If you're of the knitterly persuasion and you haven't yet read Clara Parkes' Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World, then you've missed something. While it lives up to its billing and follows Clara on her adventures across the globe, meeting, teaching and learning from knitters and yarn producers, this book has far more depth.
The style of writing is warm and full of fun, even when things are far from ideal. I did wonder what I'd have to do to get Clara to paint me in a bad light, but I rather think the effort would be completely wasted. Her generosity of spirit flows throughout the book, whether dealing with people who are hard work, or comparing the shopping habits of knitters at shows in different places.
What makes Knitlandia more than a travelogue above all is that it is also a first-hand account of how the knitting world has been transformed over the last 15-20 years from someone at the centre of that world. The impact of the internet, social media and Ravelry in particular is an undercurrent through the book as changing attitudes and habits of knitters are marked. I was especially interested in the way that knitters consume has changed. When once print patterns were a means for spinners or dyers to showcase their products, the rise of independent designers and digital downloads have transformed the landscape, to the point that the jobs Jen and I do actually exist. As for how to learn a new technique, there's a fascinating insight into the working model of Craftsy.
As someone who has in the past felt like a mere tourist in Knitlandia - the world of the knitters, this book really spoke to me as it viewed exactly the same human interactions through completely different eyes. I hope that Clara continues to travel widely, recording her observations of the world so that in the future she can publish a sequel that I will be eager to read.
Tomorrow, Jen reaches a milestone. Be sure to come back for a special treat!