Monday, March 01, 2010

Knit Green

I've been awash in a sea of expansive white stockinette, between the cardigan and a secret blanket project. It makes for boring knitting and boring blogging, so it was with immense pleasure that I whipped out a clever little project:

Still white stockinette, but oh-so-much more fun. The pattern is the Knick Knack Paddy Whack dog toy from Joanne Seiff's brilliant book, Knit Green. The original pattern gives several variations on the pattern in organic wool.

I substituted an organic cotton yarn, Henry's Attic Inca Cotton, because that's what I had. I knit it tightly on Size 3 needles. Sent it through a hot wash. Stuffed it with an old t-shirt (recycling!). Sealed up the ends with a 3 needle bind-off. It's fabulous. I almost want to chew on it myself.

But this bone belongs to Isis. She LOVES it. It's perfect for tug-of-war, because she can really get a good bite on the flared end of the bone, while my hands are kept at a safe distance. Ha ha! She gets a low growl in her throat and absolutely refuses to let go!

Quite aside from my own knitting pleasure and Isis's chomping pleasure, I was glad to knit this up because it gave me an opportunity to talk about Joanne's book.

I can't lavish enough praise on Knit Green. It is the single most intelligent piece of writing that I have seen on knitting and sustainability. She takes her reader on an exploration of environmental and social responsibility in all its nuanced dimensions -- agricultural sustainability, biodiversity, veganism, fair trade, buying local, etc. -- and writes thoughtfully about the trade-offs between these values. It's in a similar philosophical vein of what I did with my Green Knitter website, only taken to a far greater depth.

There are a few qualities that put this book in a class above everything else I've read about eco-friendly knitting. First, it is exceedingly well researched. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable about these issues already, but I learned a ton from this book.

Second, it communicates the salience and complexity of these issues without veering into self-righteousness. She makes you feel inspired and empowered, not guilty or frustrated by unattainable purity.

Finally, it's just an all-around well-constructed book that in every way hits the sweet spot of being sophisticated but accessible. The writing is clear but engaging. The patterns are simple but with clever twists. The photographs are artsy and interesting but still show off the knitting perfectly. All in all, highly recommended!


kathy b said...

That bone is adorable. I am trying to teach my new pup to leave YARN alone so I won't be making it. Love the stuffing it with tshirt idea!

nordwolke said...

That books sounds interesting, I have added it to my amazon wish list. :)
schafwoelkchen blog

alisa said...

love it! and i'm sure isis is quite the happy girl!!!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the thorough review of Knit Green...I definitely need to be more environmentally responsible with my knitting. This book sounds like a good starting point.

And cute toy for Isis...she seems to be enjoying it!