Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose, photography by Jared Flood, pub. STC Craft, 2014.
This a gem of a book contains 26 patterns, categorized by personality. Magpies collect shiny things, including small amounts of precious yarns. Homebodies quietly enjoy the comforts of home. And Nomads venture out into the world, seeking friendship and inspiration.
Photographer Jared Flood portrays each personality in its own habitat. The Magpies flit along a wooded path, or wander on the beach. The Homebodies dwell amid potted plans and cooking utensils. And the Nomads take to the street. Each design is photographed from a number of different angles, with the care (and eye) of a fellow knitter.
Sizing is fairly generous, with most sweaters sized to fit chests size 31 to 53, and one hat and a pair of slippers presented in 3 sizes. There's only one size for all the other accessories, which include a couple hats and a pair of mitts but are mostly scarves.
Along with the patterns there are pages and pages of worthwhile information. Tips on color, styling, and yarn substitution. Advice on organization, packing, and shopping. Referrals to books and blogs outside the knitting circle. And many more useful tidbits given in Cirilia's good-natured, matter-of-fact tone.
Even the pattern introductions can have hints of wisdom gleaned from Cirilia's experience with greats such as Norah Gaughan. The intro to the Tisane Tank talks about developing a design vocabulary and points out that Tisane is a fraternal twin to the Garance Camisole (both pictured below) from an earlier chapter.
Much of Cirilia's work is not to my taste, but I absolutely adore her Isla Cardigan (cover photo and left), especially worn with the Marion Collar. The cardigan itself has several very sweet knitterly details such as slightly puffed sleeves, shoulder tabs, and a defined pleated ridge at the bustline. Reinterpreted from a thrift store find, it is a lovely piece on its own.
But paired with the Marion Collar, it simultaneously evokes wilderness and elegance. If the cardigan is perfectly pleasing, the ensemble is thrilling.
The collar is a knitted base worked in two extra soft yarns (lambswool and angora), with "lustrous, colorful, curly locks" pulled through afterwards using a crochet hook. Visit Weir Crafts or comb through Etsy to find the curly locks.
Other designs which caught my eye are the Heima Slippers (above), the Coterie Cardigan, the Rainier Cowl, and the Raven Bag. The slippers look ultra-comfortable, and I love the way they are styled with tights that coordinate with the ribbon tie. The cardigan is a true double-breasted, military inspired piece. The cowl is a vegetarian take on fleece-lined suede. And who can resist a bag shaped like one of Odin's (or Poe's) iconic ravens?
I also admire the Gezell Coat, shown at right. It solves the problem of pocket bulges by embracing them, incorporating them into its shape. And I love pockets.
But I'm also developing a newfound affection for bobbles, which Gezell gratifies. The eyelets along the back seam make an interesting foil to the round buds at hem and cuffs.
I was surprised, given the disparity of our tastes, at how similar Cirilia's thought processes are to mine. Her bibliography, including Teva Durham, Britt-Marie Christoffersson, and Maggie Righetti, looks very similar to my bookshelf.
I recommend this charming book as a good read for any designer, knitter, shopper, or bricoleur (Cirilia's word). There are several references in addition to the bibliography which merit further exploration. And of course her designs may attract you on their own. This book stimulated and inspired me. Perhaps it will have the same effect on you!
Disclosure: Kangath received a review copy of this book from the publisher. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed in all Kangath's reviews are her own.
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