Knit Local by Tanis Gray, Sixth & Spring Books, 2011, 176 pp.
No surprise, I suppose, with my interest in supporting local & small businesses, that when I received my gift card from VK Live Los Angeles I purchased this book.
And I’m very happy I did.
This is one of those knitting books that you can enjoy reading as much as knitting the projects.
The book is first organized into regions (Northeast, South, Midwest and West). Within each region are a number of chapters, each chapter featuring a local yarn producer and the pattern written for that yarn. The yarnie articles are interesting — Gray delves into the history of each company, details of the yarn produced and fiber sources, etc. The Company Stats sidebar lists when the company was started, proprietors, location, yarns, business philosophy, and website. Each regional section ends with a list of other companies to explore & designer biographies (for the patterns in the section).
The patterns include everything from pillows to sweaters and accessories. In some cases (Jared Flood, Kate Gagnon Osborn) the yarn company owner & the designer are the same. But there’s a big mix of designers and pattern types (including at least one crochet pattern), and I’d be surprised if most people couldn’t find at least a couple patterns of the 31 available to suit their tastes.
Me? I like Jared’s Pike’s Mitts, Kate’s Scandinavian hat (the cover photo), & Danielle Romanetti’s Interlocking Rings Cowl. Elli Stubenrauch’s cute robin Dreaming of Spring Mittens are sweet. Elspeth Kursh did lovely colorwork with Hazel Knit’s yarn in her Winterthur Beret & Cowl set.
Cables, lace, and colorwork are all shown charted only except for the Big Man on Campus Hoodie, the DayLily Cardi, the Wildflowers Scarf (crochet), Random Harvest Afghan (crochet), Straits of Mackinac Vest, Gloucester Wrap, and the Oquirrh Mountains Wrap (which are all written stitch pattern or line by line only, no charts).
Gray also includes a handy list of events & festivals (organized alphabetically) and a resources list of all the companies in the book & their contact info.
The book is a small square (approximately 9×9″), a good size for reading in bed or curled up in your favorite chair. The pages are matte, rather than glossy, and have a nice feel to them. The photography is lovely. Some of the projects have multiple, some only one, but the number for each pattern is adequate to show the details of the project.
The layout reminds me a bit of Deb Robson’s Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook — not quite as elaborate, but it has the seem feel of layers, incorporating color and texture.
Even the inside covers are fun — a collage of all the different yarn labels.
Disclaimer: I purchased my review copy. All opinions are my own.