Book Review: Sweater Quest

I’ve been waiting for this book to come out since Martini was interviewed on Cast-On last year. I enjoyed her first memoir – actually, since it was about her experience with Postpartum Depression, maybe enjoyed isn’t the word I want to use.  But it was a great book.  So, I had high hopes for this second outing, and I was not disappointed.

I pre-ordered through Amazon and received my copy today. Since Lil Miss was napping and K was watching something that appeared to be a movie involving World War II, I headed out to the Sky Chair on the deck.  And there I stayed until I finished the book.

Here’s my review as it appears on Amazon, GoodReads, and LibraryThing:

It seems like such a silly idea: A memoir about knitting a sweater? But like Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (who makes an appearance), Martini isn’t really writing about knitting. She’s writing about knitters. Mostly, just one knitter.

Over the course a year, Martini sets out to complete a sweater known as “Mary Tudor”. As she tackles the challenges of acquiring an out-of-print pattern and substituting for out-of-production yarns (no small feat for a project in which color is key) as well as stranded colorwork and steeking, she gathers together details about the designer, Alice Starmore. She explores why knitters are so attracted to Starmore’s famously difficult-to-obtain and difficult-to-knit patterns, and how far they can stray from the designer’s vision yet still remain faithful to the project.

Martini travels to Rhinebeck, Nashville, and Toronto to interview bloggers well-known to knitters around the world. The history of Tudor Roses and the Alice Starmore brand intertwine with the history of knitting in the Shetland Isles and North America and the life one particular American woman in the early twenty-first century. Witty and self-deprecating, Martini doesn’t hesitate to share her liberal leanings or drop the occasional curse word. Her writing style is clean and sharp, a pleasure to read. She’s clearly aware of the absurdity of her “quest”, which just makes it all the more enjoyable.

I gave it 5 stars out of 5.