Do you read Clara Parkes? The wunderkind behind the original intersection of the nets and handwork, Knitters Review? She’s got a new book out, The Knitter’s Book of Wool that I love, (as you see Leelee does too). Clara’s musings are as delightful and sensuous as the best food writers, only her subject is Wool, with a capitol W. She takes you through the topic, from the anatomy of the fiber, the process of turning fiber to yarn, through the pastures of sheep and the different fleeces they grow, to dying and blending and plying, topped off with a great selection of patterns.
On Saturday, my fiber-road-pal, Astrig and I made the journey to String Theory, a yarn shop in Blue Hill, Maine, which hosted a book signing with the esteemed Ms. Parks. What a nice time it was. First of all the shop is delightful – warm, comfortable and colorful – located in a historic house brightly painted yellow with red trim. Owners Karen and Tanis are artists and the creators of String Theory Yarns, a wide range of brilliantly colored yarns dyed in small batches in their homes. The shop is loaded with a their signature yarns as well as a wide assortment of other yarns from around the world. The snug back room, houses books and cozy seating for reading, relaxing and knitting.
Adding to this wonderful environment was Clara, sparkling with wit. She brought a sweet round wicker basket which sprung open, popping out armloads of sample garments. Now Clara’s book has lovely photographs by Alexandra Grablewski, but in real-life the items are even more beautiful – irresistable, astonishing! We compared the same patterns using different fiber yarns, finding our preference was usually an individual choice, based on what we’d use the garment for in our own lives. Very interesting and thought provoking…tempting me with spinning again. (wait, don’t stop there…raising sheep!) Clara’s knowledge of the subject is encyclopedic, though she shares it in a low key, relaxed way punctuated with wryly amusing stories. And she’s a mimic! Ha! So funny!
I hope to cross paths with Clara again, and envy those who are participating in her Knitter’s Review Retreat this week. String Theory has a knitting group every Saturday, so I’m hoping to join in sometime soon. See you there!