Monday, February 05, 2007

Germans don't like knitting

Or so one could think when one goes into a bookshop in Germany and wants to look at knitting books. The same thing happened to me last week or so when I went to a major bookshop here in Munich. There were several handicraft books on display on a counter, and even a few on knitting - I was quite surprised, as this doesn't happen very often. However, it was just the usual sight: about 5 knitting books, and 4 of them were butt-ugly. The fifth one, the only one that looked good, was a translation of Last Minute Knitted Gifts - although I don't understand why the German version uses such a violent green in the cover shoot.

Despite that there are so many yarn and needle manufacturers here in this country, the range of knitting books and magazines is meagre, and disappointing, to be honest. The problem with the German books is that they look like they're straight out of the eighties, even when they're not. Lots of books are on sock knitting (unfortunately, there's no German Nancy Bush), because it's quick, or other smaller projects, or the instructions are for sweaters using voluminous, or fancy yarn, or fun fur. All this because they are quick knits. I have 2 German books in my knitting library; one I got from my mom, and the other I bought via Amazon marketplace. It's ugly, but I bought it because it was recommended on a blog, and it was a bargain - less than 2 Euros! The first book has some knitting basics, and the second is on lace. All the other books I have are in English, either from the UK or the US. So what makes these books more attractive? Debbie Stoller's Stitch'N Bitch Knitter's Handbook for example uses a fresh, up-to-date language, it explains everything in an easy way, and the projects have a modern approach.

What about other ways of knitting, Fair Isle, Scandinavian traditions, etc.? I did a search on amazon.de, but I couldn't find anything in the German book section. Not even a translation. However, it's not that German knitters aren't interested in modern, "fresh" books and/or magazines that are layouted nicely, that have photos which are well-done and display the knitted item well enough, not twisted or on a model that's striking a pose.
All this isn't a big problem for myself (although it's a bit annoying); from my German knitting group I know however that there are quite a few ladies who's faces light up when I show them a book, only to be sobered up by recognizing that the book is in English. Although there's a lot of people in Germany who speak or understand English well enough, reading knitting instructions in a foreign language is still a huge challenge for many. So, what do I have to do if I want a knitting book that's well done and in German? Write it myself?

I'm a regular reader of the blue blog, and Allison made me curious about a book she's been knitting from a lot lately. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting myself, but I have a nephew of 15 months, and every now and then I hear about someone I know having a baby. So I guess this book's an investment in the future!


It's spiral-bound which I usually don't like, but I understand that it makes perfectly sense for knitters. There's a rather large how-to-knit section in the beginning of the book, but don't they all have that? What I really like about this book are the photos and the colors - cute babies with colorful and very nice hats. I wouldn't go so far as to say the designs are simple; they aren't complicated for sure, but they have a twist which gives them their je ne sais quois. I only flicked through this book, but I don't want to miss it any more in my knitting library. It's there to stay!

1 comment:

amanda cathleen said...

That does look like a great book! Too bad about the lack of knitting books in your area!!
Great booties, lovely color your ex-coworker will be thrilled : )