Prior to Christmas, I ordered 3 very special books for myself from Schoolhouse Press. After watching the videos of Meg Swanson describing many of the new books that they had in the shop, I was really smitten with 3 of them. And, I had a 20% off coupon to boot! I will review each book separately.
The first book, Lithuanian Knitting, Continuing Traditions, was a 7 year journey for Donna Druchunas, whose family originally came from Lithuania. A few years back, I had the pleasure of taking classes from Donna, and this inspired me to also purchase the book. The Baltic region history and knitting history have intrigued me since taking a class with Nancy Bush on Estonian Knitting. The other author is June Hall, she is from England and focuses on rare sheep breeds. This is one of the few heady knitting books that I sat and read cover to cover. I enjoyed the history, the Baltic countries have been occupied so much of their time, and only recently got their independence from the USSR, and the interest in their heritage has been growing since. One fact that has haunted me since reading this was that prior to WWII, 1/2 of the Lithuanian population was Jewish – 90% of them were slaughtered during WWII, a higher percentage than any other country in the world. That gives me great pause in this tumultuous time.
The book contains lots of great photos, and maps. It takes you through the history of Lithuania and the fiber arts, the heritage sheep breeds, and then the various areas of the country and knitting traditions. Not knowing the language, nor the country, it was sometimes hard for me to follow and get a handle on distances. I loved the ribbon bookmark, and the fact that the book is printed in Lithuania. Also contained within the book are 25 individual patterns from different regions for gloves, mittens, socks, wrist warmers. A couple of them have piqued my interest.
Making mittens and/or socks with this fringe is on my list:
And the graphics are really fun, each chapter has a ball of yarn on the left hand lower corner with the page number, it then follows across to a garment that continues to be “knit up” during the course of that chapter. It is much like a flip-book of a garment under construction in the corners.
If I had any criticisms, it would be that the flow of writing is not smooth. I could definitely tell the difference between Donna and June’s writing styles, I must say that I preferred Donna’s voice, June’s felt folksy at times I think that the editor should have done a better job of coalescing the 2 together. That said, a great book to have in your personal library!