Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Tour of Duty

Two recent knitting books have come out, and I have been asked to participate in each of their "blog tours."  Since the first one is related to war-time knitting, I thought I'd call this my "Blog Tour of Duty."  Clever, huh?  Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog (yes, two days in a row!).

Rohn Strong - The Heritage Collection:  WW1 and WW2

Author, knitter, history-buff, Rohn Strong has put together a self-published book commemorating the knitting efforts that took place for U.S. troops in the two World Wars.  This 121 page book is currently available as an electronic PDF download on either Rohn's web site, or via the Ravelry Store for a price of $12.99, or for printed copy on Amazon for $19.99.

In addition to many stories from war time archives of knitters doing their part, Rohn includes stories of family ancestors and even includes a pattern from his grandmother's repertoire.  I was also very grateful to read the introduction by Donna Druchunas. She frames Rohn's work in a way that made me feel very much a part of a long tradition.

A couple of overall assessments.  I love the concept of the book and enjoyed reading how knitters have quietly taken their place in history.  I was glad to see Rohn had researched his topic quite thoroughly, and included a number of references and photos I had never seen before.  For that alone, the book was worth the price.

As for his designs, I was somewhat less enthralled.  There are some good strong designs in the book.  I really like the toe treatment on his Horatio sock patterns:

I also thought some of his hat patterns and his glove patterns (see below) were very good. 

Most of his sweater designs I found a bit too hand made, and I would adapt them for myself.  For instance, while I love the collar treatment and the color of his Josephus pullover vest (and the name), I thought the winged look of the arm holes was sloppy looking.

Perhaps the shoulder wings were correct for the times he documents, but I couldn't get away with wearing a sweater that way.

I also thought his color choices for some of the multi-colored sweaters were tricky to pull off, even for the models in his photos.  Again, easy to fix for anyone with vision, or fantastic for someone with a more eclectic style who can get away with that kind of look.

Overall, I am glad to own this book, but if you're a knitter that wants a pattern book to tell you exactly what color and yarn to use, you may want to check out the colors and pattern designs before purchasing this book.  But most of the readers of QueerJoe aren't your typical "I will only knit it with the yarn and in the color in the photo" type of knitters

Current Knitting
Having just finished spinning the wool from Tidal Yarns, I thought it would be a perfect choice for trying out one of Rohn's patterns.  First, it was very satisfying to hand-wind two perfectly beautiful center-pull balls of yarn.

Then, I made a bit of headway on the first glove.

The gloves has a very subtle color striping as I switch from the green/gold to the blue/gray yarn, just about as visible in this photo as in real life.  I am happy to say, the directions in Rohn's pattern are quite good...succinct and easy to follow.

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