The Natural Knitter
by Barbara Albright
With the recent increased interest in knitting and natural fibers, the choice of yarns available to knitters has never been greater. In The Natural Knitter: how to Choose, use, and Knit Natural Fibers from alpaca to Yak, Barbara Albright helps knitters incorporate these good-for-the-planets yarns into their knitting repertoire.
Albright has structured the book in easy to follow format. The first three chapters look at wool, silk and other animal fibers, and plant fibers respectively. Chapters four and five move beyond knitting and explore the world of natural dyes and spinning.
In her introduction, Barbara explores what qualifies as “organic” yarn and the varying classifications of organic products. In explaining the purpose of The Natural Knitter, she states: “Armed with the information you glean from this book, you will have a greater understanding and a new appreciation of the wide variety of natural yarns that are available While this book is about natural fibers, it is also about people who take another step toward being more earth-friendly”
Each of the more than twenty patterns in The Natural Knitter has been created using some of the most beautiful and luxurious artisan fibers by some of today’s top designers. Accompanying these patterns is useful information about of the fiber itself and a profile of each of the companies whose yarn is utilized in a project.
The patterns included here are made out of special yarns and many feature unique construction. Lidia Karabinich’s “Memories of Ukraine” sweater is made from linen and features her signature seamless yoke. Debbie New’s “Cast-Off Clothing” is made with hemp yarn and features a net-like stitch created while New was experimenting with loose cast-off methods. Knitters who wish to make something with the prohibitively expensive qiviut yarn will be drawn to Linda Romen’s “Qiviut Twinset.” Made with a qiviut/wool/alpaca blend, the yarn has an incredible 275 yds per 57 gram ball and yet, as Romans explains, it is fabulously warm.
The Natural Knitter: how to Choose, use, and Knit Natural Fibers from alpaca to Yak is Barbara Albright’s final publication and is a fitting tribute to her significant contribution to the craft she loved. Her passing in 2006 was a significant loss to the knitting community.