Book Review: Knitlandia, A Knitter Sees the World, by Clara Parkes

“Brilliant mohair locks shimmered against matte wool fibers that seemed to be still in the process of twisting themselves together.”

I’ve been waiting a long time for this book to be released.  It has felt like my entire life, but in actuality, I’ve probably been excitedly awaiting it for half a year.  The story of a knitter traveling the world, attending wool workshops and festivals, spinnery, shops and studios; this sounded like my actual dream life.

When the book was released in February of this year, I began scouring the internet for reviews. Most folks found it a great armchair read, but some chastised the author for not being more adventurous and for opting to stay in convention centers.  But this book does not claim to be an edgy walkabout journey in any way, and those reviewers can go stuff it and get back to their Kerouac.

This book is rife with interesting characters both warm and quirky.  Her place descriptions are brief but poignant. Each chapter illustrates a different place, a different adventure, and a different time. Because Parkes is so familiar with the wool world, her descriptions of yarn are captivating.  They leave me with the realization that, while I may have never thought to look at yarn in that way, now that she has brought it up, I will never see it the same again.

Her clever writing style beautifully conjures images of “yarn cathedrals” and the end-of-festival hustles where the “Cinderella spell” is broken and crafters pack up shop like they are about to turn into pumpkins. I found myself chuckling aloud at her odd descriptions because I could imagine exactly what she was talking about.

Overall, the flow of the text and stories are entertaining and delightful. The chapters are short, and I highly recommend treating yourself to one every night before bed.

Clara Parkes is the author of other titles such as The Yarn Whisperer, The Knitters Book of Wool, and others, and is the publisher of Knitter’s Review.