Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini Martini’s last book, Hillbilly Gothic was a memoir of severe postpartum psychosis. Grim subject, that one, saved by Martini’s delightful sense of humor. This book brings the same thoughtful approach and humor to a more cheerful topic, one also dear to my heart (did you know that the sanity and well-being of new mothers was a cause dear to my heart? It is.) Martini took up knitting as part of her sanity-maintaining efforts – hooray! And in this book she tracks her quest to knit one exquisitely beautiful, terrifically difficult sweater, after a knitting diet of mostly hats. She starts by going over the tangled history of the gifted yet prickly knitting designer Alice Starmore, as well as a little bit of the Tudors, the inspiration for Starmore’s pattern book in which is contained Martini’s dream pattern. The supplies are hard to come by; the technique takes some work to master. But this isn’t just about this one project. Over the course of the year, Martini visits various knitting luminaries to discuss deep knitting questions with them: why do we knit? If she is knitting a Starmore sweater designed it to be knit with Starmore’s brand of yarn, no longer available, is it still a Starmore? How much of the sweater is Starmore and how much Martini, and does it matter? Many of the knitting folks are ones whose blogs and books I read myself – Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner of http://www.mason-dixonknitting.com, and Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka http://www.yarnharlot.ca, as well as Clara Parkes, whose The Knitter’s Book of Wool I read not so long ago. Martini is still both funny and insightful; this was another book where I found myself reading bits aloud to my love every other page or so, and even that was restraining myself. Thank you for sharing, Martini. The sweater is beautiful.
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