Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A review of Knitting Ephemera, A Compendium of Articles, Useful and Otherwise, for the Edification and Amusement of the Handknitter by Carol J. Sulcoski

Knitting Ephemera
A Compendium of Articles, Useful and Otherwise, 
for the Edification and Amusement of the Handknitter 
Carol J. Sulcoski

Did you know that before there were cowls and wristers, there were Antimacassars, Matinee Coats, Semmits, Fascinators, Polkas, Berthes, Cephelines, Balaclavas, Paletots, and Muffetees? And that each of these will be entertainingly explained early on in this amazing and informative book, opposite a line up of  Sheep-y Factoids, one of which is: "Sheep have good memories.Some scientists estimate they can remember people or events for up to two years".

I didn't know any of that, and I am very glad that I do, now.
Knitting Ephemera is 130 pages of wonderful, if you are in the least interested in knitting. If you were not interested in knitting, you definitely will be, after reading this superfun, factual, and entertaining book. Are you intrigued by the history of knitting? As the author says on the back cover, "the first knitting needles were made from copper wire and were used in Arabian and Mediterranean countries", Are you curious about the Mythical lore of knitting? Once again, from the back cover: "Residents of West Virginia have reported sightings of a giant white shaggy beast known as SHEEPSQUATCH.
That is just way too close to where I live.
The examples of the practical facts concerning knitting ( the example of which...well, you just have to get the book and read this for yourself--it's eyepopping!), as well as the cultural aspects of knitting (did you know that Morticia Addams. Liz Lemon, and Holly GoLightly are all characters from television and film who knit?) are bits of info which shine, reflecting how much work and love the author has put into this book.
The reader can't open this book without stopping immediately to read whatever information is offered on any given page. The layout makes it possible to do this without any frustration. It is very pretty, and there are a number of decorations and photos which add to the book's charm. You will be learning about "the real stuff" (for example, see Terms Used to Describe Yarn Color Effects, or the Knitting Needle Conversion Chart, which converts US to Metric), the odd and fascinating ("Author Hans Christian Anderson wrote a fairy tale called "The Darning Needle" about a, well, a darning needle who fancied herself a bit above her station and came to a bad end" and "What 1980's toy was immortalized in a Vogue Knitting Pattern Feature? --Cabbage Patch Kids. The Fall/Winter 1985 Vogue Knitting featured matching clothing patterns for both girl and doll: a stylish snowflake ski sweater, an Aran cardi with matching hat, and a cardigan/vest/skirt/tam combo). The history is truly engrossing ("Prior to the 17th century, the Merino industry was so important in Spain that exporting a Merino Sheep was an offense punishable by death.") And what is going on in the present is very cool too, The author lists the top 10 knitting projects as measured by appearing the most times as an ongoing project in users' Ravelry queues. She ever has solutions for some of us who come less naturally to knitting. I loved the presentation of tips to help in the following of knitting charts, meant for me and possibly for you as well.
Perhaps you belong to a knitting group. Everyone is going to want a copy of this funny, informative, uniquely appealing, downright fabulous book. Makes a lovely gift for your crafty friends as well as for you. Be prepared to lend it out--you will all find something special about Knitting Ephemera.

Carol J. Sulcoski has been knitting for years and is a prolific author, having written five knitting books before Knitting Ephemera. 
She also write articles for knitting magazines, teaches classes on knitting and sells her own brand of yarn. As well, she has a family and is an attorney.

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