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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
It's a little battered, but I wouldn't give up this copy for the world.

Lara's Library: Homespun Handknit

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Teddy bears model small slippers.

When my sister learned to spin (on a spindle), many years ago, she found a copy of this book and sent it to me with a note:

"This book might help you find something to knit with the yarn I'm making!"

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I could knit nothing but the hats from this book and be happy.

I'm so happy she did, and not just because Homespun Handknit is a little hard to find now.

(There is a kind of sequel, All New Homespun Handknit. I haven't seen it, but it is not a reprint, it is an entirely new work.)

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
A great, basic mitten pattern.

Homespun Handknit only includes small projects, but the variety of patterns is really stunning.

There are 21 hats, 6 sets (usually hats and mittens, but also some baby things), 11 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of gloves and 8 pairs of socks.

If that list doesn't give you enough reasons to seek out this book, maybe a short list of the pattern authors involved will.

Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Jacqueline Fee, Meg Swansen, Elizabeth Zimmermann, and Robin Hansen are among the writers. Most of the patterns include a short introduction explaining the inspiration for the design, or some detail of its construction.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Elizabeth Zimmermann's Surprise Mittens.

Oh, and you can also learn how to guess at needle sizes, use a McMorran Yarn Balance, make a pompom, make i-cord, work kitchener stitch and a whole whack of other techniques in little sidebar/boxes that are interpersed with the patterns. There is an index of these special techniques on page 10, if you are like me and keep forgetting that.

This isn't a book just for handspinners, although the yarn requirements for the patterns are helpfully given in yd/lb and wraps/inch as well as gauge needed for each one.

Homespun Handknit is the perfect book for anyone who wants to try a new technique, use just a little yarn, and end up with something wearable afterwards. I think of it as the grandmother of the "One Skein" genre.

And that, my dears, is a great thing, for any knitter.

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