Monday, October 01, 2007

Thoughts on knitting books

The number of new knitting books released each season is a good indication of the popularity of knitting. A few years ago, I felt that I was missing out on something if I didn't own all the new books as they came out. While browsing at Borders on Friday, I realized that I no longer feel that way. I was browsing through The Best of Interweave Knits, tempted to buy a copy when "Why?" popped into my mind. After all, the likelihood that I would knit anything in the book was zip. Did I really need to add a book to my knitting book collection just for the sake of saying I own it? After all, who am I trying to impress? And, don't I complain enough about having to dust as it is? I will buy some knitting books if I especially like the styling or photography. I'll also buy a book that uses a clever technique that I want to understand better. The sad truth is that many of the knitting books just set in the bookcase often overlooked as I search for an old favorite.

Last year, I gave away a lot of stash yarn and knitting books because the shear amount of stuff I owned overwhelmed me. Rather than feel motivated by the quantity around me, I was depressed and at loose-ends. Nothing appealed to me. The books included the likes of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, Sally Melville's Knit Book and Color Book plus odds and ends of knitting essay collections. I wasn't the least bit sad to see these books go. They were serving no real purpose while in my possession. Most of the folks who claimed the books were relatively new to knitting and glad to have some reference material. The stash yarn went to a stay at home mom with two young kids, a few new knitters, and to a senior center. It was liberating to let go of belongings that I had held onto far too long. There was nothing in the books that will go down in history as classics or comfort knits that are timeless. (Well, maybe Sally Melville's Einstein jacket will become a timeless classic.)

I need to bear these thoughts in mind when I look at Kaffe Fassett's Kaffe Knits Again. Now, don't get me wrong, I love his color work. However, I don't like to knit intarsia. And, I can borrow Glorious Color from my mum whenever I want if I need color inspiration. Plus, I have Deb Menz's ColorWorks. Just because a new book is the buzz of the blogosphere or podcasting world doesn't mean that I need to own it. Just like when an indie dyer or particular yarn is the favorite of the moment, I don't need to add any of it to my stash. I never want to feel overwhelmed by my knitting books again. Leaving The Best of Interweave Knits on the shelf was one of the best decisions I've made lately.

1 comment:

Julia said...

This is a really thoughtful post, and I've gone through the same thing myself. There are so many knitting books now that it's easy to see they aren't all "keepers." I'd rather have a few books that I really use and enjoy than a pile of things that I'll never really appreciate. Hmmm, I think we're growing up :-)