If you're searching for the perfect holiday gift, if you're having friends over a lot in the coming weeks and want a great conversation-starter, or if you just need to laugh until you're wetting your pants, check out The Museum of Kitschy Stitches: A Gallery of Notorious Knits, by Stitchy McYarnpants. Stitchy is the nom de plume of a Boston-area woman who likes to collect supremely tacky old knitting and crocheting patterns (mainly from the '60s and 70s). She illustrates a few dozen of them along with hilarious commentary in this book.
I saw her a couple of months ago at the local Barnes and Noble, where she was doing a booksigning. She'd brought along a trunkful of hideous creations collected from yard sales and ebay. I bought the book, and it's been generating an evening-ful of reminiscences every time someone has spotted it. At a book discussion I hosted last month, we spent more time discussing this than the book we'd all read. I brought it on a business trip recently and showed it to a female colleague in our hotel room. She insisted I take it to a dinner party hosted in the CEO's home to show his wife. It pretty nearly took over the whole evening.
Stitchy has a website: http://www.stitchymcyarnpants.com/
and I posted a blog entry about her booksignings, which has some pictures of Stitchy and of the treasures in her trunk: http://cicilycorbett.blogspot.com/2006/09/stitchy-mcyarnpants.html.