Stix Chix Book Club: Echoes by Susan Crawford
Now, you may be saying to yourself, "Wait, what? Stix has a book club?". Yes, as of this very moment we do! For those of you who know me, you are probably wondering if I need medical attention or if I have been abducted by aliens and returned to earth as a new, improved model. I am really not known as a "club" kind of gal. However, this is my club and I'm making the rules so it will suit me just fine. Here's the plan: With no particular timeline or direction I'll spend lots of time with a title from the Stix shelves. I'll share all my favorite things about it and encourage you to take a look too. Then, if you are so inclined and pick up a copy for yourself, you can let me know what your favorite things about it are here in the comment section. Sounds like fun, right? Great!
I'm kicking off the club with Echoes by Susan Crawford.
There are so many things to enjoy in this book. First off, the author herself. Susan is an iconic Shetland designer, author and maker. She is perhaps best known for her book The Vintage Shetland Project. In that book, she took heritage pieces from the Shetland Museum archive and transcribed the garments a stitch at a time into patterns for the modern knitter to use to recreate them for personal wear. She also developed her own yarn lines for use in these and other garments, taking care to create yarns which would closely mimic the yarns used in the heritage pieces. I'd highly recommend that title in addition to Echoes.
In Echoes, Susan has designed 24 pieces ranging from garments to accessories and home-goods, each inspired by an iconic woman (some real, some fictional). There is a brief essay about each inspiring woman accompanying each design. I very much enjoyed reading these little vignettes; I learned a little something new in almost every one of them.
The designs themselves vary in complexity and type of knitting. I can't say I liked every single one of them, but the book far exceeded my book-buying rule of there needing to be at least three things in it I want to make. In addition to the visual appeal of the garment designs, several of them are written for regular and cropped sizes, and all of them have a great size-inclusive range. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.
There are few things I enjoy making or wearing more than a cropped vest. First, no sleeves! Second, cropped (as am I)! And this one......swoon-worthy. I adore that the back is different than the front, yet still the same. And the name.....Gertrude?! My kids are all very lucky that their father exercised his name-veto privilege on that front, or one of them would most certainly be named Gertrude Rose. The stranded patterning on this one just looks to be engaging and enjoyable as well. Perfection! (Okay, maybe this one is my favorite.)
Spencer was inspired by Lady Diana Spencer. Those of us of a certain age can remember waking up at 3 am to tune in to the wedding of the century between Prince Charles and Lady Di and dreaming of wearing a wedding confection like hers. Diana was a fashion icon, making both the simplest and most extravagant garments look equally wearable and fabulous. I love the simplicity and clean lines of this design, with the tiny "cables" being achieved by a smocking stitch.
Stripes, fringe, and mosaic color-work. I don't really think I need to say too many other things about this one. Adorable!
Thanks for following along on this first Book Club installment. Please feel free to join me in the club in any manner that works for you. Pick up (or order from us online) a copy of the book for yourself, stop in to leaf through the pages, or see if your local library has a copy. You can view all of the designs on Ravelry if you look up the title there. They aren't available for individual purchase, but you can see all the lovely images of the designs there before you decide if you'd like to own the book. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Echoes!