When Michelle Edwards contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing her book, A Knitter's Home Companion, I was thrilled. Of course I said, "Yes!" immediately! But even the thrill of being contacted by such a competent and creative essayist and author couldn't prepare me for the actual book.
When the book came in the mail, I happened to be sitting on my front porch, here in rural PA, knitting a shawl, and enjoying the peacefulness of the country. A large bubble-lined mailer came, hand delivered by my mail lady because it didn't fit in my mail box. I had forgotten about the book coming. So when I opened the package, I was delighted to find the book and a few other goodies thrown in. Struck by my instant delight, I snapped a picture, albeit not worthy of being called a photograph, of the way she'd sent it. Stacked in a tidy bundle and wrapped in yarn, I felt immediately warmed just by the way she packaged it. -Just like any knitter would: simple, understated, but by hand.
So it came to be as I read this collection of stories, that I understood fully the packaging of the books. A Knitter's Home Companion can only be described as charming, delightful, warm, and insightful. A small and quick read, I was instantly drawn into the book and immersed myself in it until I completed the book (the same evening). Ms. Edwards describes life as a knitter the way someone would describe a well-lived life in general - with warmth, passion, and connection, evoking a feeling of wholeness in life, of interconnection.
Not only has Ms. Edwards lived a very interesting life thus far, she's managed to capture the essence of her life in this collection of stories, patterns, and recipes. From discussing motherhood, to home, to community, to legacy, she recounts memories, feelings, personal epiphanies, and knitterly discoveries. Although each story is short, I never felt as though her stories were incomplete. She's managed to concisely deliver a rich picture of what she wants to relay. I literally felt her inspiration and frustration as she wrote about trying to reverse engineer an Indian slipper. I felt the jubilation as she spoke of her yarn shop outting with her aunt and cousin. I could almost feel the wool of the woodsman socks as she described finding them at the resale shop and the sense of wonder as she describes wanting to know the connection between the socks and the original knitter. I can almost smell the barn at Fae Ridge Farm and the clacking of the needles and chirping of the knitters at The Home Ec Workshop.
Between stories, Ms. Edwards has sprinkled in recipes, patterns, and interesting books to read. I have yet to test any of the recipes or patterns, but have already put in hold requests at my local library for some of the books!
This book is a heart-warming read for any knitter whose daily life seems harried and bustling. A reminder of how knitting is intertwined in our lives, provides community, and a connection to a bigger picture, A Knitter's Companion is a must-read. So grab your favorite shawl or afghan & a cup of tea and curl up in your favorite chair with this book. It will warm your heart and lift your spirits.
A Knitter's Home Companion can be found at fine book retailers everywhere for $17.95 (USD). Pick up a copy today!
Side Note: Ms. Edwards was kind enough to send two children's books she wrote, The Chicken Man and Zero Grandparents along with A Knitter's Home Companion. (My children have decided they will review those books themselves). She was kind enough to sign all three of the books she sent! Thanks, Michele!! :)
Disclosure: Michelle Edwards provided KnitPurlGurl with a FREE copy of A Knitter's Home Companion for review. KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the review. All opinions expressed in the above blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Michelle Edwards or Abrams Books.