26 March 2007

Aran Knitting. Alice Starmore, 1997.

Alice Starmore, ARAN KNITTING. Interweave Press, Loveland, Colorado, U.S.A., 1997. (ISBN: 1883010330)

Current Selling Prices
£250-$600 /£130-£300

Much wanted attractively illustrated quite large jacketed knitting book with full-color photographs of the Aran islands and its people. Starmore describes local Celtic history and clarifies the origin of Aran knitting. Includes 60 meticulous pattern charts. Alice Starmore has been described as 'one of the knitting world's living treasures' - in fact, a purl amongst women (you're fired, ed.) A contemporary review reads:
"What I found fascinating, having been a history major in a previous life, was her use of "primary sources" to make her argument that the Aran patterns originated from the experiments of one gifted knitter who took the Scottish gansey one step further. The "primary sources" that Starmore examines are Aran sweaters in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland. One of the most interesting parts of this book was her analysis of these pieces. For me, this book was worth buying just for the first 45 pages...Alice Starmore also provides the reader with two chapters of patterns of her own. One consists of "classic" Aran designs. These are absolutely gorgeous. The patterns are intricate and complex without being overwhelming and busy. The next chapter consists of sweaters using Alice Starmore's invention of infinite lines and Celtic knots to echo Celtic line art, such as the Book of Kells."
This reviewer is slightly less impressed by her chapter on designing your own Aran sweater, but possibly because what goes before is so excellent.

VALUE? Regularly turns up on ebay-- 4 copies in the last month none perfect but most in pretty good shape made on average $250. Always quite a few on Amazon, sometimes as low as $225 but condition can be variable. On ABE atc., they start at $300 and go up to $800. The latter price probably from a time when the book was thought to be uncommon. No longer hard to find but never cheap. [ W/Q *** ]

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