I love off beat little knitting books. The big, flashy, coffee table type books are wonderful too, but there is something about a little book targeted at a specific, maybe not often thought of, knitting niche that is just a lot of fun. Finding this kind of book on the shelf is like finding a small treasure I didn’t know I was looking for. Such a book is Shannon Okey’s How to Knit in the Woods 20 Projects for the Great Outdoors.

There are tons of knitters, and tons of outdoor lovers so maybe it is just me, a decidedly non-outdoorsy type, that did not necessarily put the two together as a group in need of book. But wrong, wrong, wrong is this thinking! So first, every type of knitter deserves a book(s) that speak to just her or his his type of knitting interests. Second, maybe if I had known how to knit and had this book growing up, I would have enjoyed all those forced childhood camping weekends a bit more.

Shannon spends the first section of the book talking about why you would want to knit in the woods, what is so special about it and what kinds of considerations to keep in mind in planing your projects and choice of yarns. I admit, reading this made me a bit nostalgic for a good fire, some marshmallows, a wide open sky of stars and a pair of socks or a dishtowel on the needles.

What is also great about this book and the choice of projects, is that what works way out in the woods or on top of a mountain will also work and be useful for knitting at an outdoor bar-b-cue or afternoon at the beach. In other words, if you take your knitting out into any kind of nature, be it backpacking Yosemite or picnicking at the park, there will be good stuff in this book for you.

The projects range from simple patterned camp towels and water bottle cozies, to sweaters, scarfs and hats, a doggie sweater and (leave it to Annie Modesitt) a lace camp stool. Perhaps the most specialized project is a sling to hang your cooler above the ground and away from bears? squirrels? hungry kids?

While not enticed to plan a camping trip this summer, this book did get me thinking about spending a nice afternoon in nature away from city sounds. Just me and my knitting. How peaceful is that?

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