Brave New Knits (Rodale 2010; available as of this writing for $15.63 via the link above), is, in a nutshell, about knitting blogs. A devoted blog-reader and visitor to sites like Ravelry, author Julie Turjoman has collected 26 projects from participants in the on-line knitting world, along with profiles of their creators. You'll recognize many of the most famous names -- Stefanie Japel of Glampyre Knits, Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic, Clara Parkes, of Knitter's Review, to name a few -- but you may also find one or two bloggers that you've missed or haven't visited in a while. If you are fascinated with the world of knitting blogs, you'll enjoy reading the profiles describing how these bloggers got started, their knitting background, what they hope to achieve by blogging, and background about their designs.
In addition to presenting profiles of her subjects, Turjoman asked each of them to design a project. It's fascinating to see this collection of items, ranging from the small accessory (knitted pins) to full-size sweaters, with a range of styles and techniques presented. (More on the projects in a minute.)
As for structure, the book begins with a forward by Ravelry's own Jess, followed by an introduction by Turjoman, where she describes how she got hooked on Knitting Blog-land, and why she chose to write this book:
Clearly, blogging has changed knitting, yet knitting has influenced its little corner of the blogosphere in equally potent ways. The knitting community is one of the most fortunate subcultures to benefit from the rise of social networking sites on the Internet. I wondered why no one had assembled the staggering talents of this group in book form. It struck me that the most successful designer-bloggers have compelling personal stories, and that the larger knitting community would love to learn more about them.
The remainder of the book is divided into two sections, the first containing sweaters and other full-size garments, the second devoted to accessories. In the first section, you'll find thirteen profiles and designs, ranging from this lovely cabled sweater-jacket
to Stefanie Japel's short-sleeved wave-cable pullover.
The accessories section contains 13 patterns and profiles, and among my personal favorites are Jared Flood's lace-edged scarf
and Sean Riley's swirling Helix socks:
The breakdown of accessories is as follows: a tam and mitts set, three pairs of socks,
three scarves/neckgear, two hats, one pair of gloves, a blanket, a pin and a shawlette. Most of the accessory projects are likewise designed with women in mind, although a few could be more unisex in nature, depending on taste and the yarn/color used.
The book is a whopping 240-plus pages, and the vast majority of it is devoted to the profiles and patterns. (There are a few pages in the back with the typical information -- contact information for the designers, abbreviations, explanations of special techniques, and so on.) It's worth mentioning that photography was done by the talented Brooklyn Tweed, Jared Flood. The book is nicely designed, and includes schematics and charts (all black and white except for the sock chart, which is color). It's a paperback, with fold-in book covers, and the size is just right for popping into your knitting bag.
So Brave New Knits gets two thumbs up, one for fans of the knitting blogosphere and one for fans of lovely knitting patterns. Just promise me, Julie, that if there's a sequel, you'll send me another call for submissions, 'kay?
Photographs copyright 2010 by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed.