Book Review: Knitter’s Life List

The Knitter's Life ListThe Knitter’s Life List
by Gwen Steege
Storey Books

The Knitter’s Life List is much more than a list of things to learn or do. It not only includes techniques to learn, traditions to explore, fibres to try, and people to meet in list form, but it includes details about many of those techniques and traditions. It definitely lives up to its promise of providing 1,001 inspirations for Every Knitter, a claim that is printed right on the cover!

Why do I find this book inspiring and useful? Many nonknitters think me “quite the knitter”. I’m not sure what the Knitter’s think of me. I do hope they don’t judge me on finished items that were gifts that I find dreadful or my early yarn/pattern pairing mistakes…

Let’s use the Socks List as my example.

We start with a bang of a nice fill-in-the-bubble list of over sixty items including: people to meet (such as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee), things to discover (swatching sock yarns), things to try (knit a pair of Cat Bordhi’s socks or knit a pair of argyle socks [I’d have to finish the pair I started many years ago]), techniques to learn (memorize kitchener stitch, use a picot bind off), places to go (Sock Summit), experiences (knit two socks at a time with magic loop), and extra credit to ponder (which came first, sock or shoe?), and 14 more blanks I can fill in myself. Ok, there are many items on this list I can check off, but I’m finding that I’m now thinking of other socks I want to knit with techniques mentioned here. It’s that nudge to perhaps finish the argyle socks I’ve ignored for six-or-so years that my knitting needs.

Following this list, one finds 20 pages of technique with accompanying step-by-step photos, historical tidbits, and stories behind techniques we know and love (the story behind Judy’s Magic Cast On).The photographs are clear and stunning and where appropriate become diagrams to highlight technique or construction.

What’s even more exciting beyond the basic organization of the book is the extensive index and appendix. What impressed me is that when a topic (such as CraftLit) is indexed as appearing in the main body of the book and that text mentions that more specific information may be found in the appendix, the appendix page number also appears in the index for that item. It’s these little things that take this from a nice book to a great book. Why am I so enamored with this index? Today thanks to technology I’m spoiled by the ability to search information more vast than I can really comprehend with just a keyboard, a computer, and a search engine. I love books but I’m increasingly frustrated when items I want to find aren’t easily find-able. This index proves it’s possible. (Maybe soon I’ll comment about the Talmud index.)

I’m drawn by everything in this book. It’s moved from being a book I borrowed from the library because I was concerned it would be too clich