Knitting the Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft

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9781577316572: Knitting the Threads of Time: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft

In an era of global warming, war, escalating expenses, declining income, and drugs and violence in schools, many mothers feel they have little control over their families or their worlds. Nora Murphy eloquently demonstrates that many women do control one tiny thing: their next stitch.

While tracing the frustrations and joys of knitting a sweater for her son through the course of one cold, dark Minnesota winter, Murphy eloquently brings to life the traditions and cultures of women from many backgrounds, including Hmong, American Indian, Mexican, African, and Irish. Murphy’s personal stories — about her struggles to understand esoteric knitting patterns, her help from the shaman of the knit shop, and her challenges sticking with an often vexing project — will appeal to knitters as well as everyone else who has labored to create something from scratch.

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Review:

“A sweet, unassuming memoir that's quietly inspiring.”
Booklist

“A richly textured exploration of the knitting craft — as a source of warmth, a sign of love shared, and a tangible link to the fiber artists who precede us.”
— Bernadette Murphy, author of Zen and the Art of Knitting

“Knitting a sweater is challenging, frustrating, exhilarating, and immensely satisfying, and Nora Murphy captures all of that and much more in her gem of a book. The journey of this one sweater makes stops in many knitting cultures as well as the geography of the human condition. A lovely book!”
— Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle
 
“For every knitter who was ever asked, ‘Why bother knitting when you can buy it at Wal-Mart?’ Murphy gives an answer. We have a deep spiritual connection to our craft and its past. Yes, I could buy a sweater at Wal-Mart. But I couldn’t buy this sweater. Murphy compels us to consider the importance of one garment: to the knitter, to the recipient, and possibly to our entire global economy.”
— Elizabeth Morrison, knitting designer

From Booklist:

“Each stitch matters” is one sentence from Minnesota author (of the short story collection Twelve Branches, 2003) Murphy’s ruminations on personal and historical knitting, and it sums up this comforting book. Whether novice or professional knitter, or simply an admirer of handcrafted textiles, the reader will understand and warm to the included stories: the progression of a project, of the seasons, and, yes, of life. The book begins with her son Evan’s request for a sweater and the starts and stops, mishaps and wonders, of knitting a multicolored flame-designed garment. The narrative is interwoven with historical notes, from tales of the Hmong people from Vietnam and their pa ndau embroidery to the various natives of Africa with pieced, stitched, dyed, and appliquéd cloths. Her personal stories also act as the warp of the book, introducing artist friends Betty and Janet, her work as a grant writer, and family activities during holidays—with happy and disappointed moments chronicled. A sweet, unassuming memoir that’s quietly inspiring. --Barbara Jacobs

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