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.
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.
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.
I 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.