Book review: 10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters
10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters, published by St. Martin's Griffin, is more than just a knitting book. It's a life class in the wonders of the woolly art. A bit like sitting down with a fibre-flinging Yoda and letting the experience of their woolly wisdom soak into your stitching brain.
This line, in the book's welcoming introduction says it all:
"10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters gives knitters permission to relax and have fun with their knitting; to see that knitting is as much about the process than the product; and to know that the stitches they knit can express the inner joy they feel."
The authors of the book are the lovely Vicki Stiefel and Sisa Louza. Both laidback knitters who confess they weren't always that way. Their voices and sense of humour come across in a fabulously friendly style. Almost as if you were in conversation with them rather than reading their book. They're the kind of knitters you want to share a pot of tea and a good belly laugh with. Never patronising, always confident the reader will be able to cope, ever encouraging.
The book consists of... well, pretty much everything you ever need to know about the knitting world. It's less about techniques (this is not a book on how to knit) and more about everything else. From the first secret "Find Yourself a Wise Woman" to chapters about spinning, choosing colour, finding fibres, knitting for others, Slow Knitting (like the Slow Food movement), going patternless and even a wave in the direction of graffiti knitting, there is so much to learn.
And then there are the patterns. Comfy, graceful, colourful knits for those garment knitters, kooky little toys, hats, scarves and some sweet socks. All set out in easy-to-follow style with techniques explained and photos of real people wearing them (no stick-limbed models here).
All in all I'm a little bit in love with this book. For both reading from cover to cover, to learn more about the knitting world I'm a part of, to picking up for a pattern, it's pretty damned near perfect. Recommended for anyone who knits, wants to knit, or used to knit and is thinking about diving back in. A few pages in and you'll want to be a laidback knitter too. Utterly wonderful stuff.