Books for the bunker

There’s a series on BBC Radio 4 called Desert Island Discs, where famous musicians are interviewed about the music they’d take to a desert island. Although I’m neither famous nor a musician I thought I’d make a similar list with books for the bunker. Let’s conveniently forget for the moment the fact that there is very little chance of the stash accompanying us into a post-apocalyptic future…


As a person who primarily knits lace and who dislikes following patterns, I couldn’t do without Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller and The Haapsalu Shawl by Siiri Reimann and Aime Edasi. These books both contain information on how to knit a traditional Shetland shawl and Haapsalu (Estonian) shawl, respectively, as well as being monumental stitch dictionaries. It’s mainly for the latter reason that I’d like them on my shelf in the bunker — I can sit and dream about all kinds of combinations.

Then, in the event that I would actually be called upon to clothe the family, Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top would prove an invaluable companion. With formulas or rather formulations to assist in the calculation of stitch counts for custom sweaters of various constructions (drop sleeve, raglan, yoke, set-in sleeve), pants (trousers for any Brits out there!), hats and skirts it will ensure that we stay warm from head to toe despite any nuclear winter.

Those sweaters might get quite boring if they were knitted straight down with no embellishments, so to that end Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Patterns for Knitting and Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting round out my choices. While Lavold’s book does contain patterns, it’s a stitch dictionary of sorts as well (upon which I draw every year for Knoll’s sweaters); Starmore should need no introduction. At present I don’t intend to ever knit a traditional steeked sweater with a million ends to weave in, but the charts can also be used with a mere 2 colours, and who knows, maybe I’d make an attempt at mastering Fair Isle in order to forget the impending end of the world.

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