A Knitter’s Home Companion – a giveaway!

knitters.jpgA 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 on Sunday, March 6.

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posted February 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Sounds great- I’ll be reading, even if I don’t win!

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Sheri Knauth

posted February 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

A knitter creates a companion in the warmth and allure of the wool that they bring into someone’s life. I hope that the book enters my life.

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posted February 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I can’t knit! Do you want to teach me? (The German or any other method…) I tried once a few years ago and my hands cramp up terribly. It was no fun!

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posted February 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Sounds like a great read!

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Frume Sarah

posted March 1, 2011 at 12:45 am

My grandmother, z”l, tried to teach me to knit a few years ago. I didn’t practice and somehow the lessons stopped. I was looking forward to my daughter learning from her…

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posted March 1, 2011 at 7:34 am

My Bubbe (z”l) and Mom taught me and my sister to knit. We are all still avid knitters. I carry my knitting everywhere (so does my Mom) and we go “shopping” in our Mom’s stash when home for visits. I’ve taught one of my nieces to knit and when my girls are old enough/able to, I’ll teach them to carry on the family legacy, after all I have enough yarn to open up my own store! This book sounds wonderful!

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posted March 1, 2011 at 7:55 am

I can’t write about this book without gushing. It got be to pull out my needles and take all the yarn I had given away to a friend a year ago back. I’ve made hats and am in the middle of a scarf right now.

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posted March 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

This sounds like a beautiful book. My two grandmothers and my cousin’s grandmother all spent hours teaching me to knit as a child. This year, my mother began to bring the wonder of knitting to my girls.

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posted March 1, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I have been knitting since I was 11 and now have a 9 year old son who loves to knit. Watching him learn how to do something new (purl, use circular needles, etc) is such a joy!

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posted March 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

I didn’t know you are a knitter! Me too. And I can tell you that continental style is better, because I tried to learn it (from my grandmother, then my mom) and failed miserably. Now I knit clunky English style, which I learned from a friend, and sigh as my mom efficiently swishes her needles.

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posted March 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I took knitting up a little over a year ago and it’s been really fun to learn. I started a knitting/crochet club with our mothers club. This sounds like a book I could read and pass along to the other women who have picked up a yarn hobby during the last year or so.

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posted March 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Too bad there’s no crochet equivalent to this book. Maybe I’ll have to write one!

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posted March 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm

mom taught me how to knit. amy knows that “mom” is my grandmother, irene. one of the finest women in the world. with the biggest heart !!
lots of posts to knitting. maybe you ought to try scrap booking next?

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posted March 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I didn’t learn to knit until I was pregnant w/ my daughter, but have been crocheting since I was 12 (learned at camp so I could make kippot) – but there is nothing more fun than teaching my daughter to love yarn. She’s only 3.5YO so not knitting or crocheting yet, but she winds my hanks into center pull skeins, makes pompoms and loves to touch the yarn.

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Heidi Estrin

posted March 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I do not knit myself, but my mom does, and I have a friend who is an avid knitter. She lives in Spain where they use very long knitting needles that they park under their armpits. I’m “on assignment” right now to buy her some short American knitting needles and ship them to her! I bet she would LOVE this book!

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Sarah Buttenwieser

posted March 3, 2011 at 12:01 am

not crafty but a wannabe knitter.

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Cindy A.

posted March 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Unfortunately I am not a knitter either, but I want to be. I also want to learn how to sew and play drums. Any books on multitask hobbies? 😉

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posted March 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Thanks for the memories of trips to the Lower East Side to buy yarn. My mom was an avid knitter and crocheter and taught me both as a child. I grew up in Brooklyn and we had a couple of local yarn stores but there was nothing like going to Sun Ray and especially Bell Yarn to buy yarn. I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Michelle Edwards will be a the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on March 10th. I’m just sent an email today for a reservation and am waiting to hear back if there are still spots available.

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posted March 5, 2011 at 8:43 am

I know a knitter who would love this book. She knits everywhere, and has half-finished knitting projects in every room of her house – next to every chair, next to the sofa, next to her bed. (You can find piles of books next to every one of those places, too.) She would love this book especially, I think, because she attends the same shul Michelle Edwards and her family did until her oldest became a teenager. I doubt she knows that yet, but when I tell her it will make the reading all the more meaningful.

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Ruby G

posted March 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Lovely review of what sounds like a book to read and savor. Wish I could knit better; maybe I will after reading it.

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Dee R

posted March 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I can sew, paint, do stained glass projects and lampshades, and am starting to learn to crochet. After that, I want to learn knitting!

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