It's officially too hot to be comfortable outside, the first really for this year. Not unexpected of course being August. My dog looks at me like I am crazy when I open the door to offer the wide outdoors to him, he's just as much a creature of comfort as I am. Two times a year I make it a point to just shut the doors of the house for a full weekend and do nothing but knit or spin. Once in the middle of winter, usually right after the holidays, and once in the dead heat/humidity of our summers.
Besides I truly needed this uninterrupted weekend of fiber. Oh not for stress relief, no, it's purely a deadline thing. I did it again, waited until too close to the state fair to get everything ready that I so enthusiastically predicted I would have completed when I submitted the entries last June. Oh I certainly could let the fair go by without taking my entries in. Especially this year, in their eyes I was a senior citizen and did not have to pay any entry fees! But the challenge always gets in my mind, and I can not be at peace unless I try to get as many ready as possible.
Consequently, I have been spinning for several hours this morning, and knitting for two hours before finally deciding my hands needed a break (which actually typing feels almost therapeutic at this point, lots of stretching and flexing). I will do the same tomorrow and any time that I have off during the next week, until I finally have to submit my items Sunday, Aug12th.
There will be pictures, I promise. Just not in this post.
Meanwhile, I discovered something else yesterday that just needed to be shared. I went to my local library and found out I really do not own every knitting book printed (HA!) My bookshelves only look like I do. I was able to find five knitting books to check out. I informed the library clerk at the desk that it was going to be a very hot weekend and that I had no intention of stepping outdoors, as an explanation for the five books. She didn't seem impressed. Maybe she had to work this weekend, which would make me grumpy too.
Here's a bit of digression, which will be an explanation of why I chose several of the books. I recently, thanks to Bravo TV channel and DVD recorder, recorded two seasons of Project Runway. I found myself totally hooked on this show. I avoid all reality or competition shows, but this one hooked me. It's mostly because the challenges are very good, and designers all have their unique take on the challenge and because of very good taping and editing the end results are always a wonderful piece of eye candy as they models walk down the runway. Of course the show gets into the real life bickering that reality TV is all about. What I hadn't realized would hook me is that really does give one a feel for the participates personalities and really adds interest to the show. The whole surprise of this for me was just how interested I have become in the actual process of design, fashion, and creativity as it relates to the fashion industry. Heaven help me, I even went and bought the recent Vogue magazine, and read it for exactly what they intended, looking at every ad to see the designers name, and just what they were featuring this fall. BTW, one designer showed everything in what looked like hand knitted fabric. Once you stop looking at the 90 lb string bean woman, and only look at the clothes, Vogue can actually be quite interesting.
Coming from that angle it is no wonder the book Couture Knits by Jean Moss caught my eye. One thing I learned from Project Runway is that only certain licensed (in Paris) designers can call their creations a couture fashion. The implication is that the design is one of a kind, and hand made, generally with many fastidious details such as beads. Even if Jean Moss has not carried the true couture concept, I believe she has captured the essence that knitting can truly be designed to be unique, and fashionable beyond just your standard cardigan.
Along this same theme, another book that caught my eye was The Art of Knitting by Francoise Tellier-loumagne. Translated from French this book is mostly full page close up pictures of the stitches, textures and surfaces of actual knitting. These photos are often accompanied by photos from nature that the knitting mimics. It is a 300 page book thick with visual images, that can inspire any designer.
The rest of the knitting books are truly just for browsing as I take a break from my fiber over the next three weeks. There is the Mason Dixon Knitting, that I have thumbed through now and again, but never sat to read the included stories. There is Holiday Knits, more daydreams than actual plans for holiday gifts, but who knows, I may find a project or two to tackle before the holidays. Three renewals, three weeks each, gives me nine weeks to get something done! And finally there is Knitting Tips and Trade Secrets, which I wanted to take some time to see if it is worth adding to my own personal library.
But mostly I will truly cherish the hour that I grab now and then with my early morning cup of coffee, as I turn each page and absorb the whole idea of actually designing fashion that just happens to come from my knitting needles, and not my sewing machine.