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Sweater QuestMarch 29, 2010

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously
by Adrienne Martini

Sq Adrienne's a blog-pal of mine, and I've known her virtually for years. But you know what's better than having good friends in the knit-world? Having friends who are good writers. Even better, having friends who are great writers.

I loved this book. In it, Adrienne decides to make Mary Tudor, Alice Starmore's Fair Isle classic, in a year, and while she's a knitter, when she makes the decision to do so, she's not really a Starmore kind of knitter. She's never done a steek. She's not really sure how the now-unavailable yarn substitutions should be made, or what they will do to the authenticity of a Starmore.

People, she's Julie, working her way through the cookbook. Let's face it. It's awesome. It's for us.

And she's funny as hell. She knows how we bond. It's kind of like how moms bond (although she knows knows that not even all moms bond, just mention breastfeeding in a room full of mothers).

Which isn't to say that the knitting community isn't a monolithic entity where all of the members hold hands and sing kumbaya on a regular basis. You can easily start another hair-pulling fight by stating an opinion on buttonholes. And if you want a melee--seriously, the authorities would have have to called--mention your feelings about buttonholes having to be on the left side of a woman's garment while a knitter-mom is breastfeeding a six-year old.

HAHAHAHAHA. Seriously. I almost fell out of bed laughing.

So today, I'm over at her blog, answering questions about my book, and I'm hosting her here, answering some questions about hers.

Welcome, Adrienne!

In your introduction, you said that for a knitter who had only been knitting for thimbleful of years, "Mary Tudor would be a foolish, humbling choice to attempt." Have you always been someone who has chosen things that might be right outside your grasp or was this something new for you?

I've been pondering this questions for almost 12 hours now and still am not sure I've hit on the perfect answer. In short, I've always been of the go-big-or-go-home school but am also not much of a danger junkie. tackling a sweater that is just above my skill level is a low-risk endeavor that suites my personality well. Jumping out of an airplane strikes me as total madness. If I fail at the sweater, life will most certainly go on. It will still be a story, just not one that will keep you warm on cold days. Fail at skydiving and, well, the result are almost certain to be catastrophic.

I don't think you can really learn anything if you always stick to your comfort zone. You have to keep reaching or else you stagnate.

Which came first, the idea for the book, or the idea for the sweater?

The idea for the book came first - but only by microseconds. Once the idea popped into my head, the Mary Tudor sweater popped up next, which caused me to think about all of the issues surrounding Alice Starmore, Fair Isle and Fair Use. Then I was dashing out of the shower to write it all down before I forgot it all.

Where is the sweater living, right this very moment?

It's in a magnetically locked briefcase that I keep handcuffed to my wrist. No, not really. It's someplace far less glamourous, which is on the top shelf of my closet in a plastic bag from "Discount Liquors." I'll be bringing it with me to signings and whatnot, though, and I've been toying with the idea of raffling it off for charity. Not quite sure I'm ready to part with it yet, however.

What is your daily (or weekly) writing process?

I'm probably not the best person to ask about process, since I don't know that I really have one. I do blog everyday, which I don't really consider part of process as much as an eclectic diary of pictures and stories that I would otherwise lose track of. In terms of actual work - I worked for newspapers (and still frequently freelance for my local rag) for long enough that I can sit and write on queue and with little preamble. My work may lack gravitas and poetry but it is, usually, concise and quick. It's a skill that I was happy to have after having my first baby, when writing time was thin and my need to write was great. Now, with two kids and my day jobs, I appreciate those years knocking out copy even more.

Thanks, Adrienne! (Pop on over to her blog to read my interview and more importantly, to see pictures of her Mary Tudor! And pick up your copy today!)


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I've been reading it too and also almost falling out of bed! it is a fantastic book! Adrienne you are a fantastic writer:-) thanks for the humor in my life:-)

Ooh, I've been looking forward to this! Just sent a sample to my Kindle.

BTW, here's me with my Mary Tudor:http://needleadd.blogspot.com/2005/10/knitting-geek_17.html

There are hot points akin to buttonholes in spinning, too, like ypp vs. wraps per inch, double or single treadle, top or bottom whorl... What I like about the community, though, is we can argue fiercely and the next moment say, "Wow, I really like what you did with the collar..." Opinions are strong and kinship is even stronger.

Definitely picking up a copy of Sweater Quest. [PS One-row buttonhole a la Theresa, knitty 2007.]

Speaking of books, my library filled my purchase request so How to Knit a Love Song is now part of the Pikes Peak Library District catalog. (ppld.org) You just can't have too many knitting books in the catalog. :)

Ha! I came *thisclose* to quoting that exact same passage! She had me right there. :)

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