Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diamond Life...(Sweater Quest)

I just finished Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously

This is sort of a "wooly"Julia & Julia book. The author, after a few years of standard knitting...scarves, hats, etc., decides to challenge herself to knit in a year a very complex Fair Isles sweater called the Tudor Rose...the pattern book was no longer in print and all the yarns needed had been discontinued...so accomplishing this was a bit of a task!

Anyway, I chuckled my way through the book, resisting the urge to underline passages as is my wont since I had, in the interest of not further adding to my enormous book stash, checked it out of the library...(but I finally did cave in and order it on Amazon today since it was only $6...for some reason I just need the physical presence of books I like! And I can loan/share them out.)

She describes how knitting soothed her while in the throes of post partum depression,

"Now the whole event feels like it happened to someone else...time is a great balm, of course. So are high-grade pharmaceuticals. But what really helped turn the tide was knitting. Now most of the drugs are a distant memory. The yarn, however, is still with me. So are baskets of knitted hats, scarves, sweaters, and socks."(p. ix)

And"...knitting surprises are subtle and enduring. Making stuff with my very own hands has enriched my life in innumerable ways. Both kids and craft have taught me how to deal with frustration so acute that I'd want to bite the head off a kitten. Both are great courses in expectation management. Both have given more than they've taken--and introduced me to a community that I otherwise never would have know."(p. xi)

And she she writes about the joy of any hand work... Sewing, quilting, crafting, gardening, cooking, etc...the pleasure of touching and seeing beautiful colors, textures, etc.

As well as her commentary on all things "yarnish"...she wanders off on many tangents (which you can easily skim if you are so inclined) but also offers a few choice bits of philosophy...knitters tend to be philosophical...here was one thought that seemed a great image regarding Choice and Accountability....

from Sweater Quest (p147)
"I read somewhere - and one of the signs of getting older is that I can no longer remember where - that life is shaped like a diamond. At the start, your choices are few. They get greater and greater each year until forty or so, when the choices you've made start to limit the ones you can make - until you die, which is generally as much of a choice as being born is.
I don't find this bleak, actually. I'm fairly content with the choices I've made and the ones I'm not at ease with are minor. The knowledge that my diamond is getting narrower just makes me more careful about my time and likely to enjoy where I am more. Besides, I'm tired of deciding and, welcome having less big stuff to think about. Your mileage of course, may vary..."

Beware...you probably can't read this book without going out and buying more yarn(or supplies for whatever your craft obsession)...I did.
(Yarn and sock started while reading SQ)


  1. I am really hoping you read your comments in this blog. I would really like to hear from you and figure out just who you are.....My name is Kathy Austin, daughter of Richard Austin, son of Gladys Austin, daughter of Edith Reffner and Don Francis Cecil. Whew!!! Didn't think I could get that all in! email me at grandma_kat@cvalley.net! Thank you for the pictures you posted...some of my grandmother that I have never seen!!!

  2. Hi Kathy...I'm Patti Dean, daughter of Roger and Janiece Dean, granddaughter of Dorothy Cecil Dean, Gladys' sister...I'll email you so we can reconnect after all these years...our family still makes Dorothy Austin's Ice Cream recipe.