I love mail. And I especially love getting books in the mail. Some days when I go to the mailbox I think “I hope someone sent me some books!” even when I have no reason to believe that any books are on their way to me. But yesterday when I got home a package was waiting with a book inside it! Which goes to show that if you want something hard enough it will come to you.
It also goes to show that I have a thoughtful aunt. She sent me The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey, published in 1971 and originally owned by my aunt’s mother-in-law. It has obviously been lovingly consulted over the years.
The book (pictured in Fig. 1) has the basic intro to knitting chapters about equipment, choosing yarn, and all the basic skills you need to knit. It also has a really detailed section on taking measurements for knitting. What’s interesting is that it talks a lot about skirts and suits as though we’ll all be knitting our business wear, and even gives several examples of tightly woven stitches which would create an ideal fabric for more formal knitted garments. I don’t see a lot of patterns for stuff like this nowadays: knitting seems to be framed as a more fun activity for either whimsical accessories or warm sweaters.
Another section of note shows how to knit with ribbons: the ribbon is wrapped around the working needle several times before beginning (see Fig. 2) and the section is full of italicized warnings stressing that this is nothing like knitting with ordinary yarn (see Fig. 3). And of use to me since I’ll be finishing my cardigan really soon (!!!) are detailed instructions on how to insert a zipper. Protip: use embroidery floss instead of regular thread to sew the zipper on: regular thread tends to cut through the yarn with wear. I would never have figured this out on my own.
Best of all, the stitch dictionary at the back is categorized by reversible and non-reversible stitches, which is a must for me (how will I know if I want to make a scarf out of it if I don’t know if the stitch pattern looks good on both sides?).
All in all, a neat book, made all the better because I know a little bit of it’s history as an object.
I wonder what book I’ll get in the mail tomorrow?