Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Classic knitting books

Today's "Shelf Awareness", an online newsletter about bookselling, listed the most sought-after out-of-print books of 2007, according to Out of the ten titles, TWO were about our favorite craft. They were in the company of Madonna's Sex, a children's book, and a history of helicopters (?!).

These were the knitting books people truly wanted with their rank on the list:

No. 6. The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt (1988). Ultimate indispensable hand knitting resource.

No. 8. Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore (1997). History and how-to about the Irish technique.

(Note: No. 4 was a 1984 book by Nora Roberts called Promise Me Tomorrow which the list-maker notes she refuses to reissue. I wonder why.)

I'm curious. How many of you own these knitting classics and/or why are they classics?



Blogger Nephele said...

I owed a copy of Aran Knitting (I sold if for $160 on ebay). I think that one gets classic status because 1. Starmore is great at designing based on the traditional stitches and 2. The books are never reprinted. Once the initial runs sell out they don't print them again, meanwhile a new generation of knitters comes along and they want the books, so... ($160 was actually a pretty cheap price these days)

7:41 PM  
Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

Nope, don't have either. I know that Starmore is a wonderful designer and I can see why people would want her books.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

$160 was cheap? Wow! That must be a heck of a knitting book!

11:10 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

If the book is so popular, I wonder why no one reprints it.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

I haven't owned either. Although I think the local library has a copy of one of the Alice Starmore books (possibly the Fair Isle one).

The "old" books I have are almost all Elizabeth Zimmerman books, and "Knitting in Plain English."

10:18 AM  
Blogger OzKnitter said...

I haven't owned, or seen, either knitting book.

With regard to "PMT" Nora refuses to reissue it because she hates it with a passion. Having read it, I can see why she'd feel that way... it's nothing like a "typical" NR book and it's not particularly cohesive. To me, it's more like something you'd write if you were trying to discover who your characters were, before you began writing their stories. (I'm not a writer, so maybe there's a technical term... I consider it something like a preliminary draft... you'd write it, then work out where the story 'starts' and then begin to write the story). It's almost like she hadn't written a book before... but I've read the ones she wrote before PMT (and after) and they're much better. So I don't know why PMT was such a dud.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Thanks for the info on the NR book, Ozknitter! Isn't it funny that even though it's a bad book and evidently people know it's a bad book, folks still want to buy it. I admire Nora for standing her ground on not reprinting it. As a writer, I completely understand not wanting something I considered inferior work to be out in public.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Edittorrent said...

I lucked into a copy of Aran Knitting and love it. Currently knitting Fulmar, one of the patterns in that book. It's an aran knit at sock gauge (30x40 for 4"), so I'll probably be knitting it for the next 6 months. At least!

I don't know that I'd pay current market prices for it, but it really is a fantastic book.


10:25 AM  
Blogger LauraP said...

I love the designs in the Starmore book. I checked it out from the library years ago and have hunted for a reasonably priced copy since.

6:49 PM  

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