Believe it or not, the low-tech craft of knitting has a high-tech presence on the Internet. Online knitting magazines, knitting podcasts and countless knitting blogs are great ways for those of us who practice this solitary craft to find ideas, inspiration and connection with other like-minded folks. No one knows this better than Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, whose wildly successful blog masondixonknitting.com not only brings together two knitters one from New York, one from Nashville but also brings in knitters from around the world. In their new book, Mason-Dixon Knitting, Kay and Ann infuse every page with the friendly humor, personal stories and down-to-earth style that have made their blog so popular. This book is great for those of us who tend to take our knitting too seriously (one sidebar is titled "Mistakes You Will Definitely Make"), or who think knitting has to be difficult or complicated. The projects included here are mostly simple ones dishcloths, hand towels, felted baskets but, more importantly, they are projects that people will actually use, not just fold up in tissue paper and cherish from a distance. It's also important to point out that simple does not equal boring. As Kay says, knitters can use their patterns like good cooks use recipes as inspirations to make the projects uniquely their own, as complicated or as straightforward as they like.
For me, the most motivational section of the book deals with the variations on the log cabin blanket pattern. For years, I've suffered from Fear of the Afghan even a baby blanket seems like an unbearably tedious process that results in one big square. The log cabin blankets that Ann and Kay include here, though, are exquisite in their simplicity but infinitely varied in their design. With Kay and Ann's encouragement, humor and common sense, even new knitters can overcome their fears and feel capable of creating something entirely their own.