I'm the one you see at soccer practices, knitting. I knit anywhere I can get away with it: carpool lines, piano lessons, doctors' offices, oil change shops. People ask me, "With two small boys, how can you find time to knit?" I say, "How can I not?"I am not alone, it seems. This most traditional of handcrafts is on an upswing, with many young knitters picking up the needles. You don't have to be a grandmother to knit, that's for sure. But sometimes you do need to be creative in carving out bits of time for it.
The editors of KnitLit: Sweaters and Their Stories . . . and Other Writing About Knitting have created a marvelous book for anyone who shares this obsession. Linda Roghaar and Molly Boyd are smart they have kept the stories here short, because they know that no knitter will be able to read more than a few before having to go knit some rows in a wild burst of inspiration.
This is the rare book on knitting that captures the many voices of that singular world. I have all sorts of books on techniques and patterns, and I have lovely books such as The Joy of Knitting and The Knitting Sutra, which reflect the authors' unique points of view. But KnitLit is a great big knitting circle, with women from all over the country telling their knitting stories. The themes are familiar: knitting as a practical craft, as an art, as a way to calm one's thoughts, as a link to earlier generations. Knitting, too, is meditative, and Dan Odegard writes a tender essay about his young daughter's knitting, something he feels is downright spiritual.
Some of the stories will make you cry, while others are hilarious. Anne McKee decides in a sentimental moment to spin an English sheepdog's fur for a friend's sweater, and all goes well until the rain comes. "Wet dog" has new meaning when you're wearing it.
I have a friend who can knit and read at the same time, which is the ultimate economy of time. I'm guessing that she's reading this while starting another of the caps that she makes for each of her second-grade students. And I'm thinking that, like any yarn-crazed knitter, she will enjoy KnitLit. Ann Shayne is the former editor of BookPage.