Monday, January 10, 2011

Did you know?

Your local library is a great inexpensive resource for finding new knitting and crocheting designs, patterns, and helpful technique books. Also, if you are member of a local knitting group book swapping could be another way to save on the cost of buying books. If you aren’t a member of a knitting group, there are many ways to find one – Ravelry is a great place to start. Don’t know what Ravelry is?

Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content here is all user- driven; we as a community make the site what it is. Ravelry is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in our forums.

I love to search for new and different patterns to try and one of my favorite resources (aside from the internet) I like to utilize is my local library. And this weekend I killed two birds with one stone by walking the 1.7 miles to my local library to seek out new patterns and knitting technique books, I also got a bit of exercise thrown in to boot.

I went straight to the the arts and crafts section of the library, there I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from browsing through the different knitting and crocheting books. I like to flip through book after book scanning the pictures and when a particular item catches my eye, I set it aside to do a more thorough read-through. I checked-out 4 books and the great part of checking them out at the library is I get to keep them for 4 weeks and in that time I can learn to make some of the designs I like most from that particular book, and if I really like the pattern I'll copy it and add it to my collection, but the best part about using the library is I'm not adding to my very cluttered bookshelves and I'm saving money that I can be using to buy more yarn (oops...that's right I'm not supposed to be buying yarn - I'm supposed to be using my considerable yarns stash!).

Since I walked to the library, I was in no big rush to go back out into the cold. And ever since the Kent Regional Library reopened its doors last year after a complete renovation, it is much more reader-friendly. There are comfortable chairs in small clusters around low tables, a large carpeted children’s area so the children can sit and look at the pictures in their favorite books, and study tables scattered througout. This was the first time I actually sat down and enjoyed the hushed atmosphere of my local library, I usually rush in pick-up my books that I’ve placed on-hold, or drop off any that are due and rush back out. But that day I pulled up a chair at one of the many study tables and perused the books I picked out, checking out each of the patterns and designs, reading the techniques that were used to create them and enjoying the designer’s description of how the design came about and/or why it was created.
Kent Regional Library
2nd Avenue N
Now I know it’s nice to have some of those books in your knitting library, but if you are trying to stay within a budget and use your spending money on your yarn stash, then your local library would be your best resource and they usually have a copier machine on the premises if you just want to copy a pattern or two (it’s usually very inexpensive too – my library’s copier only costs 10¢ per copy). And the other great thing about using your local library is you can go online and place books on-hold and pick them up when they come in, which for many of us who have active, busy lives is very convenient.

The books that caught my eye this trip included:

Yes, one of them is a crochet book.  I learned to crochet about 20 years ago and there are a lot more designers out there now and I really like to stay in practice with my crochet techniques.  The 101 Designer One- Skein Wonders was a treat because I have the 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites One-Skein Wonders in my knitting library because I loved the variety of quick and easy patterns.  So, I figured this one would have a nice variety of patterns as well.  Also, The Knitting Man(ual) book was a great find because I don't know about any of you other knitters out there, but I find it extremely difficult to find good patterns for men in styles they would actually wear. This book not only gives you some really great designs in colors and patterns that will flatter any man, the designer talked with some men who knit and a few of them are featured wearing her designs.  In the introduction the author wrote: the mid-sixteenth century knitting had become a full-fledged industry and the early knitting professionals were men.  Women and children eventually took up the trade, but in the beginning knitting was a strictly male endeavor and remained so until the Industrial Revolution mechanized production.  While both men and women followed knitting into the factories, hand-knitting at home began its transformation into a feminine art.  During WWII, many men knitted in support of the war effort, making mitten, hats, and socks for the Army and Navy forces. So the history lesson was an added bonus as well as hearing about men who enjoy knitting too. I also, picked up another sock book - Toe Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip your Sock Knitting into Shape by Chrissy Gardiner.  Now that I don't cringe when I think of knitting socks, I can't help picking up new books that show you different ways to make them.  This one stood out because of the blank worksheets in the back that allow you to create custom-made socks using different styles for the toe and heel (i.e.: shaped round toe, anatomical round toe, short-row toe, hybrid heel, short-row heel, etc.). I found it to be very interesting and it will be fun to experiment with the different types of toes and heels!

So if you haven't checked out your local library, give it a chance, you just might find something you like.


  1. I think maybe we should start a club- walk to your knitting store. :) maybe I wouldn't buy so much yarn cus i wouldn't want to carry it all home.

  2. I was tempted to continue to Renaissance Yarn, but I was already bogged down with my books I certainly was not going to be able to carry yarn too!

  3. I need to get my hands on the book you had, the One Skein Wonders. It looks fantastic - I may steal that from the library when you're done with it!