Hunter Hammersen and her new book, Fine Things for Plain Occasions, was our topic on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird.
Hunter began her patterns individually in 2009 and wondered if creating collections into books wouldn’t be just as fun. As a self-published, self proclaimed ‘control freak’ she ventured into that scary-ness (because she has to make ALL the decisions) and has found the adventure a lot of fun.
Her newest book is a sweet journey into old beloved book styles. Fine Things for Plain Occasions: Patterns Inspired by Vintage Etiquette Guides shares fifteen patterns includes shawls, a cowl, mitts, hats and SOCKS!
Each pattern begins with a suggestion from an etiquette guide, Hunter’s take on that idea and then her choice of yarn before proceeding into the instructions. For an example, Heather read the quote that precedes the pattern Women are Usually Obstinate, pictured (links to pattern from Ravelry) the quote from 1873 reads: How common is the complaint among young women, especially those of sedentary habits, of chilliness, cold feet, and other symptoms of deficient circulation! And yet, how impossible would it often be — for women are usually obstinate on the head– to induce them to exchange the thin silk stocking for a warm merino one. (The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness: A Complete Hand Book for the use of the Lady in Polite Society, by Florence Hartley) Heather’s response to this quote is ‘I have, on occasion, been known to be a bit obstinate. But I will gladly reach for warm merino sock when I’m feeling chilly. I suspect you will too especially if they are as pretty as these.’
Heather says that pieces that can’t be matched with anything in a department store are her go-to project for her. She love socks (apparent in this book as the majority of patterns are socks) and in a yarn you love is a wonderful choice. Her love of yarns really comes through. She spoke of yarn that has more plies than less, creates a more interesting texture, intenser stitch definition. With these sock mentioned above, she used Mrs. Crosby Train case and describes it as ‘fingering-weight 55% merino 30% viscose, 15% nylon with three plies’. Even with the yardage, she explains that her project used 300 yards so you can probably make any size with the 425 yards the skeins come in.
Doesn’t all of this also feel like she’s written a letter of helpful information with every pattern? That totally goes with the book, going back to an era of sharing information in writing in a personal way. This book is created with such a love and admiration of those books that are so hard to find, the text is printed in a older-style font that makes it fun to read, includes an attached ribbon to mark your spot in the book, even a sweet end-paper.
Hunter Hammersen has appeared on three previous occasions, earlier this summer with book Curls, in 2013, and in 2012 to share Knitter’s Curiousity Cabinet. Sharing just in case you can’t get enough her, like us!
If you missed getting to hear this live, it is still available as an archived episode: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2015/12/03/hunter-hammersen-and-her-new-book available also in iTunes.