Writers share their thoughts on knitting in this meditative essay collection edited by Hood (An Italian Wife, 2014, etc.), a follow-up to the editor’s previous Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting (2013).
“With its calm, methodical progress, it’s a promise, in the midst of war and chaos and loss, that, somewhere, an orderly world still exists,” writes novelist Stewart O’Nan in his contribution to the collection. Twenty-seven writers, including Lily King, Laura Lippman, and Jodi Picoult, share their stories of knitting among the wars, chaos, and losses of their own lives. Steve Almond writes about the connection between death and crocheting, Diana Gabaldon shares how an early 4-H Club rejection led her to take up knitting, and pediatrician and writer Perri Klass examines all the clothing she knit for her late mother. Nostalgia permeates almost every essay in the book. Whether knitting allows them to remember grandmothers, mothers, old boyfriends, ex-husbands, or their younger selves, the writers have memories knitted into all their scarves, hats, sweaters, and other items. Although a few of the essays are lightly comedic, most deal with loss, death, regret, and similar heavy subjects, which makes for a surprisingly emotional reading experience. As one might expect from a group of writers, connections between the processes of knitting and writing abound. In the hands of such talented writers, this collection is both heartbreaking and life-affirming. Other contributors include Bill Roorbach, Lee Woodruff, Christina Baker Kline, Clara Parkes (author of The Yarn Whisperer: Reflections on a Life in Knitting, 2013), and Jared Flood, owner of the yarn manufacturer and design house Brooklyn Tweed. The book also includes knitting patterns.
A sad and sweet look at knitting that will appeal to crafters and writers alike.