Tuesday, March 21 | 7:00 – 8:30 PM | Oak View Room
When New York Times bestselling author Peggy Orenstein takes up a subject, she plunges in, so it is no surprise that her pandemic distraction—knitting—would produce something other than the usual scarves and hats for loved ones. With her trademark curiosity, Orenstein set out to make a sweater from scratch—shearing a ewe, spinning and dying the wool – and along the way learned far more than she ever imagined. Yes, she figured out how to de-fleece a sheep, but she also recognized the radical nature of traditional women’s work, came to terms with relationships in her family and faced up to a few new truths about herself —all while processing personal grief and keeping the anxiety of the times at bay.
In her captivating memoir, Unraveling: What I Learned About Life While Shearing Sheep, Dying Wool, and Making the World’s Ugliest Sweater, Orenstein recounts how, while everyone else was stress-baking and doomscrolling through the COVID-19 shutdown, she felt the inexplicable, unquenchable urge to confront a large animal, snip off its fleece, and transform it, step-by-step, into a cozy, comforting garment. “Learning to shear sheep during the pandemic had seemed like a bit of a lark,” Orenstein reports, “a way to tap into the romance and resilience of an earlier age; to connect with something enduring when life had become so precarious; to better understand, as a lifelong knitter, where my fiber came from; to get out of my house. Why the hell couldn’t I have stuck to sourdough?”
What Orenstein didn’t expect was all she would discover about how clothing has shaped civilization, class, culture, power, or its pivotal role in our environmental future. Or how the ancient skills she learned would deepen her awareness of women’s work or challenge her sense of place and home. She didn’t anticipate that her quirky project would reflect the social justice reckonings of the moment, or that making yarn would help her untangle the knots of her own life.
NOTE – Masks for ages 2 and older are encouraged. Thank you for helping us protect each other and our community!
Live! From the Library, presented by the Walnut Creek Library Foundation, features free public lectures, literary events, and cultural programs at the Walnut Creek and Ygnacio Valley libraries. Program sponsors are the East Bay Times, Friends of the Walnut Creek Library, and Minuteman Press, Lafayette. Programming is also made possible by donations to the Foundation’s Annual Fund. View past programs on our Video page. Contra Costa TV airs past programs Sundays at 8 p.m. Visit their website for channel info.
* Special accommodations require 72 hours advance notice.
The views and opinions expressed in any program are those of the speaker/persons and do not reflect the views of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation.
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One Singular Sensation: The Power and Passions of American Musical Theatre with Beth Wynstra
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Who Could Ask for Anything More? with Dulais Rhys
Tuesday, December 13
Frida in America: The Impact of Place with Celia Stahr
Tuesday, November 1
Technically Food with Larissa Zimberoff
Tuesday, October 11
The Climate Crisis and Our Parks and Open Spaces
Tuesday, April 12
An Evening with Author Elise Hooper
Tuesday, March 8
Rachel Howzell Hall: A Woman of Mysteries
Tuesday, February 8
2021 Past Events
Wednesday, November 10
Broadway’s Golden Age: The Making of an American Art Form, 1927-1964
October 6, 2021
Why We Swim with author Bonnie Tsui
June 9, 2021
Showing Up Boldly: The Political and Organizing History of Black Women
May 12, 2021
Art & Algae: Journey Into The Curious World of Seaweed
April 14, 2021
California: Of Peril and Stewardship
March 17, 2021
Scary Technology, Cybersecurity, and Thrillers
February 17, 2021
SUCCESSFUL AGING: The Power and Potential of Our Lives
Dr. Daniel Levitin in conversation with founding Grateful Dead member Bob Weir
January 13, 2021
Visit our video page for past Live! from the Library videos.