After my interview with Katherine Misegades, I nosily walked into her office and started looking at her bookshelves. She revealed that she tries not to gather too many knitting books, because she wants her creative process to be her own.
Then, she picked up Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel and said something like, "This is a great book." (I wasn't writing it down, so I can't be sure.)
Katherine has even designed a sock using gansey sweater techniques, so I figure she knows what she's talking about.
I thought, surely, it had to be out of print. The copy I requested from the library is from 1993. Interweave Press, the publishing house for that edition, doesn't list it anywhere that I can find.
But, a quick online search yielded Beth Brown-Reinsel's website, where the book and a DVD about Gansey knitting are for sale. This is too awesome, because I really want to get my hands on anything Beth has written or will write in the future. She's marvelous, thorough and fun to read.
The unassuming paperback book is broken into 12 chapters, which are followed by a glossary of symbols, a list of sources and supplies and an index.
The history and a general plan for making a gansey-style sweater is followed by a very interesting method of teaching. Beth takes the reader through the steps of making a tiny, hand-sized sampler version of a traditional gansey. At the same time, she explains how to create a full-size version, too. So, you get the techniques down with a small bit of yarn and time before you tackle the larger project.
Chapter 12 also features six garment designs, including a cardigan, which isn't exactly traditional, but is a very nice-looking project.
The charts are clear and photographs are in black-and-white but are very sharp and easy to see. All of the full-size instructions include wonderful diagrams that help make the design and structure of the garment comprehensible.
The only downside to this book is that it makes me want to knit 18 of the mini sampler sweaters. I mean, really. They're so cute! And I would be learning something, right?
Overall, a fantastic book. I can't recommend it highly enough.