BY HAND

Books to inspire summer knitting and crocheting

Posted June 13, 2011, at 7:21 p.m.

Now is the time to plan projects to take to camp to knit, and what to carry in your tote bag for crocheting on the beach. Summer is the perfect time for making things that won’t take long to finish, such as baby items. Here are a few books that might be just the thing to inspire summer knitting and crocheting:

All of the patterns in “60 Quick Baby Knits” call for Cascade 220 superwash yarn. Most of the patterns are geared toward intermediate and advanced knitters, but designs in the easy range include a blanket, a cap and thumbless mittens. Seasoned knitters will find challenges in cabled sweaters, a faux entrelac blanket, several sweaters done in Fair Isle techniques and blankets that incorporate lace stitches in the design. One charming cap is knit so that it resembles a sheep and a sweater sports a knit alligator encircling the garment from back to front. Booties in several different versions may be the quickest things in the book to knit and the designs are so adorable, you may not be able to wait until you get to camp before you start knitting.

“Crochet!”by Marie-Noelle Bayard has as its main focus crochet techniques, stitches and patterns. However, readers will find designs for baby booties, a baby sweater, baby toy and blankets. Other patterns include bags, sweater, hat, scarf and slippers. This book also serves as a reference book for crochet stitches and provides a compendium of information on how to shape necklines and armholes, how to make buttonholes, and how to increase and decrease stitches. This is the perfect book for those who want to take their crocheting skills up a notch.

Also for crocheters, there’s “Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers” by Linda Permann. One of the neat things about the book is that it provides information on how to make the garments you crochet fit the baby in question by taking the correct measurements. Fans of the granny square will find the Mix and Match Motif Blanket appealing. And those who have experience crocheting doilies will love the Sunshine Blanket which looks like a giant lacy doily. Sweaters for boys and girls, dresses, vests, booties, toys and motifs that can be appliqued on sweatshirts also are included in the book.

“Welcoming Home Baby the Handcrafted Way” by Tricia Drake offers “20 knitted hats, wraps and cozy cocoons” for the newborn baby. The hat designs are whimsical and achieve effect with the use of chunky yarns, ruffles and lively colors. One blanket design calls for novelty yarn trim. Knitters can choose to knit round blankets, or a zig-zag pattern or one with an embroidered alligator motif. The designs for cocoons and pods are delightful, each one having a “snug as a bug in a rug” flavor sure to appeal to new mothers. The photographs of the infants modeling the knit designs are especially eye catching.

And if you are new to Maine, or expect to entertain guests who are coming to Maine for the first time — with or without knitting and crocheting in tow — “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State” by Jennifer Smith-Mayo and Matthew P. Mayo might be a title to add to the bookshelf. This little book covers a lot of territory in a 100 pages, including bean hole beans, Maine’s native people, Chester Greenwood of earmuffs fame, Joshua Chamberlain the hero of Gettysburg, blackflies, Stephen King and Baxter, Fort Knox and Acadia state parks. Each one-page essay is illustrated with one or more photographs making this a wonderful book to browse. Readers, both from here and from away will learn new things about Maine and be reminded why we love to live and knit here.

Ask your local bookstore to order these books, check to see if your local library has copies to borrow, or look for the titles at online bookstores.

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

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