Knit, Purl, Save the World

The other day I was browsing the local library and came across this bookIMGP5890so I couldn’t resist taking it out to peruse thoroughly at home. I love the idea of the book:

A sustainable approach to knitting and crochet that benefits the planet AND your creativity

The book takes a pattern-by-pattern approach, using a different “eco-friendly” fibre for each – alpaca, soysilk, locally produced cashmere, camel, bamboo, jute and so on. Some of the pros, cons and eco-credentials of each fibre are discussed and some of the patterns use scrap yarn or yarn made from recycled/repurposed materials. There’s also a two-page spread entitled Community Awareness: Global Efforts to Live, Create, Employ, and Sustain Via Yarn Crafts which describes projects in various countries that use knitting, crochet or fibre production as the basis for community development and economic independence.

But I’m sorry to say that I was a little disappointed with it overall. The organisation means that the patterns rather than the fibres take centre-stage and there is no handy way to browse the types of yarns and compare their characteristics and credentials. I’m rather saddened that the research that the authors clearly did to find out about the yarns they use was not presented in a more accessible and thorough way. Space is dedicated to basic knitting and crochet techniques, which are easy to find in a multitude of books, rather than to the really interesting, unique stuff. I don’t need another book of patterns, but I would have loved a book comprehensively discussing the merits (environmental and otherwise) of different yarns and fibres, so I’m glad I got it out of the library rather than bought it.

Ah well, I guess that I’ll just have to write the book I want myself. I’ll add it to the list.

Knit, Purl, Save the World by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong, ISBN 0715336347

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23 Comments

  1. I too get annoyed by books which have pages and pages on the basics. What a swizz and hurrah for libraries.

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    • It seems like such a waste of paper when there are so many interesting things to write about. I suspect that the publishers wanted to make this a ‘standard’ knitting/crochet book, whilst the authors had much more novel things to say… you get an idea of their enthusiasm in some of the text, but it gets rather lost in the much more mundane stuff. Such a missed opportunity.

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  2. Good idea – I’d buy a copy.

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  3. Laurie Graves

     /  August 13, 2018

    While I understand why an accomplished knitter like you would be disappointed, It seems to me that the book does have merit for those of us who are not as accomplished—I raise my hand!—yet still want to live sustainably. But you just might have to write that book. 😉

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    • I’m saddened that the book ended up being neither one thing not the other… I’m pretty certain that the patterns weren’t sufficiently unique to make them appealing in their own right, whilst the interesting stuff got a bit lost. Ah well, it means the niche is still unoccupied!

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  4. I agree that a book about the merits and uses for some of the newer yarns out there would have been much more valuable!

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  5. I was very excited at the prospect of this book as I am busy experimenting with different plant fibres for vegan and eco-friendly crafting. But it sounds like an opportunity missed. I am with you about wasting space on basic crochet and knitting methods. Perhaps this is a book we should collaborate on! I have been posting my results usually under headings including the word The Experiment if you want to dip in. Mxxx

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    • I’ll take a look. I’ve written a few posts for the Plastic is Rubbish website about alternatives to acrylic yarn, so I too have made a start. I’ve also got a friend interested in collaborating on a book about eco-friendly crafting in general… so exciting prospects. I would love to meet up with you at some point to chat about the subject.

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      • I will check out Plastic is for Rubbish and especially your contributions. Would be great to meet up and pool information. Mxxx

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  6. Yes, you need to write that book.

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  7. I’ll raise my hand for you writing the book we’d all love to see. Thanks for that review.

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  8. Nikki

     /  August 13, 2018

    Sometimes, it the frustrating situations that spur us on to do the most ambitious & creative things – please do write that book Mrs. Snail! We’d love to read it. xx

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  9. Perhaps you could call it “A stitch Just In Time”…? Perhaps someone like me would find the other book interesting; no crochet or knitting skills at all, but still an interest in learning to do it sustainably. However, your book proposal sounds a lot more valuable to the thousands of people who already know how but want to do it in a more ecologically responsible way.

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    • I think that the publishers did not have the confidence to make the book about the thing that the authors are clearly interested in. It’s sad because there are a gazillion beginners’ guides, but nothing that covers the interesting stuff that was touched on in this book. To be honest, even the patterns were a bit of a distraction, although I can see the idea behind giving examples of what different yarns are good for. Ah well, it’s going back to the library and I shall have some discussions with a few like-minded and knowledgeable friends…

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  10. It does seem to be a convention in crochet books that the ‘instructions’ are always included which, if the patterns use an out of the ordinary stitch, is fine but there are plenty of ‘how to’ crochet books and online videos out there so I don’t know whether anybody should really expect the basics to be explained in a pattern book – it doesn’t happen in knitting books does it?
    Definitely a niche in the market to be filled.

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  11. I hate when you think you’ve found the perfect book and end up disappointed. Still, what a great way to get inspired for your own writing! It would be nice if craft books (whether it’s yarn art or writing) had a level grading on them to indicate whether they’re for beginners or more advanced. Like you, I get a little frustrated with writing books that spend pages and pages on the basics, but maybe a paragraph on how to take things further.

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  12. From the sound of it, you are the person that needs to write that book. I can imagine there are many more like you disappointed in the one you read. I hate it when a book drones on and on with nothing really helpful. You see a need to be filled. Give it a go. 😉

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