MKG Cable Gram——Volume 22, Number 4
If you love to knit socks, or just love the idea of hand-knitted socks, then you'll want to check out one of the "books" the MKG library acquired this summer. It's a looseleaf notebook filled with every issue of a now-defunct publication, the Heels and Toes Gazette. This short (but densely packed) newsletter was published by Dawn Brocco, a knitwear designer in Saugerties, N.Y., four times a year from 2000 to 2004: 17 issues in all. Enough Guild members recommended it to me that I spent $68 of our book-buying budget to acquire the whole run, then found an extra-sturdy binder to store it in.
Sometimes resources like this get put on a library's reference shelf so they always stay in the library, but Heels and Toes is so chock-full of patterns that the Textile Center librarian, Nancy Mambi, concurred with me that it would be more useful as a circulating item. It deserves a lot of use. Every issue has three sock patterns, along with other features like yarn reviews. (The yarn reviews are exceptionally thorough; some have color photos of laundered swatches.) For instance, issue no. 1 has patterns for "Scottish Fleet Socks" and "Cabled Norwegian Socks"——both designed to coordinate with tunic patterns that Brocco has for sale on her Web site, http://www.dawnbrocco.com——and reviews of the then-classic sock yarns Socka, Regia, and Silja. (Things have changed in six years. For instance, Socka Color, a variegated fingering-weight yarn from Germany that was once a huge favorite, no longer exists, although Schoeller & Stahl still makes a solid-color version, Fortissima Socka.) A pattern for something called the "Truly Simple Beginner's Re-Heelable Socks" appears in this and the next two issues.
In issue no. 7, I found a pattern by MKG member Shelly Kang, the first of several patterns Kang published in Heels and Toes. This one was called "Ivy Socks," and it used a complex (but well-explained) technique of intarsia in the round. I especially liked the advertised skill level: "Advanced (or fearless intermediate)." Other Kang patterns in subsequent issues are the "Fall Leaves Socks," this one a stranded Fair Isle, and "Sherbet Stripe Socks." The full-color illustrations of each project make them especially inviting to knit.
Brocco is a nationally known designer who loves to knit in the round, so socks are a natural for her. The publication is liberally sprinkled with inspiring quotes from people like designer William Morris and guru Joseph Campbell ("The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are"), and it generally expresses the personality of someone who loves to teach and share new knitting ideas.
Knitter's Magazine index available
Another new looseleaf notebook in the Textile Center Library is a bit harder to reach, since it's way up on the top shelf above the TT 825's. That's where you'll find back issues of Knitter's magazine and other knitting serials, since Textile Center librarian Nancy Mambi recently re-organized them so they're shelved near their fiber-arts subjects, rather than alphabetically by title. MKG member Kathy Erickson, mentioned in the last Cable Gram for her classification work at the library, helped Mambi print out the online index that Knitter's makes available on its Web site.
The index has its limitations, aside from the obvious one that it goes only up to issue 61, which came out at the end of 2000––the magazine itself is up to issue 84 now. The index takes an issue-by-issue approach instead of an overall one, and it is alphabetical by author or designer rather than subject. Online, this is less of a problem, since you can do a keyword search of the entire document (you can download your own PDF copy by going to http://www.knittinguniverse.com/xrx/downloads.php and clicking on the "Knitter's Magazine Index" photo). In print, however, this means you have to remember the author or designer, then look it up 61 times.
Still, being able to track down a beloved designer in all his or her permutations over the years is great fun. In Knitter's issue 3, for instance, which was devoted to Fair Isle knitting, you'll find articles and designs by Elizabeth Zimmermann, Nancy Bush, Medrith Glover, Deborah Newton, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, and other luminaries. This issue (from 1985) and other early Knitter's incarnations can be checked out individually from the library.
Your membership in MKG includes library-borrowing privileges from the Textile Center's 10,000-volume library. As always, I urge you to take advantage of this invaluable privilege by checking out Heels and Toes and other knitting resources. Then come show off the results at our monthly meetings!
New Amazon link raises library funds
When you go to the Textile Center Library's Web site, http://www.textilecentermn.org/library.asp, you'll find something new: a button for Amazon.com. The Textile Center has joined something called the Amazon Associates program to raise funds for its library. Use this button to link to the Amazon Web site, and a percentage of your purchases will be donated to the Textile Center. The percentage varies according to volume and product category, but it will be at least 4 percent. That's a lot for a library whose annual operating budget, including the half-time librarian's salary, is well under $30,000.
Buying things this way––and note that Amazon offers a lot more than books these days––doesn't add anything to the cost of your purchase, but it will help sustain a l ibrary we all love and use. I hope you'll consider this when it comes time for holiday shopping!
Rebecca Ganzel Thompson's second two-year term as MKG's volunteer librarian expires this April.