All Wound Up – Some Thoughts on a Book

16 Jan

This isn’t at all what I expected, I kept thinking as I read the first few chapters of All Wound Up, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s newest book.

Reading her (way) earlier Knitting Rules!, I discovered there’s a lot to laugh about when it comes to knitting, and this came as news to me. I loved it. Reading it, I felt a general sense of belonging into this vague entity comprised of knitters. This was what I expected when I opened the newest one as well.

After a few chuckles during the first essay, I found myself frowning quite a lot and thinking hey now, what’s up. But I kept going, wondering when the hilarious part was going to start. And it didn’t. What I read just didn’t tickle my funny bone.

Instead something else happened. Just as soon as I stopped looking for the giggles, I found myself thinking “yes, exactly” a lot.

My heart was entirely shattered when I read October, a text which I felt evoked valuable thoughts when beginning a new year, and the text on Mother’s day made me sadder and wiser. I found solace reading about the time in one’s life when knitting just does not apply.

Chaos math and the happy affair of replacing knitted things made me nod in complete agreement. And finally, I did roar with laughter about the indoors water balloon fight – something I as a kid somehow always knew was A Very Bad Idea Indeed – about Failure to think and many of the other texts.

Now some of the texts just didn’t apply: I have never been approached in public about knitting, and though I live in a cold climate, making one mistake doesn’t easily turn into a life and death situation ’round here, and so on. But it doesn’t matter, really. Because now I know about crytoscopophilia, a condition I, too, share with so many others, and about the screaming injustice of pennies for handmade crochet.

This wasn’t at all what I’d expected. As I closed the book I did that thing I rarely do anymore: I smelled it again, I held it in my hands and felt the texture of its covers, I rifled through its pages, attempting to hold on to that fragile feeling. Having devoured the book in two days, I was left feeling my senses had been awakened, that my world view had been widened. I put it down and picked up my knitting, feeling serene, clear and calm, wiser and sadder, and cheerful.

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One Response to “All Wound Up – Some Thoughts on a Book”

  1. Barbara Farland March 16, 2012 at 16:57 #

    My latest find: “Knitting Through It,” complete with historical photos of people knitting to cope with unemployment, poverty, illness, etc. Even a picture of a guy knitting on stilts! I blogged about it today…

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