims, whimsical I-cord edgings, applique using cord and individually knit motifs such as leaves and flowers, using color to create a multitude of patterns, and “nouveau” edgings, including flaps, cups, holsters, ruffles and scallops.

“Knitting Wrapsody” by Kristin Omdahl is a clever way to say: Let’s knit stuff you can wrap around your neck or shoulders that is warm, pretty and may or may not have sleeves. Omdahl’s designs are fashion-forward and rely on interesting techniques that make them appealing; for example, large knitted lace motifs form the back of a shawl for an airy look; long and short strips are the building blocks for a sleeveless wrap finished with a serrated border; and a cardi-wrap featuring the symbol for infinity knit in. The book also contains designs for knitted skirts, including a drawstring number embellished with a flirty layer of ruffles at the side hem. “Knitting Wrapsody” also comes with a DVD.

Now is the time to plan ahead for summer days when it’s too hot to knit and reading in the hammock is the order of the moment. That’s the time to open “How to Knit A Heart Back Home: A Cypress Hollow Yarn” by Rachael Herron. This is a love story that revolves around the archive of knitting legend Eliza Carpenter, the means by which lead character Lucy Harrison, bookstore owner by day and firefighter by night, crosses romantic paths with bad-boy ex-cop Owen Bancroft. This is a novel to get all wrapped up in.

Snippets

Melissa MacCrae, owner of Spin a Yarn, invites knitters, crocheters and other fiber artists to an open house 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at 39 North Main St., Brewer, former site of Pretty Woman at the end of the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge. For more information email mmaccrae@spinayarn.biz.

Open house attendees will receive a 25 percent discount on yarn purchases, MacCrae said, in celebration of the newly launched business.

In addition to yarn, the shop will carry knitting needles and crochet hooks, buttons, shawl pins and free patterns from Plymouth Yarn Co.

East Orrington Congregational Church will hold a Quilt Show 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the church, 38 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington. Admission will be $3. Lunch will be available. The public is invited to enter quilts or wall hangings, which can be brought to the church office from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 18, Thursday, May 19, and Friday, May 20; or from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 19. Of special interest will be a bridal quilt made in 1840 by a Rockland family. For more information, call Linda Weinmann at 825-4591.

Bear Paw Quilt Guild will hold a Quilt Show 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Sunbury Retirement Village, 922 Ohio St., Bangor. The event will feature vendors, a fat quarter basket, a quilt raffle and door prizes. Sunbury will offer luncheon noon-2 p.m. in the dining room. Admission is $3.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or e-mail ahamlin@bangordailynews.com.

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