I'm always on the lookout for good gifts for knitters. Buying yarn, needles or notions for someone else unless you know exactly what they want is tricky. Pattern books can also be a wild card since everyone has different taste. I'm a huge fan of historical knitting books and always think they make great gifts.
I was recently sent a copy of Barbara Levine's People Knitting, A Century of Photographs. This 144-paged book published by Princeton Architectural Press with 100 historic photos of knitters is a wonderful collection of vintage pictures paying tribute to the craft of knitting. Showing off wonderful images from 1860-1960, there are soldiers, nurses, children, actresses, mothers, people knitting for the war effort, people knitting for pleasure, people knitting alone or in large groups. What struck me about this book is while the fashions and hairstyles may have changed, the way people sat around and knit together back then is so similar to how we knit together today. Put me in a long gown and give me a Gibson girl hairstyle and one of those women could be me. I felt a connection to everyone in these pictures.
I've had this book on my nightstand and I find myself paging through it often. The simple fact is I love this craft. Knitting is my history - it ties me together with women from my family that came long before me and I never had the chance to meet. It binds us all like stitches in a row. Books like this make me think about all the women throughout the ages who have sat down with some sticks and string and made something beautiful, utilitarian, for someone else or for themselves. Other than a much larger fiber selection and choice of tools we work with, knitting hasn't changed that much. There's something comforting about that. Our craft has survived and thrived because of the women and men who came before us and passed it down and made sure knitting would life a long, healthy life.
If you have a knitter in your life, this is a fantastic little book and a perfect gift. I'll be buying a few copies for the knitters in my circle! Check out the book here.