Friday, April 07, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis

Fiona Ellis’ debut knitting book Inspired Cable Knits: 20 Creative Designs for Making Sweaters and Accessories is a work of art that is aimed at both novice and experienced knitters. More than just a collection of sweaters, this beautiful book takes the reader through Ellis’ creative process, lifting designs and textures found in the natural world and translating them into cable patterns. Inspired Cable Knits features very clear charts, as well as written instructions for those who prefer not to work from stitch charts.

Cables, for anyone who may be wondering, are the knitting stitches featured on traditional cream-coloured Aran, or Irish, sweaters. Highly textured stitches, they are created by moving stitches in front of, or behind each other.

Divided into four sections; change, nature, energy and time, each highlights a different theme that Ellis has incorporated into her designs. The section that called out to me most strongly is the one labeled “inspired by time”, which focuses on the value of slowing down. Ellis took the classic garments that are worn over and over and took elements of these, giving them modern twists.

Cable knits are my favourite type of knitting and Fiona Ellis obviously has a feeling for them as well as she states in her introduction that “I love their crunchy, nubbly textures.” The traveling stitches require close attention as they build a complex, highly textured piece of fabric. Most likely the fascination for me is in the mathematics required to accomplish this type of knitting. What is interesting is that these are the same characteristics that make many knitters throw their hands up in horror.

Ellis believes that all knitters will benefit from the journey exploring cable knits and that the focus required leads to a contemplative state of knitting and mindfulness of the entire process and organic nature of knitting. To assist knitters in achieving this goal, she has included a “mindfulness” pointer with each pattern to engage the knitter’s mind in the process of creativity.

Inspired Cable Knits
is a beautiful book will provide many hours of pleasurable browsing and dreaming of future projects. I know my copy won’t languish long before I pick up the needles to cast on a project taken from its pages.

See the review as it is posted at Armchair Interviews - Inspired Cable Knits.

Errata for Inspired Cable Knits may be found here.


Chris said...

Thanks for this review! It was good to find out that the book has both charts and written out instructions, as someone who has trouble with charts sometimes.

Koshka42 said...

She have us a presentation at last month's Downtown Knit Collective, and she had all the pieces photographed for the book, it was great!

Janelle Martin said...

She's at our guild on Tuesday night and I'm going to take my copy to be autographed. I suspect she'll have the pieces with her - at least I hope!

Penina said...

Thank you for that review.
I started my knitting with cable work 20 odd years ago, and find my way back....recently I have been getting into two-handed color-work, but you put the bug into my head...I think I might just make a few 'heirloom' cable pieces for the family to pass around among the new generation.
P.S., I found you through Susan/SpikesMom....
Ever think of joining the Knit Bloggers? There is a button on my blog...

Janelle Martin said...

Welcome penina! Glad you found your way to my closet. =)

I might have to apply to join the knit bloggers ring once they reopen for applications on April 15.