Mason Dixon Knitting is another book born out of a blog. The two authors met on a chat group for Rowan yarns and developed a friendship, despite living on opposite ends of the U.S. The friendship blossomed into daily emails and eventually into a shared blog, Mason Dixon Knitting. As you might imagine, they do live on opposite sides of the Mason/Dixon line; Kay lives in Manhattan and Ann lives in Nashville.
Despite their geographic distance, these ladies share a passion for fairly free-form, personalized knitting. As the cover says, the book is “created for knitters everywhere who share the give ‘em hell spirit of just picking up the needles and making stuff.” This attitude comes out in their encouragement to use general skills, like log cabin knitting, to create your own projects and designs. There are “regular” patterns in here too, but there are also some interesting techniques and lots of encouragement to design your own.
The thirty-four patterns are laid out in an easy-to-read fashion that shows several lovely photographs for each. (This is crucial for me to figure out if “I’m doing it right”—if I am, what I have on my needles might look something like what’s in the picture. If not, well, something probably went awry.) I’ve only knitted a few things from here (the Baby Bib O’ Love and the Baby Genius Burp Cloth) but both patterns were straightforward, easily adaptable, free of errors, and written with a certain humor. There is a section on “giant knitting” with various types of found yarns and, as seems to be a theme in the pattern books I read, a section on encouraging kids to knit. There’s even a project for adult and child knitters to knit together, the Circle-of-Fun Rug. The adult knitter knits the pinwheel center with short-row decreases and the child knitter knits the long strip that goes on the outside of the rug. This pattern also has my favorite instruction, “Knit in garter stitch for approximately three years, or until strip fits outside of pinwheelish pie.” As anyone who has knit garter stitch over a long distance knows—it takes forever!
Mason Dixon Knitting has patterns for all levels of knitters and definitely encourages a “jump right in” attitude. The authors have a preference for natural fibers, but encourage yarn substitutions. In addition to patterns, this book is filled with stories, interviews, jokes, random photos of knitting and knitting projects, and other fun things to read. It’s a little like a scrap book or a knitting variety show in book form. For example, a listing of “novelty yarn we’re working on” includes: “Zolofty: tangles a lot, but it doesn’t really bother you anymore”; “Navigator: sport utility weight. 1 stitch=1 foot”; and my favorite, the “Pound of Woe: 50% burlap/50% fiberglass.” These ladies have blended two of my favorite types of reading to create a terrific pattern book with prose writing about knitting and its foibles.
Check the WRL Catalog for Mason Dixon Knitting
Have a look at the latest from Kay and Ann, Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines