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Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously Paperback – March 23, 2010
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—Clara Parkes, publisher of Knitter’s Review and author of The Knitter’s Book of Wool
"I could NOT put Sweater Quest down! I felt as though I was knitting the sweater along with Adrienne, felt her pain and her joy. Once I even thought, as I was packing the car, 'Now WHERE is that Alice Starmore sweater I was working on?' The book became that insinuated into my psyche. I love this book."
—Annie Modesitt, author of Confessions of a Knitting Heretic
“Adrienne Martini combines her passion for knitting with her astonishing ambition, bringing to her lovely new memoir an enthusiasm which is infectious. Sweater Quest will have you reaching for your needles to knit your own dream sweater, and it belongs on every knitter's bookshelf.”
—Rachael Herron, How to Knit a Love Song
Top Customer Reviews
Martini starts out with a bang. The history of the legal bits on Starmore are interesting - However if you want the real scoop in more riveting detail check out the girlfromauntie[...] blog. Martini describes herself as knitter ready to move beyond intermediate to advanced projects and instantly identifiable to a lot of us. She blows this by chapter 4 and lost us all completely by chapter 7 when she hits the sheep & wool festival. How?
First of all, Martini is an English/Creative writing professor first and a knitter in the very least/last. In the forefront she is primarily seeking to get published. She has chosen her topic: a Starmore, Mary Tudor sweater and proceeds to dissect, analyze and deconstruct Alice Starmore until she ultimately declares the sweater itself "easier than it looks" and Starmore is regarded in a rather insultingly dismissive attitude. When it is apparent that the sweater will not entirely be a Starmore due to a few yarn switches Martini than loses steam and lobs off in a different direction. Traveling all over the South to North of the Eastern U.S. Martini ingratiates herself to every big name Knitting Blog-stars beginning with Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner (the Masondixon knitters[...]) to Canada's Amy R. Singer ( knitty [...]) to the Knit-blog Queen herself, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (yarnharlot.ca/blog), with a slew of knitters in between.
Martini uses this time spent with other knitters to mostly discuss why people (specifically women, she's a feminist after all.) knit. Despite the responses collected, I felt that she was not only missing the point but merely using the words of The Greats as filler for her own book.Read more ›
Two things prevent me from truly appreciating this: first off, her wit isn't all that witty. She keeps giving us these 'ya know, right' sort of nudges for things that aren't very funny and actually, if you think about it, are pretty horrible. For example, page 25, she's talking about the Sweater Curse and speculating on causes thereof:
"deciding to knit a sweater for a significant other costs less than having a baby when it feels like the relationship is already in trouble." Ummmm, rimshot?
She also presumes that every knitter is exactly like her, which is...weird, considering her other choices. Like her, I teach college and knit. Unlike her, I do not have a husband or child, and thus, the entire first chapter is really offputting--basically, I 'don't get it'. Knitting in her mind seems absolutely tied to wife/mother. If that's her imagined ideal audience, of course that's fine: I am not her ideal audience and I found it a bit...presumptuous.
But the real thing that made me wrestle with this book is precisely that: her understanding of her audience and their knowledge base. She presumes absolutely zero knowledge of knitting and explains everything in excruciating detail. For a book that's labeled 'crafts/hobbies' I'd imagine she wouldn't have to explain 'knit' for heaven's sake. If the explanation was absolutely relevant (and sometimes it is, for example, English vs Continental knitting) it works, but some other places it seems hamfisted and just...paddy.
Each chapter, as well, lurches from topic to topic.Read more ›
The most interesting part, to me, was the telling of the Starmore drama. I had only heard whispers and hints, and Martini explains the story in pretty much detail.
What I concluded about knitting a Starmore pattern is that it really doesn't make sense. The reason Martini's sweater didn't fit in the end is that the pattern comes in only one size, and there is no practical way to change it. Most of Starmore's designs were created 20 or more years ago, when oversized, baggy knitwear was in style. The drop shoulders are almost essential, but they look bad on almost everyone except maybe an actual burly fisherman.
I did find the whole "is it really a Starmore, if I change one of the colors" tedious. Really, what these amazing Starmore designs should do is motivate contemporary designers to get busy creating something equally fabulous in today's styles with currently available yarns.
In the end, I have to say that Martini's quest seemed self-indulgent to me. Did she really have any good reason to spend almost $80 on a wooden blocking frame? Did she have to travel to Toronto to get her knitting mojo back? I think a quest should involve self-discovery, and if there was self-discovery here, I didn't see it.
But I enjoyed going along for the ride with her. And I loved the interview with the Yarn Harlot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ms. Martini does start out with a bang but somewhere she becomes caught up with her political opinions and descends into righteousness. Knitting should transcend all worlds.Published 21 months ago by Lore N. Yao
I was knitting an Alice Starmore design at the time I read this book so it really resonated with me. Well written, witty and full of information as well as insight. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Kindle Customer
I bought this because I'd read a review and it sounded interested and the premise of the book sounds like I could relate, but when I started reading it, I realized I didn't like... Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by foxdancer2
I'm really glad I didn't read the reviews prior to purchasing and reading this book.
If you are looking for a book that chapter by chapter focuses on each individual day... Read more
this book was not what i thought it would be when it arrived but it was good book to add to your knitting books.Published on March 22, 2014 by carmelita weldner
Not at all what I expected. Very dry, very uninteresting. Definitely not funny. It's really about this women and all her plights of knitting a tudor sweater.Published on June 6, 2013 by Anita S. Ahmadi
Another meditative book but very well written with lots of thoughts to ponder. I really enjoyed it and will reccomend it.Published on May 30, 2013 by Dottie Bronowski
I'm not a knitter. My wife is. She really gets into it, shopping for wool online, posting on websites, adjusting patterns, etc. Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by moose_of_many_waters
Adrienne seems to be more fascinated with the way she leaves out details than what she is describing. Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by wa0aw