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Mason Dixon Knitting

by Kay Gardiner & Ann Meador Shayne

Rating: 5 sheep

I first read about this book on the Yarn Harlot's website.  She confessed to reading it front to back in two days - completely neglecting her knitting, which is a remarkable statement from Stephanie.  I had visited Kay and Ann's blog (http://www.masondixonknitting.com/ ) infrequently and enjoyed their style of blogging in the form of writing letters back and forth to each other - only via the web.  Ok, I know.  Stop justifying why I purchased - yet again - another knitting book.

The book is written much the way the blog is - both women "talk" to each other with acknowledgement that they are addressing other friends in the room.  This isn't just a patterns book.  It is very entertaining to read - just read.  It became my nighttime treat just before turning off the light.  The ladies give a brief history of how they met on-line, and how they each have grown in their knitting.  The whole purpose of the book is to then invite you in on the fun of knitting.

The first chapter extols the benefits and practicality of the Wash Rag - or as they refer to it - the WARSH Rag.  My very first project was a Wash Cloth and I admit, I thought I had grown beyond that "kind-of-knitting".  Ann and Kay remind us how gratifying it is to do a quick project that has an immediate use in your home.  They want to dispel the feeling that we all succumb to, that our knitting is sacred and must be treated with reverence.  Shot!  It's just knitting, ladies - pick a pattern, get yourself some inexpensive "Peaches and Creme" cotton yarn and start knitting up a stack of warshrags!  I was hooked.

The chapters are broadly labeled: Chapter 1 Being a Beginner; Chapter 2 Knitting around the house; Chapter 3 Log Cabin Knitting; Chapter 4 Family Projects; Chapter 5 Over the Top or True Artists ending with Chapter 6 Community Knitting.  Each chapter covers the patterns in a conversational tone with plenty of wise cracks and giggles.

The projects are all straightforward from simple (the majority of the patterns) to more intermediate patterns such as the "Mason Dixon After Dark Nightie".  They offer a wide variety of patterns from home (piano seat cover and a linen curtain) to infants (Baby Kimono and burp bibs) to Log Cabin Knitting (rugs and blankets). Most patterns are garter stitch or plain stockinet; although they continue to encourage everyone to explore stitch patterns that you want to do.

The book is good eye candy in that the pictures are colorful, detailed drawings and the instructions are written clearly - and with humor. In one pattern Ann remarks - "then continue knitting for about three years..." - which is what knitting a blanket often feels like to me!

My strongest recommendation for reading this book is that it is just plain out inspirational. I found myself thinking - "Hey! I could do a curtain for my kitchen window with that new linen yarn I just picked up". And it isn't that I want to do the curtain pattern in the book, but it was the nudge I needed to broaden my projects from sweaters and socks to home. My favorite line from the book was when on of the ladies decided that knitting for her house was where she was going to concentrate...because the house never complained about the yarn being itchy or tight, never whined about the color choice and would wear the article until such time as she got tired of looking at it. Wow. What a thought. I was free of worry over criticism or rolled eyes - I'd make that curtain and the house will like it - and if it doesn't - why would I care?

Next time you're in at your favorite yarn shop or Borders, take a look at this book. It's delightful and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading it.

Respectfully submitted, Robin Connolly-Medici

Buy this book from Amazon.com

Errata for Mason-Dixon Knitting


 

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