First, the facts:
Author: Wendy D. Johnson
Published by: Plume Books, 2006
Type: Memoir, Patterns.
1. I Knit, Therefore I Am
2. The Laws of Knitting
3. “Virtuality” versus Reality
4. Knitting and Others
5. Knitting for Charity
6. Why a Sock?
7. There’s No Crying in Knitting!
8. Needles and Numbers
9. What Was I Thinking?
10. The Fiber Snob
11. What’s a Peerie?
12. Putting a Spin on It
Pattern Size Range: Text
The In-Depth Look:
The first thing you need to know about this book is that it’s not the most exciting book to look at. The paper isn’t glossy, the pictures aren’t in color, and compared to some of the other knitting books on the shelf, it’s kind of got a plain-jane vibe.
Then, you start to read it. Here is the knitting story of Wendy Johnson from Wendy Knits. She tells why she started knitting, how she learned to knit lace, why she first started knitting socks … even how her cat Lucy came into her life.
If you read her blog (and I recommend it), you already know Wendy’s tone of voice, and this book feels like a nice, long chat with her. Some of the details you may have picked up on her blog, but there’s a lot to be said for a nice, cohesive story … especially when interspersed with knitting patterns.
And a nice variety of knitting patterns they are. Sweaters. Scarves. Socks. Shawls … even a Catnip Mouse and a Felted Pet Bed. Many of them are simple enough that they wouldn’t intimidate a beginner, but there are enough with some “teeth” to challenge a more experienced knitter. There’s a handy list of them right after the Table of Contents, too. You know that that’s important to me. (I counted 21 of them.)
Now, I’ll confess that, while the patterns really are nice, they’re not my favorite part of the book. Maybe it’s just me being all superficial and missing the glossy production details of the fancier knitting books, but none of the patterns really excites me. I admit it. But I also don’t dislike any of them, which is a huge plus. And, anyway, that’s not the point.
To me, the point of this book is reading about Wendy’s life with yarn–how she started, what she’s learned, and how she got to where she is now. And that is largely because she’s not afraid of anything–she’ll try almost any knitting challenge, and that is exactly the kind of thing you need to hear if you’re just learning how to knit. Or if there’s anything about knitting that you’re afraid of … because, why?
I don’t like Wendy’s book because of the patterns. I like it because I enjoy the story she’s telling. Her love for knitting clearly inspires her, and that makes me feel inspired, too.
This book is available at Amazon.com.
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