By Anne Bartlett
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618499267, 288pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
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"Spinning, weaving, knitting, all part of the long tradition of women’s work, skills that had survived even the efficiency of the industrial revolution. Why did people still do it?"
It’s been ten months since Jack died. For his widow, Sandra, a tightly wound teacher who thinks long and hard about such questions, the months have tested her belief that she can continue her ordered life without Jack. She feels as though she’s covered in ice-cold glass and will never be warm again. Knitting is the story of what happens when Sandra meets a woman who is her polar opposite on a sidewalk when they both stop to help a man in distress. While Sandra’s grief has constrained her spirit, Martha -- who lost her husband years before -- appears to wear her grief lightly. Sandra’s talent for the domestic arts lies in studying them; Martha is a brilliantly gifted knitter, a self-educated artist. When Sandra persuades Martha to help her mount an exhibition of retro and contemporary knitting, the two women’s lives tangle, with astonishing ramifications. What begins as a professional collaboration becomes something transformative and deeply personal. Anne Bartlett weaves a story that is seamless in its exploration of healing, grace, and the search for meaning, both within oneself and in the larger community. Readers will find much to admire in Sandra’s struggle to break out of her shell and much to wonder at in Martha’s visionary spirit. Knitting marks the debut of a writer whose work puts her in the company of writers such as Carol Shields, Barbara Kingsolver, and Louise Erdrich.
Anne Bartlett spent her childhood in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.