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Audio Book Review: Knitting Memories – Reflections on the Knitter’s Life Edited by Lela Nargi

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What do you do when you are knitting? Some knitters possess the talent of working with their hands while their eyes are directed elsewhere: watching television, overseeing their children, or engaging in lively conversation with friends – including direct eye contact.

Unfortunately I am not so experienced a knitter as to be able to claim this talent, unless I am working a very simple pattern (rows and rows of garter stitch, perhaps). Those of us who are newer to the craft sit in silence, brow furrowed in concentration as we watch the work before us growing – accompanied only by the soft clicking of our knitting needles.

In January 2007, Kathy Goldner was inspired to give knitters another option. In the summer of 2007, Knitting Out Loud was born and began producing audio books for knitters, by knitters, about knitting. Knitting Out Loud is releasing their 7th and 8th audio books in June: KnitKnit and Knitting Lessons. I, for one, am delighted.

Knitting Memories is a compilation of deeply personal stories that reflect upon how knitting has touched each author’s life. The stories are written by a wide variety of contributors: Lela Nargi, Elanor Lynn, Betty Christiansen, Clara Parkes, Eiko Berkowitz, Caroline Herzog, Lydia Vivante, Kathryn Alexander, Reine Wing Hewitt, Teva Durham, Robert Bruce Cowan, Lily M. Chin, Jennifer Brown, and Veda Alban. What a wonderful experience to meet so many involved in the world of knitting in one volume and to learn how knitting has shaped each one in different ways.

Nargi has selected and arranged stories written by knitters and non-knitters – male and female, career and hobby knitters – in order to provide a broad view of how knitting affects our lives. Some also spin, crochet, felt, and other forms of fiber addiction. Beware, lest they draw you in to a plethora of new fiber fondling opportunities.

As with any anthology there are stories that will move us deeply, and others that will fall flat. There were very few stories of the sixteen in this collection that fell flat with me; most moved me to amusement, tender longing, grief, fond remembrances or sympathetic frustration.

The four CD’s (four hours in total) which make up this audio book are an abridgement of the original title. However, with the rich imagery woven throughout the collection and the clear stitch definition – oops, the vivid descriptions – I would be at a loss if asked to determine where the abridgements took place.

The reader of the audio book, Kymberly Dakin, won the 2006 Audie Award for her narration of Alice Munro’s Runaway. Her voice, while melodious, is not one that will put you to sleep. Full of warm and engaging modulation, she carries you through each story, drawing you into the emotions of the author. You can hear a sample of her work on Knitting Memories at Interweave Press.

Knitters will find it nearly impossible to wait to continue listening until the time comes to knit. They will find themselves listening while putting their little ones to sleep, while washing dishes and other occasions when their hands are occupied. These recordings may also inspire the beginning of new knitting projects. After all, if there are knitting books to be listened to we had best get busy knitting so that we can listen! I look forward to hearing many more knitting audio books from Knitting Out Loud.

For a full listing of available knitting audio books, please visit Knitting Out Loud. Audio books are available for purchase on CD at Knitting Out Loud, Amazon.com, Interweave Press and are available by download at Audible.com.

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About Jennifer Bogart