Yarn & Paper – Buddhism and Fair Isle, on a Train

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

After re-reading 10% Happier, by Dan Harris, I decided to check out one of Mark Epstein’s books from the library. Epstein comes up in the second half of Harris’ book as a mentor and a resource on Harris’ journey with meditation. Epstein is a Buddhist and a psychologist, and I was curious to see what his writing is like. I picked Going on Being mostly at random, and I’m not sure it was the right choice. I’m finding some of it a bit incomprehensible, and the rest a little too abstract. I’m going to persevere with it, mostly because I just can’t put down a book unfinished, but I won’t go looking for more.

I took the train to Burlington last weekend to visit family. Taking the train fills me with a wonderful blend of nostalgia for my time in Europe, relief at not having to spend hours and hours of my weekend driving, and satisfaction at how much I can get done. Plus, I can knit on the train! This time I brought along the ribbing for a Fair Isle baby hat I’m knitting as an exercise in design. I left the ribbing until the end in case I ran out of yarn knitting the body of the hat. Once it is done I’m going to graft the ribbing onto the rest of the hat. Luckily I don’t mind grafting, because there is going to be a lot of it. It was good train knitting, though, and a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Yarn & Paper – War Brides, and a Dutch Heel

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

I saw Promise You’ll Take Care of My Daughter: The Remarkable War Brides of World War II, by Ben Wicks, in a window display at the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, during my Maritimes road trip last fall. I was going through the photos from that trip recently and was reminded of the book, so I put it on hold at the library. I read it over just a few days. The book is mostly excerpts of first-person accounts from war brides, British and European women who married Canadian soldiers during World War II. During and after the war approximately 48,000 of these women left their families behind and moved across an ocean to join their husbands in Canada. At the time, the journey from Europe to Canada was slow and expensive. The Canadian government paid for the war brides to come to Canada, but most of them weren’t able to visit home again until many years, even decades, later. I can’t imagine leaving everything behind like that, and coming to a country that was in many ways still very rough around the edges.

This book was written in the 1990s, and it struck me as I was reading that most of these women have passed away in the nearly 30 years since. Our culture is rapidly losing any direct contact we have with the experiences of that period in our history. I find that time period fascinating and often read books either set in that time or about that it, so this realization was oddly unsettling. There were also some rather heartbreaking accounts that did make me tear up a little. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was deeply moved by the stories.

On to knitting, I decided to try the dutch heel I learned at a recent sock workshop with Kate Atherley on my latest vanilla socks. It took a few tries to get the heel flap length right since I was also trying a plain flap instead of my usual Eye of Partridge. I think I’ve got it right this time, although I’m planning to try the sock on again when I get a little further down the gusset. While I was stuck on the heel I didn’t have any projects that I could just pick up and knit, so I’m glad to have gotten past that point. I’ve gotten so used to having knitting with me all the time that I feel quite uncomfortable sitting through a talk or in a waiting room without it! Now the sock is back in my purse, I’m ready for anything.

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Yarn & Paper – Back to Writing Knitting Patterns, and a Fair Isle Hat

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

The Festival of Quilts is over, the History of Quilting display was (barely) finished in time, and days later I’m still recovering from a very full weekend. I really do need just a few days rest, which I’m hoping to get this coming weekend. In the meantime, I’m back to reading Kate Atherley’s The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns, which is now overdue at the library. It is a quick read, really, I’ve just been distracted lately. It would be a fantastic reference book to have on hand if you write knitting patterns with any frequency. I’m just reading it out of curiosity, and the vague thought that I might like to get into tech editing at some point.

I started this Fair Isle baby hat after buying the yarn on a whim several years ago. I knit the body of the hat on a provisional cast-on, in case I ran out of yarn part-way through. All the charts are my own, worked out on graph paper ahead of time. At some point the project got stuck at some decision point and I put it away for months. I pulled the project out again this past weekend as the next “backlog” project that I wanted to tackle. I just finished the crown, and now I need to knit the ribbing and do some epic grafting to attach it to the body of the hat. I’ve been making slow progress on the number of projects in my “backlog”, both crafting- and computer-based projects. Ideally I’d like to have less than 10 because they start to stress me out when they build up. At the moment I’m down to 22, so I still have a ways to go.

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Yarn & Paper – Last-Minute Rush

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

No knitting this week, and not much reading either. This is crunch week; I have a Knitting Guild newsletter overdue and a History of Quilting display to finish for the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild Festival of Quilts, which starts on Friday. I’ll be back next week with a proper Yarn & Paper post, hopefully slightly less stressed and considerably more rested. If you’re in Ottawa, consider coming to the Show this weekend. It’s going to be awesome!

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Yarn & Paper – The Shakespeare Encyclopedia, and Significant Vest Progress

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

I finished the Tutankhamun book! According to Goodreads it took me 10 weeks to get through the whole thing. It was actually very well suited to short bursts of reading over breakfast, but it went on for long enough that I was glad to be finished with it by the end. Following my plan to tackle my to-read shelf in order of book size, I’ve pulled out the next-largest book, The Shakespeare Encyclopedia. I haven’t actually started it yet, since I’ve been trying to get to work earlier and so have been eating breakfast on the go. Hopefully I’ll be back to my regular morning routine in a few days so I can start making my way through this tome. I have a feeling this one might take even longer than the Tutankhamun book as there is more writing and fewer large photos.

My Splitstone vest is coming along nicely, I just finished the waist section and started the increases for the bust. I should probably try it on again at some point just to make sure the sizing is working out. Unfortunately both my knitting WIPs (this project and my sock from last week) need a few minutes of careful thought to make sure I’m knitting the pattern correctly. The sock needs a heel turn in the right place, and I need to make sure the bust increases on this vest are going to work out for the gauge I’m getting. So I have no “pick up and go” knitting right now. This is not ideal, since I could really use some easy knitting at the moment. My “no new things” policy in April helped, but I had already taken on too many things before the month even began. I have a two major writing/editing projects (side gigs, not my actual job) to finish by next Wednesday and they are both far from completion. So, the knitting projects may have to wait until for a week or two. Alternatively, I’ll just knit away on them to keep my sanity and live with the possibility that I’ll have to rip it all back when I have time to do the math properly.

 

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Yarn & Paper – Writing Knitting Patterns, and Self-Patterning Socks

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

The workshop this past weekend with Kate Atherley was fantastic. She kept the class entertaining with her very British, very dry humour, and she is clearly an expert on all things related to sock knitting. I learned a new heel that I’d never tried before, plus a few tricks including how to prevent holes from forming when picking up for the gusset. The afternoon was all about sizing socks to perfectly fit your feet; I now have plans to measure my own feet, possibly with some help. Ultimately I’d like to knit up perfectly-fitting socks with the gorgeous Riverside Studio yarn from last week’s post. I spent most of the workshop knitting, what else, a sock. Inspired by some of Kate’s comments I decided to do a plain heel flap rather than my usual reinforced Eye of Partridge. The Eye of Partridge would have obscured the self-patterning yarn, and I’m curious to see how the heel holds up without the reinforcement.

The workshop also inspired me to check out Kate’s latest book, The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns, from the library. Besides being a knitting teacher and speaker, Kate is also a tech editor for Knitty.com. That job involves editing knitting patterns for clarity and accuracy, checking all the math, and making sure that the pattern actually produces the item it claims to produce. I’ve been interested in tech editing ever since I found out the job existed, since I enjoy editing, I’m not afraid of math, and of course I like knitting. I’m hoping that reading Kate’s book will give me more insight into this kind of work and whether it would be something I’d like to pursue as a side-gig.

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Yarn & Paper – Finishing Brideshead Revisited, and Workshop Homework

Every Wednesday I share what I’m knitting (Yarn) and reading (Paper) this week. 

I finished Brideshead Revisited! Apparently it’s kind of a classic? Like most classics, I found it a mostly depressing read. There were happy moments, but it was a melancholy book overall. Not my favourite, despite being set in one of my favourite time periods. Since finishing it I have no fiction books on the go, and unfortunately I’m getting a bit bored with my in-progress non-fiction books. I’m very tempted to pull one of my favourite novels off my bookshelf, but that would violate my “no new things” rule for April. Finishing off the non-fiction would make me feel better, I suppose. I’m really trying to reduce the number of things that I have in-progress, books included. I’ll hold out until the end of April, at least.

This weekend Kate Atherley is coming to Ottawa to teach a series of workshops hosted by the Ottawa Knitting Guild. I signed up for the Saturday classes on how to knit custom-fit socks. One class has a rather large swatch as optional homework, which I’m knitting in some beautiful Riverside Studio yarn I bought on my first visit to Montreal. The colour is appropriate since we are finally seeing our first signs of green returning to Ottawa. The first green grass of the year always makes me so happy after the unrelenting brown and grey of the last few months. I can’t wait for the tulips (and spring) to finally arrive!

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