I swear to you that when I searched my library’s computerized catalog in order to find books by Elizabeth Zimmerman, that foolish machine insisted that there was no such person. This is why trips on foot are necessary. Today, Nora and I stopped by the library to pick up a book I’d put on hold. (The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum.) I trudged on down to the nonfiction section, which they keep in the nether regions of the library. Upstairs, it is a sunny, cheerful, even slightly noisy place. The children’s section, the hold section, the fiction section, and the video and DVD section all reside upstairs. Downstairs, however, is the quiet, serious section, so you can see why it might be a risk for any person possessing three small and unpredictable children to enter. Since I only had one child with me, though, I figured it was worth the risk.
So down the stairs, into the hush of the computer room, the documentary movie section, the rows upon rows of delicious and mysterious books on every subject one can imagine. I much prefer nonfiction these days. Adult fiction is unpredictable in quality, even when one reads book reviews, but even bad nonfiction can usually offer a starting place to find out something wonderful. I know where the knitting section is by heart now, so I snuck over to the aisle, just to the right of all the new aquisitions. All the knitting books are placed low to the ground, I assume so that those of us with bad backs will be deterred from sampling their wares, and instead grab at the Tintin books just at easy height on the left of the aisle. No matter. I was undeterred, although I did grab a copy of Tintin Among the Soviets. Just for research purposes, you understand.
But, yes, the knitting books. I set Eleanor on the ground, where she promptly settled, and began removing knitting books to look at herself, sensible girl. I scanned the shelf for something interesting. A lot of books must recently have been returned. On my last trip, the shelf was nearly bare, but this trip, it was bursting to excess. Most of the books are old, and contain the sort of patterns that lead many people to believe that knitting is only for the aged and the fashion impaired. There are only so many jaunty sailor sweaters and log cabin quilted jackets that this world requires, and the quota was filled long ago. But there, sandwiched between an ancient Vogue Knitting handbook on scarves and a stitch dictionary, I saw a familiar phrase. The Opinionated Knitter. Could it be? Elizabeth Zimmerman didn’t even exist in their database, and yet there she was, peering out at me from the stacks. I lifted the book down. My goodness! It’s a copy of all her newsletters from the sixties and seventies, including the Baby Surprise Sweater, including the adult version, including Meg Swansen’s memories of her mother…it has everything!
Needless to say, I grabbed it up. Nora, however, was much trickier. Having tasted freedom among the quiet stacks, she seized her opportunity and ran for it. I had a few large and heavy books and a desire to keep her quiet, so I played a back and forth game with her for a while, trying to lure her close. She squealed with delight every time she spied me, and then she would zoom away as fast as her short little legs can carry her. Finally, for reasons known only to her, she lay down on her belly and wiggled slowly down an aisle, which made her much easier to catch, and all without disturbing anyone. We checked out our books and wended our way home, where I sat down to pour over the marvelous collection. It’s such a rich trove, I don’t know if the three weeks I have it for will be enough.
On a completely and utterly different note, I have a dilemma. In my stash there are three balls of the discontinued Rowan linen drape in the salsa shade. I love that color, and I bought them up when I heard Rowan had discontinued the line, because I’ve heard that linen drape, well, drapes beautifully. One of my books, Sarah Dallas’ Vintage Knits, calls for linen drape for a number of patterns. Only, the thing is, it’s discontinued. And I only have the three skeins. I was directed to a place that still has some skeins left in salsa, and despite problems with matching dye lots, I may buy some, but I’m torn. The question is, is there anything one can do with three skeins of linen drape? I want to show off the drape, and all I can think of is a shrug of some kind. Any ideas will be much appreciated.
Since blog entries look naked without pictures, here is one. It’s a little peek at Alexandra’s Armor. I’ll be posting the pattern as soon as I take the time to write it up.