Mittwoch, Mai 02, 2007

*Cough* *Cough* Book Reviews *Cough* *Hack*

Is it a cold? Is it asthma? My harping friend Laurel says that the way you can tell is, if you take your asthma meds and still feel sick, then it's a cold. I guess it's a cold. I found out the hard way on Monday that hiking and hacking don't mix, so instead of hiking today, I'm writing book reviews.

Check out this news report and this interview with The Yarn Harlot, from her Denver stop at The Tattered Cover (the best bookstore I've ever been to, by the way). The interview gets off to a rough start when the interviewer asks the same question twice (and there's an ad), but the rest is interesting. I especially likes it when she asks how people can think knitting is more stupid than football.

Obviously I've been reading Stephanie Pearl McPhee Casts Off. This one is a little different to her previous books. It's still funny, but it's a little deeper; maybe a little bit philosophical. I was especially moved by a mini-essay about knitting and the women's movement.

A few years ago I read Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation, by Cokie Roberts. I was struck by her dismissal of one woman's museum-quality needlework as "required women's work." I thought, Cokie, wake up and smell the fiber! This woman needed a creative outlet to balance the aspects of her life that made her show up in your book!

Stephanie's essay made me realize that to women of Cokie's era, women's crafts might have been seen not as art, but as shackels, the emblems of our slavery. Younger women may not realize that the early women's movement was not one of choice as it is today. My dear high school friend, who signed her letters "Jenny Forever," wrote me a letter in 1970 that was scathing in its criticism of my choice to have a child. I believe strongly in women's equality, and it hurt me deeply that one of my rights was being devalued by the very forces supposedly fighting for them. I was astonished when, twenty years later, I expressed this frustration in a college class and was informed by the then 20-somethings that the women's movement had changed. Stephanie captures this whole process in a good-humored little essay about knitting.

I've also been reading knitting books about "the other fibers." A pretty dedicated wool knitter, I only bought my copy of No Sheep for You because a favorite LYS-owner was afraid her copies might not sell. Whoa! Honey-chile, do not miss this book. It has some beautiful patterns, including a cabled sweater strongly reminiscent of Alice Starmore. But it is also full of invaluable information about how to weave in slippery ends; how to use slithery balls of yarn so that they don't collapse; how bamboo fibers are made, in a hilarious footnote by Tina Newton of Blue Moon Fiber Arts fame. This book got the cotton baby dress I knitted off the ground.

The other book in this line that I love is The Natural Knitter. It covers animal as well as vegetable fibers, with the same attention to caring for and using the fibers. The blue sweater I'm knitting is from that book, although I substituted bamboo yarn for the silk it calls for.

I have been knitting, but don't have much to show for it since I'm also trying to get ready for two trips in three weeks. I'll let you know how that goes.


Margene hat gesagt…

It's sad that women judge each other so harshly. We have so many choice, more than most men and so many opportunities, too. We should be supportive and encouraging of the divergent paths taken. Nice post.

Tola hat gesagt…

Really loved this post. Feel better!

Judy J hat gesagt…

There's another choice. Allergies. ugh. One day my eyes are itching so bad I want to scream and the next day it's a sinus headache and congestion. I am tired of it already!

There was talk on an email list today about women working two or more jobs (running a household and an outside job or more) and only being paid for one. And then not even that. Only paid for .6 of one. Then, we women have the audacity to do more by way of our handwork to balance the working side out. There I go again, being logical. Oh, and a woman.

Lynn hat gesagt…

I liked the review of "No Sheep for You" on Knitters Review. Haven't had time to sit down at the bookstore and browse more than the book jacket.

Half of our office is coughing and hacking. We are having rain and more rain. I came home to buckets and buckets pouring down, and a bit of water seeping in under the front door. Tell the Uintas and the Rockies that they are not doing their job [keeping the rain on the proper side of the Great Divide].

[Tola, pls check my response to your response on my blog, thanks!]

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