Thursday, July 27, 2006

REVIEW: Why You Need Wendy Knits (The Book)

There's good news and there's bad news.

The bad news? I'm not an impartial reviewer. I'll admit that right up front. I've been an avid reader of Wendy Knits (The Blog) for three years now and I had extremely high expectations for Wendy Knits (The Book.)

The good news? Wendy Knits (The Book) exceeds those expectations.
I thought writing this review would be a snap but to my surprise it's turned out to be a whole lot harder than I thought. What can you say about a book that works on every level? Not much, as it turns out, besides a loud and enthusiastic, "BUY THIS BOOK NOW!"

Wendy Johnson is an extraordinarily gifted knitter. Visit her blog and you'll see examples of lace work that are otherworldly in their beauty and perfection of form. She is also a gifted and talented designer. Flip through the pages of Wendy Knits (The Book) and you'll find patterns for everything from delightfully simple scarves to classic tank tops and pullovers to the wickedly intricate Grape Arbor Shawl.

But here's where Wendy separates herself from the other wonderful knitters out there: Wendy has the ability to explain the most complicated knitting maneuver in clear simple language that even a terrified beginner can understand. The patterns are well-thought out, beautifully written, error-free, and it that's not enough, she offers charts, too. What more can a girl ask for? I hope this is just the first in a long line of knitting books by Wendy Johnson. Wendy could easily do an entire book on the mysteries of knitting lace, another one on socks, maybe one on various Scandinavian techniques. The list is endless as is her talent. But I do have one complaint: if ever a book cried out for color photos and hardcover treatment, this is it.

Wendy Knits is truly one-stop shopping for beginning and experienced knitters alike. I was a Wendy fan before and I'm even more hopelessly devoted now. Spend a few minutes with this book, a pair of bamboo needles, and a skein of something luscious and you'll be hopelessly devoted too.

(And no, I'm not related to Wendy. I just know a great knitter when I see one.)


Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Self-Control Ends Today

I have a confession to make: it's been over one week since I picked up a pair of needles.

You see, I'm kind of an all-or-nothing kind of woman and that defect in my personality really comes to life when I'm knitting. When I start I can't stop. I'll knit until my arms fall off, my family starves, we run out of clean laundry, the bills go unpaid, my books don't get written, I run out of yarn. (Run out of yarn? Have you seen my stack? Can't happen.)

Anyway, I had revisions to finish on my March 2007 book and it was either find myself sucked into finishing the second Bulky Fixation sock or actually doing my work. Now I'm not particularly virtuous by nature but the Muse was on my shoulder for a change (I think she must've locked the Demon Internal Censor in the basement) and I knew what I had to do: hide the knitting and embrace the laptop.

So I did. The revisions are finished. Yes, I have another project in need of my full attention but right now, this afternoon, I need a knitting fix and I need it bad.

I make my living with words but I can't even come close to expressing the deep comfort, the thrill, the sheer encompassing delight I feel when I'm knitting. Is it the feel of the needles in my hands? The beauty of the yarns? The way a pattern engages mind and soul and body all at once?

I haven't a clue.

All I can say is I've missed it terribly this past week and am hereby cutting this post short: I have a sock to finish.

This is a big needle afghan I made for a close friend's new grandson last year -- Light & Lofty yarn on #17US; Light & Lofty crochet edging. Yes, it goes all the way around; I think I folded it in half to take the photo. Pattern from the book Big Needle Knit Afghans by Jeanne Stauffer.

VIP: Check for errata!

Barbara Bretton