I've just started Adrienne Martini's Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously. It's her account of knitting a Fair Isle Sweater by Alice Starmore, the famed knit designer. The beginning of the book is an abbreviated history of Fair Isle knitting, and some of the drama surrounding Alice Starmore--I don't want to spoil it for you, or get anything wrong, so go get a copy of the book.
The story is intriguing. It's also fascinating to me that people are so passionate about knitting. I heard about a yarn dealer a few years ago who had created a "Sock Kit of the Month Club". Each month her subscribers would receive a kit with yarn, and a sock pattern. She brought the paperwork to her bank and set up the payment schedules with them....except that the bank was suspicious. They could not imagine that people would pay for a monthly sock kit, and decided it must be a scam, or a front for illegal activity. They shut it down...much to the dismay of the dealer, and her avid knitting clients.
There's been a resurgent interest in knitting, and an unending spate of new sassy knitting books for the past 10-15 years. It's not surprising to me, because I'm passionate about knitting, and knitting books, too. There's a "not your grandmother's knitting" sensibility to this trend, as shown in the titles: The Stitch n' Bitch Knitter's Handbook, Chicks With Sticks, Knitting With Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man, Knitting Rules!, DomiKNITrix, etc. I don't know that there's quite the same phenomenon with other popular hobbies, like gardening, or cooking, or maybe there is, but not as much. I can think of a book on jam and jelly making, Blue Jelly: Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning, which has an offbeat sensibility directed towards a homey craft, but not too much else. (I loved that book, by the way. And strawberry-rhubarb jam...)
I have given up my stockpile of old Vogue Knitting magazines, and weeded out my old knitting books, which were starting to look a bit too 80's/giant hair and shoulder pads to be appealing anymore. But let's face it....making room on the bookshelf only means you get to buy new books! (Did I mention the Brunswick Library is having a book/bake/plant sale this Saturday, from 10-2? No?)