Monday, July 19, 2010

In the Loop

Knitting has an image problem.

Some might say, right? I know before blogging and being active in my local stitch n bitch, I certainly had my stereotypes about knitting and knitters. I remember it was my sister who told my boyfriend that I knit. I had left that out for a good month or so. I didn't know what he would think. Now I can't even imagine not proclaiming that I am a knitter. Knitting is not just a hobby for me. Hobbies come and go, but knitting, I can't imagine not doing it. It is also the community of knitters that I can't imagine my life without.

Back to that image problem. That is the title of one of the essays in Jessica Hemmings' new book, In the Loop: Knitting Now.

In the Loop: Knitting Now explores the progression of knitting, a craft which has come a long way from its fuzzy image of thick socks, long shawls and embarrassing motifs on Christmas jumpers. The book maps knitting’s journey from solitary hobby for old maids to mainstream, contemporary trend.

When I was offered a chance to receive a preview copy of the book, I jumped at it. This isn't your typical knitting book filled with patterns. The book is a collection of essays written by a variety of voices: artist, academic, historian, librarian, and more. Essays that explore topics such as rethinking knitting and its image, activist knitting, narrative knits, and how knitting has progressed.

One thing I realized last year at both sock camp and Sock Summit, it was how much I did not know about the craft of knitting. But I do have an idea of where knitting is going. This book discusses this and so much more. Although I haven't read all of the essays, the ones I have read have been interesting and thought-provoking. This collection is informative and explores the diversity of knitting's current endeavors.

The images alone make this book worthwhile. It is a beautiful book, and the knits are beautiful, inspiring, creative. I could go on. I particularly enjoyed the artwork from the social activism essay. Here are just a few examples of the artwork contained within this book.

AMY TWIGGER HOLROYD OF KEEP & SHARE. Eugenia Dress, 2006. Cotton. Photograph by Meg Hodson.
AMY TWIGGER HOLROYD OF KEEP & SHARE. Gladys Cardi, 2007. 100 percent organic colour grown cotton. Photograph by
Meg Hodson.
AMY TWIGGER HOLROYD OF KEEP & SHARE. Who made this? Cardi, 2009. Found cardigan. Photograph by Meg Hodson.

LOUISE BOURGEOIS, Red Room (Child), 1994. Mixed media. Collection Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal. Photograph by Marcus Schneider.

If you are interested in learning more about the craft of knitting and how it is evolving, this is the book for you. I could see this being on the recommended reading list of a fashion institute type course.

Here's the best part. The publishers of the book, Black Dog Publishing, would like to offer all of my readers a 40% discount on all orders of this book! It retails for US $39.95. If you are interested, contact Jessica at and quote "We Do Not Have a Knitting Problem Offer" in the subject line and she will take care of your orders.

Something to think of the essays details the Knitting Collection held by the University of Southampton Library. Immediately I thought of my sock stash. If something should ever happen, my sister knows who to contact. However, can you imagine it being a collection on display......

Happy Knitting!

xoxo Irishgirlieknits


Rani said...

I. AM. PROUD. TO. BE. A. KNITTER. Interesting book and great review. My great grandma would walk around the house and fields in North Dakota and knit constantly - items that would keep her 10 children warm through the winter. I feel a strong connection to that.

SissySees said...

I consider myself a knitting advocate. Even when I'm cranky and/or tired, I welcome the questions, usually from young men at the firehouse. "When did I start knitting?" was the question Saturday night. His mamma raised him right (a military brat, so maybe dad gets credit too), and he knew to let the "... because you don't strike me as a typical knitter" remain unspoken.

Gotta' have that book. Thank you, and Black Dog Publishing, for the hefty discount. (But I mean... with a name like Black Dog, they have to be cool and kind, right?!)

SissySees said...

PS - at least on the relic desktop here at work, that link to Jessica doesn't work.

Scrabblequeen said...

Lovely review. I'm going to have to find that book, when my TBR stack gets a little smaller...

gMarie said...

I knit all the time and quite often in public - on the bus, in restaurants, walking on the street even. In fact, JB said I shouldn't participate in WWKIP day because I do it all the time anyway.

I always answer questions as honestly as I can and have taught a couple of people to knit and try new things. I don't know everything there is to know - I learned a new cast on while test knitting Sweet Home. it's all good.

and no - I can't imagine the stash being on display somewhere. Mine is really disjointed for a collection. g

Bezzie said...

Great review. I had only heard of this book in passing and didn't realize what it was about.
I'm not sure what would happen to my stash if I kicked it. Maybe my sisters would pass it down to a cool great-niece as my grandma has done with some of her sister's patterns/unfinished projects.

Zonda said...

Interesting book! Thanks for the review!

Katie said...

So proud of where you started and the fab knitting Queen you are now. To think, we owe it all to Michael's : )
Love Lil Sis