Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Knit One, Girl Two is a knitting lesbian romance novella with Jewish characters. I bet a bunch of you just one-clicked before reading any more of this review, right? It’s not a perfect book – in fact it suffers from a lack of almost any kind of conflict – but it was exactly what I needed.

I’m traveling for work. According to the odometer I’ve driven just under six hundred miles in two days. I’m tired. My fibro is telling me that it’s not super happy with me right now. I didn’t want to read anything angsty or dark. I wanted to go to my happy place.

Knit One, Girl Two was my happy place.

The novella opens with indie yarn dyer Clara Ziegler brainstorming ideas for her next sock club. A sock club is when knitters purchase a year (or six month, or three month) long subscription to an indie dyers’ work. Every month or every other month they get a new skein of hand-dyed sock yarn, usually following a theme. There are geek themed sock clubs. Sometimes the colors tie-in with movies or TV shows. Sometimes they are related to specific locations or seasons.

Clara isn’t sure what to do next when she walks into an art gallery and sees paintings by Danielle Solomon, a local artist. Clara is taken by Danielle’s use of color, and on a whim contacts her suggesting they cross promote by having the sock club colors be inspired by different paintings Danielle has done.

Much to Clara’s surprise, Danielle agrees, and thanks to a Twitter signal boost from one of Danielle’s mildly famous uncles, the yarn club explodes. She gets over three hundred orders in a single night. That’s a lot of hand-dyeing.

Most of the book is Danielle and Clara exploring their attraction to one another and starting a relationship. Both of them are out, supported by their family and friends, and this is no conflict regarding their sexuality (Clara is a lesbian and Danielle is bisexual).

In fact, there’s really no conflict at all. At the end of the book Danielle is struggling with some shitty family stuff (nothing that would require a trigger warning), but she and Clara have an easy transition into a relationship. They bond over their love of a show called Captain Werewolf and send each other fanfic links. It’s so incredibly sweet.

Honestly the most dire moment in the book is when Clara sneezes and pigment powder goes everywhere and she’s like “OMG the cat!” because of course the cat is going to walk in it, and I was like “OMG THE CAT” because I could picture the nightmare that would create.

So while objectively I can say, look, that’s just a book about people dating, it’s not really a novella with any obstacles for the main characters to overcome, I also have to say, subjectively, it worked great for me.

I’m tired. There’s a lot of bad news out there. I think I might be dying from an overdose of red dye number 40 (we don’t have Sonic where I live, so I’ve stopped at every Sonic on my travels and gotten a cherry limeade. Geri from accounting is going to be like “Elyse, we appreciate that you kept your daily food budget to $20 but we’re concerned that all you’ve eaten in three days is high fructose corn syrup.”). I’ll read the shit out of happy relationships and hand-dyeing yarn. If this book was five hundred pages long, I’d still read it. It was so incredibly soothing.

Also, for a short book, I did an awful lot of highlighting. Here’s a passage that perfectly articulated thoughts I’ve had about needle-crafts:

Clara shrugged. “A lot of people haven’t realized how big knitting is. They still associate it with grandmothers and pregnancy.”

“In other words, with desexualized women,” Danielle pointed out. “And therefore, it becomes devalued.”

Whoa. This. All of this.

There was also this bit:

“See, I don’t even know what garter stitch is.”

“Matzo for knitters,” Clara quipped.

Heh.

I think as a knitter, a lot of the activity going on in the book resonated with me. I understood references to speckle-dyeing, and Ravelry, and coordinating colors for afterthought heels. It’s not like a non-knitter wouldn’t understand this – there’s plenty of context, but likely it would be less interesting.

I loved the scenes where Clara is dyeing yarn, and Danielle and Clara’s sister just hang out in the kitchen with her. The cat shows up to potentially create disaster. Everyone chats and the room has that pickle-fart smell that comes from hand-dyes. I wanted to be in that kitchen, just chilling out with everyone.

And I liked that this book is about two creative women who are happy in their artistic endeavors, are successful at it, and find love within it. That’s just a nice space to be in.

I can’t give Knit One, Girl Two a perfect grade because it’s got a big flaw, but I enjoyed it so much, and found it so happy-making, that I’ve got it give it credit for making my day a lot better.

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Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

May 22, 2017

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