When I was about nine years old my grandma taught me how to do a basic knit stitch. I think she tried to teach me some of the more complicated aspects of knitting, but it didn’t take. At any rate I knitted a simple garter stitch scarf in two colours which I still have today. Then for some reason I didn’t knit again for another 20 years, but I’m glad to say I finally picked it up again and wish I had done so sooner! There are a ton of resources out there which contributed greatly to gaining enough skills to knit all sorts of things for myself as well as family and friends: hats, scarves, socks, some of Hermione’s knitwear from the Harry Potter movies, and a tiny sweater for my miniature dachshund. He looks adorable and distinguished.
Check out some of the knitting-related fiction and non-fiction the library has to offer–maybe you’ll discover a new creative side of yourself!
Second-Time Cool: The Art of Chopping Up a Sweater by Anna-Stine Lindén Ivarsson, Katarina Brieditis, and Katarina Evans
Knitting can get a little expensive with the cost of yarn, so if you’ve got some old knitwear lying around or run across some in a second hand store, this book teaches you how to unravel it to make all new creations! This book also covers the basics of knitting if you’re just starting out.
Teen Knitting Club by Jennifer Wenger, Carol Abrams, and Maureen Lasher
Knitting can be a solitary activity or something you do with friends—many knitters are part of clubs where they meet to knit, trade knitting tips and talk. This book covers the basics of knitting as well as tips on forming your own knitting club.
Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton
17-year-old Ben Fletcher gets in trouble with the law (an incident regarding stolen alcohol and a crossing guard) and is required by the courts to take up a hobby as well as do some community service. He decides on knitting—it’s taught by an attractive teacher and he’d rather take knitting than be a part of his father’s mechanics class. He is surprised to find that not only does it help with his anxiety, but he actually enjoys it! However, he is worried about his friends and his father finding out. A funny read about breaking gender stereotypes.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Princess of the Midnight Ball is based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a tale of twelve princesses who sneak away every night from their castle to dance with twelve princes. In this version, the princesses are under a curse and the soldier works with the eldest daughter to break the curse. Knitting plays a crucial role in freeing the princesses, and Galen, the prince, does the knitting. There’s an interesting author’s note at the end explaining that knitting was traditionally done by men and there were men-only commercial knitting guilds for hundreds of years. There are also a couple patterns in the back pages to the garments described in the book.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity has become one of my new favourite books. It’s an incredible and heart-wrenching story of two women who are best friends during WWII—one is a transport pilot and one is a military officer, and one of them is captured and held in a prison by the Nazis in France. The author releases crucial details throughout the book that help you slowly put together the puzzle of what is exactly going on and who is on whose side. This is one of the best stories of female friendship I’ve read. At one point, Maddie, the transport pilot, mentions how she knits a pair of mittens for herself, and in the back of the book the author provides the online link to the real vintage 1940s pattern from a collection of patterns called “Essentials for the Forces”. I’m planning to try and make them myself—wish me luck, I’ve never tried a pattern this old and this one looks a little difficult!
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
In “A Tale of Two Cities” is an example of knitting used for nefarious purposes. As The Three Fates in Greek mythology who use spinning, measuring, and cutting of thread to control human lives, Madame DeFarge’s knitting is directly linked to the fates of the aristocrats whom she wishes would die.
If Madeleine’s selections have piqued your interest in knitting, Winnipeg Public Library has tons of great knitting resources to get you started!