So, I’m a part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. (Thanks, Chris, for bringing it to my attention!) And a short while ago I received a review copy of the book Knitting For Good by Betsy Greer.
Now, this is a relatively new experience for me. This is the first time I have received a review copy with the intent that I would review it, rather than receiving an advance copy as an author thank-you. This is the second time I have read a knitting book through, rather than just skimming to the patterns. And it’s the first time I have read a book that talks frequently about “activism” and “doing good in the community” where I haven’t rolled my eyes and put the book down.
Instead of “go join my cause!” and “you should be active with the same charities I am!”, author Betsy Greer provides suggestions of causes she thinks appropriate and easy for knitters to contribute to, and gives stories saying how she has helped. I like that, while she does provide suggestions, there is no implication that you’re a bad person if you pick a different charity. Her focus is on giving back — not on the specific group you’re giving to.
I haven’t had a chance to test out any of the patterns yet, but there are a few that will be going on my list. This does mean that I can’t speak to the accuracy of the patterns, though there were a few places where I noticed “insert specific yarn type here” style comments — this is a reviewer copy, after all. That made me laugh, as it’s almost exactly what I do in my own writing when I don’t know the specifics and need a placeholder.
All in all, this seems like a good book for a knitter who needs ideas on how to be an active member of a community. Perhaps my favorite part is the way Greer pulls little stories from fellow knitters, showing that she is not the only one who is using her knitting to give back. It shows a sense of the very community she is proposing we use our crafting to create.
Edited to add: There is, however, one major flaw in the patterns that I remembered after posting this initial review. She uses rather expensive yarns on items that she suggests for donation. Now, this isn’t really an issue as we can sub in nearly any yarn we want. However, I do feel that it shows a bit of a lack of thought for the average knitter who is not likely to donate items made from wool that’s more expensive than the yarn we use on items we intend to keep…
Also, there are many parts of the book that I hope get fixed in the published copy. There are typos and places where the font’s hard to read. I find this acceptable in a review copy, but I’d be really annoyed if I’d paid money for it. I must admit, though, the lack of page numbers in the table of contents (again — because it’s a review copy) made me laugh.