16 February 2009

Knitting for Good - a review

I received this ARC through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. The subtitle says it all, really.
The book begins with an introduction to knitting (and by inference, other needle and fibre crafts) and it's re-emergence as a popular craft. The concept of knitting (etc.) as a link to one's ancestors is an important concept here.
Personally, I believe that knitting as an activity is inherently good: one is making warm garments or even toys to provide love and warmth to oneself or someone else. And then there is the psychological benefit to the knitter. Knitting is a proven stress reliever (my screams and curses when attempting to follow a difficult pattern notwithstanding).
Greer deals with this to some extent in the first section of the book, also citing the satisfaction of creating a tangible item, and the possibilities of earning a living through this creation.
In subsequent chapters, the focus is on knitting as a communal activity, which is evidenced by the number of recently formed knitting groups all over the world. The idea of knitting as a feminist craft rather than as old-fashioned "women's work" is dominant here.
The last section of the book focusses on knitting as an instrument of good on a global basis: knitting for charities outside one's immediate circle, such as those that send knitted toys to children in third-world countries.
Knitting is, without exaggeration, a respite from grief, war, and cold, as Greer makes clear in this book.
There are patterns included that are suitable for giving or sending to charities, as well as a list of knitting groups and knitting charities.

As this is an Advanced Reader's Copy, I'm hoping that the publisher chose not to print the personal narratives that appear throughout the book in white letters on gray background. It's just too difficult to read!

I didn't sit down with this book and become absorbed in it to the exclusion of everything around me, but that doesn't mean it's not valuable. It's chock-full of ideas and inspirations; perfect for dipping into when you're feeling purposeless or unmotivated.

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