Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Since becoming a knitter, I’ve had the vague knowledge that there was a well-known knitting personality known as the Yarn Harlot, but was unsure what this person did or was known for. I didn’t think she was a designer…I even subscribed to her blog for a little while but didn’t see anything special about it. Finally, after reading a comment online recommending her book Knitting Rules, I grabbed a copy from the library. It was time to read something by this Yarn Harlot person and figure out what her deal was.
Her deal, as it turns out, is that she is really freaking funny. I know there is an anti-Yarn Harlot camp out there, but as I am a sucker for creative self-deprecating humor, I may now be a fan. This book isn’t super dense but it does have some great knitting information including some basic instructions for a number of items, including hats, scarves, shawls, and socks. But the real value of this book is that it is so fun to read, and that she acknowledges we are all less organized than we would like to be, and don’t want to swatch (but know we should), and she knows how to be a good knitter without taking it too seriously.
She sprinkles the book with amusing anecdotes about knitting projects gone wrong. When instructing how to avoid disasters she will add, “Ask me how I know.” In her list of “10 Reasons to Knit a Sweater” she writes: “You could spend a lifetime exploring all the variations on sweaters: raglan in pieces, raglan in the round, top-down seamless…the weird thing you invented when you thought you were doing a cap sleeve but got two pages of the pattern stuck together.”
She is convincing. I have never felt inclined to knit a shawl, but in her “10 Reasons to knit shawls” one of them is “I can toss a big woolen one about myself as I head to the grocery store and get a Wuthering Heights/Cathy-on-the-moors feel going, instead of my usual “I-forgot-to-buy-cat-food feeling.””
See, this I can relate to.
It’s not a reference book or a pattern book, but filled the time nicely while I was waiting for the last Harry Potter book to come out, and was too distracted by other things to read anything serious or dense.
She is not devoid of philosophical thoughts about knitting, however. Of particular relevance to one of my current projects, Yarn Harlot speaks thus:
“The truth about socks is that they’re humble and beautiful and noble, and in their lowness they’re the highest form of art.”