Interview with Lisa Bogart, review of Knit with Love, and giveaway

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Today, I’m interviewing Lisa Bogart, my virtual friend.  I met Lisa on Ravelry and we have since helped each other establish our Rav groups and chatted about knitting and other projects.  I will be reviewing her new book and offering a giveaway of my review copy, so read on for details!

Interview

Lisa is a Midwestern native who now lives in California.  In 2010, she was selected to attend the Guideposts Writers Workshop in Rye, NY, and her second book, Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart was recently published by Revell.  Lisa also works at Piedmont Yarn and Apparel two days a week.  Lisa can be found at her website or in her Ravelry group, Knit with Love.  She is currently coming to the end of her book tour, and will be at Debbie Macomber‘s A Good Yarn Shop on Thursday, November 10.  (For more details on the book tour, check out the News & Events page on Lisa’s website.)

Lisa Bogart, excited about barbecue during her book tour.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started knitting?

Lisa: I learned to knit when I was 13. There was a class at the local library. But like many teens, the skill didn’t stick. Then I knit my son a little cardigan when he was born, 18 years ago. But I really didn’t pick up knitting again until about 10 years ago when I read an article in Guideposts magazine about their Knit For Kids Program. It has become my charity of choice. Their pattern is so simple it lends itself to creativity. Because I am not trying to fit a particular child, I can play with color and stitch patterns. I know there is a child out there that is a perfect match.

UC: What type of projects are your favorites to knit?

Lisa: I have knit a fair number of large sweater projects. But lately I like quicker things where I can see progress. So I’ve been making a lot of socks. My son stated school at Boston University and my California boy needed a lot of woolie socks. But the pendulum is swinging back.  I’ve been looking at sweater patterns again. I’m itching to take on a challenge.

UC: Your latest book, Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart, was just released. What was the original inspiration for this book? What was the writing/development process like?

Lisa: I really enjoyed reading Betty Christensen’s book, Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time. The best part was learning the stories behind all kinds of knit charities. I began to wonder if there were local stories like that. So I started digging. I looked on the internet. I asked friends and customers at the LYS where I work. And discovered all kinds of great stories. It was a delight to talk to so many different new fiber friends and write about their knit adventures. My current book tour has given me the opportunity to meet even more knitters and I am still collecting stories. A second book is in the works.

Lisa with Susan Mock from the Stitchin Den in Estes Park, CO.

UC: What is your favorite knitting book in your collection (besides your own, of course)?

Lisa: I actually have a section in my book devoted to titles from my knit library. It’s so hard to narrow it down. For color inspiration, I love to look at Kaffe Fassett’s Family Album: Kniting for Children and Adults. For stitch inspiration, I like the Field Guide to Knitting by Jackie Pawlowski. And a recent fiction favorite was Casting Off by Nicole R. Dickson. I have a soft spot for knit books and my library grows almost as fast as my stash.

UC: Do you have any favorite craft/writing/creativity websites or blogs to share?

Lisa: My go-to knit site is Ravelry. I love the community. I am beginning to venture further into cyberspace but it’s with suggestions from Ravelry. For example, I just discovered the podcast Cast-On with Brenda Dayne. So, I’m listening to all the old episodes as I am traveling.

UC: Your book tour is bringing you to yarn shops around the country. How did you choose these particular shops to work with?

Lisa: My tour was done a shoestring budget. I mapped out places where I could stay for free with family and then drew a 50 mile circle around each stop. Then I contacted shops in the circle. I started in Colorado staying with my mom and then moved to Minnesota to stay with my cousin. I’ll end the tour in New Jersey at my sister’s house. And along the way I managed to squeeze in Parents Weekend at BU so I get to see my son. All this plus yarn and new knitting friends? It’s been a great trip!

Lisa with a Culver KnitWhit.

UC: Tell us about how your book tour is going so far, and about your project with Warm Up America.

Lisa: The Warm Up America blanket project got a slow start but picked up a full head of steam when I visited the Culver KnitWits in Coon Rapids, MN and they contributed 58 squares! They are a very active charity knitting group. I have a lot of seaming to do now but it is a delight to connect knitters from California to Minnesota.  I will probably have enough squares for two blankets (each takes 63 squares) by the end of the tour. I hope to get the blankets seamed for the last stop on the tour November 10. I’ll be at Debbie Macomber’s A Good Yarn Shop in Port Orchard, WA. I’m really looking forward to signing the book with Debbie.

The tour has gone very well.  No travel glitches unless you count trying to get on a plane for Tulsa when I was suppose to go to Minneapolis. Southwest caught my mistake right away and pointed me the right direction. I’d love to do it again and expand the list of shops. Of course I may need an assistant to help me! I’ll bet I could get a few volunteers though. What knitter would not want to join me on a national yarn crawl?

Warm Up America blocks by the Culver KnitWhits.

UC: Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by!  We wish you a lot of success with your new book and look forward to seeing the next one.

Book Review

I don’t generally read heart-warming, inspirational books along the lines of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and while I consider myself a spiritual person, I’m not affiliated with a particular religion, so I wasn’t quite sure how I would respond to Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart. I grew up with an unusual, multi-faith background, and often feel excluded by or uncomfortable with faith-based authors.  Lisa has a really warm and inviting personality, though, so I really wanted to give her book a try, and requested a review copy from Revell Books to accompany this interview.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book.  It is a quick read – I was able to finish it over the course of about 2-3 days of commuting time.  Each chapter is organized around a theme which is metaphorically linked to knitting.  (For example, Chapter 3: Knit Two Together, is about friendship.)  I enjoyed reading the stories about how knitting brought together communities, helped individuals through difficult times, and how knitting charities started.  There were also some interesting tidbits about charity knitting in history.  The book definitely has some tearjerker stories, and I confess that I did have “something in my eye” a few times on the subway ride.  Lisa’s writing style is very casual and when reading you feel as though you are having a conversation with her.  Towards the end of the book, she provides some tips for knitters and shares her favorite books and websites.

The beginning chapters are definitely geared towards a Christian audience in terms of the language used.  However, Lisa addresses this exact issue in Chapter 2.

If you tell a new knitter to knit two together, yarn over, you will get a blank stare.  The same barrier goes up if you launch into apologetics with someone who doesn’t speak Christianese.  And even worse, they may tune you out immediately.  “The Lord told me…”  Suddenly, there’s a blank stare.  If you want to help a new knitter get more comfortable with the lingo, explain as you go and show, don’t tell.  Speak an inclusive language.  If you want to share your faith, speak plainly the language of love.

I didn’t find the language after that point to be very exclusive, but some readers might be uncomfortable with the Christian emphasis of the book.  From time to time, Lisa quotes Biblical verses that relate to service, charity, and love.

The book would be a nice gift for a Christian knitter and a great read for someone who enjoys inspirational books.  It would probably be an awkward gift for most atheists or non-Christians, though some would certainly be willing to read through the first few chapters to arrive at the more inclusive language.  It is lightweight and portable, and is a great read for a train or bus commute, or while waiting.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars for Christian knitters, the target audience.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.

Giveaway

I’m giving away my review copy of Knit with Love: Stories to Warm a Knitter’s Heart, courtesy of Revell Books.

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