A sad and sweet look at knitting that will appeal to crafters and writers alike.

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.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-24608-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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