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Aran Knitting, Expanded Edition Paperback – August 27, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

An acclaimed textile designer, author, artist, and photographer, Alice Starmore is a native of Scotland's Isle of Lewis. Starmore has taught and lectured extensively throughout Britain, Europe, and the United States. She has written 16 books and countless magazine articles, and her classic Book of Fair Isle Knitting is the work that introduced Americans to the popular traditional technique.

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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised & enlarged edition (September 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486478424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486478425
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ah, the original! Commands breath-taking prices on Amazon and other sites. Knitters everywhere cheered when they heard this precious volume would be reprinted. Not just re-printed, republished in a new edition. Many if not most of the sweaters were re-photographed- and once again, the photos are gorgeous. The beginning part on the history of Aran knitting has a retrospective that may, or may not, add to your knitting experience. The one additional project is a decidedly non-Aran cardigan with set-in sleeves and waist shaping. It is lovely and I may make it for myself.
That's not to say the book is perfect. What I didn't like about it (why I gave it 4 in place of 5) stars:
1) the new introduction is a bit too smug for me. Not only that, the author lays claim to an anchor cable pattern- and criticizes others for using it. Yet I found the same cable pattern in a much older (predating the first edition of Aran Knitting) stitch dictionary.
2) the format is smaller than the original, so the charts are smaller too. The binding makes me afraid to lay it flat enough to enlarge the charts. The hard-bound book with sewn pages can lie flat enough to scan or photocopy.
3) the most beautiful sweater, the new one, comes in the most limited sizes. The largest size would fit my size 4 daughter. Most knitters will look, sigh, and knit elsewhere.

Summary: if you are a knitter, you need this book on your shelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This eagerly-awaited paperback edition of Alice Starmore's beautifully photographed, definitive work on the history and techniques of Aran knitting includes all of the text, charts, and patterns of the original 1997 hardcover book, and nearly all of the original photos (a few swatch photos have been replaced by new garment photos). The revised and expanded edition also contains a brand-new Preface, and one entirely new pattern (Eala Bahn) that incorporates Celtic knotwork motifs into a cardigan with precise body shaping.

The new Preface (The Infinite Line) discusses how well the author has succeeded in demolishing the myths surrounding Aran knitting, which was her reason for writing and publishing the original Aran Knitting. The Preface also talks about the author's three modern contributions to the recognized motifs of "Aran knitting": the anchor, the heart, and the knotwork motif from her Sigil design (included in this book). All three of these personally designed motifs use the author's unique technique for knitting the unbroken, continuous line that characterizes all interwoven Celtic knotwork patterns.

The extremely popular St. Brigid pullover design, with all its complex cables and knotwork, has shed its fringe, been rephotographed, and been rewritten for a slimmer small (32-34") figure, as well as the previous medium (36-38") and large (40-42") figures. Aranmor is now written in four sizes (32-35", 36-39", 40-44", 45-48"); Na Craga, in five sizes (32-34", 35-37", 38-40", 41-44", 45-48"); Irish Moss, in four sizes (32-34", 36-38", 40-42", 44-46"); and Boudicca's Braid, in two sizes (32-36", 38-44").
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book. It's "COFFEE TABLE" beautiful. The history of Aran knitting, and the photographt are gorgeous.

The sweaters that Alice Starmore designed are wonderful. The mens sweaters are timeless, but the women's sweaters are a bit dated. This could be easily remidied by adjusting the fit of the sweater while using the stitches that are part of the original design.

Alice Starmore has a number of nice stitch patterns in the book that are also listed in numerous other knitting stitch books (The Big Book of Knitting, The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches Vol. 1 and 2, Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting, Charted Knitting Designs by Barbara G. Walker, The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey, to name a few). There are a couple of Celtic cable patterns that are more intriguing, but is it worth buying the book for $100+ just to have access to those few stitches?

So, to sum it up. I would definitely give this book 5 stars on overall first impression, even on the sweater patterns and charts, but as far as the stitches within the book - about 4 stars, there are many other books out there with more comprehensive patterns. Buy the book if you want the history, the sweater patterns, but if you're looking for a good book on Aran Knit Stitches, try a stitch encyclopedia book and come up with your own designs.
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By A Customer on April 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
So far, I've found that I enjoy Starmore's work in general (I also have the Celtic Collection), though I'm only working on my second Starmore project. The pictures are great (of course, the color doesn't match perfectly, but that's to be expected), and the section on basic Aran stiches is wonderful. I'm looking forward to trying to design a sweater myself with some of those stiches, once I feel comfortable enough to buy that much yarn for such an iffy project. *grin* One warning--I've found Starmore's gauging to be a little odd. I think she pulls her yarn just a *little* tighter than most knitters.
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