Book Review - Unraveling by Peggy Orenstein

Why do we make? What satisfaction does it give us? How do we connect with what we do or what our ancestors do? How does that help shape who we are? These questions sit at the heart of Peggy Orenstein's newest book, Unraveling.

She takes us through the history of wool, yearn and the art of crafting. Through the first person account, it starts with the shearing of wool and only dives deeper from there. Orenstein weaves stories of family, history and present day events with ease. For the DIY crowd, this is deeply fascinating. 

Does it break new ground? Not particularly. I don't know if the text separates itself if any way from Knitlandia. In many ways, that text felt more complex because of the constant movement around the world. Here, is something more intimate. We don't see the vast array of locals that Knitlandia offers; instead, it creates a more gentle and intimate text. 

What I found fascinating was the history of yarn and the way yarn, sewing and thread weaves itself into our language. That felt like wholly new ground. It also gave the book some heft especially as she parallels these ideas with her family, life and death. I don't know if I ever felt emotionally moved through the text, but I definitely reflected on my own life and my connections with crafting.

Orenstein is often a novice at this work. From shearing to dyeing, everything feels new. On one hand, we get to experience the process with her; on another, I do think an expert could explain the complexities in a way that a novice simply can't. She certainly tries, and the historical context along with environmental aspects give this momentum. But I couldn't help but feel like I was missing out on another layer. 

But what we have is a human story. At 224 pages, you'll never be bored. If you want to reflect on your own relation with crafting, this is perfect. If you want something that fully explores yarn, Knitlandia might be the best way to explore this topic.

Release Date: January 24, 2023
MSRP: $24.00

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