Monday 28 October 2013

Among Stones

Welcome to the last stop on the Among Stones Blog Tour! I've been eagerly waiting to write this review up since Carol sent through my copy a few months ago. Having interviewed Carol Feller, the designer behind the label 'Stolen Stitches' some time ago on the podcast, I have a great fondness for her work. She creates with a passion and commitment to quality knitting patterns and knitwear and is really rather lovely to boot. 

As my part in this tour, I have been secretly working on a project both inspired by a theme of Carol's work as well as an actual pattern. I'll explain as we get going....

The Collection:
Among Stones contains nine patterns - four women’s sweaters, one child sweater, a beaded scarf, a shawl, socks (in adult and child sizes), and a hat and mitten set - all photographed in locations in Ireland and Scotland. In the designer’s words: 

“This book is filled with some of my favourite kinds of knits: simple, interesting, wearable. All 
photographed in some of my favourite kinds of places: secret, beautiful, tranquil. I hope you 
enjoy them as much as I do.”

The Inspiration:
Carol's work is often photographed in wonderful locations that have a special meaning to her so I started thinking about my own knitting stories that I've not yet shared here on the blog. The most obvious was that Carol lives not far from much of my maternal side of the family in Southern Ireland and I recognise much of the landscape in which she creates. 

(c) Buffy Toughie in 'Messenger'
However, an experience this Summer kept springing to mind that I wanted to share. I had the pleasure of visiting Asti, the founder and master dyer at Juno Fibre Arts this summer while staying with very close friends. The combination of a wonderful afternoon talking about knitting and dyeing with Asti, in the company of a close friend and the Playful Baby clucking along happily is an extremely pleasurable one for me and I wanted to knit something that reminded me of my own personal knitting geography. I chose Buffy Toughie, one of Asti's wonderful sock bases to work with. I'll be talking in a little more detail about this visit and yarn in my next podcast but Carol's commitment to sharing her favourite places through her knitting was such an inspiration that I couldn't resist adding this element to my post. It's something I think I would like to do more of in the future: commemorating and marking the special stories we create thanks to our knitting community. I owe a big thank you to Carol for making me smile every time I reach for my project. 

(c) Buffy Toughie in 'Messenger'
The pattern:
Such a variegated yarn demanded a very particular pattern and luckily, with Carol, you're in safe hands. I chose Pyrite, a sock that is worked from the top down in a subtle slip stitch pattern, It's an ideal way to smoothly blend a variegated yarn or just add a little textural interest to your sock. I've tried a few slip stitch sock patterns now to break up a variegated and either found them lacking in enough rhythm to memorise or just bored me to tears. Somehow, Carol has got it just right with this pattern. I just want to sit and work on it all the time, (time however, is quite a barrier these days). 

(c) Joseph Feller
As I would expect from Carol, there are multiple sizing options, clear instructions and explanations of techniques where necessary. There are multiple pictures of the project too so I have a clear idea of what my final socks will look like. Carol is an experienced pattern writer now having published two previous books, (Contemporary Irish Knits and Scrumptious Knits) as well as being widely published in books and magazines, such as Twist Collective, Interweave Knits,  and Knitty among others. She has also taught at numerous international events and for so there is something reassuring about Carol's pattern writing. There's no hidden surprises and you can navigate around the patterns and pattern notes easily do to the intuitive layout. 

I will be knitting many more of these socks!

To find out more about Carol and her wonderful new publication, tune into the next podcast where I'll be talking about the other 8 patterns or visit Carol's website to pick up your copy.  Carol can also be found on Twitter (@stolenstitches), and Facebook

A heartfelt thank you to Carol for letting me review the book, the inspiration and the many socks I will be knitting. 

Amongst Stones
RRP: €17, £15, US$22
ISBN:978-0-9571212-2-5 (print) 978-0-9571212-3-2 (digital) 
Direct Customers: Order from 
US Wholesale: Deep South Fibers
Europe Wholesale: Contact

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