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Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting (Dover Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace) Paperback – August 21, 2009
"Go Big Knits" from the editors of Marie Claire Idees
Knit designs from the editors of Marie Claire Idées to ensure that women of all body shapes and types will look—and feel—fantastic. Learn more
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About the Author
4 Questions with Alice Starmore: An Exclusive Dover Interview
Alice Starmore has a fascinating tale to tell. We spoke to the author of the #1 crafts bestseller Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting about her knitting background, professional start, and more.
Clearly, knitting is a deeply ingrained facet of the culture of Scotland's Outer Hebrides. Did your mother teach you to knit?
My mother taught me to knit when I was very young. She was a dressmaker as well as a knitter and our house was a place of constant creativity. I was also born at a time when most women knitted as a matter of course, and I had three aunts who had been fisher girls in their youth and were experts at making traditional fishermen's gansies.
I understand that your first language is Gaelic — do you still speak it?
Yes I still speak Gaelic. The Isle of Lewis, where I live, is in the Outer Hebrides — the heartland of Gaelic and the only place where you will hear the language in everyday use.
How did you get your start professionally?
I designed a small collection of knitwear in 1975 and successfully sold it in London boutiques. It was featured in a national newspaper and from that small beginning my knitting career evolved in ways that were quite unimaginable to me when I began.
Your books are known and loved around the world, and you've adapted design elements from the textile arts of many countries into your repertoire. Are you still discovering "new" aspects of knitting and fabric arts from other cultures?
I am interested in everything. I find inspiration in all aspects of the world around me. There is enough inspiration in the natural world on my doorstep to last many lifetimes. I am also inspired by art, culture, history, science and music. My own culture features widely in my design work but I have always been interested in other cultures and in other places. My main problem is that I cannot possibly live long enough to produce work from the amount of ideas that come into my head.
Top Customer Reviews
Maybe this is a glitch that happened on early print runs and has been eliminated. I hope so! Because it really mars an otherwise great re-edition of a knitting classic.
Still a great book, and still worth buying for the text alone. But if you are relying on the new paperback edition to see Starmore's colors, make sure to get an alternate reference. It's completely off.
In addition to the history of Fair Isle knitting, Starmore explains the use of OXO patterns mixed with "peerie" or bands of small patterns that are mixed with the larger patterns and provide a pleasing rhythm to the design. The fact that only two colors are used per row is hard to believe when you look at how Starmore mixes subtle color changes to yield some amazing results. She also shows the inspiration for the colorways, from a handful of wet sea pebbles, to a moor landscape, to a flea market display of bric-a-brac. You can find colorways all around you once you get an eye for how Starmore looks at the world.
The book has useful charts for OXO and peerie patterns and a section on how to construct classic pullovers, vests and cardigans. This is one of my most favorite knitting books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've never really used this book but I like having it in my collection. It gives me inspiration to one day create a beautiful fair isle sweater.Published 2 months ago by Cal
I am really enjoying this book. If you just want to buy one book on fair isle knitting, this is the one to have. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
well written, very good explanations, many good drowings and photosPublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
If you're interested in Fair Isle knitting (and, maybe, even not so much), this is a must have book. The illustrations are wonderful. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary B Thacher
What a truly amazing book to have in my library, Alice Starmore is just my idol. I have the second incarnation of this book, so to have the first is fantastic. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Melanie Ann
Was in great condition, arrived on time and satisfied my expectations. 5 out of five.Published 6 months ago by Talena Woodall