Friday, December 21, 2012


Quick post:

The Random Number Generator has spoken, and Nancy is the winner of the History on Two Needles ebook giveaway! Congratulations!

Nancy: I've given your name to the Cooperative Press, and they'll be gifting the ebook to your Rav account.

Happy solstice everyone! Watch out for the flying apocalyptic debris, though.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: History on Two Needles by Annie Modesitt

As readers of this wee bloggy might know, my daylight hours are spent as a museums professional; my degree in Art History & History is always pleased to be trotted out and put to some use.

So you can imagine that I was totally stoked when I first saw the new publication by Annie Modesitt and the wonderful Cooperative Press, History on Two Needles: exploring art history through modern handknits.

And then, even more so when I was approached to review it!

Full disclosure: I've been a fan of Modesitt's ever since my knitting days began, lo those seven odd years ago. Her Corset Tank Top is one of the first patterns I ever made twice, I loved it so.

So, herein lies my humble opinion on this accomplished designer's labour of love.

In the introduction, Modesitt reveals her long-time desire to create garments based on historical images, uniting her interests in history, art, and knitting.
Each of the seventeen patterns is accompanied by a handful of historic snippets, from the political and personal lives of storied royal and aristocratic figures to details about garment shaping, use, and manufacture.
With a Masters degree in Costume and Set Design, I can't think of who better to write a book on historical costuming and knitting patterns than Annie Modesitt!

One of the strengths of this book is in it's information regarding fashion history. Art's function in this book is as direct visual inspiration for the patterns, from the Ancient Snake Goddess with the impossibly corseted waist to the Woman in Red by Tissot (1864).
Modesitt takes you on a wonderful road from static garment images to vibrant (and in most cases) invitingly challenging knitwear, learning about historic fashion and garment design along the way.

Invitingly challening? Yes, indeed.

Check out what she does with novelty yarn in the beautiful Nottingham Hoyle Ruff.
I would wear this beauty in a heartbeat. I feel a bit shamefaced at any earlier anti-novelty yarn comments I may have made... That shows me!
Oh yes, and note in the same photo the beautiful colourwork hat, Admiral Anja. That's another on my list of faves.  I love the combination of texture and colour, and the fantastic functionality of an earflap hat.

Check out the Sutton Hoo Helm!  This is, in the designer's own words, "...a challenging knit, not to be taken on lightly!"

And I can't leave off this review without pointing out the very lovely and wearable Maiden Cape. In what I think is a stroke of total cleverness, this shoulder-hugging piece has built-in sleeves, to prevent it from slipping right off the wearer.
Clever and pretty!

So here's The Low Down
You will want to buy this book because:
-it has tidbits of costume-history, guiding its very interesting design
-you can purchase patterns individually, but really, $16.95 for all seventeen patterns? That's a steal!
(to receive both the print and digital copies, it's $26.95 + shipping)
-it has a vast amount of information for the knitter on how to read patterns
-it contains challenging knits, interesting techniques, and extremely unique patterns
-it contains a vast array of techniques and skills; from embroidery, beading, felting, bobbles, lace, zippers, colourwork (the list really does go on!

The folks at Cooperative Press have been kind enough to offer a giveaway of the digital copy of the book.
Comment on this post to enter: just please make sure to let me know your Ravelry ID, and which of the seventeen patterns from History on Two Needles would be your first to knit!
The giveaway will remain open until Thursday, December 20th.
The winner will be drawn with a Random Number Generator, and announced on the 21st.
Good luck!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ghosts: A Subway Knits Interview!

Some of you may have noticed a couple weeks of missing Indie Designer Days, and for that I apologize. I had a death in the family, but am now resuming normal transmission.

That said...

I'm excited to announce that I've been interviewed on Subway Knits! You can listen to it here, and read the show notes here.

And really, if you don't already listen to Subway Knits regularly, you should add it to your podcast list. Maria is a fantastic podcaster! I love her show, and so was very happy when she agreed to do an interview with me :)

Happy faces all around! :)