Lawlor / Knitting with dog hair
My wife and I actively support the Pequot Library. It’s a public library that is part of the Fairfield system, but it’s a “private” library that gets only one-third of its operating revenue from the town. The rest of the money the library has to raise on its own. The Pequot raises money with various special events throughout the year, such as Derby Day on the first Saturday in May, and an event this year called Raise the Roof (April 7), where you gather first at the library for cocktails, then move on to local private homes for dinner.
By far its biggest and best-known fundraiser is the Largest Used Book Sale in New England, which happens every July under huge circus tents on its Great Lawn. 140,000-plus books are sold every year during the five-day event.
Most are books donated all year long by people in the community, but some are outdated books in the library’s circulation. Christine Catallo, chief librarian, tried to explain it to me.
They have been “working to promote the health and vitality of our circulating collection by weeding out outdated materials. This will make room for new information.”
She said they are not getting rid of just “old” books, as they have such a large collection of old books, many are kept at Yale University. Catallo said, “During our weeding process, we have selectively removed a number of science books that still refer to Pluto as a planet. There was also a book we de-accessed, ‘Knitting with Dog Hair’.”
Wait, de-accessed? After further questioning, she said this book had not been checked out in 10 years. It came out in 1997 ( I looked it up). “Knitting with Dog Hair” is a real book that teaches how to knit with a dog’s hair. Sadly, it had been checked out only twice. The book was offered at the Summer Used Book Sale and it sold for $2. That means there are potentially three people in the Fairfield area (two people that checked it out and one that bought it) that have seriously contemplated — and/or possibly made — a sweater using their dog’s hair.
I was intrigued. According to a website promoting the book, it teaches you “how to collect, clean, and store your pooch’s fur, how to modify your patterns to accommodate pet-spun yarn, and how to find experienced pet hair spinners … and has a guide to resources and suppliers.”
According to another website, The Wall Street Journal even reviewed it, saying, “You’re harvesting what would normally end up clogging your vacuum cleaner anyway.”
A variety of sellers are selling the book (used) on eBay. One of the sellers was a library in California. It apparently was also de-accessing the book. It was out in Riverside County, Calif., in Sun City. I could imagine it may get hot out in the desert in a sweater made from your St. Bernard’s sheddings. I can see why it didn’t get checked out a lot. On its Ebay site, the Sun City library writes, “Your purchase supports our library programs for adults, seniors, teens and children. Additionally, funds provide large print and children’s books.” Almost identical to what the Pequot uses them for.
My wife and I plan on attending the April 7 “Raise the Roof” fundraising event at the Pequot Library. It will be a nice event. My wife will request that I put on clean pants and a nice shirt. Who knows, I might even take out my special artisanal hand-crafted sweater. I just hope the two other people are not wearing theirs too.
For information on “Raise the Roof” or other events, go to pequotlibrary.org or visit the libraray at 720 Pequot Ave. in Southport.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached by email at Tlawlor@mcommunica