Summer Reading Program (8): Knitting Rules!

Wow, I’ve been blogging up a storm. Granted, it’s mostly been about giving myself a reason/excuse to curl up with more reading because our online summer reading program is over in a few days….but still. I sit down to the computer and automatically pop open a new post.

I’m not only reading romance novels, although I’ve another one to mention in another post that will probably hit the boards later today. Instead, I’m going to take a brief look at the book that was last night’s bedtime entertainment and probably left the girls at the nail salon today going “Why do you think the crazy girl was reading about knitting?”

Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I follow Stephanie’s blog, Yarn Harlot, with a nearly religious fervor. If she has a post up, everything else in my RSS feed is going to wait until I’ve gotten through it. Her dry Canadian humor (occasionally poking fun at Americans) and her passion for all things yarn related are always a bright spot during my day.

Recently, as a self-reward for something or other, I purchased all of Stephanie’s books. I probably would have had them before if they’d been available in used book stores but, not surprisingly, the knitters who own them hold on to them and are probably more likely to bequeath them to other knitters than to pass them off to dollar bins. (e.g. My Stitch-and-Bitch sneaked home with the-Blonde’s-Man-of-Honor about a year ago during efforts for him to learn how to knit. I’m never getting that book back, I might as well just go and get another copy.)

This book is not a basic “how to knit book.” Instead it’s more of an introduction to the culture of knitting and some basics that the usual how to books make dry enough that one wants to ignore. Stephanie’s charm and wit infuses descriptions on making sure you’re using the right size needles, figuring out just how obsessed you are with yarn, and helping me not feel guilty that a large chest in the living room has been pretty much taken over by my stash.

After charging through the amusing points of quizzing how willing you are to drag others into the knitting fold, Stephanie offers up some basic patterns and alterations for scarves, hats, socks, shawls, and sweaters. With each one, she takes care to explains the pro’s and con’s of working on the project. She provides basic patterns, explaining each stage with such clarity that I almost (almost being the key word) am interested in taking on a pair of socks. That’s saying a lot-I have little understanding with the fascination of knitting socks. She then offers up variety for these patterns, explaining how to make little changes so you don’t get bored and can venture slowly and without risk to trying new things in a comfortable pattern.

It’s a delightful book for someone who is already a knitter. Whether or not it would appeal to someone outside the yarn clan, I’m not sure. Her style is engaging though and it’s a lovely read for a rainy day like today.