My book review of 'This Golden Fleece' by Esther Rutter

This Golden Fleece

by Esther Rutter
This Golden Fleece
by Esther Rutter

Taking a year to explore knitting throughout the British Isles, this is a beautifully executed account of a journey through social history and creativity.

The author comes originally from a farm in Suffolk and, as she seeks to recapture the skills she learned as a child in knitting and spinning, we meet communities whose lives have been shaped by wool throughout the centuries.

There are stories of mill workers in the Border countries, English market towns built on the profits of the wool trade, and Highland communities cleared for sheep farming. There are also extraordinary details about the plight of wives of fishermen - they had to carry their men on their backs, through the water to the boats, to avoid the men getting wet feet!

The author explores language and literature - the Bloomsbury set were keen knitters and apparently there are more characters knitting in the books by Virginia Woolf than there are writing.

There are proven health benefits of the pursuit - knitting lowers your blood pressure as effectively as yoga.

And as the author uncovers the many facets of knitting, wool, fashion, farming, landsape and history, she takes up her own knitting projects - gloves, scarf, socks, a fisherman's jumper, even a bikini! In all this, she will encourage any other dormant knitter to take up their needles once again. A fascinating read.

Review date: February 2020