From the first time I opened The Knitter’s Book of Socks and saw the Prana socks, I’ve been entranced by Cirilia Rose’s design style. So when I found out that she had written a book, I was really excited. Even by the title (Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style), I was sure that the patterns in this collection were going to be interesting and exciting.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Magpies is a collection of 26 patterns separated into three main parts: Magpies is for those of us knitters who collect random skeins of yarn and have no idea what to do with them.
The Homebodies section contains patterns of the things we wear when we are at home.
And Nomads is, as the title suggests, full of things to have when out and about.
This book begins with an introduction from Cirilia entitled: Finding Your Inner Bricouleur. I think that this introduction talks about something that knitters (especially designers) need to realize: The only way to have original inspiration is through things that people have already done.
There is nothing new in knitting. One thing that Cirilia points out is that most knitwear designers use the same basic stitches and the same stitch dictionaries and the same yarns. The patterns that they produce have to be reborn in bricollage, or else knitwear designers wouldn’t be in business anymore.
I really appreciate her words of inspiration in that introduction!
In the Magpies chapter, Ms. Rose discusses how knitters tend to collect material with magpie fervency. (It’s true, folks!) Somehow, we end up with one 25 gram skein that we bought on a whim, and no idea what the forthcoming project will be. This chapter is the answer to all those luxe single skeins in your stash!
I loved how Cirilia combines two skeins of yarn (both with limited yardage) for an interesting and vibrant cowl.
The next chapter, begins with a theory from the esteemed Jared Flood: All knitters are introverts. Knitters, while not all that antisocial, have a tendency to want to be at home, alone with their fibers. This is where Cirilia comes up with a theory based off of the one above–Knitters are homebodies.
The pattern that I found to be one of the most intriguing in this section is the Loro vest.
It is knit in a heavy worsted-weight and features a simple moss stitch pattern for the back and thick, cushy 5×5 cables on the front.
I also thought that the Tasse Mug/Pint Cozy was a clever idea for those of us who love ice cream, but hate cold hands.
The Kosi cowl is one that I’m definitly planning on knitting one of these days. It features 4 colors of O-Wool Balance Bulky and looks really cozy and graphic with the garter/ribbing pattern.
I really liked almost every pattern in this section, but I’m going to have to limit myself to only talking about two more.
The Meta Tee is knit out of HiKoo’s Tee-Cakes–yarn made from t-shirt material. It’s worked sideways flat with the sleeves added on afterwards.
And I can’t really talk about something without mentioning footwear, right? Cirilia’s Heima slippers remind me of tincanknits’ Rye sock pattern, with the garter and stockinette stitch patterning.
The last chapter of the book, Nomads, is devoted to knitting and knitwear abroad. To me, the most interesting piece of knitting here is the Rainier Cowl.
This is just a simple cowl, worked flat, from bottom edge to top edge, that has a lining of knitted “fur” for extra warmth.
I also thought that the Studio Pullover was kind of fun. After the sweater is knit, the loose curly locks from Hippie Chix are added on with a crochet hook to make the heart. An interesting technique. 🙂
If all those great patterns don’t convince you to take a look at Cirilia’s book, consider the following:
- Jared Flood took all the photographs for the book.
- There is a well-rounded bibliography curated by Cirilia in the back.
- Before each chapter and pattern, there is an introduction that actually makes you think about knitting, and what it means that you are a knitter. Cirilia comes from a unique background in the industry from working with yarn companies, developing yarns and colorways, as well as desiging for the yarns, so she gets yarn, and that’s apparent in her writing.
- After each chapter are two articles under the heading of Style Inspiration where she talks about various topics, such as colors and what they mean for fiber enthusiasts, thrifting, and substituting yarns, among others.
I really think that you all will like Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads. I found it to be an inspiring tome, and so did Juliet–after some time of saying that she doesn’t like knitting, and why she shouldn’t do it, one look at this book convinced her that she was missing out, and now, she’s a knitter! 🙂