A gem of a new PieceWork magazine, plus miscellany

I’ve been trying to get this posted for about two weeks but life has intervened. If you are a knitter and haven’t seen the new issue of PieceWork magazine (January/February 2008), you might want to grab a copy. It’s a fine gem. (That’s the cotton chenille sweater behind it; this post has taken long enough to complete that the body, shown below, is now finished and I’m doing the sleeves for the second time.)


Although slim, this publication is packed with terrific articles by fantastic people.

For one thing, it’s got the first published information about the mittens of Rovaniemi. This is the technique that I took a workshop on last fall at the Nordic knitting conference in Seattle. (The whole trip was Stephanie’s fault.)

For another, there’s an article on poetry mittens by Jane Fournier (one of the best spinners and generally most knowledgeable textile people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with) and Veronica Patterson (poet and former editor of PieceWork, which is now edited by the wonderful Jeane Hutchins, who has put together this magical issue, along with many others). So . . . poetry mittens by a textile genius + an astonishing poet.

Here’s the coolest thing. Veronica wrote about the history of poetry mittens. Jane designed some mittens . . . using a poem of Veronica’s!

There’s an article about Maxine Tyler, who knits stuff from bear hair.

There’s an Estonian lace scarf designed by Nancy Bush.

There’s an article on Lithuanian knitting, with a pattern for baby mittens, by Donna Druchunas, who has been following her own heritage and writing about it (more to come in her fall 2008 book, Ethnic Knitting Exploration).

There’s an elegant cabled cardigan designed by Ann Budd, combined with a history of the kimono by Vicki Square (Ann’s sweater has a kimono-inspired front opening, along with fitted sleeve-and-shoulder sections, a fine integration of ideas from disparate sources).

And Lita Rosing-Schow offers a detailed examination of two pairs of Danish knitted gloves, and a pattern for making a set of reproduction gloves.

Sometimes it seems that prices are going up for all sorts of publications (they are, for all sorts of reasons) and that I can read through a new magazine (even, alas, too many books) in fifteen minutes or less and catch everything that interests me. It’s not that I’m uninterested in things. It’s just that after a certain number of years, there’s less stuff that strikes me as magical . . . although there are always new and wonderful things to learn about knitting, spinning, weaving . . . ! The trick becomes finding those things . . . which is why I continue to publish and write about textiles. I spend my time putting together information that I either want to know about now or that I wish I’d known about in my past fiber-exploration stages.

This issue of PieceWork strikes me as an absolute bargain, and as a library addition to treasure for anyone who has even a slight interest in historical knitting, or in making history with his or her own knitting.

I could cast on for several new projects right now that would be inspired by this issue. I’m exercising some discipline and intending to finish some of what’s in progress (the blue socks are almost done, and I’ve nearly completed the chenille sweater’s sleeves, although they are in a knitting bag that I have misplaced somewhere . . . in the house . . . as long as the bag’s in the house, I’m okay; it’s been a multiple-deadline week, which is how these misplacements happen . . . ). Nonetheless, I am happy any time my cupboard of knitting daydreams has been restocked.


Breaking in the new car

Sometimes breaking in a new car means working in the engine for the first 500 to 1000 miles.

For me it means filling it with the types of music it may expect to experience while I’m driving. On a trip to Denver—the first extended trip, and therefore the first real music opportunity—here’s what got played:

I haven’t had a CD player in a car I owned before. CDs are easier to manage while driving than tapes are!

And now I’ve established one of the car’s set of vibes.


My extremely intrepid, creative, and talented niece made me a wonderful Christmas present, although the process sounds like it was traumatic. She got an exceptionally fine blog post out of her efforts, though. (Here’s an account of some of her projects that went more smoothly.)


4 thoughts on “A gem of a new PieceWork magazine, plus miscellany”

  1. During this sleepy week (even the media says people are sleepy this week, so DH and I aren’t alone), I need some magic! Will have to check out this issue.

  2. My darling husband picked up a copy of this magazine, and it’s AWESOME!!! I love the poetry mittens, and I can’t wait to get started. What’s extra nice is that the author published a chart, so that if you want to, you can chart in your own poem (which I plan to do… for dh!) Yes, it’s great and wonderful – even the article about knitting with bear hair, lol.

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