In October (in the midst of the work craziness) I received an email from Penguin Books inviting me to receive an advance copy of a new book: The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. I responded that I was interested & when I got back to Chicago after Christmas the book was waiting for me. I immediately started into the book & was done with it in less than 24 hours. What a fun read – it was a great book to end 2006 with since the year was so knit-filled for me.

As the title implies, this book is set around a group of knitters that gathers weekly in a small knitting shop. The stories of their lives are woven together throughout the book & through their shared passion for knitting. In November, there was advanced buzz about the book because Julia Roberts has signed on to star in and produce the movie adaptation of it. In recent years there have been a lot of books written that are based on the “women coming together in a group over a common interest” – one of the characters in this book even comments on this knitting club being like a new quilting bee.Â

This book isn’t only “for knitters” – in fact, one of the characters comes to the shop with a preconceived disdain for knitting. This is a story about independent women and how they come together to support each other.

In addition to the “standard” chapters in a novel this book also contains several extras: a scarf pattern that is used in the story, a yummy muffin recipe from the store and each section of the book is introduced with a knitting basic – which becomes an analogy for the life unfolding in the book.

As I was reading this book I started thinking about the concept of “women coming together…” and reflecting on my own circles. I’ve actually been thinking about this concept for several months…While I don’t have a “Friday Night Knitting Club” per se, I do have several circles that are important to me.

On the knitting front, I haven’t “joined” in an organized knitting group (maybe this year?); however, since teaching Jen & Kristy to knit we often have our own ‘knitting club’ sessions – while knitting & purling we catch up on life, watch silly movies, order Thai from our favorite place and just have fun.

Since starting to scrapbook in 2003, I have found that to definitely be a “circle” activity. As I’ve mentioned before I host a quarterly crop club where friends gather in my dining room once a quarter to work on albums and catch up on life. When possible, I also go to other crops. Each January I also go to a scrapbook retreat – 3 days of uninterrupted time to work on albums (in fact, next weekend is the retreat!). This is a larger circle but the conversations are the same.

A circle I’ve been a part of since first moving to Chicago is my book club. We are quite a varied group – professionals, teachers, stay at home moms, creatives. Our monthly Thursday evening gatherings are a lot of fun. We normally discuss the book we’ve read – even if just for a bit. Most months the book also seems to be a launching point for all sorts of other conversations. This is a group where even if you’re gone for a couple of months when you come back in it is easy to pick up where you left off with everyone.

Sometimes a circle just comes together – one of the highlights of my December was my Christmas Tea.  It was fun to see how quickly we found commonalities among “strangers until today” and had lots of group conversations instead of just “two-sies” & “three-sies.”

What is your Friday Night Knitting Club?

P.S. As part of this advance copy, I received several copies of a “Special Sneak Peek” of the book. If you are interested in a copy, leave me a comment and I’ll send one your way.