This is the fifth installment of Book Club, bringing you books of all kinds to feed a creative & beautiful life. This segment runs the first or second Friday of every month to stimulate creative energy & passion for your weekend & throughout the month ahead. Please feel free to discuss the book (or give book recommendations) in the comments, & enjoy this month's pick: A Stash of One's Own - an anthology edited by Clara Parkes.
Until fairly recently, I was not a huge fan of nonfiction. I tore through fiction like crazy - classics, fantasy, Harry Potter over & over again - and I still love all those books! But since graduating college I've been all about the nonfiction - anthologies, biographies, case studies, random pretty little books about crafts or hobbies or life. As you might be able to tell, because so far Book Club has been overflowing with nonfiction!
I think it might be because I'm craving the kind of learning I did in school. I was a Communication Studies major, which meant that I spent a lot of time learning about people. And while fiction is great at placing you within a world & helping you understand subtle things about how people interact & think & what motivates them, I've really wanted to understand more about this world that we live in, & the real life people in it.
A Stash of One's Own is like a lovely little field guide for how to (start to) understand the wonderful & complicated world of knitters. Clara Parkes has compiled a diverse collection of essays from all sorts of fiber folk on stash - what it means to them, how they keep one (or if they do at all), & other lovely little thoughts.
The title stems from the last essay by Debbie Stoller - the famed Stitch 'n Bitch author - in which she speaks of stash as a feminist issue. It's thematically connected to Virginia Woolf's classic essay A Room of One's Own. Woolf states that for a woman to succeed, she needs to have a certain amount of income & a dedicated space of her own to succeed. I love that this essay was chosen as the title of the anthology, because it really gets to the core of the text - celebrating & honoring the deep & personal aspect of making.
There's no way I could try to synthesize all the goodness in this anthology. It has far too much depth and heart in it to try to wrap it up with a little bow. But you can catch some of my favorite bits below!
I would also highly recommend this book, as well as anything & everything Clara Parkes has ever had her name attached to. Namely, Knitlandia is one of my favorite books of all time - it's a mix of travel, knitting, & a memoir of one of my favorite people. She's a vision!
"Stake your place in the world inside a circle of yarn balls. Stand up for your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of a yarn stash. It's your duty as a knitter, and as a woman." (page 182, from the essay "A Stash of One's Own: Yarn as a Feminist Issue" by Debbie Stoller)
I've had a lot of people ask me what the "average" knitter is, or what all knitters have in common. Here's my definitive answer after reading this book: we all like knitting, & other than that we are entirely unique individuals. Each essayist has such a unique view on stash & other knitting practices - the same way that I know each knitter has a unique worldview, lifestyle, & personality.