Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knitalong: A Book Review

Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together

by Larissa Brown & Martin John Brown

I know. We here are Baad Medicine are getting all smart and literary for once.

I own a few knitting books. (By which I mean about 20.) I've loved books since I was quite small and so every time a new knitting book comes out, I like to have a quick peak at it. I look for stories or new techniques, pictures that catch my eye, and patterns that I could see myself knitting. Sometimes I stand in front of the knitting section of the book store, picking up books, leafing through them briefly and setting them back on the shelf. Given the number of knitting books release in the last few years, you can imagine that I do a lot of picking up and putting down.

This book came home with me a few weeks ago and every night I've been reading a little bit. (I like to make a good thing last, you know?) The chapters are divided into different types of knit a longs, which in this book means simply knitting together. The more I read this book, the more I feel the history of the craft and the culture that I have become a part of, albeit unwittingly.

The book takes us through a brief history of knitting as a group, touching on cottage knitting, knitting as therapy (especially for crazy people and orphans), and wartime knitting. All chapters include patterns which relate to its theme, such as socks which are reminiscent of those knit for extra money by cottage knitters, or a felted orgami peace crane in the chapter on wartime knitting. Each pattern is fairly straight forward but allows for each knitter to interpret it in their own way. Some patterns, like the Meathead hat, encourage the knitter to make their personalities shine through their knitted objects.

As you read through the book, you find chapters which encourage you to seek out knitting in your own communities and challenge you. Perhaps you would like to knit the Entymology hat and mittens as your first dip into two color knitting. Maybe you'll enter your knitting in a local fair to raise awareness of your craft and celebrate your skill as a knitter.

Finally, the authors give you the tools to start your own knitalong, online, in your local stitch and bitch or LYS. I was delighted by the people that I met by hosting the Hanami Knit-a-long last fall. We had no experience in hosting an online event and had only participated in one KAL ourselves. Somehow, we found ourselves knitting lace with people in Australia, North and South America and Europe. Some of these knitters have become our friends that we chat with regularly through our blog and on Ravelry.

This book reminds me of the community I am a part of and the knitters I have met. It makes me appreciate the things that knitting has taught me and the friends that I have made.

5 / 5 stitch markers

3 Knitters with Points:

T. said...

Excellent review.
And I have to say that Hanami KAL was the best thing we did here at Baad Medicine. The people we met were amazing.

Jill said...

I'd love to do another KAL, although maybe something lacking in Albatrosses this time. Just for sanity's sake.

(3.75 socks)

andi said...

Ooh, this sounds like an excellent read. I love how you rated it out of five stitch markers.