January 14, 2011

A Friendly Companion

I'm reading a very friendly little book right now that is due out this March. A Knitter's Home Companion is a charming collection of patterns, recipes, and stories and is somehow reminiscent of some of my favorite—but largely unrelated—books like The Plain Reader and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Maybe it's the combination of heartwarming anecdote and careful instruction or perhaps the quiet emphasis on the beauty of something so simple (and yet profound) as knitting, homemaking, and community.
The patterns (without color images) are so sweet and simple—but so perfect!—that I'm reminded of Elizabeth Zimmermann's patterns. Common sense, straightforward, no-tears knitting that result in something cherished for years.

In fact, can I just offer this completely fabulous Elizabeth Zimmerman quote, which kind of sums up this lovely little book (and is found heading up the last chapter)?

Knitting is formed by a series of loops pulled through loops to the end of time or to "desired length"... Be grateful for this and don't expect any more. (from Knitter's Almanac)

I love that because really, isn't the rhythm and comfort of knitting a perfectly lovely thing to be grateful for? And how wise to just love the process without any expectations beyond it (such as, say, a perfect garment).

Of course I'll try a pattern or two (maybe the Trio of Lacy Washcloths, and definitely the Chicken Egg Warmer) and I might even test out a recipe (probably Aunt Charlotte's "You Won't Believe How Easy It Is to Make" Jam). But mostly I'm enjoying the stories Michelle Edwards offers with each pattern or instruction. They're so warm and friendly I really do feel like I'm sitting with a friend while we knit. It's lovely and a joy. Just what you want out of any kind of companion, don't you think?

Well, with knitting on my mind, I simply can't resist leaving you with a picture of my latest love. I did my best but I'm afraid this muted Pacific Northwest winter light combined with my lack of photography experience just don't do this red justice. But oh, she's still lovely I'd say.
Madelinetosh Merino Light in Scarlett
Happy knitting—and reading!


Monica said...

Thank you for the book suggestion. Seems like a great book. I have added it to my list of must-reads this year! And the red looks delicious, just the color needed on a cloudy, foggy,dreary winter day!

Heidi said...

Thanks for sharing this. I am really looking forward to that book coming out now, it looks lovely!

Michelle Edwards said...

Thank you for such a kind, sensitive review of my new book, A Knitter's Home Companion. One small note to add to yours,the actual book is a hardbound and all illustrations and project photos are in full color.

warmly, Michelle Edwards

Mama Magpie said...

Thanks for the clarification Michelle! I look forward to seeing the hardcover version!