A life story can be told through a variety of motifs – golf courses played, loves lost, songs heard on the radio – but none is quite so cozy as a life measured in skeins of yarn. Michelle Edwards, author of the beloved children’s book Chicken Man, has given us just that. In her newest work, A Knitter’s Home Companion, we are invited into her living room, her favorite yarn shop, her family reunions, her great-aunt’s attic, and her daughter’s embrace, always with a set of needles close by. And unlike the similarly named show on public radio, the book never veers into mawkishness. It’s simply and honestly told, and by the end, you pretty much want her to adopt you. Or at least make you a pair of socks.
I have knit when nursing my babies and then while watching them sleep peacefully. I have knit at my children’s fencing bouts, Tae Kwan Do tournaments, soccer games, tennis matches, swim meets, dance recitals, concerts and teachers’ conferences. many, many times I have knit anxiously, worrying over them, my babies, young adults now, but forever my children.
In A Knitter’s Home Companion, Michelle does the seemingly impossible – she turns knitting into a spectator sport, as hypnotic and graceful as women’s tennis. And like any pro, she makes it look easy. With patterns and photos of her projects nestled in between the chapters, by the end of the book I imagined myself curled up on couch, under a hand knit afghan, turning out chunky mittens, lacy washcloths, and egg warmers (really) with even stitches and no loose ends.
I too am a knitter, or at least I fancy myself a knitter, though in fact I’ve had the same half a sweater in my closet since I married my husband, almost 9 years ago. But I remember every project – the scarf for my first true love, the fruit and vegetable hats when my friends and I started having babies, the three beautiful bulky sweaters I mysteriously became allergic to and had to give away. My mother taught me to knit (the German method) and last summer taught own daughter, Ella, to knit the same way (the best way. Just ask her.) We tooks trips to Sun Ray yarns on the Lower East Side; now I take her and Ella on excursions to WEBS
, in Northampton. But even if I didn’t have my own knitting stories to tell, I’m sure I would have loved this sweet little book. (And just when you think it can’t get any sweeter….she slips in a recipe for mandel bread.)
The book comes out tomorrow, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Buy it for the knitter in your life. Or the knitter you never knew you had in you. And curl up under that afghan. What, you don’t have one? Well, make your own. The pattern is on page 129.
Michelle’s publisher, STC Craft, has offered a free copy to one lucky homeshuling reader. Leave a comment below to enter, and I’ll choose a winner by random.org on Sunday, March 6.