Friday 1 December 2017

This Thing Of Paper By Karie Westermann Review + Our Prize Winner!

Image courtesy of Karie Westermann
My copy of Karie Westermann's pattern book This Thing Of Paper, inspired by the designer's lifelong love of books and manuscripts, arrived hot off the press the day after its publication day, which was November 30th 2017. Westermann took to crowdfunding to fund her first book: a whopping 725 people (including me!) prepaid for their copy in anticipation.

It's a beautifully-produced paperback book - the first to be included in the Gutenberg Museum's archive of book history -  and has a Ravelry code for pattern downloads. This Thing Of Paper is a mixture of 11 patterns, grouped by the themes manuscript, invention and printed, and essays that mull over the themes and knitting. As such this is a book to read rather than just flicking through the lushly-photographed photos and patterns.

One thing that's desirable about Westermann's previous work is that it's covetable but also accessible - advanced beginners and intermediate knitters can get stuck in to her patterns with gusto without coming unstuck. Stitches are in the patterns because they produce a striking, simple effect and not because they show off the designer's technical skills. Another plus point is that Westermann makes extensive use of British yarns from the Blacker Yarns brand.

This is not a vanity project, but rather a homage to Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press circa 1450. As Westermann says in her introduction, she worked directly with primary sources ranging from fourteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to sixteenth-century embroidery manuals: "I have not attempted to reconstruct any fourteenth-, fifteenth- or sixteenth-century garments ... but rather that I have let my research guide my design instincts."

And so to the patterns!

The first to go on my knitting needles will be Letterpress, as it is a stash buster that won't take too long to knit. The cowl is worked in the round and has a cable pattern worked without a cable needle. It uses Blacker Yarns British Classic Aran.
Letterpress image courtesy of Karie Westermann

The Vellum cardigan is inspired by the laborious processes involved in producing medieval manuscripts and is knitted in Blacker Yarns Tamar DK. Its yoke pattern is a delight.

Vellum image courtesy of Karie Westermann

The Scriptorium Mittens use Blacker Yarns Swan 4 ply and have a charted pattern.

Scriptorium image courtesy of Karie Westermann

The Psalter shawl has a slip-stitch section with a deep applied edge and is made with DyeNinja Camel Silk Fingering 4 ply.

Psalter image courtesy of Karie Westermann

Incanabula is another covetable cardigan pattern that will add a touch of style to your wardrobe. Knitted in Blacker Yarns British Classic DK it is worked bottom-up.

Incanabula image courtesy of Karie Westermann
The Majuscule and Minuscule hat and mittens set play with colour and are suitable for intermediate knitters. The patterns use Blacker Yarns Swan 4 ply.

Majuscule and Minuscule image courtesy of Karie Westermann
Second on my 'to knit' list from this book is the Marginalia jumper, inspired by footnotes in a book. The jumper is knitted in knitted with the wool and linen blend Blacker Yarns Lyonesse DK.

Marginalia image courtesy of Karie Westemann
The Biblioteca shawl uses Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Yarns Quinag Bluefaced Leicester and  is worked top-down to its full wingspan.

Biblioteca image courtesy of Karie Westermann
Finally Woodcut is a traditional garter stitch hap shawl.  It's knitted using Blacker Yarns St Kilda Laceweight.

Woodcut image courtesy of Karie Westermann
The book is a delight, well worth the wait for its crowdfunding backers, and would make a gratefully-received  gift for both knitters and book scholars alike. The inclusion of both accessories and garments in various weights means This Thing Of Paper covers all bases and knitterly desires.

The book costs £18.99 plus P&P directly from Karie Westermann (although due to high demand it won't reach you in time for Christmas). BritYarn has copies in stock at the time of writing for £18.95 plus P&P. Alternatively, if you only want the download, buy it for £19.20 at Ravelry.

Prize Winner

A big woolly thanks to everyone who entered our competition to win three 100g DK skeins of Baa Baa Brighouse yarn.

The winner, picked at random, is Lindsay Loughtman and A Woolly Yarn has contacted her to ask for her address.

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