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Knitting Everyday Finery by Mel Clark
I have very strong memories of a pink cardigan that I knitted when I was thirteen. My Mother helped me pick the pattern, and the wool colour. She also helped me fixed every mistake I made along the way.
Unfortunately the picture in my head of how the cardigan should look, and how it actually turned out were two different things. And then, the 80’s suddenly arrived and we were all into enormous shoulder pads and kung fu shoes. Everything handmade got thrown to the back of my wardrobe never to be seen again.
Fast forward many years, and my Mother has passed on her skills to my Daughter. And they really did take with her. She took to knitting (and crocheting) like it was a perfect extension of how her brain worked. She is dyslexic, and has trouble reading the words on the pattern but can look at any pattern and see the shape of the object in her head and know if the pattern will work or not. I have no idea how she does it – but it is second nature to her. She has been knitting for 4 years now, and at 14 cuts an unusual figure with her Doc Marten's, Blondie t-shirt and a pair of knitting needles.
So much better that she review this book, than I with my limited knitting skills. My design skills like the pared-back aesthetic of this book. With the focus of each shot very much the knitted object, it is definitely not style over substance.
For her first pattern, Madeleine knitted the Shiraz Slippers (page 78). The pattern was very descriptive, and wasn’t overly complicated making it fun to make. The felting process was new to us, but we had a lot of fun having a go at it. They were given away as a present as soon as they were made. That is the lovely thing about anything knitted – they make gorgeous gifts.
Next on Madeleine’s list are the Basket Purse and the July Gloves.
The Book’s author, Mel Clark is New Zealand’s leading international knit designer, and she most certainly knows about the pleasure of making, wearing and giving beautiful hand knits. There are glorious patterns for everyday staples, the Everyday Cardigan, Tangerine Tights, gloves, scarves, hats and vests. In short, everything a hip knitter would want a pattern for.
Mel has returned to New Zealand after many years living in Los Angeles, and also writes the popular knitting blog SlipSlipKnot. For a non-knitter, this really is a lovely book to flick through – it almost makes me want to go have some more lessons with my Mother, but at this rate, it will be my own Daughter teaching me!
Knitting Everyday Finery by Mel Clark is published by Bateman. The book retails for $34.99 and is available now.
13 June 2012