Preliminary Book Review - Road Movies by Alice Starmore

I've finished "The Golden Compass"..........I'm going to save my thoughts on that for another post. The anticipation was killing me, I had to start "Road Movies".........

What a coincidence that quite a bit of what I've read so far deals with being in and around Washington.....and here I am about to get on a plane tomorrow to fly to Dulles Airport for MS&W!

Trying to figure out when this Road trip took place........Ms Starmore has had meetings with Taunton Press about their publication of her "Fair Isle Knitting" book, and then she meets with Random House in New York about the "Sweaters for Men" book......."Fair Isle Knitting" was published October 88 and the "Sweaters for Men" was publish in 89 -- and it's around St. Patrick's Day - so this makes it March of 88 when she's driving around the US in her White Thunderbird rental car..........and she loves music......lots of references to music of the time, relating it to her trip.....

Yes Catherine, this is a hard cover book - 302 pages - pictures but no photos if you know what I photo of Alice standing in front of whatever............artsy b/w photos.....

It's interesting to hear her thoughts on the American way of life....she's obviously intrigued with America -- references back to her Aunties who were in America in the 1920/30s.........she recalls in amazing detail her trip, and as I said, her knowledge of the music of the time is woven in the story.

It made me think back to where I was in March 1988 -- I was living in Hamilton and I was just getting back into knitting........big time....and I bought "Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting" from Louise at Rena's Yarns in Dundas, Ontario. I loved the book, the sweaters called out to my Scottish ancestory, I had no idea that it would influence my knitting so much that I would become totally immersed in the world of fair isle knitting.

I popped in to see Lorraine, of Sheriff of Knittingham fame, and Twisted Traditions designs, aka Knittingham (Ravelry) yesterday after my cleaning/polishing dental appointment. I had brought my "Road Movies" book along to the dentist in case there was any wait time. (There wasn't pooh!) When I got to Lorraine's, I showed her the book, but took it home with me (aren't I mean!).

As usual, we got to talking about traditional knitting, and the enduring fascination of all things "Alice". Is it an age thing? Are all of us traditional knitters of an age when we remember when Alice hit the scene and we have just never gotten over it......are there young knitters out there knitting Alice stuff?

I was so excited when Eunny Jang did her fair isles for Interweave Knits - Venezia and Autumn Rose in Unicorn's Simply Shetland 4 -- hoping that it would inspire young knitters to knit with the traditional yarns, in a traditional manner, these sweaters in the traditional yarn with their updated silhouettes. How many of these knitters will go on to be fascinated with traditional knitting....I wonder........

Back to the book -- If you're an Alice fan (like me) you'll love it....and as it says "Volume 1" obviously there will be more.............. I'm on page 144 and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Just my opinion of course!


  1. Anne- I bought the book at U of T bookstore when it came out, never dreaming that I could knit such works of art.
    And alot of people don't know who Alice Starmore is. She has influenced and inspired so many people. She will always be the best traditional designer.

  2. I'm so glad you did a small review of the book. I ordered it yesterday from VY, as I don't know if it will be carried locally.

    You also touched on my pet peeve about knitting in Anchorage... there seem to be very few traditional knitters, and many that I have met have never even heard of Alice... my all time designer/knitter/author heroine! An icon in the knitting world as far as I'm concerned, so thanks for sharing your thought! I feel a little less weird now... LOL!

  3. Thanks for the review. Are there any patterns?

    I think Jade bridges the gap to the new generation of knitters. I love her stuff.

  4. Well, this young knitter (40 this year!) LOVES Starmore! That you know... And as for bridging the gap, I agree that Jade has done a good job with that, as has Lorraine.

    We can only hope that knitters will see the beauty and timeless quality of traditional knitting.

  5. Oh...and did I ever tell you the story of the LYS owner in my neck of the woods who had NO clue who AS was??

  6. Hi Anne,

    Just a quick correction - Autumn Rose wasn't published by Interweave Knits, unless IK publishes Simply Shetland.

    And yes, there are younger knitters out there who love Alice! I (26) am one of them, and I know a few others in their late 20s - early 30s who have been bitten by the bug; our LYS is even thinking of organizing a workshop.

    I've been very into traditional knitting lately, and I see the changes in others in my generation. After the fun, easy knits, one yearns for the "serious" stuff - interesting how the "serious" stuff is actually more fun than everything else!

    Thank you for the Road Movies review! I'll try to get a copy some time.


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