Books

The other day, I was bemoaning to a friend about the lack of blog content. This friend is not a blogger, doesn’t read this blog, doesn’t knit and is only interested in mine in sort of an abstract way. (I’m not done with him yet.) Anyway, even though this friend knows little about the ways of knit bloggers, he suggested that I try writing about my reading

Wa? What?

He seemed to think it was a good idea. I thought less so about it, but I promised him that I would at least think about it, and I did. Granted, I thought about the reasons I’ll not be doing it, which probably was not the way that he wanted me to think.

For one reason, I don’t really read that much. That’s not true. I read tons. I read every day, day in day out, the only think that I love more than reading is knitting. I always have a book in my backpack (read: man-purse.) and I use it too. I read at work, I read at the library, at the coffeehouse, on my couch, before bed, all the time. (You could sub knitting in for reading in that last sentence.)

But the thing is, I have reading guilt. I always read, but still feel like I don’t do enough of it. I feel like I should spend ever spare second reading, that it is something I love, therefore I should spend every possible second with my nose in a book in order to deserve the title of bookworm. (I oddly enough don’t get any guilt for not knitting.) I feel like I don’t read, simply because it’s taken me months, about two, to finally power through Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Never mind that I’ve read many other books in that time, I still feel guilty for not reading that one specific book. (There are several others too though, which is where most of the guilt comes from.)

Then there’s more. Not only do I not go fast enough through the books I’m currently reading, but I also feel back for the many, many books I’ve got upstairs that I haven’t read, and probably won’t read for years. I always say that my library is there simply in case I want to read any of those books, but I still feel guilty for having so many books that I haven’t read. (Seriously, there are well over 100 that I haven’t read. Probably closer to 200) The choice, when I do get to start a new book, is always dizzying in its potential.

(And remember I work in a used bookshop, with very reasonable prices, Books come home every week.)

Then I have even more guilt (I swear I should be Jewish) for choosing the books that I have over those that I haven’t. The unopened ones are still hopeful to be wonderful, engrossing books, while the ones that I’ve read, while good books, they are nowhere near as divine as I thought they’d be. I feel so silly for wasting my time with the books I am reading, when I could be enjoying the ones I’m not. (Never mind that they are all entertaining.)

Then you’ve also got my literary tastes. I am a lit snob. If it doesn’t have Dickens or Austen on the cover then I won’t touch it. (Or at least admit it.) (I actually avoided Dickens for a while due to my weird hipster sensibilities. Try to remember Garret, if that many people like something, chances are that there’s a reason for that. Except for 50 Shades of Grey, even I can’t explain that one.) And while I do read a great many of the classics, (a lot of which are still new to me in my youthful ignorance) I do actually occasionally read books by authors who aren’t dead!!!! I know, shocking.

You’ve also got my weird thing about never revealing some things about myself. I know anybody who knows me is probably laughing their ass off right now — but yes, I am holding back. I feel like I’m giving away some part of my soul by telling people about the books I read. I hate it when people ask me “What are you reading?” Then I have to tell them and then tell them what’s happening, because they’ve certainly never read it, and how should I know what happens, I’m not done yet. The  books you read form a part of you like nothing else does, and by telling people about the books your read, you are making a statement about yourself that nothing else can make.

See how deep this well of crazy runs. If there’s a book I want at a library or a bookstore and I can’t find it, I won’t ask a librarian or a bookseller to help me because I don’t want them to know what I’m reading — even if it’s a perfectly normal book. I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.

The bitter sting

The ultimate burning irony, which is just another fuck you from the universe, is that I may, MAY, not have enough yarn to finish the Diamond Aran. (You all know that that means I won’t have enough.) I would have probably had just enough to finish the narrow version in of it, the one with only three diamonds. But this one is wider, so therefore it will take me more yarn. (I know, it sounds simple, but you have no idea how long it takes to realize this.) I’m hoping to maybe get off with just doing the finishing trims with a contrasting color, but I may have to do contrasting shoulders as well. (The fact that this keeps happening to should be some kind of a tip off to plan better.)

I’m thinking a nice black would go well with the Navy. They would compliment each other,  but would still be two different things. (Of course, I have no black yarn. I’ve got every other color under the sun, but black. Don’t ask me how this happens, I don’t think that I really want to know the answer. )

I’ve finally paid off my library fine. This thing has been on my record for quite a while now, and it’s nice to be debt free. They had a half off all late fees thing for the month of February, and while I won’t pay forty dollars, I will pay twenty. (I know, so cheap it hurts.) And the best part is, I can check out library books once more. The downside, I need more books like I need a new hole in the head.

See, I have to talk about my library fines to entertain you all. I live to serve.

(I got my type writer working in case you care. Then, about half a paragraph later I got to the end of my ribbon. Do you know how hard it is to find a type writer ribbon?)

 

The Labor of a Gansey

Here I am on this last official weekend of summer. I’m sweaty and hot, but I don’t think that I’ve really been cold since about March. (Odd year.) The knitting is woolly, and very big, and not exactly something that I am really enjoying, but you’ve heard me whine about this enough already. Except the fact that I hate knitting this sweater soooooooo much. I hate it!

Well, what else. I put down 50 shades because it was making me feel funny. I’ve realized something about myself, which always startles me because I think I should know myself pretty well by now. I like books that make me happy. I like ones that reaffirm my faith in humanity, (which is pretty shaken by this point) that make me feel alive, and that convince me that anything is possible. This book just made me feel like I was doing something very, very bad that I shouldn’t be doing. I also lost all respect for the main character when she agreed to be his submissive, and I couldn’t stand her.

Anyway, now that we’ve forayed into my current bash on popular fiction, lets move back to knitting. I’m really looking forward to knitting something else. I’m thinking about it and dreaming about it, and writing poetry about it. (See me in the next Winter Interweave.) I consult my papers and see that I either need to do another yoke shaping, or a fancy. (Fancy is a Gansey, Aran, or Fair Isle.) I have this lovely German yarn that would make a great saddle shoulder sweater. And I’m also starting to puzzle through this shaping, digging into it and seeing what mysteries in unearths. It shouldn’t be too hard, but those are very famous last words before it comes to me ripping and re-knitting. Ripping and re-knitting. Ripping and Re-knitting, till I give up, and move to Minnesota, become a librarian, and pretend that I’d never even heard of Elizabeth Zimmermann, and when some wayward knitter comes into the library looking for one of her books I tell him that “you can buy socks at Wal-mart for a dollar.”

Or something like that.

Anyway, I’ve got a long weekend to play with. (I may end up working Monday, but we’ll see how Sunday goes.) I have no idea what to do. There is this knitting, but one can only knit so much before the word “lazy” starts to be brandied about, (mostly in my head) and before the wrists start to hurt. I must preserve the wrists, because slobbering and cannibalism doesn’t translate well to blogging, or so I’ve been told. (I’ve yet to test this theory.) I should “get up” with my new story, but again, I really don’t want to. You know the feeling. I really just want to sit here, eat cookies, and listen to NPR all day, but I won’t, mostly because they’re doing this story about bugs who crawl into people’s ears while they’re asleep. (ew.)

So, what are your plans for the weekend?

Knitting for reading

I sit here at the computer, trying to think of something to tell you. The fact that I can’t think of anything to say probably tells me that I shouldn’t be saying anything, but I really hate to only post once so far in a week, but I feel like I need to say something, if only this rambling drivel.

I’ve been knitting, just not really enough to merit a picture or anything. I’m still working on this baby blanket, and let me tell you, while it is still boring and sucking the life out of me, it is still a touch interesting. I’m learning a lot about short rows, which was something I was woeful lacking in knowledge about. (This whole blanket is nothing but a long, long series of short rows.) I love the colors of it too. I’ve got a few hours till I’m done with this, but finding those few hours is proving to be difficult. (I must watch more TV.) Also, I’m not really wanting to work on this, because do you want to be knitting a large baby blanket in 80% humidity?

I’ve also been reading a lot lately. A lot. And paper backs too, so knitting while reading is out. I discovered the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. So, I’ve got about 7.5 more books to read (plus I’m missing a few in the series). This swelled the to read pile to over 40 once more. I don’t think I’ll even be able to read all of those books.

But these Dresden Files are really good. (If you like Buffy you’d like these books.) They’re about Chicago’s only professional wizard, who’s also a P.I. dealing with supernatural stuff. He fights all sorts of evil and makes smart ass comments while he does it. When I grow up, I want to be Harry Dresden.

(There’s also a TV series that was based on the books, but I’m waiting to watch that till I read more or the books.)

And I also love looking up and seeing a half a shelf with only one author’s name on it. I don’t know why. It’s a weird quirk.

He’s Back

Hello everybody! I’m back, and while I had a wonderful time, I am so happy to be back home, where I know where we keep the paper towels, and where if I want to read Sense and Sensibility, it’s right there on my shelf.

I had a great time though. I got back on Friday, and my internet was being pissy (not unlike myself, maybe as a result) so I wasn’t able to say anything. That’s a shame because I’ve got so much that I want to tell and show you. I knit a bunch, and I’m working on more WIPs then I’ve had in at least a year. (Maybe a few less, but it feels like more) I want to tell you about this really cool sweater that I took out last night, and the disaster that befell my spinning wheel. (The disaster being me.) I want to show you the really old yarn I got, plus the cheap (but good!) stuff that I bought on vacation, but forgot to bring back. All this is swirling in my head, and I can’t think of which of these threads to take up first.

Let’s start with the knitting I did, both there, and back.

The Shawl

In Knitter’s Almanac, Elizabeth writes:

July is travel month.

Aged couples such as we pay no heed. We do not wish to become part pf traffic, let alone a statistic. We sit snug in our snug yard, letting travel mean nothing more to us than a faint swish from the main road — swish of families headed inexorably north, satisfied and exhausted south. We shall hold our fire until later, when crowds thin and the mosquito retreats.

When you set out on the annual family trip naturally you have to take your knitting; something has to keep you sane in face of the possibly quite ferocious situations you will be up against in the next two weeks.

Try a shawl.

So I did, and with very good results. Though not the pi shawl that she’s talking about, but the Baby shawl, which is earlier in the book.  (Both are in Knitter’s Almanac, as well as Knitting Workshop.) It’s knit in a plain blue cotton, that I ripped out of a sweater over a year ago. I’m working some alternating lace pattern  that is holding my interest well. This is destined to be a shawl/blanket for my soon-to-arrive nephew. (See below, and to answer Joe’s question, I didn’t knit anything for the shower, she got stuff before it, and will after it. Hell, two out of three projects on this post are for Oliver.) I hope to edge it in a dark blue cotton.

Next Up, something else for Baby, and something else from Elizabeth. (Getting tired of it yet, I’m not.)

The Square Baby Blanket

The same Blanket, during a power outage early Saturday morning

This is the Square Baby Blanket, also from KW. This one didn’t go with me on vacation, but stayed at home, biding it’s time. I’ve been working on it a lot since, and it’s pretty fun, and I really love the colors. (Also, so does my sister. The were, to quote “the exact colors I wanted.” Score!) It’s almost half way done. It needs maybe two episodes of Dawson’s Creek to get there. It’s knit out of a mid-level acrylic. (Less soft then that Caron nonsense, but less prone to splitting, and I like it better over all.) It’ll be a little bigger than I thought, due to my odd, and very loose gauge. (I am in the running for the world’s loosest knitter, which makes me very popular amongst a few other knitters.) I plan to edge it in I-cord.

Last but not least, something for me that I’ve been kicking around, knitting on it in stolen moments. This sweater is like my concubine. (While the other two are my wives?)

The Gansey

This is knit out of a lovely wool. (Galway Worsted, in well, a green color.) I love the heathered-ness of it. It’s from KW, and I really love working on it. I took this with me on vacation, in case I knit  seven times faster than I usually do. I bought the needle there, one of the only things, I remembered to bring home. (They had Clover bamboos half off!) I’m attempting to work my initials on the back, like the original Ganseys did.

There, I think I’ve said enough for today. Any Questions?

What I did on my Summer Vacation, Part one of many

Lots of time this summer has been dedicated to things that I shall refer to as “not knitting”. However, considering my output so far, I would also have to say that I’m getting sufficient knitting time. I feel like I’m knitting enough, and that I’m doing enough other stuff, so I think I’ve finally achieved balance, at least for a little while. (You can’t stand on one leg forever.) Either that, or they’ve perfected the twenty-six hour day and someone forgot to tell me.

Lots of time has gone to cooking. I always try to talk about cooking, but I never get very far. I mean to, but I never remember to take pictures, and I never use a serving dish or anything, so while the meals are pretty tasty, they don’t exactly look like gourmet, if you know what I mean. Once I drain the spaghetti, it pretty much just stays in the colander till I haul out the Tupperware. (Which is actually Gladware.) Also, my meals generally aren’t things that I’d want to brag about.

I’ve also spent a lot of time working in the garden and keeping it, as my friend Vinny says, (cursing alert) “Wet as fuck” (Descriptive). It’s odd that Vinny even keeps a garden, and a nice one from what he says, because when you first meet him, you instantly think that he’s more interested, not in cucumber dust, but in another, pricier dust — he doesn’t exactly look and act like he cares about, or eats green beans. (Still, he’s a pretty interesting guy who’s company I enjoy.)  But the garden is doing well this year, despite its rather late start, and I’m really looking forward to eating some kind of a vegetable that wasn’t bought from a supermarket. (Also eggplant. I miss eggplant.) I had a bit of a blonde moment last night, I was watering, and then I put the soaker hose on the green beans because there is a million of them, and my hose won’t reach far enough. When I stepped outside this morning, I saw the brown grass, thought of needing rain, thought of it helping the garden, and then thought of the hose. I was running around my yard at nine in the morning, wearing nothing but my underwear, and laughing my ass off, turning off the hose and surveying the damage. I don’t think anyone saw me though, which is good because the guy in the back already doesn’t wave to me.

(By the way, to any of you who know me, if you want any green beans, come over in maybe two weeks,  you can take as many as you can pick. I don’t even like the things, but we always plant them because they do so well.)

I’ve watched a lot of TV so far this summer, it being to hot to sit outside and spin. I’ve re-watched 1.5 seasons of Buffy, and watched half a season of Dawson’s Creek, and numerous episodes of Friends.

I’ve read a lot too. There have been a few Knitting Potboilers, the knitting murder mysteries that I’m embarrassed to admit that I waste my time on. They read a lot like that bestselling by the number’s series.  (By Janet I-can’t-spell-her-last-name-that-starts-with-an-E) I’ve read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I’ve read Sex and The City, by Candice Bushnell, (I’ve realized that I could write a similar book, only instead about the dating habits of New Yorkers, write about the habits of the Midwest population.) and Un Amico Italiano — About that Luca Spaghetti from Eat Pray Love. I’ve also read Of Mice and Men, and A Tale of Two Cities, neither of which were all they were cracked up to be. (Though I was into A Tale of Two Cities by the end of it.) Last but not least, The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope, and I don’t know why more people haven’t read that one, it was good, but a touch wordy.

(See, I’ve been busy, all of this, plus knittng, housework, and work.)

Now, if you’re still with me, let’s get to the reason that you’re here, knitting. First up, the baby blanket.

This is EZ’s square baby blanket, from, Knitting Workshop, what else? It’s knit out of some unmentionable yarn that is machine washable, fairly soft and starchy, on sale, and had the exact colors I wanted. (My sister’s a little particular about what kind of blue she’s using.) (Also, Joe, leave me alone.) It’s a little less than a quarter of the way done. (And I started it late Sunday, can you believe that? Vodo) I love me some Garter stitch.

This a swatchcap. Yes, a cap that is my swatch, a method that EZ thinks very highly of. This is the first time that I’ve done it, thinking, that while it’s a good way of telling accurate gauge in the round, that it was, well, a time sucking dumb ass idea. (Still thinking it’s unnecessary.) This whole Knitting Workshop thing is all about me trying new things though, and this is one of them. I didn’t want to graft, but I did it, and I’m glad I now know how to do so. This shouldn’t be any different. Not to mention, it’ll be another gift to add the “keep the holiday’s sane” box. I have to make some kind of a half-hearted attempt.

Someday, that little cap will grow up to be a Gansey, and I hope that day comes sooner than later.

How have you spent your summer? Couldn’t be better than mine!