by Tara Jon Manning
Fall 2006 saw the publication of a number of books featuring knitting with organic yarns and "living lightly." Tara Jon Mannings’ Nature Babies: knits and organic crafts for Moms, babies, and a better world is one of two specifically geared to organic knitting for babies. Manning states in her introduction: "Nature Babies presents you and your baby with gifts and accessories that employ some of our Earth’s loveliest materials and that fit the philosophies of a natural and holistic lifestyle."
Manning’s patterns follow her philosophy: "Live simply so others may simply live." By utilizing recycled and organic materials, Manning proposes that gifts for babies should help teach them that "less is more."
The sections of Nature Babies are colour-coded to help readers easily locate the projects. The first section (pages edged in red) contains projects suitable for novice knitters, intersperse with information on organic yarns. The second section (blue edges) are projects made with felt and Manning suggests recycling old wool (and other all-animal fiber sweaters) to create these fun toys and hats. The third section (green edges) contains sewing projects, the fourth (yellow edges) is pattern templates and the final section (teal edges) provides instructions on various techniques.
Throughout, Manning discusses imaginative play and the benefits of toys without batteries and flashing lights. Her theory is that "simple, natural toys absorb the child in a world of touch and fantasy…to develop a strong sense of the natural world and their place in it."
Nature Babies provides a wide range of garments and toys that are sure to delight any new mother or baby.
Reviewed by Janelle Martin
Janelle is an addicted reader and a book reviewer for Armchair Interviews. A passionate knitter in what remains of her free time, she wonders, "Why can't we knit at work?". Her blog can be viewed at http://antheras.blogspot.com