Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knitting--an obsession! Who knew?

by Adrienne Martini

You all might know that sundry librarians are obsessed with cats, but I bet you didn't realize that there are tons of librarian-knitters out there!  Even though I'm not one of them, I have been known to appreciate their projects--especially the argyle socks. So, it's easy for us to relate to our many patrons who are knitters; we understand the passion. The Urbana Free Library maintains a large collection of knitting books and instructional DVDs

I never truly understood what it meant to BE a knitter until I started reading Adrienne Martini's Sweater Quest.  Martini is a author/knitter who decided to spend a year making a ferociously difficult Fair Isle sweater pattern, created by an iconic and reclusive Scottish designer. Knitting is important to Martini; it's helped her through bad times in her life. (She quotes this bumper sticker, seen at a sheep and wool festival "I knit so I don't kill people".)

Deciding to knit is not an easy decision for our author; it is a commitment.  Fair Isle technique has to be learned and practiced. Getting the pattern--out of print--requires quite a bit of time and money. And the yarn! Yarn DOES make a difference, both in color and texture. Many patterns require specific wool and colors, often no longer produced by manufacturers.  I learned all about the subculture of wool--the special knitting language, stockpiling yarn, the quest for patterns and discontinued yarn, the network of knitters--and most of all I learned about Martini's obsession with the Tudor Rose pattern. And her plan to write about the experience.

My small quibble with the book is that the publisher only included a tiny black and white author's photo on the inside back cover.  I wanted to see the sweater itself, in all its glorious jewel-tones colors, so I tracked down pictures on the web.  Curious? Visit these two sites:

I, frankly, had trouble putting this book down to come to work.  A page-turner involving obsession, a subculture, inter-craftswomen politics, and KNITTING?  Who knew.  Read Sweater Quest and find out!

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