“In the past when I was a little girl, there hadn’t been such creativity in spinning yarn,” Martindale says. It was a habit for Martindale’s grandmother, a knitter in Connecticut, to take her to shops to buy string when Martindale was a child. Yarn shops were just starting to sell a greater variety of yarns, both gorgeous and soft with vibrant colors. It was a time where knitting was coming back into vogue, and it was Martindale’s grandmother who taught her how to knit which eventually, about forty years later, led her to be a knitting teacher at Yale.“If you’re putting wool with cotton, you have to know how that’s going to fit together in the same way you want to know how glazing a pan with wine is going to affect the sauce you’re making. The only difference is that you don’t have a time constraint with knitting,” Martindale explains. Before Yale, Martindale had been a chef for twenty years. Cooking and knitting are similar in that they are very sensory oriented.
Cooking, you know, is very tactile. You’re touching your food, and you’ve got your tools,you’ve got your knives and you’re cutting. You’re cooking and Sautéing, so you’re normally smelling it and seeing it. And the same goes with knitting. You’re touching yourproduct and you’re trying to make it into something different, and it has its own properties that you have to consider.“I love this job so much, I’d never leave it to go back to the kitchen,” Martindale says. For Martindale, cooking is her profession, not knitting. Yet, she gave up her profession as a chef to work at Yale as a knitting teacher. She had to leave hotels and restaurants because the hours were too long and Martindale wanted to be with her family, and besides, working in dining at Yale was more of a cooking job than a career her fellowemployees were excited and intrigued by. “It’s this process where it’s timing and its temperature and it’s chemistry.” Martindale’s love of both cooking and knitting makes sense. She is a problem solver, a builder. She gardens and grows flowers that bloom for summer. She brews Kombucha –a fermented tea. Though Martindale started at Yale as a worker on the dining staff for a year, she has had her job at Yale as a Knitting Teacher and also a Manager of Administrative Operations for four years. Her current job allows her to go to the art store and pick out frames for art while also accomplishing small tasks like going to the roof to look at tarpaper and figure out how to stop leaks. And then the next day, Martindale is meeting some incredible musician who’s a tea guest of The Master of Morse College.