Category Archives: books

Sometimes, I am an idiot.

It’s true. I tend to be a more detail-oriented kind of person, which is very good in some ways but there are times when I kind of tend to overlook the big picture because I get too caught up in the details.

For example…

I received a new knitting book for Christmas and have been very excited to try my first pair of socks from it. The book is 2-At-A-Time Socks(affiliate link) by Melissa Morgan-Oakes and it has a lot of really fun looking sock patterns to try out. My oldest daughter is the only child left in the family for whom I have not yet knit a pair of socks, so I let her choose her favorite pattern from the new book.

She chose the Athena pattern – a really pretty cabled sock that I was looking forward to working on. This book is done with charts – so I’d be learning something new since I hadn’t worked from a pattern chart before.

The chart is fairly easy to follow – like a grid. Start at stitch 1 of row 1 and work right to left and bottom to top. Simple, right?

AbbisSocks 003

As I got further into the pattern, I noticed that my cables weren’t winding around each other the way the pattern shows. I realized that I’d gotten so wrapped up in following each stitch and step exactly as written that I’d forgotten that I knit left-handed. And since I knit left-to-right and I was following the chart right-to-left, I figured I was doing the pattern wrong and should start again, this time following the chart backward, beginning at stitch 28 of row 1 and working left to right and bottom to top.

So I frogged the entire pair of socks. And began again from the very beginning of casting on both pairs of socks.

After (re)knitting the cuffs and getting back into the pattern stitches, it didn’t take more than a few rows before I realized that the cables definitely weren’t looking better – in fact, this time they didn’t even look like cables but rather a jumbled mess.

Thankfully, this time I was able to simply ‘tink’ back those few pattern rounds that I’d already knit (a lot of fun dealing with the cable hook there), back to where I’d started cabling. I looked again at the photos I’d taken of my first attempt and decided that the cables really didn’t look that far off anyway – and if something wrapped to the back when it ‘should’ wrap to the front… As long as everything lines up in the end, it shouldn’t matter.

AbbisSocks 004

So my lesson learned is that I shouldn’t try to second-guess a pattern or analyze why it works or doesn’t – but just accept the fact that the designer knew what she was doing and apparently left-handed or not, I simply need to follow the directions as written.

I may be an idiot – but I do (usually) at least learn from my mistakes!

On… reading?

Ok, so I know – I start a knitting blog and about the first thing I talk about here is books. Well it’s hard not to – reading has always been a part of my life. Before kids, I pretty much had no life – except in books. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come home from work, sit down with a book and not get back up again until I’d finished it, sometimes hours later.

Wow, that seems so very indulgent now. It’s hard to imagine having that much uninterrupted time, but that’s what my life was back then. At the time, I so wanted a family of my own. And I’m very thankful and blessed to have my husband and daughters, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Except maybe an hour of time to read here or there.  ;)

I do squeeze in time where I can – in between taking care of kids, husband and house. Plus blogging – and knitting, of course. Lately though it’s more a matter of having something around to actually read than not having the time. A far cry from the days where I couldn’t put down one book without having another at hand – even if I had to re-read something off of my own shelves for the dozenth time. In fact, I’ve noticed recently that instead of always needing to have a book with me at all times (just in case, you know) as I did before, I seem to carry my knitting bag with me wherever I go. Just in case.

Or maybe it’s something left over from years of never being able to leave the house without a diaper bag over my shoulder. Who knows…

One other thing that’s  changed over the years is the type of books I enjoy reading. When I was a kid, I loved anything science-fiction/fantasy. I have shelves upon shelves downstairs of books by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, and too many more to name individually. I also have always liked historical fiction, especially set in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Sharon Kay Penman is a favorite author – as is Diana Gabaldon, whose books rather defy categorization, being part romance, part sci-fi/fantasy, part historical, and all around amazing overall.

It was my product review blog that first introduced me to books that involved knitting as a central theme. I had the opportunity to review the book ‘Knit Two’ by Kate Jacobs. At the time I really didn’t knit much myself – I’d been a regular crocheter for years though. I’ll tell the story of how I began knitting another time, but when I first read Knit Two, it didn’t have a huge impact – mostly, I think, because it is a sequel and I hadn’t yet read the initial book, called ‘The Friday Night Knitting Club’. Not being the type of person who usually starts in the middle of the story – and because I truly did enjoy the characters, I borrowed the first book from the library, and love it. I’ve read the most recent one now too.

Also through my review blog, I read another knitting-related book a few months later – this time it was ‘The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club’ by Gil McNeil. By this time I’d begun knitting myself, and really connected with the story. Ever since, I’ve been a sucker for a good book that involves yarn. Maybe it’s that women’s stories tend to interweave with a good knitting pattern, or that knitting groups bring out good stories – but some of my current favorite authors are ones who involve knitting in their books.

See, you knew I’d bring this back around to knitting at some point, right?  ;)

Currently, I’ve started reading the ‘Blossom Street’ series by Debbie Macomber, after reviewing her book ‘Hannah’s List’ recently. That book doesn’t involve knitting directly, but the rest of the series revolves around a knitting store called ‘A Good Yarn’. I’m in the middle of the first book now – ‘The Shop on Blossom Street’ and am enjoying it a lot. I bought the second book while I was out grocery shopping tonight.

As a result, my knitting projects have been largely ignored this week, but that’s ok. They’ll wait.  :)