Knitters have a lot of events at which we are able to get together, learn new things, discover new yarns and buy a lot of stuff. As a teacher and yarn lover, Clara Parkes has been to a lot of these events and done a lot of things that most knitters don’t do.
She’s a regular at Maryland and Rhinebeck, has taught classes for Craftsy and was a regular on Knitting Daily, she’s written books and led retreats.
Her latest book, Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, offers 17 essays about the places and people of the knitting world and Parkes’ experiences in it. There are trips to Iceland, Paris and Edinburgh, to Taos and Columbus.
She writes about attending the two Sock Summits in Portland and teaching at Yarnover, a day of workshops presented by a Minnesota knitting guild that takes place in a school.
She shares the details that make each of these places and events special in a way that makes you wish you could go there someday — or could have gone there. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) you probably should not read this book.
You might have trouble with it, too, if you’re a minimalist or on any kind of a yarn diet. The excesses of some of these shows in terms of how much people buy actually makes me not feel so bad about never having attended them (fully understanding that it is vital for the healthy continuance of our craft for people to buy things, even things they never use).
I did enjoy reading this book, and it always makes me happy to see the camaraderie that can be found among knitters anywhere in the world, and the sense that in those moments when we come together as a group, we are one.
A single knitter is shorthand for “nothing to see here, move on.” But when knitters gather, we become incongruously conspicuous. We are a species that other people aren’t used to seeing in flocks, like a cluster of Corgis, a dozen Elvis impersonators waiting for an elevator.
These essay are the armchair travel of the knitting world, giving you a taste of what some different knitting-related experiences are like, which may encourage you to seek those places out for yourself.
If you like reading about knitting as much as you like actually knitting, you’re going to want to grab a copy of this book. And of course if you’ve ever attended Rhinebeck or Maryland Sheep and Wool, the Edinburgh Yarn Festival or Vogue Knitting Live, you’ll want to read these stories to get the point of view of a teacher and a keen, detailed observer of the knitting world.
Book specifications: 160 pages, hardcover with jacket, 17 essays. STC Craft, published February 2016. Suggested retail $19.95