Mary's Library

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fair Isle

Gerda is an aficionada of Fair Isle knitting. It’s named for a place (an island -- imagine that) in the far north of Britain and is readily identified by the many small repeat horizontal patterns and frequent horizontal color changes, not necessarily in unison.

Alice Starmore was the acknowledged expert on Fair Isle. Years ago I bought her then-new book, ALICE STARMORE’S BOOK OF FAIR ISLE KNITTING (1988) for which Gerda told me the other day one now must pay megabucks – even for a used copy in not great condition. “Used” knitting books are used indeed. Fortunately I never got around to using mine.

I checked and was startled to see that a fine/fine copy like mine is offered for no less than $175! What is the would-be Fair Isle knitter to do when the cost for the most useful book in the field has gone ballistic?

How could the publisher let this happen? Why aren’t they reprinting this book, which is unsurpassed in the clarity of the author’s history and description of techniques and the beauty of her designs?

Meanwhile, I’ll lend mine to Gerda for a while. She’s a very good Fair Isle knitter now and promises to become a great one. Maybe she’ll write her own book one day. There's a lot of pent-up demand.


At 11:09 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mary, You make me smile when you mention what a fine knitter you believe me to be! Thanks for your admiration, it does make me happy, there are 2 things I can admit that I do well, mothering and knitting. I look forward to seeing you on Monday!Happy knitting, Gerda


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