Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World by Clara Parkes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Full disclosure: I’m a crocheter not a knitter, and not as ‘into’ it as much as a lot of people, for example the people who will apparently queue for hours in hot sun to buy yarn at a fibre festival. However, I chose to read it during my knitting & crochet group’s summer retreat which is a very different to the retreats mentioned in the book, in that there are no professional demonstrations or lessons or meditation, just lots and lots of booze (we’re not called the Oxford Drunken Knitwits for nowt!), some occasional yarn craft and a hot tub with friends.
So not being a knitting nerd, I still enjoyed this immensely, I think the travel aspect was well written and that’s what drew me in. I didn’t notice the ‘name dropping’ that this book has been criticised with having, because I don’t know the names? (I’d not even heard of Parkes before being recommended this book). In fact I only recognised one person because I’ve seen her patterns on Ravely, however I enjoyed learning more about that person and how they got to where they were in the ‘Knitting World’. The stories involving people I didn’t know, I still enjoyed – the fact that these stories are mini essays mean you can choose to just skip to the next one should you choose.
I felt that Parkes’ previous experience as a travel writer shines through in her lifelike descriptions of the places she visits and the people she meets. I can almost smell the barns of the festivals or feel the heat of the conference centres and hotels of various events – she really brings the places to life, which to appeal to a wider audience is no mean feat.