Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Enjoy a Good Yarn This Winter

Are you a crafter who wants to unwind with a good book after the hectic holiday season?  Even if you are not currently a crafter, try one of these crafty books, and you might find yourself inspired to start a new hobby!

Cozy up with a light mystery!  In the cozy mystery genre, the action usually takes place in a small, close-knit community, usually downplays sex and violence, and are often more light hearted than other murder mysteries.  Sometimes they include bonus material, such as a recipe or a pattern, at the end of the book.  Cozy mysteries cover a variety of themes, but as a yarn enthusiast I love to read the ones about knitting and crochet, and I recommend the following. 
Death by Cashmere by Sally Goldenbaum follows the adventures of Izzy Chambers, a former law professional who ditched her fast-paced life in Boston for calmer surroundings in the quiet seaside town of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts.  With the help of her aunt and uncle, Izzy has transformed an old bait shop with a fantastic view of the sea into a cozy shop called the Seaside Knitting Studio.  In no time Izzy has acquired a small community of local knitters, the Seaside Knitters, who meet at the shop. The group of knitters becomes even closer when Izzy’s tenant for the apartment over the shop, Angie Archer, drowns mysteriously and is discovered by one of the knitters. Almost everyone is quick to assume that Angie’s party-girl ways caused her drowning, but Izzy finds too many loose ends and can’t believe Angie’s death was an accident.  Since the local police aren’t interested in investigating, it is up to Izzy and the Seaside Knitters to unravel the mystery and find the killer.

Hooked on Murder by Betty Hechtman is the first book of a crochet mystery series featuring Molly Pink, a forty-something widow with two grown children who has recently become the event coordinator-community relations person for the bookstore, Shedd & Royal Books.  As community outreach, Molly encourages a local crochet group to meet in the bookstore. Molly does not get along with the leader of the group, Ellen Sheriden; however, when Ellen forgets her crochet hooks she returns them to Ellen at home. Unfortunately for Molly, she finds Ellen dead in her home.  The police arrive to find Molly in a compromising situation that makes it look like she is the killer.  Furthermore, the lead detective in the case has an axe to grind because Molly is dating her partner, whom she happens to be in love with.  Detective Gilmore would like nothing more than to pin the murder on Molly, and Molly’s history with Ellen makes it easy for her to look guilty.  With the help of The Average Joe’s Guide to Criminal Investigation, Molly is forced to untangle the mess she’s in and find the real murderer!
If you are not in the mood for a mystery, try Debbie Macomber’s The Shop on Blossom Street or Kate Jacobs’ The Friday Night Knitting Club.  Both stories center on a yarn shop that becomes the central meeting place for a group of knitters who bond and form close friendships despite their differences. 

In The Shop on Blossom Street, Lydia Hoffman, a two time cancer survivor learns to knit while undergoing chemotherapy.   She decides to pursue her dream of opening her own yarn shop immediately hangs a sign in the window advertising a knitting class to make a baby blanket.  Jacqueline Donovan’s marriage is in shambles, and her son is married to a woman she dislikes and who is pregnant.  While visiting her husband’s worksite on Blossom Street, she sees the sign for the knitting class in Lydia’s shop window.  Despite her feelings about her daughter-in-law, she is determined to be the best grandmother she can be and enrolls in Lydia’s class.  Carol Girard is desperate to have a baby and has undergone expensive procedure after procedure.  Carol sees the new store and views the class sign as a message that her dream is about to come true and she enrolls.  Alix Townsend is young, but her life has already been hard with a childhood of arguing, alcoholic parents. She sees the sign in the store window and decides to take the class and donate the baby blanket to Project to earn community service hours for an offense she claims she did not commit.  Through the common bond of the knitting project, the women get to know one another and the friendships that they form will impact them in ways that they could not imagine.

So, whether you’re up for a cozy mystery, or just a good read about an interesting group of friends, I hope these books will inspire you to explore your creative side!  In case you find yourself tempted to pick up a pair of needles or a crochet hook, check our event calendar for our knitting and crochet programs!

Additional Recommended Titles:
By Debbie Macomber:
A Good Yarn
Susannah’s Garden
By Kate Jacobs:
Knit Two
Knit the Season
By Betty Hechtman:
Dead Men Don’t Crochet
By Hook Or By Crook
By Maggie Sefton:
Knit One, Kill Two
Needled to Death

6 comments:

  1. I haven't read Debbie Macomber's books yet, but I loved the Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton series.
    I have read and enjoyed Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two. Still need to read Knit the Season. Great choices.

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  2. Lisa, thank you for your comment!

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  3. What an intriguing genre. Unfortunately I can't recommend the couple of books I've read recently that sort of fit in this category. They both involved seamstresses, one historical one contemporary, but were both poorly written. I'll have to look at the one's you recommended.

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  4. I enjoyed the Friday Night Knitting Club (earlier this month, in fact). Although I don't knit, my family is full of those who crochet and those who quilt. I will have to take a look at some of the other books you recommend--thank you!

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  5. Jacquéline, thank you! It is a shame when a book with an interesting story is ruined by poor writing ability! Since you mentioned sewing, you reminded me of a mystery series that I haven’t had time to read yet. Amanda Lee has written several books about an embroidery shop. The first book in the series is called The Quick and the Thread.

    Doc, I agree! I really enjoyed The Friday Night Knitting Club! Since you expressed an interest in quilting, if you haven't already, you might want to check out Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series. The first book of the Elm Creek Quilts series is The Quilter’s Apprentice.

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