11 May 2009

Faith, Love, Hope, Knitting

coverFaith, Love, Hope, Knitting: Celebrating the Gift of Knitting with 24 Beautiful Patterns
Author: Lorna Miser
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Hardcover, 144 pages
Price: US $24.95, UK £14.99
Available from: Amazon US/ Amazon UK

Every knitted item is invariably laden with the memories of the knitter’s life as the knitting was done. Ask any knitter about a shawl or a sweater and you will be regaled with memories of the anticipation of a new baby or the worry over the illness of a loved one. A knitter’s life can be documented by the millions of stitches that make up the fabric of each and every project that is completed by that knitter.

Faith, Love, Hope, Knitting is a glimpse into the life of the well-known and well-loved knitter, Lorna Miser, who is most widely known in the knitting community as the founder of Lorna’s Laces yarns. While Lorna has moved on from ownership of that company, Faith, Love, Hope, Knitting is evidence of her continued passion for and presence in the world of knitting. This volume is an autobiography of sorts, composed of candid personal accounts of the author’s life that tell brief but riveting stories of her career and the patterns that were inspired by these pivotal moments.

The heartfelt dedication at the beginning of the book sets the tone, pulling the reader into Lorna’s intimate memories as if sitting and talking with her over tea. Each concise story effectively conveys both the sequence of events and the emotional undertones, providing the perfect introduction to the accompanying knitting pattern. Truthfully, Lorna’s fascinating life and career paired with her warm written voice would make a wonderful full-length book, and her beautiful patterns are the proverbial icing on the cake.

The stories themselves deserve individual mention and review as they are a crucial and integral part of the overall value of this book. Each account exposes the reader to another moment in Lorna’s life that influenced her career, her life, and her faith. The stories introduce influential family members like Lorna’s Grandma Helen who taught her to knit, people who influenced her work like Frederikka who helped guide her in finding the next step in her career after selling Lorna’s Laces, and countless individuals Lorna met merely by chance who touched her life and her heart in some way. Lorna’s frequent mention of her faith is honest without being preachy and does not detract whatsoever from the overall tone of the book.

shawlThe book includes an amazingly wide variety of patterns, including a lace shawl, both men’s and a women’s sweaters, a baby sweater and booties, a child’s poncho and cardigan, two sock patterns, and a purse, to name just a few. The appendix features valuable information like knitting needle conversions, measurement conversions, and an explanation of the classification system the author uses for the patterns’ skill levels. The classifications are beginner (4 patterns), easy (6 patterns), intermediate (9 patterns), and experienced (5 patterns). Curiously, one of the patterns, the Comfort Pillow, is identified as Advanced which is not defined in the appendix. An added treat is the tutorial for making knitting needles from wooden dowels and polymer clay. Overall, there are patterns for practically any interest, any skill, and in a welcomed extensive range of sizes.

Other inconsistencies in the book exist but are only visible to the very careful reader. For example, the pattern for Grandma’s Lace Shawl includes neither a drawn schematic nor an actual photograph that would reveal the true shape of the shawl. Also, the author’s brief introduction of the Sweet Baby Sweater describes picking up stitches around the armholes of the sweater and knitting the sleeves top-down, but the pattern itself instructs the reader to knit the sleeves cuff-up and sew them into the sweater afterwards. The Stuffed Toy Bunny pattern unfortunately does not include instructions, a template, or a detailed photograph of the face embroidery, which could prove intimidating for readers who have limited embroidery experience. In general, the pictures in this book, while breathtaking, are of the artistic variety, meaning that they appear highly stylized and thus lack many details that knitters desire before committing to a project.

Even with the minor flaws described above, this book is a treasure, full of touching personal sentiment and an amazing diversity of stunning knitting patterns. It would easily be a cherished addition to any knitter’s library.

Tara lives and obsesses about all things fiber-related in middle Tennessee where her daytime gig is providing health care to women and their families, but she is always looking for ways to more completely incorporate her creative endeavors into her everyday life. She has recently been experimenting with finding her own deeply unique creativity and has thus cleared out her queue in an attempt to remove the constraints of expectation from her knitting. She also aspires to be stashless. She blogs at Learning From Chavah and can be found on Ravelry and on Twitter as chavahsdaughter.


  1. Renee wrote:

    Tara, thanks for the review. The book is indeed a wonderful one – I’ve seen it at a LYS, and I’m hoping to get it soon. Great review!

    Posted on 5.11.09 ·
  2. You really read my book! Thank you for the wonderfully deep look into my words and meanings. I think you may be part “tech editor” because no one else had picked up on the baby sweater problem. I’m so sorry. The story and the pattern were written at very different times thus the discrepancy. I’ll add it to my website of errata. I’m glad to know about it.

    You’re a gem. Thanks!


    Posted on 5.12.09 ·

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