There's something about November that makes me want to curl up and read! No matter that we in Berkeley are experiencing the dryest year on record (that's 164 years, by the way) and temperatures in the low 70s, the desire to cozy up in the armchair is hard to resist.
Luckily I have a pile of books to enjoy!
Adventures in Yarn Farming: Four Seasons on a New England Fiber Farm by Barbara Parry (author of Teach Yourself Visually: Hand Dyeing; Sheep Gal blogger; and roving/yarn CSA farmer) is the very best of farm porn! Well written, with beautiful photographs, the text draws you into the life of a fiber farmer--how the decisions are made, the relationship of the land's carrying capacity to the livestock breeding decisions, the crazy exhaustion of lambing season, and alarms of ice storms and wolves, the creation and sale of yarn. Through it all winds the love of animals and of working with fiber, arranged by season and sprinkled with patterns and recipes. I gulped this one down and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
The Broken Circle by Cheryl Potter--the first of the Potluck Yarn Trilogy. Cheryl has managed to create a fully realized world, one engulfed in war and environmental disaster that can--perhaps, nail biter here--be saved by The Twelve, the witches who were betrayed and subsequently lost faith and power. They are scattered throughout the country, having lost touch with one another, until they are called to meet again. It will come as no surprise to those who know Cheryl's work as a dyer and knitwear designer that the witches are fully involved in the world of fibercraft. I confess that I'm not generally someone who enjoys fantasy novels, but I'm really enjoying this book because Cheryl's characters have depth and the plotting is spot on.
The only criticism I have for this book: That I have to wait for the next volumes to find out how it all ends....
Adventures in Yarn Farming and The Broken Circle have something that I love in common: they have frontspiece maps! I ADORE a book with a map at the front. I grew up with a stained old copy of We Took to the Woods, by Louise Dickinson Rich (the flyleaf is inscribed: "Roberta From Mother Christmas '42")--the map drew me into the very foreign (to a Seattle child) world of Maine. Come to think of it, knitting plays a part in this charming book, too. Onto the pile of reading it goes!
A couple of interesting new books on color have been published in the last few months. The Secret Language of Color by Joan Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut is a sumptuous, picture-filled hardback, almost a textbook, that covers two different aspects of color. In the authors' words:
As we researched the subject of color, we found that the information we wanted to share naturally divided itself into two groups: stuff that relates specifically to the hues of the visible spectrum and stuff that relates to the influence of color in physics and chemistry, the universe, planet Earth, plants, animals, and humans.
I've been leafing through this book, pausing to read bits here and there as something catches my eye. I'm especially intrigued by the chapters on how other animals see and how we categorize colors. If you are interested in color as a subject but want something accessible to the non-specialist I think this book is definitely worth having.
Roy G. Biv (a mnemonic made up of the first letters of the spectral colors red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet) by Jude Stewart is a fun, colorful bon bon filled with interesting factoids about color, especially about color and culture. I've opened the book at random to share a short bit:
Wearing a Green Hat in China
Amid the teeming billions of Chinese businessmen, rarely will you see one clutching a green hat--whtehr bolwer or baseball cap--to his head. the phrase 'weareing a green hat' in Chinese sounds uncannily like the word for 'cuckold,' so Chinese men steer clear.
Did you need to know that? No (probably). But a life filled only with what we need can be dull indeed. And if you find yourself feeling stiff or fearful about color, Roy G. Biv might be the antidote: clearly there are no rules except those we choose to impose upon ourselves, so we might as well have some fun.
This is my 600th post! Amazing... thank you all for being along for the ride. I've loved everything about it! Right now I'm planning the next few years of my fiber life and I'm thinking about adding to my teaching list, so I have a question for you:
What kinds of colorwork classes are you interested in taking? What would be your ideal 1-day Fair Isle class? Do you want technique classes? Color theory? Different types of colorwork? Motif development? Slide lectures? The more specific you can be, the more grateful I will be! I particularly need to figure out some shorter classes.
Answers that I receive by the end of November 27th will be entered into a blind drawing for the book of your choice from the remaining stock at Feral Knitter!