Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman

Knit One, Girl Two is a fluffy, romantic novella (or maybe a LONG short story?) by Shira Glassman about an painter and a yarn dyer who collaborate on a project and start feel butterflies. Both are adult women in their twenties, but I think young adults would enjoy the story, too.

Clara is yarn dyer who creates subscriptions. I actually know what these are because I had a friend who did the same thing. Some people do a yarn of the month and know what’s in the crate, while others get a surprise box every month for a year. Basically, they just use the yarn and the pattern that comes with it no matter what’s in there.

knit crate
Here is an example from Knit Crate. They have several types of subscriptions, including monthly sock boxes.

Clara has had some success with her yearly yarn boxes before and is on the hunt for inspiration so she can try it again. When she sees paintings inspired by the Florida setting, she insists on meeting the artist to propose borrowing the color palate for part of the profit.

Danielle, the painter, is excited that her work has inspired another artist. They agree that Clara can use Danielle’s color scheme to create a theme for the upcoming month’s box: socks. What Clara doesn’t know is that Danielle has a famous uncle who Tweets about Clara’s yarn-of-the-month subscription. When Clara wakes up with over 300 orders — all of which she’ll have to dye and assemble in her kitchen — she’s not sure what to do. She reaches out to Danielle for help.

Two words come to mind when I describe Knit One, Girl Two: witty and funny. The dialogue is sharp, some of the best I’ve read in a while, and the characters’ lives are funny because they’re realistic. For instance, Clara loves a fan fiction blog with a character named Cinnamon Blade. Later that night, she dreams about “Cinnamon Blade defeating villains with an eggbeater.” I like that there are other aspects of her life, not just knitting.

There is very little swearing in this novella. I’ve always been an advocate for a well-placed swear. Ever have problems with your printer? Clara gets mad when she sends a yarn label from her computer to her printer four times and “absolutely diddly-fuck had happened.” I laughed so hard! The swear was unexpected, and she was so frustrated with technology (haven’t we all been there?) that it was perfect.

knit one girl two
See, one of the characters is fat on the cover. Also, that cat is a jerk.

Since most people don’t know much about small-batch yarn dying, Shira Glassman was smart to have Danielle clueless too. She’s a painter, right? So when she asks if she can help Clara with her yarn boxes, she says, “Even if you have to paint the yarn yourself, I can help wrap packages.” What a dork, but in a good way. I read this novella aloud to my husband, and we both had a good laugh. In fact, he laughed so. much.

Glassman includes various types of underrepresented populations. Clara is a lesbian from a Jewish family. I was worried what they would think about her, but they’re very kind! Her Zayde (grandfather) is reminded that Clara broke up with another woman two years ago and tries to help:

Oh, that’s right. I knew that. Anybody new out there? You know, I think the Moskowitzes have a gay daughter… she lives in Northampton.

What a sweet moment! I’m glad this wasn’t a story about coming out. I’ve had gay friends mention that life isn’t all coming out. In this novella, both Clara and Danielle, who is bisexual, are out. They’re both Jewish, and I loved how the story wasn’t about them being Jewish. It was simply part of their lives, so it feels like you’re hanging out with a Jewish person. Actually, it felt like I was back at Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku’s house again!

I originally bought this novella because it’s supposed to have positive representation of fat women in it. Weight is almost never brought up. What I’m looking for is a story that doesn’t make a big deal out of fat women, or treat them negatively. But small mentions about bodies should be made, such as when Clara and Danielle eat lunch in a booth, Shira Glassman could have mentioned that booths are often a bit of a squeeze for fatter people. Acknowledging the body is important — do not erase it. It’s not enough to mention that someone is “curvaceous” once.

was happy when Danielle says she doesn’t do scales because they change they way people see themselves from one second to the next in a way that doesn’t change who we are. If you are happy and then get on a scale and are sad, nothing has changed about you except your feelings. What’s the point?

As much as I loved this novella, it was short — 62 pages. Is that a long short story? I usually cut off long short stories around 40 pages, personally. Yes, Danielle and Clara get closer and finally kiss (aw!), but we never learn how Clara pulls off her 300 orders of Florida painting-inspired socks. Nor do we learn how Danielle deals with a family issue that has her down. I could have read twice as much! Overall, excellent characters, good writing, an enjoyable story that I’m glad I read.

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33 comments

  1. I do have a really soft spot for witty dialogue and clever use of words. And it sounds as though these character are believable, real-life people, which also appeals to me. A lot. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. I am still partially craving fluffy reads and this could really, really be my thing. I enjoyed those humorous extracts you shared with us.

    The loose ends will probably annoy me a little but overall, it does sound like an enjoyable story about real characters. Making a mental note to check it out!

  3. I really enjoyed this story, but I wanted to read the rest of the book! It ends at a good moment in the story, but I could use a part 2. Or a part 3. I might run out of steam at part 37, but, then again, I might not. I really enjoyed this story.

  4. Aw man, the cat is a jerk? I feel like I’ve just read a rather odd cat story (I can’t say which one – it would be a rather large spoiler) and now I just need a May Sarton reread or something!

    I like what you’ve said about the dialogue here. That makes it sound like a really enjoyable story overall.

  5. Well this looks adorable. It’s nice to see more gay stories that aren’t focused on coming out and more that aren’t just limited to the contemporary genre. This book reminds me that I am a terrible knitter. I taught myself how to crochet and got a little too ambitious, thinking knitting couldn’t be much harder. I am awful. I’ve completed one knitting project and it took me forever.

  6. You don’t say where to get the book. I googled and found it was available for Kindle. Is that true of most of the books you review? I also found the author’s blog, but the post I looked at didn’t say how it was published either. I use my kindle mostly to read old out of print works, but it’s not a mode of reading I enjoy.

  7. I absolutely adore this story! I need to re-read it, I’m in the mood for well-written fluff.

    Also, I was wondering if you’ve heard of the books Soft on Soft by Em Ali and Soft in the Middle by Shelby Eileen? I believe they’re both self-published, and focus on queer fat women.

  8. When I read that quote from Clara’s zayde, I was thinking to myself, “Well, now. That sounds like my family. I might want to comment about how Jewish that is.” Turns out, you nailed it! XD When I saw my name in the next paragraph, I laughed aloud. You’re wonderful.

    Sadly, my library doesn’t have a copy of this novella. (Yes, I agree it’s a novella!) But that won’t stop me from seeking it out! Knit One Girl Two sounds adorable. There is so much positive going for this, it’s a shame there is little-to-no mention of body acknowledgment. It sounds like this is barely mentioned in the text — is that true? With the cover of this book, I’m surprised.

    I don’t get the title, however. Does it make sense to you after reading this novella?

  9. Oh that sounds good and nice and positive, too, although I’d be frustrated at it just ending like that. And fancy setting a story around yarn subscription boxes – niche to many of us but a huge attraction to all those knitters!

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