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Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines:

Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Trick Parts, Whole New Worlds and Familiar Ones, Too

Authors:  Kay Gardener and Ann Shayne

Rating: 5 Sheep (excellent)

 

Kay and Ann follow up their first book (Mason Dixon: The Curious Knitters Guide) and reveal the Secret of Knitting and what makes knitting fun. They guarantee there is nothing in this book you cannot do and find fun. I love their sense of humor and playfulness.

 

The Decorating Yourself chapter has two “Coaty Coats”, a flappy scarf in Muench Touch Me (the Flapotis!), two seminars disguised as projects help you learn techniques – errant socks (cables), your first top-down sweater. “Margaret” is a beautiful, romantic wide ribbed a-line long sweater with knitted quotes chain-stitched on the bodice. Cool idea, though I probably wouldn't want someone reading my chest – I'd probably replace it with a geometric pattern or cables (or leave plain). There are some great items playing with the sheerness of mohair – “a haze of knitting”. a translucent Cardi Cozy (see-through wrap to wear tied over your storebought sweater). Belinda is a plaid mohair wrap where the plaid is created by overlapping two layers of solid color crisscross geometric lace. I have a small stockpile of mohair I could see doing four wrap pieces and swapping them out – seeing how the colors play with each other & how the look changes depending on which color is over or under another.

 

The Fairest Isle of All chapter introduces Fair Isle knitting along with steeking via a rug, baby dotty blanket and working your way up to a wonderful blanket based on Liberty of London wallpaper.

 

Covering the Small Human chapter has great knits for kids along with tips on what to avoid when knitting for “children who have reaches the age of reason”. If you have kids in your life to knit for, there is a unisex denim sweater with interesting construction, a cute dress for your “young Avenger” – the Emma (Peel), a Jane Austen dress – knitted bodice and a simple skirt made by gathering & seaming a length of fabric, I think even I could do that. Or make a Jane Austen shrug to layer over it, cute and quick knitting. There is a beautiful striped long sweater for a toddler with embroidered ferns which Ann had entered in the TN state fair (her confession about the Perils of Competitive Knitting). I absolutely love the “heartbreakingly cute pilot cap” which is knit in a zig-zag strip of Koigu then sewn up.

 

The Occasional Knitting chapter has some holiday gifts – knit Christmas stocking, felted Christmas Advent Trees (which remind me of hats for garden gnomes) and a striped shortrow kippah (skullcap), a poached wool picnic bag, table runners, a knit market bag, a paper lantern cover!

 

The Sophisticated Kitchen has their kitschy kitchen items – dishcloths, mitred hanging dishtowels reminiscent of Mom's, and in the new “green” style of living – “the Swifty” reusable mopcovers (go wild and make it into a doggy coat!), superthick hotmitts and some crazy dishwashing gloves with knitted cuffs attached! It all goes along with their philosophy of “MUST use the knits”.

 

My husband tells me if he'd looked through this book to see if I'd like it, he'd have put it back. He couldn't imagine me making anything in it. I have a lot of knitting books that I haven't made anything out of, but I still admire. Actually, I could see me making the mohair wraps easily. The pilot cap or “blu jeans” would be great for a friend's baby. A top down sweater is on my list too.

 

I also love to read knitting books, Kay and Ann's sense of humor….. I love the treatise on the independent knitter (where have you gone Elizabeth Zimmermann?) – taking charge of my knitting, being inspired by their knitting mojo and hoping some of it rubs off on me from owning this book.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Candy Grastorf

Buy this book from Amazon.com

 

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