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Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures Hardcover – March 28, 2006
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Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne are the rock stars of the knitting community--fans flock to their popular blog (masondixonknitting.com) for a daily dose of knitting genius, tips, and humor. In their first book, Mason-Dixon Knitting, you'll find practical advice, instruction, and more than 30 incredible patterns. Want a taste? Check out the details below for making your very own Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. --Daphne Durham
This lightweight blanket in a sophisticated wool/silk yarn proves that a log cabin can go to the Big City. There is no "center patch," and there are blocks of color instead of concentric strips. Drape it over a Barcelona chair, or your shoulders, and enjoy.
SIZE: 60" x 50" (150 cm x 124 cm)
MATERIALS: Silky Wool by Elsebeth Lavold, [1.76 oz (50 g) balls, each approx 192 yds (176 m), wool/silk]
A: cream 4 balls
B: brown 5 balls
C: light purple 5 balls
D: dark purple 5 balls
Size 6 (4mm) needles
GAUGE: 22 sts + 44 rows = 4" (10 cm) in garter stitch.
Note: Throughout pattern, always pick up and bind off stitches on the RS. See entire pattern
"Mason-Dixon Knitting is one of those books that makes a home in the heart of knitters. Like a couple of favorite aunts ushering you into a sunny kitchen for tastes of cookie dough and the sharing of secrets, the authors comfort, inspire, amuse, and brighten the life of the lucky reader who steps into their world. I fell in love right away with the book’s colors, playful approach, and designs... Ann and Kay’s friendly repartee and wry senses of humor, genuine friendship, and the steady rhythm of cheerful and obsessive knitting interwoven with the pulsing music of family life make this a book to curl up on the couch with as well as to knit from." —Cat Bordhi, author of A Magical Treasury of Knitting
"Receiving a pre-publication review copy of this sparkling new book is one of the happiest things that's happened to me in good long while. To read Mason-Dixon Knitting is to find yourself surrounded by a world of smiles; it is to remember what's really important in this world (hint: it has to do with loved ones, home and joy); and, to discover some amazingly good, exciting knitting!" —Nancy Parsons, author and editor of Knittersbookshelf.com
"When I heard that Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne were writing a book, I was intrigued. Gardiner and Shayne are the two voices behind Mason-Dixon Knitting, an ingenious blog based on the ongoing correspondence of two friends (they met in an online knitting forum, and one lives in New York while the other resides in Tennessee–hence Mason-Dixon). Their blog is a warm and welcoming place, and their creative endeavors never cease to inspire me. The book is slated for a late March release, but I got my hands on an early copy at TNNA last week. I tucked it in my bag and promptly forgot about it until later that night when I was back in my hotel room and getting ready for bed. Having already read the room-service menu not once but twice, I figured I'd let Kay and Ann put me to sleep. But they didn't. An hour later I was still wide awake, relishing every word and unable to believe the book could be this good." —Knittersreview.com, Clara Parkes
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Top customer reviews
Mason-Dixon Knitting opens with a chapter on the smallest and most mundane of items--the dishcloth. With a charming ode to Peaches 'n Cream cotton yarn dishcloths, the book then goes on to dazzle the reader with the lovely textured handtowels, cushion covers, curtains, and an extravaganza of logcabin knitting.
Even more charming than the patterns and projects were the anecdotes from the authors, and the lovely profiles of the contributing designers. Knitters in blogland are an entertaining bunch, well aware of their quirks and quick to embrace their weirdness. That endearing tone shines through in the writing, with such tidbits as Ann unearthing the cardigan that her mother knit for her Barbie doll.
The projects include entertainment aspects for kid knitters and yes, some clothing too. My particular favorite is the robe and the clever idea of knitted patterns to be sewn on ready to wear apparel--thus negating the tedious seaming and shaping involved with knitting a full item of clothing. The patterns are tasteful and interesting, without being annoyingly fiddly.
The photos are well done, without making the reader play "what's the model hiding" when trying to figure out how the pattern translates to the photo of the item. If I had one small concern, it is that many of the patterns call for cotton or linen yarn. Those fibers are a bit too stiff for my hands, but do make for nice summer knitting when wool seems too unappetizing.
The book is a wonderful addition to any knitter's library and would make a lovely gift too. Just sayin'.
Really, that says it all.
First, the tone of this book is friendly and accessible-like Kay and Ann just dropped in for coffee and are pulling amazing, simple things out of their knitting bags to show you what they've been up to. And what a great batch of stuff it is.
It's true, most of the patterns are the mostly-square variety, but there are a couple clothing items as well. What's nice is that they're more or less simple patterns, as in simple to DO, but not boring-simple. I mean, a square is knitting's fundamental shape, but making these is anything but boring. Either the construction is unique, or the color combinations are. Or the way they're pieced together. But it's not like making endless swatches (ugh).
Then, between the patterns, you get the fun stuff. (As if the patterns weren't enough fun.) The text is breezy, light, neighborly. Friendly. And even more, there are a few times when Kay and Ann step back and let another knitter talk for a page or so-about why they love lace, or how important it is to finish your knits neatly, or how an endless creativity is a great thing for a knitter (or anyone). See? Going back to that friends-over-for-coffee analogy-not only do Kay and Ann come by and show you all these amazing things, they let other people talk, too. (I bet they even brought the coffee cake.)
Okay, the book does sometimes feels a bit padded. Half as much about the children's potholder project would have been way more than enough for me. And four pages (most of it full-page photos)on the iconic Warshrag? That's a waste of perfectly good trees. A whole long chapter on Log Cabin knitting, is, however, well worth the space: the ladies present detailed instructions and inspired ideas for amazing variations on the technique. I am ready to Log Cabin-ize everything in my house. And they do squeeze a lot of good how-to information into stray corners.
I probably won't make many of the projects exactly as they are shown, but the book is staying out on my worktable as a resource for ideas and a pleasant read.