Back in the Dark Ages, 1997, I found a pair of knitting needles in my mother’s big blue sewing box. Why there were knitting needles in there, no one knows, she was an avid crocheter, but I had never seen her knit at that point in my life. I took them as my own and decided to learn to knit. The problem? 1997 was pre-internet, and I didn’t have a knitter handy to help me. What did I do? Why I turned to the only resource, a teen in rural Oklahoma had–the encyclopedia. Yep. I grabbed the “K” volume, a skein of Red Heart, those found needles, and got to work trying to learn the art/craft/sorcery that is knitting.
A book that may have been a bit more helpful than a half-page entry tucked between the Knights Templar and Alfred Knopf in an out-of-date World Book would have been a comprehensive guide like Knitting school: a complete course. This book addresses the basics of knitting and how to fix mistakes like dropped stitches. It even has simple patterns for basics like mittens and baby booties.
Of course, knitting isn’t the only hobby a person could enjoy. The book Get a Hobby: 101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle lists, well, 101 hobbies that you could learn. And the library has resources to help you with many of them.
With the rise of at-home tests, genealogy has exploded in popularity. Did you know that the library has access to several resources to trace your family history? You can start your search from home by logging onto HeritageQuest. You can search for your relatives in city directories, the US censuses as late as 1940, even Freedman’s bank record. HeritageQuest is available from home on our e-resources page. You can also access several physical items at the library to help with your genealogy quests, including yearbooks.
Perhaps you want a hobby more tangible than genealogy but less tangled than knitting. Papercrafting could be for you, and Origami isn’t your only option either! There is Kirigami: the art of 3-dimensional paper cutting by Laura Badalucco. Kirigami is a combination of folding and cutting paper to create images that “pop” from the page. You could use this skill to make amazing birthday cards and jaw-dropping displays for your home.
In the end, World Book served me well enough, and if you like an encyclopedia, those are available at the library. I learned the basics of knitting from an encyclopedia, even if that first scarf was a mess of dropped stitches, crooked edges, and uneven tension. Over the years, I have used many resources, mainly from the internet, to learn new techniques and patterns, but I will always be on the lookout for a good book that will help me grow my hobby.