Christmas Wishes

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In addition to Ethan making it home safely from Japan, we had a wonderful time at home with our own little family.  Dan and I did not have extensive Christmas lists, but it was fun to surprise the kids (adults) with gifts.  Most of what they asked for was very practical.

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As always, my list included knitting and spinning related items.  My husband has finally realized that those are the things I want the most, and I have reciprocated with months of reading and listening material for him.  Top of my list were St. Blaise combs, and he came through like a champ with help from Susan’s Fiber Shop!

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In the class with Deb Robson last summer we used these combs, and everyone raved about them.  Some cashmere in my stash is waiting to be processed, will wash that up today and demonstrate the process to Dan.  It is a good thing that these come with a storage system to protect the tines, as they are very sharp.

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Also on my list were 2 books from Annemor Sundbo, Setesdal Sweaters, and Everyday Knitting.  These have been coveted by me for some time, and I was very happy to have received them.  The diminutive size of the books surprised me a bit, but the size beguiles the content.  These will take some time to read through, I love Fair Isle knitting, and these add to my library nicely.  I will review these at a later date.

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A review from Knitters Bookshelf:

Annemor Sundbø, a native of Setesdal in Norway, has created a fascinating history of a region, a garment, the makers, and the details that place these sweaters in the pantheon of traditional folk garments. Opening the pages of her book is like stepping back in time, with local characters and events of a bygone era. In fact, her photographs of people, places, and advertising are joy to pour over — you’ll find yourself dreaming about these sweaters, so vivid is her presentation of the life behind the design.

Sundbø not only gives us the history of the “Louse Coat,” but she ends the book with detailed instructions on for the characteristically embroidered plackets and cuffs and a long section of patterns from the historic sweaters throughout the book. If you are an experienced knitter, you will have no trouble converting these patterns into sweaters.

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And another review from Knitter’s Bookshelf of  Everyday Knitting.

Everyday Knitting is a treasure trove of knitting patterns and cultural history. The author unravels the fascinating history of traditional Norwegian knitting, a story that sprang to life as she explored the storage bins of a wool recycling factory (which she had just purchased in what must have been one of the more amusing real estate transactions in Norwegian history. She was a weaving teacher and had wanted some experience in a full-scale woolen mill — the owner said he’d happily provide the training if she would buy the mill first!)

The mill produced batting from recycled wool obtained by shredding old woolen knit garments. As Annemor went through her new holdings, she realized how much history was being lost in those shredding machines and how very important it was to recapture some of it.

The result was this wonderful, beautiful book which has everything a knitter, garment designer or cultural historian could every want. There are patterns that go back to the beginnings of Norwegian knitting and beyond; a thorough discussion of all stages of knitting in Norway; there are photographs of some rescued knit treasures — amazing socks, gloves, caps, sweaters; old photos showing these sweaters in daily life; instructions and advice on how to go about recreating these masterpieces of beauty and practicality, or using the motifs and patterns to create something new with something old.

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Of course, there is always some new Architecture book to add to my collection.  Barry Byrne was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, and carried the “Prairie School” theme out much longer than he.  This book was just published this year.  Much like knitting books, the market is smaller, and books do not stay in print long, thus gaining in value.  Must get them while you can!

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Every knitter should also have one of these, forgot to add it to my list, perhaps next year!!

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