Saturday, March 31, 2007

Writing about Writing about Knitting

I finally got a copy of the Yarn Harlot's new book yesterday. I should have pre-ordered, but didn't, and spent several days trekking around town until I finally got one. You live and learn.
I haven't read it yet, but I meant to. (4:00 pm "Oh, I'll just take a little nap, and then get up and do all those things I've been meaning to do..." 3:00 am "Crap! I have to go to work!" (I had to be at work at 4 this morning.)) Anyway, the point is, I absolutely cannot wait to devour it.
I know it's perfectly reasonable for an author to spend a year or more between books, but I read them in day. That's at least 364 more days out of the year where I'm waiting. Occasionally, I re-read them. This narrows it down to about 360.
To quote Dave Barry, "There's a fine line between a hobby and mental illness." I love to read. I love to knit. A good deal of the time, I'd like to read about knitting. The Yarn Harlot fits that niche perfectly.
So why aren't there more authors like her?
Sure, there are a multitude of blogs. I can name ten sites off the top of my head that get hundreds of comments per post (real comments - not counting lurkers like me) and they're devoted entirely to knitting. Pictures, commentary, funny stories, poignant moments, we devour them all. I spend hours following a blog ring around, usually when I should be working.
But there's something special about books, opposed to blogs. You can lounge around, anywhere you want, far away from technology. You can take them in the bath without fear of electrocution (usually). You can hold them, feel them, smell them, make notes in the margins. When your hands ache from knitting and you still can't get enough, you can hold a book.
Yes, there are pattern books. I do love pattern books. But occasionally, if they are cheap or interesting enough, I will buy them just to read the introductions, with no intent of ever knitting any of the patterns. (Or perhaps thinking, "Oh, that's cute, maybe I'll knit it someday." Yeah right.) I just want a book that's about knitting, without it implicitly asking me to knit all the things pictured in it. Believe me, I have enough to knit.
I know I'm not the only one that loves this fusion of craft and literature. I get a little excited if knitting happens to come up in Jane Austen. People buy novels just because one of the characters happens to knit. Knitting gets used in fiction as a metaphor for social interaction, or assigned some sort of deeper spirituality. Well, metaphors are garbage. (Get it? I just used a metaphor to make fun of metaphors. I actually don't mind them that much but I couldn't resist that.) I want real content. What's so hard about that?
The magazines do their fair share. There's really some good writing in the articles, not just how-tos and new products. I particularly enjoy the knitted artifacts and knitting in art in Interweave Knits. Why not make a collective book of those?
Magazines just don't have the same allure for me that books do, and they don't hold up as well in the bath. I like seeing the ads for new products, but sometimes I want to get lost in the transcendental experience that only reading the unadulterated printed word can provide. The glossy, ADD, picture-heavy style of most magazines works well, as a magazine, but sometimes you just need a book.
A book about knitting.

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