Knit It Together
by Suzyn Jackson, Editor
There are two main purposes to this book, so far as I can tell.
One is to highlight and celebrate all the reasons knitters get together and knit.
The other is to provide patterns for those groups to knit.
So far as the first purpose, this book is a winner. I canít really think of a reason to knit with friends thatís not covered. Socializing, charity, politics, art Ö theyíre all there, and theyíre all interesting.
The book is filled with stories and articles about specific knittersí experiences with knitting groups. Groups to provide succor for people (or pets) in need. Groups to raise awareness of political issues. Groups that banded together just for fun, or to help. The stories are warm and touching, and help underscore exactly why knitting in groups has been so popular for, well, centuries, going back to the renaissance guilds, and gathering through wars to make socks and hats for cold soldiers. We knitters have long since made this solitary activity a social and active endeavor. (And, how can you help but be impressed by a knitted Ferrari?)
The second purpose, though, the patterns? To be honest, I didnít think much of the patterns. I loved the idea of some of them. Like the sweater made out of individual stripes, so that a circle of friends could make a single garment for a sick or needy member is a charming idea, but I donít find it an overly attractive garment. The ďNew Skills BlanketĒ is a great sampler for trying out new techniques, but I canít imagine giving it to someone to use as a blanket. (Itís the kind of thing Iíd keep for myself as a learning aid, but not something Iíd show in public.)
I didnít dislike all the patterns, mind you. The baby layette at the end is adorable and practical (and made up of enough different pieces to give a knitter or the new mom plenty of options). You canít really dislike the little catnip pillows, either, or the Tic Tac Tote bag, or the soft baby blocks. I mean, I didnít say that the patterns were terrible Ö but, frankly, I thought that the stories that tied the patterns together were much better than the patterns themselves.
And thatís okay. If the point of the book is to talk about all the reasons we gather together to knit, itís the stories that matter the most. Itís not whatís on the needles thatís important so much as the act of knitting in the first place.
Like the author says,
ďWelcome to my knitting circle: a collection of writers and designers who have thought deeply about how a community of knitters with a shared passion for yarn and needles can bridge divides, spread goodwill, and strengthen us all.Ē
Amen to that!
Reviewed by Deb Boyken
Deb has been knitting since 1987 and has accumulated quite a collection of knitting books over the years. Her website, Knitting Scholar, can be found at http://knittingscholar.com.