Friday, August 5, 2011

Book Review: 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters by Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza

Title: 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters: A Guide to Holistic Knitting, Yarn, and Life
Authors: Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza
ISBN: 978-0-312-61200-9
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Approx. Retail Price: $24.99 (USD)
Craft: Knitting, some Crochet
Patterns: 27
Availability: At fine book retailers everywhere

10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters is a 2-for-the-price-of-1 kinda book.  Not only are there some wonderful patterns in the book, but the book also contains 10 Secrets which every knitter should know to love their craft!  Vicki Stiefel and Lisa Souza explore knitting in a holistic approach: allowing the knitter to look at his/her craft with a new eye and giving the knitter the freedom to make mistakes, try new things, and expand on their knowledge of fiber.  One inescapable theme in the book is community.  Vicki and Lisa navigate the many definitions of community with ease: from local growers and artisans to the global community of knitters to the online community of knitters, they demonstrate that knitting can be a common thread whether in your backyard or 5000 miles away.  Every nook & cranny of this book has been filled with knitting knowledge.  In each chapter or "Secret", you'll find the secret and why it's important, patterns, a profile, a mini convo between the authors pertinent to the secret, and/or other assorted tid-bits of information.  The construction of elements of this book remind me of a well-loved local yarn shop: filled with bits of knitting in every corner.

Technically, the book includes tidbits of information about various topics such as the color wheel, community supported agriculture, spinning, fiber terms and more.  The book explains that rather than be an encyclopedia of knowledge on each topic, the authors wanted to expose the knitter to these topics and provide listed resources where the knitter could learn more in depth information about the topic.  Vicki and Lisa were able to skillfully pull this off in the book without sounding like a book of resources.  I truly did learn some things and now thirst to learn more!  The photography is straightforward and oftentimes contains multiple views of the projects, allowing the knitter a good sense of each pattern before casting on.  The patterns are clearly written and provide written and charted instructions when applicable.

The Secrets (Chapters)

Find Yourself a Wise Woman

Discover Slow Knitting
Become a Barefoot Sock Knitter
Take the Color Leap of Faith
  • Lisa, the Artist
  • Patterns:
See the Souls of Fibers
Listen as the Yarn Speaks to You
  • Profile: Trish Anderson's Tanglewood Fiber Creations
  • Profile: The Wild Imaginings of Lexi Boeger, AKA PluckyFluff
  • Patterns:
Value the Partnership in Knitting
Learn to Soar Patternless
  • Resources:Vicki and Lisa's Must Haves
  • Profile: The Path of Artist Rania Hassan
  • Patterns:
Do It With Hooks
  • Profile: Tom Clark, The Beanie Cap Guy
  • Patterns:
    • Park City Posh Beanie
    • Heirloom Motif Crochet Scarf
Connect the Dots
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  It was informative as well as nourishing to my knitting soul.  It deepened my feeling of connection to the knitting community as a whole, to my own knitting, and to the process of knitting.  Even if I didn't like one pattern in this book (which I do), I would still enjoy this as a terrific resource in itself.

Disclosure: St. Martin's Griffin sent KnitPurlGurl a FREE copy of 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the above review.  All opinions in the above review are those of KnitPurlGurl and do not necessarily reflect those of St. Martin's Griffin, Vicki Stiefel, or Lisa Souza.



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