Many of us get our knitting patterns online these days, but Shirley “Shirl the Purl” Scott kicks it old school – and she has amassed an impressive collection of knitting books.
Shirl has been doing a bit of downsizing lately, and she has donated much of her large collection of knitting books to Spindrift Handknits.
I was lucky enough to be amongst a select group of townie knitters invited to the Spindrift Handknits HQ for the opening of the Shirley A. Scott Knitters’ Library.
After the customary coffee, tea and cookies, we broke out our knitting, and sat down to listen to Shirl’s short and colourful talk about her collection.
Shirl had a long career as a librarian, and she has assembled a collection of knitting books with that trade’s attention to detail.
Most of her books focus on North Atlantic knitting.
There are books on Shetland, Fair Isle and German Sweaters. Estonian and Norwegian Mittens. Swedish socks. American midwestern/Scandinavian jackets. There’s also the scattered Japanese lace manual thrown into the mix.
It’s all a bit mind blowing.
A few fun facts from Shirl:
American knitters are credited with most of the English language translations of these northern knitting patterns.
Most knitting books are published with a copyright, but not a copyright date, to make knitters less likely to judge whether a pattern is in or out of fashion.
Japanese patterns rely mostly on graphs and numbers, so even if you can’t read Japanese, you can probably figure out a pattern.
Shirl, goddess of knitting that she is, is like the rest of us mere mortal knitters in at least one respect. Although she has amassed this amazing collection of knitting patterns, she has attempted only a handful of them. We all have good intentions.
We finished off the afternoon with a round of knitting trivia and another round of coffee and sweet treats.
I feel like I have entered a secret society of sorts; kind of like the Freemasons, but with wool.
The Shirley A. Scott Knitters’ Library is accessible through Spindrift Handknits by request.