January 9, 2013

The Reading List

The start of a love affair with knitting
books, circa 2011/ 
Since I am a college-minded chick (meaning I enjoy school),  I have decided to approach my desire to succeed in knitting (see my terms in previous post) as though I were in college.

I like the way organized classes work: laying out learning objectives; giving students several types of resource options (eg. reference books, websites, textbooks); and finally giving them the chance to try out the knowledge.

I cannot attend the Oregon School of Art and Craft--too expensive and far away from where I live right now. Nor can I flee my family and career to live in New York or another fashion-trendy city and learn Ready to Wear design, considering majors in things like "fiber" or textiles. And I have had a difficult time finding online college courses for such things.

I must remain put here in Portlandia/The 'Couve (that's Vancouver, Washington, affectionately nicknamed by locals who love to call to mind the old white trash stereotype of Vancouver) and learn on my own, with the help of groups like Ravelry, the library, the local Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild and let's not forget all the LYS's and my own friends.

In fact, there is so much information available to aspiring knitters and designer wannabes that there is nearly no excuse not to be able to learn.This picture (left) of a stack of books was taken back when I was preparing for Sock Summit 2011. It reflects my "earlier" love of knitting books, collected from 2008 to spring 2011. That early love could have easily been a passing fancy as I am one of those people who gets excited--really excited--about new ideas, prospects, projects. And usually, I share the common quality with those other excitable people of very poor follow through. But not this time.

After 4 years of buying yarn, books and classes, of attending events and joining Ravelry, of making new knitterly friends wherever I find them, and even starting a knitting group of my own at work, I think it is safe to say that this is not a passing fancy for me. I love knitting more than ever--and now that I have such an arsenal of personal equipment, I am glad of it when it comes to  the study of knitting.

Since the book stack photo was taken, I have amassed many more, including 9 received as gifts for Christmas in 2012.

As the years have progressed, my book selections have evolved. It used to be that I would buy knitting books based on the lovely cover photos more than on the content. I am not immune to that today, but now I know that the books with the more scholarly approaches tend to be my favorites--and I intend to use them in my quest for more intense learning.

With that in mind, I am creating a booklist for myself. It is comprised of my own collection mostly, and if I do not own one of the books I feel I need as I go along, I will either get a copy from the library or--glee of glees--have an excuse to buy just one more. (Amazon should have me on some sort of gold star customer list)

To the left of the blog, I have listed some books, along with my (initial) intended use for them. Most of the books cross over multiple categories as they each cover a variety of topics from skill expansion to finishing to design to fiber info to just terrific and beautiful patterns and photography.

As I go along in my quest for knitting knowledge and skills, I may add or subtract reading and study materials, but I will start with some basics and go from there. After all, this is not going to be a short ride.

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