Daily Archives: May 1, 2012

Book review/interview: Beyond Knit and Purl

Knitting friends, I’ve got a few book reviews coming up for you in the next month or so around these parts, so what better time than the 1st of the month to get them kicked off? (Side note: How in the heck is it May already? Time passes awfully quickly when you’re knitting a lot of things.)

My friend Kate recently published her first book, Beyond Knit and Purl, and it is a very friendly volume of tips, tricks, and patterns for knitters in that amorphous stage of advancing from ‘basic’ things towards…well, less basic things, moving into that ever-broadening category of intermediate knitting. You will find a collection of technical explanations of stitches like increases and decreases, cables, lace, and more, all with full-colour photographs to bridge the written instructions. If you are in that stage of wanting to learn more than the basics but don’t necessarily know what you don’t know, this would be a good volume for you. There are a variety of patterns for socks, accessories, even sweaters, that would be at home in many a knitter’s library. Kate teaches in the Toronto area and uses many of these pieces of advice in her classes as well.

Beyond knit and purl

Since there have already been a few stops on Kate’s ‘blog tour’ for this book, I decided to change it up a bit for my stop and ask Kate a few interview questions, both about the book and herself as a knitter! Read on for more, below. Additionally, Co-operative Press has also generously offered to do a book giveaway as part of my stop on her book’s blog tour. If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of the book (because hey, free book!) just leave a comment on this post before noon on Thursday (Toronto time) with what your favourite knitting tip is that you’ve learned (either recently, or ever), and I’ll name the winner this coming Thursday afternoon.

Kate, what are your favourite kinds of things to knit?
My comfort knitting is socks – plain old stocking stitch socks in a beautiful or fun yarn. I don’t have to look, and they are a small project I can tuck into the corner of my purse, so I’m never without something to do. I got most of the leg of a sock finished in a movie theatre last week. And when I’m in a line up at the bank, it helps pass the time! Then when I’m at home, or a long streetcar or plane ride, I love really challenging lace. I get a huge thrill from experimenting with stitch patterns, and I relish the mathematical challenge of working out how to fit them together in a shawl pattern.

If you had to pick a favourite set of tips from the book…
It was really important to me to teach proper finishing techniques – it’s too often given short shrift in the literature, and many a knitting project has been abandoned due to lack of confidence or knowledge about finishing. And no matter how well it’s knitted, poor finishing leaves you with an unattractive end result.

What’s something you learned during the process of making the book?
I asked knitters – professional and casual knitters, experienced and newbies, students and colleagues – for hints and tips to add to my book. I learned an amazing number of clever tricks! One of my favourites: when counting stitches on a straight needle, hold the pointy end and start counting there, towards the stopper end – it’s too easy to knock stitches off the end if you go the other way!

What’s your current favourite knitting “viewing”?
I love a procedural mystery. My husband likes to say that if someone dies before the opening credits, I’ll watch it. The Law & Order family – Law & Order UK is fab! — the CSI family, Castle, The Mentalist, those types of shows. They are very formulaic, but that works brilliantly for knitting. If I miss a few minutes because I’m counting stitches or reading the pattern or making notes, I won’t be lost. And if the crime scene is particularly gory, I can look at my knitting instead of the screen. It doesn’t have to be a murder, but most crime shows seem to focus on that. I’m also a fan of Fairly Legal, which tells the stories of a mediator working for a law firm, and the crimes there are often much more prosaic – business negotiations, house sales, that sort of thing. It’s surprisingly compelling – but still easy to watch with only half your attention.

How strong do you take your coffee again?
Brutally, fiercely, teethcurlingly strong. At The Purple Purl, they make a special Americano for me, since no-one else takes it the way I do.

Thanks for the interview, Kate! And happy knitting, to all.


Filed under book review