Monday, June 11, 2007

Book Review

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: the Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting
by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

The Yarn Harlot is my favorite knitting author. Everything she writes is so damn funny.

This book has the premise that Knitting is a destination, so it's written as a travel guide. There are sections like Consulates and Embassies (local yarn shops), History, Politics (circular vs. straight, natural vs. acrylic), Knitting Sports (marathon, time trial, synchronized sock making), Religion, and Extending Your Stay. I thought it was a fun and light-hearted book, but it's only for those who, well, really like to knit.

There are also some very good tips for how much knitting to pack for a trip: at least three projects (a small one for the carry-on, one for being out and about, and one for hanging out indoors). For road trips, she recommends projects on different size needles to give the hands a break, and notes that some folks can get carsick if reading patterns and knitting while in the car - pick easy projects that don't require charts. For the plane, you can carry on yarn, needles (preferably circular and bamboo), patterns, and a cloth tape measure, but needles, scissors, and metal tape measures must be in the checked luggage.

A few quotes I thought worth saving:

From time to time, non-knitters who don't understand that some upset and frustration are part of the process of knitting have accused me of not really liking knitting as much as I think I do. (I can sort of understand how they might think that I'm not enjoying knitting when I've just whipped a half-knit sock at the wall while letting fly a string of filthy language.) When I get over my initial shock and their statement, I realize the truth: I don't like knitting. I love it ... and when you love something, you don't just give up on it the minute it stops being fun. (Most of us wouldn't still have our kids if that were the case.) You keep pursuing passions such as parenting, marriage, and knitting even when they aren't fun because they somehow fuel the human soul. Simply having a passion is a deep payoff, offering something more ... and knitting is like that. (pgs 12-14).

From instructions on how to weed a stash, step 6 is:
If at any point you falter, feel dizzy, find yourself panicking, or discover that you are taking items back out of the [give-away] bag, repeat your stash weeder's mantra: I am a knitter of discerning taste. Yarn is meant to have a future, and yarn I don't love won't ever be knit. I am not getting rid of yarn; I am liberating it that it may achieve its full potential with another knitter. (pg 101).

This last one is the quote that inspired the name for this blog.

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