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Knitting: A Novel Hardcover – April 16, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
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Editorial Reviews


Bartlett has created an enthralling story about the healing power of friendship, enriched by knitting details.
Library Journal

...a brief, sweetly winning tale... a spirited feminist take sure to find favor with women's book groups.
Kirkus Reviews

"There is alot in this book for anyone who ponders the big questions of life: the nature of friendship, the need for meaningful work, the comfort of sharing grief." Bookpage

"...each stitch along the way seems unremarkable, but the finished product has a subtle beauty." The Washington Post

About the Author

Anne Bartlett spent her childhood in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. While raising her four children, now grown, she worked as an editor, a ghostwriter, and a feature writer as well as knitting original creations for clothing designers. She recently finished a Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Adelaide. She lives with her husband, who has been a pastor for more than twenty years (a background she has drawn on for this book), in South Australia.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (April 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618499261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618499267
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,386,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To say Anne Bartlett is an excellent weaver of words is not only hyperbole, but totally pertinent to the subject of this story. This is a woman's book, particularly one for those who knit, and who love working with yarn. There are many references to the process of knitting and the historical importance of knitting in the life of mankind.

The character of Sandra Fildes is self-involved, seriously uptight, emotionally needy, and unable to relate well to people on a personal level. She is also a wordsmith, a writer, and a woman interested in the study of language and its nuances, along with that of textiles. When the story opens, Sandra's beloved husband, Jack, through whom she's lived vicariously for many years, has been dead of cancer for about nine months and she struggles each day to keep going. She visits an art gallery where she is struck by a glass dress. To demonstrate Bartlett's ability to meaningfully and effectively weave words together, following is the description (page 44) of the dress as seen through Sandra's eyes: "But this glass dress, this was a dress for a woman with a cutting voice and a snapping handbag, someone who ordered people around so they wouldn't see who she was. A dress for a woman who was always holding in a shriek but would let out only bits at a time, slivers of misery from behind those tight glass beads." Wow! I thought as I read the paragraph that the description could be of Sandra herself.

At any rate, Sandra and polar opposite Martha McKenzie, knitter extraordinaire, friendly and giving, but also dealing with her own deep-seated pain over losses in her life, meet under unusual circumstances. Over time, through a shared interest in things knitted, they develop an unlikely bond that in the end is healing to both.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Anne Bartlett's novel, Knitting, and I feel that I have been a witness to holy things. The book touched my heart. As a knitter, I enjoyed the description of the yarns and the delight that Martha took in her creations. As a spiritual person, I relished the depths of discovery that occurred in both Martha and Sandra. The characters and plot of this novel are quietly enchanting. The story grows on you as gently as a ball of yarn becomes a garment. I highly recommend this novel for women, especially knitters and meditators.
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Format: Hardcover
Anne Bartlett's Knitting is a superb novel for women who love to knit and enjoy a great story. The descriptions of the knitting process, its historical importance in the world and the sheer love of the craft makes it worth the read.

But it is also the beautiful, poignant story of love, healing and understanding that makes it complete.

Sandra Fildes is newly widowed and at loose ends. The loss of her beloved husband Jack to cancer has left a deep, dark hole in her life--and she seriously wonders how she can go on. She's self-centered, driven and uptight. She also loves words and textiles. She'd love to be able to knit, but doesn't believe she has the talent to be good at it.

Martha McKenzie has been widowed for many years and is a highly skilled knitter who struggles with her own demons, demons that she carries around in several suitcases wherever she goes.

Martha and her polar opposite, Sandra meet when they stop to help a man who has fallen ill. Sandra persuades Martha to help her with a retro and contemporary knitting exhibition, which is to be held in the local church hall. Each woman's personal needs collide with the others and threaten a growing friendship.

Armchair Interviews says: Bartlett weaves a story with rich characters and prose that is simply delicious. It is a marvelous first novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Sandra Fildes is a woman who knows what she wants. Brilliant, high-achieving, confident Sandra is an expert in her field, the historical study of textiles. When Sandra's husband Jack passes away after a long illness, though, Sandra finds herself at a loss about how to fill her days --- and her life --- on her own.

Martha McKenzie may be Sandra's polar opposite. About the only the thing the two women have in common is the loss of their husbands; Martha's husband passed away shortly after their marriage many years ago, when Martha was just a teenager. Now Martha leads a quiet, unassuming life, cleaning a local church, living in a small flat, and filling her hours by practicing her art. Martha is a knitter, but not just an ordinary "knit a baby blanket for a friend" knitter; Martha is a true artist, with an intuitive eye for color, a daring and inventive sense of design, and the skills of a master.

Through a chance meeting, the two women form an unexpected friendship. Sandra admires Martha's quirky ways and her obvious talents; Martha envies Sandra's wealthy lifestyle and enjoys cracking her tough veneer. The two women find common ground when it comes to knitting. Through shared conversations, the two form a plan to mount an exhibition of historically accurate knitted garments, accompanied by text discussing the importance of women's domestic work through the ages. "It's something to celebrate," says Sandra, "clothes made in love and service, something women have always done."

Sandra, a merely competent knitter at best, commissions Martha to do all the knitting for the exhibit. Martha, a perfectionist with a history of mental instability, finds the task almost impossible.
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