Fibers are the core of knitting, and there is a wide range of wonderful natural yarns that are available and becoming more accessible as knitters seek the creature comforts that only Mother Nature can offer.
The Natural Knitter by Barbara Albright
I first saw a preview of this book over at Fluffbuff and then learned a bit more about Barbara Albright at Zeneedle. I casually mentioned the book to my parents a few weeks ago (that I was at the book store to get two books, they had this one but didn’t have the knitting book I was hunting for…) and next thing it was in my mailbox via Amazon! The Natural Knitter is required reading for every knitter looking to pursue a life filled with natural yarns and fleece. The quality and substance of this book makes it stand out from the others on my shelves. A wealth of information on fibers (camelids, goats, bunnies, other fiber-bearing beasties, silk, linen …) plus a nice selection of patterns by well known designers (Norah Gaughan, Debbie New…).
My favorites include Memories of Ukrain by Lidia Karabinich, Architectural Rib Pullover by Norah Gaughan and the Pineapple Overtop by Setsuko Torii (using, yes, Habu Textiles 100% pineapple fiber).
I’m far from perfect when it comes to reining in my consumption of yarns, but I would like to think that my stash reflects quality not quantity, with a focus on naturalness. I like knowing the source of the fiber and yarn and the impact the purchase has on the earth. I wonder if I could knit with only natural yarns the rest of the year? After seeing the yarns used in this book and in the Resources pages there are plenty of familiar ones to choose from, Blue Sky Alpacas, Green Mountain Spinnery, Habu Textiles, Lorna’s Laces, Morehouse Farm and Mountain Colors to name a few. I’d like to try and this book is the perfect guide.
And lest you think I’ve forgotten what month it is, I do have two PS socks blooming in my knitting basket that I hope to share with you later this week!
04/05/2007 at 12:09 am
I am interested in this approach to ::natural:: knitting and being aware of one’s effects upon the earth. It’s the way I consume food and shop for clothing (and make my soap!), why should it be any different for my choice in fibers? And quality over quantity is a rare knitter’s mantra, but one I fully respect and aspire to. Thank you for sharing some info on the book; I’ve been meaning to do more than quickly thumb through it. It really is a beautiful book, and I’m glad it has useful and healthful information to boot. Very much looking forward to the yak.
04/05/2007 at 9:05 am
hi brooke! thanks for this review of the natural knitter… i have been eyeing this online for awhile and it’s good to know that it is as good as it looks! i too have been thinking more about natural fibers… these are my favorite to knit with in any case, but more so the environmental impact, organic wools + cottons… there are more and more wonderful resources popping up.
04/05/2007 at 10:42 am
I always like your posts. I think knitting naturally is a healthy aproach to knitting and stash enhancement. I have been “cleaning up the stash” of late and have noticed a shift in my stash purchases over time-somewhere, “less is more” really came into practice for me. I am a fan of quality over quantity if for no other reason than loving the materials I am using to produce something I will truly love to wear (or give to someone else). Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the book too, it sounds like a “quality” purchase.
04/05/2007 at 2:23 pm
I saw some previews of this book elsewhere and I’m intrigued. I haven’t been too impressed with the new knitting books that have been published lately so I’m definitely going to check this one out.
04/05/2007 at 7:13 pm
I, too, prefer natural – and quality over quantity goes without saying! Thank you Brooke for re-affirming this mantra – the book is a must have!
04/05/2007 at 7:29 pm
Beautiful fibery pictures. I will have to check out that book – you’ve sold me on it now!
04/05/2007 at 8:03 pm
I preferred natural fibers over synthetic for my first 10 years of knitting, but when I quit drinking, I started buying Red Heart and such like crazy. I think I just panicked, but I’ve actually tossed most of those leftover skeins because I’ve calmed down and realize, once again, how cheap yarn seems to cheapen the knitting experience as well.