Friday, 4 February 2011

The knitter's year by Debbie Bliss

One of the truly exciting things about blogging on something I love doing so much is that occasionally I am asked to blog a review of a new knitting book.  It has happened a few times now but I still get excited when a large envelope from Yvonne at Quadrille Publishing is sitting on our hall table when I get home from work.  I know that after supper I can flick through the pages and plan my next project.  After all I think it is only fair before reviewing to test drive the instructions given in the books.

However, I could recommend The Knitter's Year by knitting designer and producer of gorgeous yarns, Debbie Bliss  as a book that gives pleasure just in the way it looks, feels and in the way she writes.  Why not? I often buy a book about art or architecture (more often than not as a present for JTH ) and there is never a guilty thought about not tackling a project (what would I do? paint a portrait, build a house?) but with a knitting or sewing book I have to make a real effort not to have that guilty feeling that I should only buy if I am also going to make.  But if you are not a knitter please remember you can still buy this beautiful book for the sheer pleasure it gives the senses (you can always persuade someone like me to make something for you!)

Look at the cover and the pretty baby cardigan and coat hanger in front of the shabby chic set of drawers (wouldn't this be just great for my wool stash?) and you know you could love this book for purely aesthetic reasons.  Like lots of Quadrille books it has high quality thick mat paper. The photography is very very good, with a limited colour palette, punctuated by one or two gentle splashes of colour.

I was very pleased with the image above then reminded myself that it is just a photograph of a photograph and someone else did all the clever stuff.   I spent a lovely evening turning the pages and reading the little introductions to each pattern.  Even as a knitter I could  just love the book for its looks and the way it makes me happy to see something so elegantly set out, season by season, but I also want to make up so many of the projects it was quite hard to choose.

Perhaps a necklace from Spring

Or a chunky scarf from Winter

In the end I chose to make the  lavender bags from Summer

Ever since the Summer Of The Moth Infestation I like to have as many nice smelling things in my wardrobe and chest of drawers.  At the time we had to resort to the 'agent orange' version of household insecticide as  the moths had even eaten holes in our carpets!  But since then I have learned that plenty of cedar wood and lavender smelling stuff around is a good preventative.

The little lavender bags don't take much yarn so I suppose I could have made them from stash but I wanted to make a little set in the coordinating colours from the Debbie Bliss yarn range.  I did add some twiddly bits of my own as I wanted to be able to hang the little bags from coat hangers.  The spotty ribbon seemed perfect and comes from RE-found objects . The lavender came from The Lavender Fields .  Now a few words of warning, lavender is very light so a small weight comes in quite a large box.  I did not pay proper attention to this little fact and now have plenty of yarn, ribbon AND lavender to make quite a lot more bags.

I was perhaps a little more pleased with the results than I should be to stay within the bounds of modesty but I do think they look very pretty. 

If you are someone who looks very closely at pictures on blogs you may have seen the yellow bag making an early appearance here two weeks ago.  I found it was a perfect partner for the suit carrier I made, in fact I made three more suit carriers and they each have their own lavender bags.

Happy weekend everyone

xxx  C



Denise said...

I got that book for Christmas and love it:) One of my favs is those little lavender sachets too, I love how you put ribbon on yours.
I think I'll have to make some soon.

SIL said...

As a fellow lover of knitting books, as you know, I have just purchased Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby with some of my Christmas money from FIL. It is delightful! x

Florrie said...

Those little lavender bags are pretty and practical too..........I have a stash of lavender which was gathered from my garden last year, should get round to using it really.

florrie x

Ally Johnston said...

I love browsing through knitting books, it's so much fun to dream about all the things you could make, so long as you don't drift too far into the realm of fantasy and of course remember you only have one pair of hands

Vandy Massey said...

This is a gorgeous book. Definitely one any knitter would love. I am almost afraid to spend too much time looking through it. Could become addictive. :-)

robinintheuk said...

Sadly, I haven't the faintest idea of how to knit. Having said that, I love your blog and think you're pretty fabulous... and not just because you leave comments on my blog posts that make my heart sing... I also think those lavender bags are some of the prettiest and genuinely coolest things I've ever seen. I may have to hunt down someone to teach me how to knit just so I can have them in preferably every room of my house!! xx

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

These are so adorable ~ and as you point out ~ very nice to have around. I had a moth "incident" too and it involved a jumper that took me 3 years to knit in Jamieson's Shetland wool. Since then the entire house goes on high alert if a moth is spotted in the premises :)

PixieMum said...

I bought a copy of this lovely book and a few others in the sale at Teddington branch of British Bookshops and Stationers. This chain has gone into administration, some shops have been taken over by W H Smith where they do not have a branch.

Went in the Kingston branch today and nothing left in the craft section.

Am finding it hard to fit in reading and knitting, managed to knit on train to & from Kingston, just 4 stations too.

Angela said...

I have just had this book [Xmas 2011] and I found your review. I love your take on her lavender bags, and would like to share your post, its so good.

New Year Blessings