This is a BUSY week for blog tour stops here on Knitgrrl! Today it’s Anna Dalvi’s Shaping Shawls, then Woolly Wormhead’s new hats book Bambeanies on the 20th, and Carol Feller’s Contemporary Irish Knits on the 21st.
I’m going to call this one my…
EXTRA SUPER-BIASED BOOK REVIEW
since, of course, my company Cooperative Press published Shaping Shawls. First of all, let’s have a look at the lovely patterns inside, via Ravelry…
I can say that the favorites are definitely warranted, because even the models and the photographer for the book, Kristen Caldwell, none of whom are knitters, were completely enthralled by the shawls. (Mmm, onomatopoeic).
I own a Margarita Leaves (the yellow one) knit in Alisha Goes Around Glint of Goldfish (and knit by my delightfully talented summer intern Kelsey so we’d have one piece from the book on me at Sock Summit this year) — it’s become my go-to shawl for everything.
There’s something to love about all the patterns, though, whether you’re a new lace knitter or have been knitting lace for years. The yarn choices (and juicy color choices) are delightful, consisting of covet-able indie dyers such as Sweet Georgia, Rocky Mountain Dyeworks and Zen Yarn Garden.
When I first saw Anna’s work (she was taking one of my online publishing classes), I knew I wanted to publish it. She was exploring her options and considering every possibility, whether submitting to a larger publisher or doing it herself. I am so glad she chose to work with CP, because this book is not just a recipe book, or a basic template — it actually teaches you the math and the whys and wherefores of how things play out across the canvas (Anna’s word) of a shawl.
Admittedly, I have never been a big Math Person. There are specific subsections of the math world I’m fine with — fractions, figuring out general knit math, etc. But Anna’s initial reference to deltas in the proposal she was working on for class got me intrigued. What’s a delta? Essentially, you’re calculating how the stitch counts change based on what those stitches do. Yarnovers add stitches, knitting stitches together subtracts, knits and purls are neutral, and so on.
For a stitch pattern to flow nicely (and not create the wrong shape relative to the intended shape and size of the shawl), you need to balance these numbers. Anna’s explanations are so graceful that even mathphobic me was hungry for more. It’s a new approach to a topic we all should know a little better if we want to explore patterns in greater detail, and therefore be able to alter or deviate from them if we wish.
Anna is known for hosting excellent KALs on her website, and through supporting those KALs, she really knows where knitters run into challenges. All of this experience and knowledge has been incorporated into the book.
Do you have a question for Anna? Please ask it in the comments!
We’ll award one lucky commenter their own copy of the book.
Shaping Shawls is for sale on Ravelry, and at Cooperative Press.