Often when I crave a craft book, it is the cover that sucks me in, especially when ordering online. I’m a pushover for lush photography and the promise of enticing projects within. Usually, it’s a tendency that serves me well, but in the case of Mason-Dixon Knitting, which lacks a cover photograph at all, it almost caused me to pass up a real gem.
Had I never seen Gerri’s Ballband Dishcloths, I likely would not have given the book a second glance. But, as we all know, I did see Gerri’s dishcloths, and I did check Mason-Dixon Knitting out of the library (three times), and I did finally get my own copy, now that it’s out in paperback.
I’m sure the library is happy to have their book back at long last.
Since Christmas, I’ve had a small basket next to my spot on the couch, and in that basket has been a few balls of Peaches & Creme cotton worsted, and an in-progress Ballband Dishcloth or two. I started with kitchen colors, but have since moved-on to the bathroom. After that I plan to make a nice little pile in a variety of pretty colors to be used as hostess gifts someday. It’s the perfect project to have nearby for those unexpected moments when your hands are idle. You know those opportunities: you’re eating lunch in front of the tv, but your leftover Spanish Rice runs out twenty minutes before Martha is over. That’s enough time to knit another stripe. Or, two, if you’re faster than I am.
The book is more than washcloths, although there are two of them and two hand-towel patterns as well. Add a few rugs, a bevy of blankets, a curtain, a cushion, and a bib for your favorite drooly baby, and you get the idea. Mason-Dixon Knitting is very much a “knits for your home” kind of book, which is one of the things that sets it apart from other titles. There are no sweaters, hats, or wrist-warmers here, but there’s a chapter dedicated to log cabin knitting, featuring some surprisingly stylish and cozy blankets. The next time I find myself thinking I need a project that will keep me busy for six months, I’m casting on the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. Seriously.
I’m also smitten with the Flying Geese Blanket, the Big Dotty Cushion, and the Absorba the Great Bathmat. The latter, with it’s use of chunky yarns and big needles is about as close to instant-gratification one can get with a bathmat. Plus, I could make it in colors to coordinate with my new washcloths, if I’m feeling matchy-matchy. (And let’s face it, don’t I always feel matchy-matchy?)
I’ll be honest. I don’t often read craft books. I flip through them, looking for projects that catch my eye, and then read whatever pages are necessary to satisfy my curiosity about those particular projects. This book, though, draws you in immediately. More than a pattern book, it reads almost like a shared blog. (Authors Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne have been sharing a blog for some time and it’s a format they are good at.)
I read this one from cover to cover, enjoying the stories about Ann’s mother’s attempt to de-tartify her Barbie doll with a knit cardigan, the amusing Timeline of Knitted History, and the descriptions of “places we have tried to knit and failed.” The book is peppered throughout with “rules,” my favorite one being: No project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough.
That’s something to keep in mind, next time I start daydreaming about a Moderne Log Cabin Blanket to drape over the back of my couch!
5 stars out of 5