Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm addicted to...knitting books!

I wrote a couple of months ago about my addiction to crime fiction - an addiction I'm now aware is shared by quite a few of my fellow-knitters. At the time I wrote that my main motivation in reading crime fiction was escapism, and I think I'm having to face up to the fact that some of my other choices of reading matter stem from the same motive.

I've long loved decorating magazines - an odd obsession for someone as chronically untidy as I am. But I've come to the conclusion that it's precisely because I am so incapable of maintaining order in my surroundings that I love decorating magazines. (A particular obsession for many years has been a UK magazine World of Interiors) These magazines provide me with images of an ordered world - or at least an artfully cluttered one - and give me an illusory hope that one day I'll inhabit a more ordered and elegant life.

More recently, with my re-entry to the world of knitting, I find myself purchasing knitting books, and obsessing over new publications. The most recent case-in-point is Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne's Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines

Mason-dixon 2

Like so many people I greatly enjoy the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, and admire and envy the way that Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne create images of lives where knitting is (usually happily) integrated with family, work, and other creative and artistic endeavours. Their books distill these images even further. They are fun and outrageous, while remaining practical and everyday. I was one of those children who always needed to colour 'inside the lines', a characteristic I've carried over to most of my adult craft activities, and now my knitting. I love ringing the variations within a defined shape, rather than colouring 'outside the lines'.

The Mason-Dixon women and their books enable me to glimpse for a moment another kind of world that I have fantasies I'd like to inhabit, but never will. On reflection, apart from purchases where I've had a specific need for a particular pattern, most of my knitting book purchases have come from an escapist desire to be part - even for the odd half hour or so - of the life evoked by the projects and their settings. Elizabeth Zimmermann's books, with their practical energy I could never emulate, particularly affect me this way.

But Outside the Lines also has some projects I'm very keen to attempt - showing they are practical as well enviable. I don't only want to aspire to the Mason-Dixon world, I want to bring a little bit (a manageable bit) of their world into mine.

I'm planning to make the Jane Austen Dress for the dotee,

mason-dixon 1

and I love the ordered chaos of the Kiki Mariko Rug

mason-dixon 3


Rose Red said...

Second blog today I've seen this M-D book. Love the Jane Austen dress.

I'm addicted to knitting books too. And colouring inside the lines.

Emily said...

Oh, I'd love to see this book in the flesh! I, too love the rug - and the one in red/blue that has a big bold pattern. (Can you bring the book if you make it on Sunday?)

The Jane Austen pattern is a great idea for the Dotee in Mexico, wonderful!