Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Knit Two

When I first started working for the State of Oregon, my co-worker and I tried to burn off some nervous energy/stress by learning to do what we called knitting but what others would call making a giant knot of yarn that resembles something a cat may yak up. Being extremely impatient, I moved onto the next task quickly.

Three years later, after having H, Portlandia and I had taken to walking together (one Starbucks further at a time) in my post c-section recovery. One of our talks led to a discussion about knitting, and I learned that she knew how...'would you teach me?!' I practically yelled in my excitement. She gladly, and patiently, taught me to cast-on and away I went on my first scarf...which then sat in a pile until almost a year later...I didn't learn to bind off before returning to work and with the hustle and bustle involved in my job, I didn't take the time.

Then providence intervened and it was off to another mind-numbingly boring training about 'paradigm-shifting' policy changes, which really amounted to more of the same worded differently. I saw another woman knitting patiently and glommed onto her at the next break, asking if she could teach me to bind off. A-Ha! I would have a task for the next days of training...and I haven't stopped since.

That week I picked up a copy of Stitch n' Bitch at Barnes & Noble which was practically my bible for my first 6 months of knitting, and then forayed into the world of knitting circle fiction. I first read Knitting Under the Influence, (because who can pass up a book with a martini glass on the cover using knitting needles and a yarn olive instead of a skewer?) and I was hooked.

When Friday Night Knitting Club first came out, I kept looking at the cover and lusting after the gorgeous skeins of yarn but had been on a huge chick lit run so passed it over in favor of Reading Lolita in Tehran (which I still haven't finished...). My mom came to help out when I had C, and offered to buy it for me also, but I passed it up in favor of the 'behind the scenes' book for the SATC movie.

When I finally read it, I couldn't believe I'd let it go so long. I loved it. They really aren't kidding when they call it the Steel Magnolias of knitting. I finished that book wanting to know more about the characters, and feeling like I'd been left hanging...what happens with Peri and her Pocketbooks? Does Dakota go on to lead a rich life, or is she lost in the shuffle of so many people trying to be a stand in for Georgia? What will come of Walker and Daughter?! So many questions, and no answers!

It wasn't two weeks later that I was sitting at my computer when I received an email from MotherTalk/MomCentral regarding advanced copies of Knit Two being available for review. I think I hit reply before the email had fully loaded. Less than a week later, I tore open the envelope that held Knit Two, and started reading immediately (not exaggerating).

Wow, you've read a long way to get to this! Knit Two did not disappoint. Kate Jacobs again brought KC, Dakota, Darwin, Peri, Lucie, Anita and Catherine to life, five years after Georgia's death. I thought she did a remarkable job of going through the range of emotions and grief stages that would be present in a group who lost someone that meant something different to each of them.

I was really hoping that she wouldn't have James end up in a romantic relationship with any of the girls, because it just would have been too easy, and was very pleased with how she resolved each person's quest to find out what they wanted and how to act on it. This is a quick read in that you become ensconced in the characters' lives so are able to race through it. That said, it has more substance and depth than first glance would grant it.

I was especially happy that she included the pattern for the "Georgia Afghan" and also a recipe for one of Dakota's muffins as they are so central to the story.
My favorite part of the book, just as in the first, is all of the rich and detailed descriptions of the yarn, stitches and various projects that are created throughout. Ms Jacobs knows knitting and it's very exciting and encouraging to see a fiber art that is gaining momentum with my generation being featured in mediums other than crafting magazines. Curl up with your favorite afghan and get ready for another great read.

**As I was looking Knit Two on amazon in order to include a link, I saw that Kate Jacobs has another novel called Comfort Food. What? Since my two favorite things are knitting and eating, I'll be sure to pick that one up next!

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