Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they've inspired by Teresa Gregorio, pub. canaryknits
This book contains 11 evocative patterns, over 10 pages of full-color photographs, and 20 pages of written material about ghosts. The collection holds together well and includes scarves, mittens, socks, hats, sweaters, and a skirt inspired by apparitions and their celebrations.
There's a lot to like about this book. The patterns are lovely and appropriate, the photographs are artistic yet clear, and the essays are written with enthusiasm for the subject.
The book was thoughtfully organized with all the essays and color photos at the beginning, so knitters could print the patterns without using color ink. Unfortunately for me, I wanted to print the essays and would have appreciated having them in one or two uninterrupted blocks. Color photos of each design could then appear right before or after its pattern.
The essays themselves are written in an approachable, friendly style with occasional forays into more scholarly phraseology. They seem a bit disorganized in form and trajectory, but this may be partially due to the structure of the book (essays first, then patterns). Some of the written material (for example, the "Rules for behaving when you see a spirit" by King James I of England) would have been charming placed between patterns, but I find them disorienting between the more substantial essays.
The patterns are all introduced with short paragraphs explaining the inspirations for their design. Every pattern, whether a sweater or a sock, has a very clear schematic. In some cases beautifully simple technical drawings are included. Also included are lists of abbreviations and resources for techniques which may be unfamiliar.
The suggested yarn is (with only a couple exceptions) easy to find. Weight and yardage are provided throughout, so substitutions are relatively simple in those cases where an indie dyer has changed lines or something similar.
Gregorio has found an impressive amount of variety in her subject, and turned out some truly beautiful designs. The design shown at right is the first one I plan to knit from this book. I'll let you know how it goes, but on first read-through all the patterns look well written (and clearly charted, for those gorgeous cabled designs).
Besides the designs pictured here, there are patterns for a skirt that uses yarn of gradually decreasing weights; a scarf symbolizing the delineations between Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell; an Ectoplasm cowl/hood; the elegant Feathers scarf; mittens depicting hitodama (orbs of light representing a recently departed soul); Uncanny cabled socks; a chullo with lopsided cables; and a wonderful batwing sweater.
Although I had hoped to have this review out for Hallowe'en, it seems just as appropriate to post on All Soul's Day. But I recommend this book for all knitters, whether interested in the supernatural or not. And who knows? The Annotated Bibliography just might inspire you to dig further.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed her personal copy of Ghosts. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of canaryknits or Teresa Gregorio.
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