This first edition of Ria+June contains an overview and a bit of background on my attempt to work my way through The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons-Hiatt. I was inspired by writer Julie Powell’s attempt to cook her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve always felt that June’s wonderful book could benefit from the same treatment*. It’s an intimidating volume, full of information and the thought of a formal, long-term commitment feels right. Selfishly, I also know I’ll emerge a better knitter…
The project was also inspired by an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum called Impossible Conversations. The exhibit constructs an imagined interaction between Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli. June is very much alive and I am happy to say I have her blessing for this project. She has asked that I urge anyone knitting along to read both introductions (the original and revised versions are both included in the new edition).
June encourages us to approach the work and the methods she presents with fresh eyes, and to do our best to set aside what we already know about the mechanics of knitting. First-time readers might be confused by June’s terminology. She uses names for techniques that might be unfamiliar, but are in many cases more accurately descriptive than the existing terms.
Working through the book from cover to cover is among the advice offered in the introduction, and for the most part, I will be working linearly. My one exception is that I will begin by delving into Part Seven: Materials. This section covers fibers, yarns and tools, and as a full-time yarn professional, I have a particular interest in what June has to say on the subject! I consider fiber and yarn the nexus of any knitting project, so this is where I’ll begin.
*June shared that a journalist named Lara Neel has also done this, Tweeting her impressions here.