Having consulted that eminent source, the interwebs (Wikipedia to be precise), I discovered that a curiosity cabinet was
an encyclopedic collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. They were also known by various names such as Cabinet of Wonder, and in German Kunstkammer ("art-room") or Wunderkammer ("wonder-room"). Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.It's a fascinating idea, and a perfect theme for a designer who has collected knitterly things--edgings, lace patterns, twisted stitches and cables--and used them to great effect in her patterns.
Speaking of which, let's take a closer at those patterns. Exactly half (ten) are sock patterns, while the other half are coordinating accessories. It's fun to see the same botanical inspiration used in two slightly different ways. For example,
the Crocus vernus socks use a gently-arching lace motif that echoes the lines of the crocus flower. The Crocus Vernus mitts use a slightly thicker yarn and a lace motif that reflects the shape of the leaves of the plant:
In another example of patterns that coordinate stylistically without appearing matchy-matchy, the Linaria bipartita socks feature a lattice-like petal shape
in a divine handdyed yarn colorway called Chocoberry, while the Linaria shawl is done in petal pink, with long vertical elements and a center motif.
Other lovely socks that caught my eye are the Polypodium vulgare:
the Rubus suberectus (with "erectus" in the name, how could I not love them?):
the Loasa lateritia:
and the Narcissus pseudo-narcissus.
I also was quite taken with the Polypodum cowl (love that handdye, too, with all those subtle gradations of color)
the Rosa mitts:
the Pinus silvestris cap:
and the floaty Loasa cowl:
The book is a softcover, with tons of gorgeous color photos (taken by Brett Yacovella of Making the Moment), and all the amenities one would expect in patterns of this nature -- charts, close-ups of design details, tips, definitions of the stitches/symbols used, and reproductions of the lovely botanical prints that inspired the patterns prefacing them.
It's exciting to see relatively new designers putting out such high quality products, and it's fascinating to see how self-published books like this one are really raising the bar for all of us who publish patterns, regardless of medium. This is a beautiful book full of appealing patterns, and if you are a knitter interested in:
- sock knitting
- accessory knitting
- small portable projects
- great uses for handpainted yarn
- botanical prints and flowers
- lace and lace motifs
And bless Hunter's heart, she's offering a free copy of the book to a reader of this blog! Please leave a comment and make sure that there is a way for me to reach you (either via your Blogger profile or by leaving an email in the comment -- no way for me to get hold of you and I have to disqualify your entry until my psychic address-finding powers develop more fully). Leave a comment no later than midnight, Sunday, August 12th and I'll pick a winner the next day.