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This Thing of Paper (with bonus stitch pattern)

When I went to library school, one of my favorite classes was about the history of books and libraries. I thought it was fascinating, both in terms of the changing ways that information has been conveyed in text throughout history, and in terms of the kinds of physical objects that can be described by the word book. I also learned to be a reference librarian, which led me, in a moment of strange inspiration in the library stacks, to my techniques for turning words or library call numbers into knitting stitch patterns.

Learning about various ways of filling a page with words also influenced the patterns. For instance, the layout method I use most often for my encoded words was loosely inspired by the way that line breaks in some medieval manuscripts might come anywhere in the middle of the word, without benefit of hyphen or syllable boundary. And sometimes I toy with the idea of boustrophedon.

So as someone who combines words and knitting and who is interested in the history of books as physical objects, I am filled with glee by Karie Westermann‘s Kickstarter for a book that combines her academic background in the history of the book and her skill in designing knitting patterns. I’m pleased to report that the Kickstarter was completely funded within 25 hours. (It’s reached 135% of the original goal as of this post!) I gather that Karie has some stretch goals in the works since there’s been such tremendous interest. Keep an eye out! I hope you’ll join the people who’ve pledged  so far.

This Thing of Paper will contain ten knitting patterns based on imagery from old books, as well as essays about the history of books and the way that people’s access to information changed with the invention of the printing press. I want to hold this book in my hands. I hope you do too.

Teaser_image TTOP2
© Karie Westermann

I’d like to thank Karie for including me in the blog tour to share her Kickstarter. It’s feeling a little like an online party, celebrating the community of people who think that this book should happen. Karie’s clearly thought hard about what’s involved in the complete process of running a Kickstarter and publishing a book.

The next post on this blog tour (lots of posts by interesting people are coming up) will be by Meg Roper at Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet. I hope you’ll visit her tomorrow – I’ve been reading some of her posts and think I’ll be adding the blog to my reading list: mending and making, bookbinding, thoughts about reuse and careful choices in clothing purchases… and yes, knitting.

Because I was so excited by all this, I couldn’t resist making a stitch pattern as a gift to my visitors. Naturally, I had to choose a word somehow related to books. I’ve always liked the sound of the word folio, and so here we are: one lace pattern and one chart for any craft.

Folio: a free lace knitting stitch pattern
© Naomi Parkhurst

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