Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Book Review: Selbuvotter

I have been eagerly waiting the release of Selbuvotter, Biography Of A Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. Fussy Selbu mittens really rev my engine, so to speak. They are always on my to to list, but never get to be knitted. This book should change some of that.

The first half the the book is a history lesson. I admit, I've never been overly attracted to wordy knitting books. I like a few pages, but not a whole biography. However, Shea has a very engaging writing style that keeps you reading. For example, did you know that Selbu knitting can be traced back to one inventor, Marit Emstad? Imagine being able to trace back who invented the dutch sock heel, or the Gansey sweater.

The second part of the book goes over knitting techniques used. Like the patterned thumbs, different cuffs, and pointed fingers. She offers some resizing advice for the patterns to convert a child's to an adult, for example. Shea pulls you in once again makes you feel like a friend is sitting next to you giving you pointers. For example, she tells us not to fret over the tiny holes that tend to appear in glove fingers. The vintage gloves she studied had them too, and it didn't seem to bother those makers enough to darn them up.

Third part is the patterns. Oh boy, the patterns. Over 30 of them reconstructed lovingly from antique Selbu mittens and gloves.

There are gloves and mittens in sizes from children's to men's. Most are black and white, and some are done in two other colors, like blue and white.

If you hate books with teeny little graphs, have no fear. Shea boldly chews up book space by using graphs that take up whole pages and half pages.

chart blurred by me .

Its black and white pages and simple layout will not visually wow you like high-produced books like Victorian Lace Today. However, it is clear and easy to read, and the black and white photos work just fine for (mostly) monochrome mittens.

My only small critique would to have arranged the patterns by size. Otherwise, the book is an amazing reference and will not disappoint. You can order the book directly.


At 3:07 AM, Blogger aija said...

Nice review! I love the pics, maybe winter has gloves in store for me :)

At 7:26 AM, Blogger Bezzie said...

I love looking at these, but know I don't quite have the skills as a knitter to master a decent pair of mittens.
Thanks for the review! And if we see any Selbu mittens showing up on the internet that look like they were made by someone doing drugs, we'll know they were ripping off your blurred pictures of the charts in the book ;-)

At 8:17 AM, Blogger AR said...

Ooh, that does look like a good book. Those gloves ~ wow.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Kit said...

That looks like such an awesome book. Thank you for the review, I'll have to see if I can find a copy!

At 9:30 AM, Blogger EmilyG said...


At 9:30 AM, Blogger maris said...

Great review, Sherry. I love the conversational writers, and like reading about the antecdotes!

Can't wait to see what you make!

At 10:41 AM, Blogger bradyphrenia said...

those look like beautiful mittens, but as i'm mitten-finishing disabled, i will just look upon your future mitts with awe.


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