Stitching may be my first love, but I also adore knitting. Not only does it bring me peace, but I find it very soothing to watch other people knit. Netflix knows this–you can watch people knitting in two different Slow TV presentations. Author Barbara Levine also knows the calming power of knitting. She has been collecting pictures of people knitting for many years, and now she is sharing some of her collection with the world in her new book People Knitting: A Century of Photographs.
This is a really delightful book full of great pictures of all sorts of people knitting, dating from approximately the 1860s to the 1960s. The pictures range from tintypes to real photo postcards to snapshots. The subjects are everyday people, students, soldiers, POWs, and Hollywood stars. Men and women have taken up their needles for ages to create wonderful things from string, and it is so fun to see knitters from the past two centuries doing the same thing modern knitters do everyday.
The book begins with an introduction from Ms. Levine where she shares her obsession for pictures of people knitting and some thoughts on how the attitudes and uses of knitting changed through the time periods visited by this book. The meat of the book is wonderfully reproduced pictures, interspersed with quotes about knitting. The Index of Images at the rear of the book provides all the important details about the one hundred photos featured, including the subject and year.
People Knitting is a quick read, but it is utterly delightful. I’ve gone through it, cover to cover, at least five times since I received it. When my elbow hurts and I can’t pick up either my stitching needle or my knitting needles, I am finding a little bit of solace and peace in pictures of people who came before me doing one of the things I love best. It helps to humanize the past and makes me feel connected to a larger community.
People Knitting: A Century of Photographs by Barbara Levine is avaliable for purchase in bookstores and online. You can find it at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and just about anywhere else you can buy books.
Thank you so much to Princeton Architectural Press and Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy of this book.