Monday, April 03, 2006

K1, R1 (Knit One, Read One), Pt. 2

I just finished Perri Klass's Two Sweaters for My Father. Klass is a pediatrician, a novelist, a writer of nonfiction, and a columnist for Knitter's Magazine. This book is a collection of some of her favorite essays from Knitter's and other publications.

Several articles discuss how knitting helps Klass pay attention in meetings. The author points out how resistant the medical community has been to the presence of knitters in the audience at lectures, etc. (at least when she was in medical school and residency). Although the author assumes this resistance is rooted in a belief that knitters could not possibly be paying attention to anything else, she also hints that the cultural meanings of knitting (as domestic and unprofessional) has a lot to do with the negative view. I would love to see more open discussion of this idea.

A couple of essays explore how knitting connected her to other people. In one humorous essay, Klass interviews her daughter about her aborted knitting career. Another, the title essay, is a poignant account of how a handknit sweater was a symbol of her love for her father. Similarly, his love of the sweater showed her how much he loved her. Only after his death did she fully understand.

My favorite article in the book is the final one, "Confessions of a Tight Knitter," where Klass explores how her tendency to knit tightly but like loose clothes mirrors her personality of obsessive list-maker who lives comfortably with randomness and clutter around her. Sounds like me!

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