Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A few thoughts on This thing of paper: eleven knitting patterns inspired by books by Karie Westermann

this thing of paperthis thing of paper by Karie Westermann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a lovely book. As the subtitle says it is knitting patterns inspired by books, with the book divided into sections on manuscript, invention (looking at the printing press) and printed works. The inspiration is about the history of books including items inspired by vellum, incunubula and marginalia. This is a books where research using original sources is important to the design of the knitting. Photographs for the book were taken in the Innerpeffray Library in Scotland.

Each pattern has an essay describing the book related sources of inspiration, combining information from research and relevant personal stories. These are lovely essays to read connecting books and printing history to knitting patterns and the history of knitting. I was tempted to quote heavily from the book for this review, but will show restraint. 'Books are dangerous. They make us imagine worlds beyond our own mundane experiences. They make us see the world as other see it. Books carry hope and promise' (p31). There is a lovely account of the value and significant of libraries from when the author was a child.

This is a joyful book to read and is beautifully illustrated. All the knitting patterns are interesting, and I have a few bookmarked to try, although it will be a while before I can start any of them, unless I want to have even more unfinished knitting lying in baskets. There is a lovely and encouraging section on embracing imperfections in our knitting (with my knitting this is inevitable), but this is relevant to many other aspects of life too.

This would be a book for libraries to consider both for the knitting patterns, but also for the connections of making and reading which would be a fit for libraries which have maker spaces or provide space for knitting groups (one of the most active maker communities in many public libraries).

I really like that this book, like some other knitting books, provides both a print and ebook when the item is purchased. As an aside I am one of the Kickstarter backers for this book.

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