Knitting Memories: Reflections on the Knitter's Life
by Lela Nargi
Knitting is more than just a craft or the creation of something to wear. Between the knitter and yarn there is a tactile experience and a time of reflection, a chance to meditate or let the mind wander as it will. Between the knitter and the knitting is a relationship and it is this that Lela Nargi explores in Knitting Memories: Reflections on the Knitter’s Life. This collection of sixteen essays has been written by knitters and non-knitters, givers and receivers, knitting stars (such as Lily Chin) and hospice-care workers. Here they reflection on the insights knitting has brought to their lives.
In her introduction, Nargi shares the story of her two-year-old daughter Ada’s relationship with knitting. As she thought about the pieces Ada was drawn to, Nargi shares the philosophy she used to pull together the disparate elements of this collection.
“These pieces of knitting…are intricate stories waiting to be unraveled, and mostly they are stories about relationships…The story can be one that has to do with history, tracing knitting’s broad and narrow channels through the ages, linking knitters to ancient craftspeople or perhaps just our own mothers and grandmothers. And the story is also, sometimes, one about pure imagination – the way knitting exists in our minds as fertile territory to be plumbed, picked at, reveled in, and perhaps eventually presented to others so that they, too, may share in the imaginings.”
What makes this collection more than yet another collection of knitters discussing the meditative aspects of knitting or the joy of giving, is the inclusion of essays by non-knitters. Of particular note is Cedric N. Chatterly’s essay “Virginia” share the joy she and her knitting have brought to his life. In "Silent Communion," Robert Bruce Cowan writes compellingly about his resentment for the activity which steals away his wife making him feel “the house isn’t big enough for the both of us.” Yet he also realizes that his world is perfectly at peace when he is puttering and she is knitting.
This small hardcover is the perfect item to tuck into a knitting bag for moments stolen between projects or when the knitter needs to be reminded of their place in the larger story.
Reviewed by Allison Linehan
Allison's blog, Neophyte Knitter, can be found at http://gumdrop.typepad.com