Donna Druchunas “Ethnic Knitting Discovery” excerpt–Riehlife enjoys the knitting by ear approach

To read today’s blog book tour stop on Velda Brotherton’s blog, click here.

Click here to view book details on Amazon. I’ve tagged the book “intuitive crafting” and started a discussion on that topic there.

Here are a few things I love about Donna’s new book “Ethnic Knitting Discovery”:

–Clear language
–fun and helpful illustrations and pull-quotes/boxes
–practical tips to free the knitter within by giving rules of thumb to follow and create from.

I love the approach because it reminds me of how I make art, cook, and play violin by ear. It’s an intuitive approach that’s ageless because it’s human. It’s an example of how ancient (and sometimes tribal) societies contribute to our contemporary knowledge of a more direct and sensible way to live. I call it “knitting by ear.”

Below are some samples that illustrate the qualities I enjoy in her book.—JGR


Goal of Donna’s new book “Ethnic Knitting Discovery” is to free knitters from following patterns and be able to “create unique garments that reflect both historical cultures and your own design senbibility.” (p.8)

Ethnic Knitting Discovery by Donna Druchunas

From the Introduction, (p. 7)

What is Ethnic Knitting?

The term ethnic knitting describes traditional knitting techniques used in different parts of the world to create sweaters and accessories that are unique to each country or region. While differing in details, ethnic knits share a few common traits:

–In most cases, garments and accessories are knitted in the round using double-pointed and circular needles.

–There are no line-by-line instructions or written patterns.

–Each item is original–a unique combination of pattern stitches and colors–knitted using the traditional techniques of the region.

–Stitch patterns and knitting techniques are passed on to new knitters by families and friends.

From Chapter 1: Freedom from Patterns: Gauge and Swatching (p. 17)

The most important factor in knitting a sweater that fits is figuring out how many stitches you need. To do that, you must have an accurate gauge swatch.

If you’re a swatch-resister, don’t groan. Kinitting a gauge swatch can be fun. It gives you the chance to try new yarns, play with colors, and learn the stitch patterns you’ve chosen for your project. That way you avoid making mistakes in the actual sweater. If you save all your swatches, you can eventually sew them together into a lap blanket, an afghan, or a tote bag. Or you can keep your swatches in a knitter’s journal with a yarn label, your knitting notes, and a photo of your finished project.

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