Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pulling Strings Reference Library: Anna Zygowski and Jennifer Kaye

Both of our latest Pulling Strings Library Project inspired reviews are knitting focused, but quite different in flavour. They are brought to you by Hamilton-based textile heads, Anna Zygowski and Jennifer Kaye. We’ll continue to post these mini reviews from our textile heroes through the month leading up to our “official” library launch event, where Jennifer and Anna will both be showing and telling from their personal collection. Stay tuned!

Knitting Fashion, Industry Craft
Sandy Black
V and A Publishing

Sandy Black’s book ‘Knitting Fashion, Industry, Craft’ is a fantastic addition to anyone’s reference collection. By drawing upon the Victoria and Alberts Museum’s collection of knitted fashion and artifacts, the book addresses how knitting practices evolved in the home, on the manufacturing floor and the runway. Blacks’ thorough chapter on cottage and couture hand-knitting in the 20th century explores how producers of knitwear have mediated between age old techniques and modern ideas about fashion. She peppers the book with high fashion images from Chanel, Schiaparelli, and Molyneux against images of fine lace Shetland Island shawls and exquisite 19th century beaded gloves. By doing so she offers an unbiased view of the level of sophistication and technical accomplishment attained by those knitting for income. Finally, a chapter on domestic knitting culture as a historically important and ongoing communal activity rounds out the book. Blacks books is relevant for knitters at any level!

Anna Zygowski, Fashion Knitwear Maker and vintage knitting machine enthusiast

Icelandic Handknits: 25 Heirloom Techniques and Projects 

Hélène Magnússon
Voyageur Press

I happened upon the Icelandic Textile Museum by happy accident three years ago while driving from Akureyri in the north to Reykjavik to catch a plane to Glasgow. It's about a six hour drive - 1/4 of the time it takes to circumnavigate the island. We were half way through and ready for a break, and so we took our guidebook's advice and stopped in Blonduas to check out the Museum. It was really inspiring - beautiful artifacts, well displayed, with that distinctive Icelandic look to them - a great road-trip find. And so I was very happy to come across this book, Icelandic Handknits, back home in Hamilton. All of the patterns are modelled after artifacts from the Museum, which are pictured beside their contemporary replicas. I brought some lopi wool home with me, and so now I have everything I need to create some authentic Icelandic woollens. There's just one problem -- I hate to knit. Why couldn't this book have been called Icelandic Handcrochets instead? Oh well, it's still a great reminder of a wonderful afternoon spent amidst the textile traditions of Iceland.

Jennifer Kaye
Manager Arts, Events & Grants, City of Hamilton
Past Director, Textile Museum of Canada

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