Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet Elvira Woodruff - Author/Knitter, Her New Book To Knit or Not To Knit + A Giveaway

Once in a while I find something relatively undiscovered and I get to share it with you all. I love that because it seems with the internet - books, yarns, patterns and trends go around so quickly that things become old news before they are even printed! I really hate that about the internet because so many good things get overlooked and die before their star has even risen.

Today meet Elvira Woodruff. Don't you just love that name? Elvira Woodruff is an award-winning children’s book author of twenty-four books for young readers, including picture books and middle grade historical fiction. Elvira is also a passionate knitter and she has written her first knitting book called To Knit or Not to Knit: Helpful and Humorous Hints for the Passionate Knitter (published by Skyhorse Publishing, Hardcover and eBook). 


I love this book! It is cleverly written in the voice of Mrs. Wicks who is like a Dear Abby for knitters. The format is that a knitter sends Mrs. Wicks a question. Mrs. Wicks aka Elvira answers the question with humour, honesty, and the wisdom of a long-time knitter. 

So how did I find out about this book? A while back, I got an email from Elvira who evidently was familiar with my work. She asked if she might include one of my photographs in the book she was writing. I agreed and we started a bit of a back and forth conversation. I told her that Julia was interested in writing and Elvira sent Julia a fabulous note of encouragement. I sent off the digital file and a few months ago, I received a signed copy of To Knit or Not To Knit.  

Sometimes I agree to things and then wince when I see what happens to my work. It is difficult to let my work go and and then not have any control over what happens with it. (I have learned to be careful!) Not so here. My photo is in the good company of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. 


It took me a while to have the time to sit down with To Knit or Not to Knit (it was gardening season and there is always so much to do!) A few weeks ago, I sat down to see what Elvira had produced. Once I started reading, I started laughing and smiling and just plain enjoying this little book. There are many knitter/bloggers who have become published authors. Sometimes I just shake my head and wonder WHY? HOW? In Elvira, we have an honest to goodness author who has come out as a knitter. How cool. (Elvira's novel George Washington’s Socks has sold over a million copies and is used in school curricula throughout the country.) 

 
I especially enjoy all the comparisons to literature that are included. Here's a short list of some of the famous writers that Elvira quotes from - Emily Dickinson, Queen Victoria, Napoleon, Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf, and many more.


Throughout the book, there is art sprinkled that features knitters and stitchers. I love these connections that Elvira has found. She uses history, literature, art, and photography to craft a book about knitting and being a knitter that is really funny to read.


To Knit or Not to Knit is full of helpful advice for the new knitter or the advanced knitter. Elvira also includes many of her go-to patterns which she makes for gifts including a baby hat, simple sweater, thrummed mittens, cat toy, tea cosy and more. 

So check out To Knit or Not to Knit. And welcome Elvira to the world of knitting authors! Hint, hint - To Knit would make a nice Christmas gift for any knitting friends of yours. 

Would you like to win an autographed copy of To Knit Or Not To Knit? Elvira has donated one copy to one of my lucky readers. Here's how to enter.......

Answer the following question in the comments sections:
Share your favorite knitting book and tell us why if you have the time and energy! 

Contest ends Monday, November 17th. I'll pull a number by random # generator shortly thereafter.
U.S. Residents only PLEASE. 
As always leave an easy way to get a hold of you - blogger id, email address or Ravelry ID (only if you check in there please!) 

Contest is over - winner has been notified. Thanks everyone for entering. 

81 comments:

mary kate said...


I love Perri Klass's A Sweater for My Father because it is a very personal journey that showcases a professional woman who is also a passionate knitter.
mary kate

pwitry@rcn.com

Lindsay said...

As much as I love your books Kristin, My favorite knitting book is Weekend Knitting by Melanie Fallick. It was the first knitting book I ever bought and it holds a special place in my heart.

lindsaycwise[at]gmail

Julie D. said...

EZ's Knitter's Almanac. I have loved it since I was very young. If it were my only knitting book, I would have so much to knit and learn from it. I also love the way it fits into my purse and knitting bags.

Lanny said...

Ann Hood's The Kitting Circle. It is largely based on the author's life story when her 5-year-old daughter died suddenly due to virulent disease and how knitting kept her grounded. It is beautifully and poignantly written.

Lmihardja@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

What fun! But you are too modest. Where's the photo of yours in the book?

I have to say EZ's Knitting Workshop.

Rav: jio

Anonymous said...

I would be hard pressed to pick my very favorite since I will buy books instead of butter. : ) My knitting library has been growing for more than 25 years! I love them all, depending on the day! EZ, of course, first in line and then the others fall into place. ijs Raverly id: j9knits jeanninesims_1999@yahoo.com

beth said...

I don't have a large knitting library but I love EZ's Knitter's Almanac. To Knit or Not to Knit sounds delightful! Thanks for sharing this book with us.

Kathleen C. said...

I guess it would have to be the only knitting book I've had to buy twice due to wearing it out... Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's At Knit's End. Your description of the this book reminds me of what I like about that one... humor, good quotes, knitter specific stories. And I love the idea that there is art in this one as well!

chris goudeau said...

My favorite knitting book is Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I always enjoy looking for new ideas before I start a new project. I'd love to have a copy of this book, thanks Chris

Suzi Barnes said...

I'm not sure I could pick a book with knitting patterns in it. But the knitting story books I enjoy are the Maggie Sefton mystery books. I love them.

cate polacek said...

I think my favorite book is Debbie Stoller's first Stitch 'n Bitch book. I was approaching 30 when it was published, and just getting back into yarn crafts (I learned to knit as a kid). I really liked its "take back the knit" and "women's work is not lesser work" stance. Plus, it was a great re-introduction to the knitting basics.

knitterbeader said...

I'm a big fan of Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and her book "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much" kept me laughing at her humorous writing from beginning to end. I would love to receive a copy of this book.
knitterbeader (ravelry name)

Liz Nosal said...

The stitch n bitch by Debbie Stoller got me back into knitting, but I love Friday Night Knitting Club

Blonde said...

I can't win since I live in Quebec, but I couldn't resist answering your question about my favorite knitting book. I had to think about this, a lot... There are many books that I love and use all the time, those are mostly pattern and technique books but for the sheer pleasure of reading about knitting and knitters, my favorite has to be "A history of hand knitting" by Richard Rutt.

Tracy B said...

I really love the Mason Dixon book. It's full of humor, loads of information and great patterns.

Julie Breuninger said...

thank you for this review. Looking forward to reading To Knit or Not to Knit - looks like a fun read.

My favorite book is Sweater Quest - what the author went through to knit an authentic Alice Starmore is incredible.

Julieknits4@gmail.com

Patt said...

My favorite knitting book is Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Knitter's Almanac" I love her dry wit, how she can make fun of herself, climb on her "soap box" and encourage us to use our "God given brain". This book looks like it would be delightful to read.
auntiddaknits@yahoo.com

Sheila said...

Right now I have been using More Last-minute Gifts to Knit in an effort to get some quick gifts made for the upcoming Christmas season. I am spending some time at a Ronald McDonald House right now and I am finding uncomplicated knitting to be about all I can handle during this journey.
borowski@prtel.com

Anonymous said...

Any thing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, she cracks me up.
Fiction - mystery "Three Bags Full" by Leonie Swann and Anthea Bell was a good read. I wasn't sure at the time if the concept would work, but I really did enjoy it.
I may just have to buy this book because you've made it sound so good. :) helen(dot)mathey(hyphen)horn(at)pac.dodea.edu

Therese Inverso said...

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitters Almanac is my most favorite because the writing is so eloquent.

Amy Calkins said...

My favorite keeps coming back to A Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman. She taught me to understand my knitting and not to fear changing what I was knitting.

mrsmpl said...

My favorite knitting book is Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann because my mother gave it to me. She taught me how to knit. My knitting guru guided me through my first sweater with KWT as the pattern.

phaedra96 said...

I have to say it is a toss-up between Stephanie and Elizabeth. I have all their books. I am afraid that I have a serious addiction to knitting books!! (I have several of yours, also)

yardsailor said...

The one I always reach for, it sits on the table next to my chair. is "The Knitting Answer Book" by Margaret Radcliffe, it has never failed me.

GinaF said...

Knitting rules by Stephanie pearl McPherson...reads like a comic novel but has more knitting info that you can really use than any other bikini own. Ginaf on ravelry

GinaF said...

Sorry..auto correct...mcphee!

Robin said...

I love all the "60 Quick Knit " books .So many patterns , so little time !! I'm robcroknit on revelry.

yardsailor said...

This has nothing to do with the contest, I already entered, I subscribe to Historic New England and todays post was a really interesting one about Historic Wallpaper and I thought you might be interested in the article and the ability to browse online through the wallpaper collection. Here is a link to the post. Which might be too long to click on, but you could go to www.historicnewengland.org and search for wallpaper collection.
http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/highlights/wallpaper?utm_source=November+2014+E-Newsletter&utm_campaign=November+2014+e-newsletter&utm_medium=email

Lee said...

At this point, my favorite knitting pattern book is Susan B Anderson's Spud and Chloe at The Farm. The patterns are adorable and well written and make great gifts for kids and babies!
I'm mamagiff on ravelry!

Gigi said...

Knit Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Read it before I was even a knitter and enjoyed it completely!
I'm Gigi on Ravelry

Sharon said...

For me , anything by
Stephanie Pearl-Mchee...I keep them close at hand and just open to whatever page pops up..she reminds me of all the ways knitting entwines my life. She does make me laugh, even my no knitting family love these books.

Shing Hsieh said...

I found a copy of "At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much" at my favorite used book store and have been doling out the chuckles and chortles ever since. Don't want to rush through this wonderful little book because she is sooooo funny.

Rav ID shing
shing.hsieh@comcast.net

Trumkle said...

Yarn Harlot: Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It makes me giggle when I need a laugh and start taking knitting too seriously.

Rav: trumkle

Teresa said...

I agree with the EZ and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee comments. I am drawn to my Nicky Epstein books. They are wonderful to look through when I need a jump start. I am also becoming a more confident knitting so use her books to swap out techniques from patterns I am using.
Thanks for the review and how fun that she asked you to be a part of the book.

Ravelry: TAnn

yarngirl32 said...

It's hard to decide;but, I think I shall have to say the Stephanie Pearl-McPhee books. I also subscribe to her blog-such a normal funny person.By the way,I am going back throughout the comments and writing down some of these books I have never heard of. What a way to share good things. This new book sounds great,too.

Rav: yarngirl32

adodds said...

I am putting this on my wish list and also George Washington's Socks.. You gave it such a glowing review that it is impossible to resist buying it. My favorite knitting books are the essays written by Stephanie Pear McPhee.
Also on my my wish list is the new Clara Parkes book. Happy holidays.

Goldie Stetten said...

Oh Kristen, I am so elementary on this. My favorite book that I use again and again is the Knitters Companion. I usually accomplish two or three small projects a year and always need a refresher on how to do things.
This book sounds delightful! I would love it.
Rah
Thanks,
Goldiestetten
Goldiestetten@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

'Folk Shawls' by Cheryl Oberle's. Inspired me to get back into knitting in a big way.

Joanne aka madammarple (Rav Id)

Patty said...

Have to say all of EZ's books--always feel like I'm having a conversation with a treasured friend!

from lightly dusted with snow VT,
the Vermonster

hivetender said...

Writers on knitting is a great non pattern book that I love. Stitch n bitch is a great go to book, knit swirl is beautiful to look at and inspirational to think of casting one on.
Color by Kristin comes off my shelf every few months for good vibes and something different to knit.
Hivetender on revelry

Anonymous said...

~ Thank you Kristin for so often featuring writers, artists, home designers, knitters & more!!!... of such fantastic quality of creativity & inspiration.
Elvira's book is a gem. Very unique.

A favorite knitting book is:
Andean Folk Knits by Marcia Lewandowski, featuring designs of Peru, Chile, Bolivia and more. The photographs are beautiful of the people native to these areas, their textiles fabulous in details, great color graphs in the book of the designs which can be used in other pieces of knitting too. Marcia lived in these countries with her family, carefully collecting the patterns of mittens, small bags, purses, hats, etc., from marketplace and such visits, writing down the patterns so that they would be preserved. Her attention to detail is excellent, there are introductions to each piece, with terrific drawings too. The knitting motifs are also explained in other areas of the book, which my young knitting students especially enjoyed learning about.
Dogs for protection, mountain & rivers represented by zig-zags, birds as the bearer of good news, and many more.
Also excellent are the South American braiding techniques, shown in close-up photos and drawings, perfect for teaching children. I don't believe I've seen these techniques in any other book, and I have a lotttta knitting books. Marcia also tells stories of their travels throughout, with terrific scenic photos and map drawings.
Truly, an excellent Folk knitting book!
Thanks for the chance to win Elvira's book. :)
Best,
Shell ~

Anonymous said...

p.s. the comment above from Shell, with Andean Folk Knits, please contact me at: yarnsoup@yahoo.com

Ana said...

It's "For the Love of Knitting - A Celebration of the Knitter's Art". It's a large coffee-table type book edited by Kari Cornell full of gorgeous pictures and stories from history. There are many contributors including EZ, Meg Swanson and others. It reminds me of the heritage of knitting and makes me so grateful for my handiwork knowledge. Love this book and I sure hope to win!
Ana
anahuron@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Poetry in Stitches is always an inspiration, as are all of your books. Thanks!

Rav ID: LisaVT

Anonymous said...

Any of Alice Starmore's books. It would be difficult for me to pick one.

Rav ID: IUGrad

Denise K said...

I am a big fan of all Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books and i love the Maggie Sefton knitting mysteries. I do love all my pattern books and i love my Ply magazine subscription

Rav ID - Kittykatz

Nancy Paris said...

I have several knitting books so it is hard to choose. I am just finishing a sweater from Color by Kristin so it is on my coffee table.
I love this question because the comments list several intriguing recommendations.
Fondly, Nancy Paris
nparis62050@gmail.com

Sheila said...

My favorite knitting books are my stitch dictionaries, particularly the Barbara Walker ones and Susanna Lewis' Knitting Lace.

SheilaOKeefe on Rav

Kristen Walter said...

Kristin Knits. I love every pattern and the beautiful, colorful photos.

Sharripie said...

One of my favorite knitting pattern books is CookieA's Sock Innovation - I think I've knit every pattern in the book and I've knit more than a couple twice! For pleasure reading, any of Stephanie Pearl McPhee's books are great. Thanks so much for doing the contest! My ravelry ID is Sharripie.

Cami said...

I love Elizabeth Zimmerman's knitters almanac. She's hilarious and her patterns have stood the test of time. I've used them over and over...

Anonymous said...

What!? A favorite knitting book!? That's like asking which of my children is my favorite.

My "library" holds many more knitting books than does our local county library....Elizabeth Zimmermann, Kaffe Fasset, Alice Starmore, Barbara Walker, Sally Melville, Anna Zilboorg, KRISTIN NICHOLAS being among some of my favorite knitters, and their books.

Their inspiration literally feeds my soul whenever I need a boost.

Thanks, Kristin, for introducing me to new ideas in knitting, gardening, decorating, cooking, etc. I think I'll enjoy Elvira's knitting book!

Roxanne
RASmartWay@gmail.com

Daisy said...

Wow this book sounds awesome! My favorite knitting book is The Knitter's Life List by Gwen Steege. I love it because it's a never-ending source of inspiration and armchair travel!
My email address is frenchmeetups@gmail.com

Daisy said...

Wow this book sounds awesome! My favorite knitting book is The Knitter's Life List by Gwen Steege. I love it because it's a never-ending source of inspiration and armchair travel!
My email address is frenchmeetups@gmail.com

Daisy said...

Wow this book sounds awesome! My favorite knitting book is The Knitter's Life List by Gwen Steege. I love it because it's a never-ending source of inspiration and armchair travel!
My email address is frenchmeetups@gmail.com

Jennifer Tripp Mead said...

Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee! It was my introduction to the concept of a yarn stash and it makes me laugh every time I read it. To Knit or Not to Knit also looks like it will be an engaging combo of information and humor!

Rav ID: jentm

Anonymous said...

"Knitting Rules" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It is funny and I have used the sock pattern several times. I bought a copy to add to a knitting kit for a synagogue benefit auction.

I do love my "Kristin Knits" for just looking when I want some inspiration. Some day I'll get to knit one of the sweaters with some yarn I had before I had the book, but will be perfect for it.

Paula
purlplessk on Ravelry

Kristy said...

I love Maggie Righetti's Knitting in Plain English because of Righetti's candid irreverence and common sense approach through out. I especially love the chapter dedicated to how to "read" what a posed picture of a model wearing a sweater in a pattern magazine may be hiding. It has come in very handy!

jen said...

i had to really think about this, and perhaps i'll disqualify myself by saying i don't have a favorite knitting book. i've amassed quite a collection of knit/crochet books over the years. they're all wonderful in their unique ways.

the one i've had the longest and that i referred to the most as a beginner is 'stitch n bitch'. not my favorite but it has been a consistent source for me.

thank you

Joanne LaCour said...

I can't say I have a favorite- but 2 of my most frequented books are The Knitting Answer Book and Knitters Companion.
Once again.... Thank you for continuing to Blog
Wishing you another year of fond Thanksgiving Memories

Anonymous said...

I have many favorite knitting pattern and how-to books, but for my absolute favorite I choose the Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (and its sequels) by Gil McNeil. They are novels about a British woman who moves to take over her grandmother's knitting shop after her husband dies in a car crash (immediately after announcing that he wants a divorce). Anyway, the books are just so British and very funny, sweet and moving. I loved them!!!

Lesa
laspin@charter.net

Robin said...

My favorite is yours: "Color by Kristin". Though I am more of a beginning knitter and don't have much free time, I love dreaming about all of the projects I might do in the future. Your work with color is always inspiring!

robin silver said...

does it really cost THAT much more to mail a prize to Canada?
We here in Canada who follow your blog would like to be able to win a prize too.
I am dropping you blog from my reading list

Anonymous said...

I have a very old old stitch guide from the 20's that I have used to create baby blankets and scarves by finding unique patterns over the decades...now that I have found ravelry I would have to say I now use this

Fracksmom

Anonymous said...

I really like Alana Dakos "Botanical Knits" pattern book. The pictures and patterns are so beautiful and the techniques used are inspiring. I've made 3 items from the book already and am working on my first sweater for myself from it.
theatergrrl on ravelry

Anonymous said...

My favorite knitting book>>...hmmmmm....it would have to Sweaters From Camp....all Fair Isle designs that are fabulous. And the best set of instructions for FI knitting. Mary in Cincinnati

LesleyAnn said...

I'm sorry to say, I've never had a knitting book. I've knitted for many years and gotten my patterns mostly from the internet. If I should win this one, I'll have a favorite! :-)

Anonymous said...

I do love to read knitting books (and buy them)! How can I pick a favorite? I have a very tattered Knitting Without Tears that is signed plus it was decorated by my daughters. Great reading and lots of memories in that book. I really enjoy reading about textiles, history, and people. Lately I've been enjoying the new interpretations of yoke sweaters and their history over at Kate Davis's blog. Darn, there is another book I would love to read and the patterns are interesting. Thanks for the heads up about another great sounding book. I get so many great ideas from your blog. gnlmutti@ gmail.com

PghCathy said...

My favorite 'go to' knitting book is Stephanie Pearl McPhee's Knitting Rules. I always find the answer to what I'm looking for.
But The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes is a fun knitting read.
She takes everyday experiences & weaves them into essays about knitting. When I bought the book I thought I'd read 1 a day. Soon found out I couldn't stop.

PghCathy said...

Not quite sure what happened. My name got posted, but not my comments. Here's what I said:
My favorite knitting book is Stephanie Pearl McPhee's Knitting Rules. It's my go-to book for any knitting question.
The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes is also a favorite. She takes everyday experiences & turns them into knitting essays. When I bought the book, I thought I'd read 1 a day. But soon found out, I couldn't stop at just 1.

pghcathy on Rav

Anonymous said...

My go to book for several years when I was first learning to knit was "Knitting for Dummies". Even though I have collected a lot more knitting books since then, I still will refer to this book. I would have to say this is my favorite book.
wenkruger@gmail.com

neknitsandbeads said...

I would have to say any of the ones from Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee. Her humor is just great! I also enjoy The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes. It is so nice to have these people that we look up to in the knitting world produce a book, beyond their blog, that brings them into our living rooms...having many of the same things we deal with day in/day out.

Pam B said...

My current favorite is the fairly new one by Barbara Parry, Adventures in Yarn Farming. My family background is farming (crops in the Midwest, not sheep in New England) and I have lived in Massachusetts, where she and her husband have their farm. I love the photos and the information about how yarn goes from new lambs to something lovely on people.
I also want to thank you for your lovely photos of your livestock and especially the dogs. It's been great fun watching Kate grow up.

Best wishes, Pam (Lompocgal on Ravelry)

Kathryn Samuelson said...

Adventures in Yarn Farming because it talks about what it takes to bring wool to the yarn market.

Barb B said...

I loved reading Rxtra Yarn by Mac Barnett to my grandson. Barb
Bobakaro@gmail.com

benita said...

My favorite knitting book is Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I may try other sock patterns once in a while, but I always go back to this one. The best vanilla socks plus a few fancy ones.

Benita (basicallybenita@yahoo.com)

Judi A. said...

I hadn't thought about a favorite book and many of those mentioned would qualify, but finally settled on the Knitter's Companion because it's a great reference when I'm stuck on something. Should I win this book, it sounds like it could easily become my favorite.

Zowmom on ravelry

Kathryn Samuelson said...

Oops - meant to include my email. klsamuelson@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I love Ann Buds Big Book Of Knitting. Thank you for this offer. I am darrlaa on ravelry.

Robin V said...

This looks like such a fun book - thanks for sharing.

RobinV (on Ravelry)

Teresa said...

My favorite book is Knitting For Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg. The perfect button hole is reason enough to buy it and the strip knitting how to is such a bonus. But really, the whole book is just a 'set you free' book - it sets you free of all those rules that new knitters get shackled with and don't know any better.