Books · Knitting

Book Review: ‘Knitlandia’ by Clara Parkes

Going back to my roots today with a good old fashioned book review!

I was already familiar with Clara Parkes before starting Knitlandia; I got the Knitter’s Book of Socks for my birthday and fell in love with her writing style. She effortlessly imparts huge amounts of technical information to the reader without you even realising what she’s doing. You think you’ve just read a couple of chatty paragraphs, but you come away knowing what ‘ply’ and ‘tensile strength’ mean. That being said, I wasn’t sure how her style would translate to travel writing.

My opinion of Knitlandia changed quite often as I was reading it. At first, the stories felt disjointed, like there were no connections or chronology to tie them together. However, as I read on certain threads started to tie them together, for example the same characters appearing in multiple stories. The more I read, the more it seemed like a complete book and not just separate anecdotes. Maybe part of this was also down to me familiarising myself with Parkes’ writing style and voice, making it easier to flow straight from one chapter to the next. Looking back, the first couple of chapters weren’t as good as the others. It gets far more involving as you read on.

At the start, I was disappointed by how ‘light’ it felt. As I read on, my opinion changed once more, from ‘light’ to ‘easy to read’, making it the perfect book to travel with (I took it with me to Copenhagen), as well as the obvious fact that it’s a travel book! I also brought one of the Song of Ice and Fire books with me, but on most evenings I was too tired to concentrate on such an involved plot. On the other hand, Knitlandia was an incredibly comforting and relaxing book to read after a tiring day.

None of my friends knit, so reading this was like vicariously meeting lots of lovely knitters! I feel more connected to the knitting community now than I did before reading it. Plus, I didn’t bring any knitting with me on the trip (I was paranoid about my double pointed needles being confiscated by airport security!), so it was also a way of knitting vicariously.

Since finishing Knitlandia, I’ve really missed reading it! I mainly miss Clara Parkes’ writing style, which for some reason I find incredibly calming. I still have some money left on the book token I bought it with, so I’m planning on getting one of her other books with it (probably The Yarn Whisperer). Basically, I loved Knitlandia and would heartily recommend it!

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