BY HAND

Last-minute gift ideas for knitters

Posted Dec. 19, 2013, at 10:51 a.m.
Well-known authors including Jane Smiley, Anita Shreve, Ann Patchett and Andre Dubus III write about knitting in &quotKnitting Yarns."
Well-known authors including Jane Smiley, Anita Shreve, Ann Patchett and Andre Dubus III write about knitting in "Knitting Yarns."

Books are always welcome as gifts at holiday time. Here are few that will appeal to knitters:

“Writers in Knitting” edited by Ann Hood is the kind of book one will put aside actual knitting in order to read. The book asks the question, “Why does knitting occupy a place in the hearts of so many writers?” and “How does knitting help us through life-changing events and inspire joy?”

A stellar lineup of writers in the book answer those questions, including Elizabeth Berg, Andre Dubus III, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver, Alison Lurie, Ann Patchett, Anita Shreve and Jane Smiley.

In the story “The Pretend Knitter,” Berg spins a story about loving everything about knitting, and her desire to knit something to give to someone dear to her, but, she doesn’t know how to knit.

Andre Dubus III, in his story, “Blood, Root, Knit, Purl,” describes how knitting became a way to make a Christmas gift for his aunt, and in the process, tighten the relationship with his girlfriend.

In “Teaching a Child to Knit,” Sue Grafton talks about the ins and outs of knitting as it pertains to teaching a child the craft, and why that matters.

And that’s only a glimpse into the reading pleasure the book contains.

All of the stories are engaging and interesting, even if one does not knit, and it will appeal to those who love literature.

As an extra bonus, a half-dozen knitting patterns designed by Helen Bingham are scattered through the book.

“Lace One-Skein Wonder,” edited by Judith Durant, contains 101 projects that will help lace knitters, and those aspiring to learn, expand their horizons.

Projects in the book cover hat, mittens, gloves, socks, children’s items, blankets, scarves, shawls, stoles, cowls, accessories and items for the home.

Instructions for some of the designs are charted, some are written, and some are written and charted, a nice feature for those just learning to read knitting charts.

Some designs, such as the Flutter Toque and matching mittens, and the child’s I Heart You Dress have only a touch of lace. Most of the designs have all-over lace such as the Raindrops Scarf and the ethereal Wavelet Hair Tie.

With so many designs to choose from and many new stitch combinations to savor, this book is sure to be a welcome addition to any knitter’s library.

“Scarf Style 2” by Ann Budd will take the scarf knitter from zero to 26 — “fresh designs,” that is, according to the book jacket — as soon as the cover is opened. The word “scarf” in this book is extended to include wraps, shawls and cowls.

Cables, Fair Isle, entrelac and lace are among the techniques used to create the designs in the book. Many of the designs are charted.

The book includes a handy Design Notebook that offers information on how to get started, yarn, needle size, construction, choosing stitch and color patterns and other useful things.

Fans of Cascade Pacific and Pacific Chunky yarns will have the perfect companion in “Cozy Knits: 50 Fast and Easy Projects from Top Designers” by Tanis Gray.

The book offers designs for hats, mittens, cowls, scarves, sweaters, shawls, shrugs and gifts. The gift list includes a pillow, blankets, girl’s raglan cardigan embellished with cable trim and leg warmers.

Design elements include cables, lace, Fair Isle, intarsia and I-cord.

Snippets

A Rug-hooking demonstration with Sarah Nickerson will be held 11 a.m.-1p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. For information, call 2548-2529 or visit penobscotmarinemuseum.org.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com. Don’t forget to visit her blog at byhand.bangordailynews.com.

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