Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Book review - it's been a while since I last did this

Let's go back in time... three months or so. I remember mentioning this book in a blog posting, stating that I've found the perfect book to lull me asleep at night. Too bad that it's not what it's meant for.

The book is Arctic Lace by Donna Druchunas, ISBN 9780966828979 or 0966828976. 192 pages, photos in black and white only. 15 knitting projects (mainly scarf and headwear patterns).

When first glancing through the book, it was difficult to decide whether it was supposed to be about knitting, history, biology or geography. The author takes a look at Alaskan communities and the womens' co-operatives there and weaves in all the ingredients about the native peoples of Alaska, its history and fauna as well as the development of modern communities and preserving local culture. While all this is interesting to a point, one starts to wonder whether they ever reach the subject of knitting and more importantly, where are the lace patterns which the title sort of promises.

They are there, albeit fewer in number and less striking that what I'd expected. I do understand that the co-operative may want to protect some of its more complicated patterns in order to sell the finished products, I just wish they'd published at least one or two of them in this book. The lack of colour in the photos adds to the feeling of blandness, not helped by a pattern which consists of slanted holes travelling from left to right. Sorry, I may sound harsh but that's not why I bought this book, I expected something unique and truly inspiring.

On a more positive note, the instructions/patterns are both charted and written, and personally I appreciate a lace pattern where the amount of plain knit stitches are marked with numbers (try counting 17 empty squares and you know what I mean). The stories (most of them) are interesting, too, but you don't normally use a knitting book to read about the climate and population of Alaska. Would I have bought this book if I'd had a chance to glance through it? Probably yes, but it wouldn't be something I'd run to rescue from a house fire.

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