Shall we have another giveaway-review whilst I put the finishing touches to the cowl pattern? Yes?
There’s a new book that may well be right up your street. Or it might not. Hopefully after this review, you’ll know either way.*
Introducing the quirkily-monikered Sereknity, by Nikki Van De Car, published just this week by Running Press. And if you’re thinking, ‘Hang on, I definitely know that name from somewhere’, I’ll save you the brow-furrowing by reminding you that Van De Car is the author of What To Knit When You’re Expecting, (a book so well-known amongst knitters that a yarn-loving friend of mine simply sent me a photograph of it the other day as a way of telling me the stupendously brilliantly fabulous news that she’s pregnant).
Anyway this new book is different. There has been a flurry of knitting/crochet books published recently inspired by emerging evidence that these crafts are that rarest of things: both fun and good for you, partly because of the meditative, calming, experience of working stitch after stitch. (I’ve reviewed a couple of these books, here and here.) Sereknity is the latest in this tradition.
The book is a collection of 27 patterns, roughly evenly divided between knitting and crochet. It’s also a series of reflections on aspects of these crafts, and an encouragement to find peace amongst the stitches that you work. All of the patterns are simple, because the route to serenity does not lie in attempting one of those heirloom lace shawls that can pass through a wedding ring. Instead, think simple cowls, mittens, a couple of hats, and so on. The projects are biased towards objects associated with comfort and calm, hence the eye pillow, the yoga socks, and a meditation cushion.
Patterns are grouped into three sections, titled ‘Colour’, ‘Structure’, and ‘Texture’, although disappointingly, there is no narrative directly on these important aspects of design. But interspersed with the patterns are brief ‘Tips and Meditations’ sections, that combine basic information about aspects of the two crafts (working in the round, selecting yarn, blocking your work, etc.) with personal reflections. The style is anecdotal and encouraging. There are definitely no Knitting Police, here.
I decided to try out one of the patterns, and settled on Vishuddha, a crocheted cowl.
I’m used to designing complicated cowls that are anything but meditative in the making, so this was a completely new experience: just round and round and round in double crochets (UK: trebles), using a big hook and small yarn to create an open, textured, fabric. It was certainly calming. I got so lost in the hookery that I completely overshot and ended up making a cowl that is considerably longer than the pattern suggests. Still, Van De Car endorses not sticking rigidly to patterns, so I doubt she’d mind.
(The yarn is Stylecraft’s new Candy Swirl in ‘Sugar Plum’ – which will be available from June, and I made this for a dear, purple-loving friend. Happy birthday, M!)
Visually, I love this book. The colours are rich and muted, and the pages are peppered with line drawings of flowers, animals, and birds. The projects are appealing, …although there is the obligatory mug cosy. I am yet to be convinced that anyone, anywhere, regularly uses a mug cosy, but feel free to correct me if your day can’t start until you’ve enjoyed your yarn-encased Earl Grey.
Given the simple nature of the patterns, and the inclusion of basic hints and tips, Sereknity would suit anyone from a near-beginner upwards.
In short, you’ll like this book if:-
- You’re a process knitter/hooker, and enjoy the act of making.
- You’ve picked up a hook or pair of needles before, but you’re definitely still learning fast.
- You’re interested in meditation.
- You like making all sorts of different things.
You’ll be less keen if:-
- You adore crochet, but would rather eat roaches than attempt knitting. Or vice versa.
- You want to make the most insanely complex and challenging items known to humankind, and never mind the damage to your blood pressure in the process.
- You like making super-bright knitted toys in zingy colours whilst listening to AC/DC at full volume.
- You only knit/hook to GET STUFF MADE.
So let’s have this giveaway. The kindly folk at Running Press are offering one lucky reader of this blog a free copy of Sereknity, and the competition is open worldwide!
Usual Twisted procedures apply. To enter, leave a comment below. To gain a sneaky additional entry, hop over to the Yarn’s Facebook page, here, ‘like’ the overall page, and leave a comment on the Facebook post-about-this-post.
The contest is open from right now, until 12.00 noon UK time on Saturday 22nd April 2017. As the final gong sounds, I’ll feed the entries into the random number generator at random.org, to find out who has won. I’ll then message that person to arrange for the publisher to send out their prize.**
OK? Right, let’s do this! Ready… steady… GO!
∗ Yes, I was sent a free copy to review, but all opinions are very much my own, especially in relation to mug cosies.
** If, after a week of attempts to reach the winner, I have had no response, an alternative winner will be selected using the random number generator.