There are many knitting traditions around the world that we knitters might be interested in exploring, but we don't always want to use those techniques in the traditional ways. Some of us will never knit an Aran sweater or an intricate Fair Isle vest, but that doesn't mean we don't want to play with those techniques.
Knitting Scarves from Around the World: 23 Patterns in a Variety of Styles and Techniques (edited by Kari Cornell) lets knitters discover a world of knitting techniques and use those styles and motifs on the relatively small scale of a scarf.
This colorful, wide-ranging book might inspire you to try something you haven't done before and will show you that knitting is, in fact, everywhere, even if knit scarves aren't really produced in all these places.
About the Book
- Pages: 144
- Format: hardcover
- Number of patterns: 23
- Skill level: none given, but they range from one relatively easy one to most being in the intermediate to advanced category
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: none
- Publication date: October 2011
After opening with an essay on the history of scarves written by Donna Druchunas, this book dives right into the patterns, which are arranged by geographical area -- Scandinavia, the British Isle and Ireland, Europe, the East and the West. East means China, Japan and Ruussia and West means the Americas, or really pretty much just America. There aren't any patterns here representing, say, Peru or South America, which is a bit of a limitation since there are knitting traditions there.
What you will find in this book is a collection of patterns that represent and are inspired by the traditions and moods of the different countries or regions. There's no real knitting tradition in China, for instance, but Lily Chin provides a pretty double knit, two color scarf with double happiness symbols that has an Asian feel even if it isn't something traditional. (It's pictured on the right of the cover.)
Lots of techniques are represented here, including traditional Norwegian stranded knitting and motifs, lace, beaded knitting, a scarf with flared ends like Icelandic yoke sweaters, cables, felting, bobbles, mobious knitting and more. It surprised me how much double knitting was featured in this book, but it's a fun technique and a good way to get colorwork without a messy side (there are several scarves worked as tubes, as well).
Some of my favorites include the Icelandic Yoke Scarf by Gretchen Funk, which uses the shape and motifs of a circular sweater to edge an otherwise plain scarf; Druchunas' European Cowl, a big shawl-like pattern with a leaf motif; the Belgian Ridged Lace Cowl by Elinor Brown, which has columns of eyelets set off by Garter Stitch ridges; Susan Lawrence's Orenburg Lace Shawl, a smaller, less-intimidating take on this knitting classic; and the Central Park Mobius, simple once you the past the cast on.
If you're a fan of different knitting techniques, motifs and styles but don't want to commit to a really large project when you're first learning a method, the patterns in Knitting Scarves from Around the World offer the best of both worlds. That's not to say that there aren't some big, time-consuming and difficult projects here, but you'll still get to explore different aspects of knitting on a smaller scale that you would if you were knitting a sweater or a giant lace shawl, say.
These patterns are a lot of fun and this colorful book can also serve as an inspiration to look at different knitting styles in different ways and adapt them to different kinds of projects.