I went into one of those discount bookshops recently, the type that always claim to be closing down in five days’ time. Normally, I would walk straight past these, knowing that the majority of their stock is made up of women’s fiction with the same dreary cover promising a depressing tale of some sort of child abuse. I was encouraged inside, however, and eventually moved a pile of escaped recycling to find The Thrift Book, by India Knight.
Having recently moved out of the parental nest, as well as getting into crafting, as well as the book being very pretty and only £1.99 thanks to false claims of closing down, the book came home with me. It is one of the best bookshop finds I’ve ever come across, and that includes a rare copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex with silver lettering. Yes I’m easily attracted to good covers, despite the saying.
What I thought I had was a reference book to open at the suitable page for a craft or money-saving technique I had in mind at various times when thought of. What I actually had was a great book to sit down and read on my Saturday afternoon. India Knight is really funny. She talks about her lack of knowledge regarding all corporate business stuff, and refers to people who work in the City as twats by definition.
As well as learning a lot on some topics I’d hoped to pick up on soon, and some essential pointers for my patchwork quilt that I’d started, I got a fun read from a quirky female on a topic I wouldn’t have imagined was that entertaining to read about. She gives readers a great little book that you’ll get through before you’ve realised that you have the ingredients of a Victoria Sponge arranged neatly in a jar, complete with ribbon tied around it, sat on your counter and waiting to be given to someone as a homemade gift.
What India Knight has done is acknowledge what some think is too nerdy to say out loud – that crafting has become cool. She talks about how quilting, knitting and cross-stitching are all a must for any truly up to date 20 something recently, and encourages us all to join our local Women’s Institute, which I now know is not a homeless shelter for vulnerable women but a collection of middle class crafters.
Aside from the WI suggestion, which I imagine is doable in some areas more than others, India Knight suggests everything from creating your own wrapping paper to keeping chickens (which I have admittedly, always wanted to do). She creates the perfect picture of making your own feminist version of The Good Life, while all the time keeping cost in mind. Which is what Hobbycraft has been doing for years, except they tell us to spend more money on crafts than we would if we bought whole products to begin with.
Regardless of your level of interest in crafts however, this is a book everyone who wants to save some cash without becoming a nomad should have on their bookshelf (the pretty one embellished with patches of fabric).