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Knitting - The perfect winter sport
by Pat Timko
Childrens Librarian, Marysville Library
One of my fondest memories from childhood was trying hard to stand still with my arms raised high in the air waiting expectantly for my mother to pull a newly-knitted sweater down over my wiggling torso. The yarn was grey in color and the texture scratchy. The sleeves were too long and the neck more than a bit tight, but as I looked down at the sinewy, interlocking cables that graced the front and then slowly traced the elegant sturdiness of the patterned stitches, I remember feeling beautiful, lucky and loved.
In the days of my childhood and long before that, knitting items of clothing was most often done out of sheer necessity; but with the relatively recent arrival of many thousands of simply lovely and texturally exciting new yarns from countries the world over, not to mention locally spun yarns direct to you from sheep to shoppe, knitting has become less a necessity and more a statement. Be that statement one of fashion, function or just plain fun, the revival of interest in knitting has re-established the connection between personal creativity and the immense pleasure, satisfaction and pride to be gained from the process of making a thing by hand.
Alongside the many fun and innovative novelty yarns flooding the market from funky, furry eyelash and silky, rainbow ribbons to baby-soft boucle and luxuriously smooth chenille is a deluge of beautifully photographed, practical how-to books and the Internet is awash with websites featuring free patterns for sophisticated shawls, ponchos with panache, sassy scarves, whimsical wraps, cute and colorful clothing for kids and pets, high-fashion sweaters, cozy afghans, vibrant vests, jazzy jackets and much, much more.
If youre anxious to learn to knit, but have never even held a pair of needles, the library is an especially good place to go for books that illustrate or for videos and DVDs that demonstrate the basic steps. And if you are interested in developing your skills beyond the level of beginner or if you are an accomplished knitter on the prowl for new projects, the library offers a wide variety of print and non-print materials suitable for all levels of expertise.
But knitting doesnt stop with practical instruction and patterns. Authors of fiction have picked up on the increased interest in the craft and have created some rather intriguing stories centered on the clicking of needles.
For a taste of how knitting with others can create a sense of community, comfort and conversation, try Ann Hoods The Knitting Circle; Elizabeth Lenhards Chicks with Sticks; teen titles, Its a Purl Thing and Knit Two Together; Anne Bartletts Knitting: a Novel or Debbie Macombers The Shop on Blossom Street and its sequel, A Good Yarn. But watch out where there are sharp instruments, there is always the chance for foul play, as author Maggie Sefton demonstrates in her A Knitting Mystery series. A trio of titles beginning with Knit One, Kill Two followed by Needled to Death and A Deadly Yarn features amateur sleuth and knitting novice Kelly Flynn. Described as fun and fast reads, these books can be enjoyed by knitters and non-knitters alike. As a bonus, each book contains a recipe and simple knitting pattern.
There are even storybooks about knitting for the very young reader to enjoy books that clearly and with great humor convey the smiling spirit of friendship, the deep joy of usefulness, the nightly need for sleepy serenity, and/or a satisfying sense of accomplishment through lively text and colorful illustrations. Whether you choose to share any or all of the following titles with a young child, you cant lose with Derek the Knitting Dinosaur by Mary Blackwood; Knitting Nell by Julie Jersild Rot; Mr. Nicks Knitting by Margaret Wild; and From Lullaby to Lullaby by Adele Gerasare.
For more info about knitting or for assistance with any other information need you may have, stop by your nearest branch location for personalized customer service or visit the Sno-Isle Libraries Web site at www.sno-isle.org where you can search for materials and place holds on items for pickup at the library of your choice. From the Sno-Isle homepage, you can also explore most of the many online databases available through the Research Tools function, search for program information and check your own library account.
All Sno-Isle libraries feature programs and other services for all ages. Please visit the Web site or contact your nearest branch for more information. And happy knitting.