Do you do New Year’s Resolutions? I do! And this year I set myself the task of reading one book a month.
I had been making good progress.
- Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies; A Biography of Cancer
- Stephen King, The Green Mile
- Stephen King, Mr Mercedes
- Rachel Abbott, Sleep Tight
- Philip Gould, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
- Marguerite van Geldermalsen, Married to a Bedouin
- Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
- Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins
- Keith Houghton, No Coming Back
- Margaret Atwood, The heart goes last
- Liliana Hart, Dirty Little Secrets
- Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier
- John Le Carre, The Night Watchman
- Ruth Picardie, Before i Say Goodbye
- Jacky Fleming, The trouble with women
- Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog
- Danielle Steel, Flowers in the Snow
- Veronica Roth, Divergent
- Veronica Roth, Insurgent
- Kimberley Chambers, Payback
- William Blacker, Along the Enchanted Way
- Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
- Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen
- Michael Frayn, Towards the End of the Morning
- Hannah Rothschild, The improbability of Love
- Mick Herron, Slow Horses
- Nina Sibbe, Love Nina
- JM Coetze, The Schooldays of Jesus
- Mick Herron, Dead Lions
- Sue Monk Kidd, the Secret Lives of Bees
- Mhairi McFarlane, You had me at Hello
- EL Doctorow, The Book of Daniel
- Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project
- Nina Stibbe, Man at the Helm
- Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
In 9 months I read 35 books – an average of around four a month. I was on track to meet my resolution. Halfway through September I just about stopped reading. Now it It mid November, I do have a book on the go, and it’s a good one, but I am lucky if I manage to read more than a few pages every now and again.
You know what has happened, don’t you?
I have taken up knitting and, by and large, it has replaced reading, because there are only so many hours in the day. Knitting appears to have replaced pattern cutting, textiles and slow, creative sewing.
I am feeling a bit unsure about this.
Do I love knitting more than reading? Is knitting more pleasurable than sewing? Is knitting taking over my life? I am watching more TV (still on the Scandi Noir stuff, so this jersey felt appropriate). I love reading and sewing, but it feel like I have fallen in love. Will my new passion will subside and allow me to get back to other things?
I don’t know the answer to this. But while my reading has languished I have made another sweater.
This time it is the Vogue Knitting magazine from 1958 “Rugged, two colour, ski sweater”. This sweater appealed to me as I wanted to try colour work and it seemed like a nice Scandinavian inspired jersey. I liked the vertical stripes and the bold colour scheme. In fact I love everything about the idea of 1958 ski jumper as I remember my parents 1955 skiing honeymoon photographs from Arosa (Switzerland). The original (black and white version) is quite close fitting. My guess is with the 1980s version they made up the bust 38″ jumper and put it on a size 8 (bust 32) model. I made it in bust 34 and it fits well, but not the oversize look captured in the 1980s.
I bought my Aran weight cashmere yarn, in strong pink and deep aubergine, from ColourMart. This company takes left over yarns from sweater manufacturers, twists it up to make thicker yarns, and sells it at much lower prices than “proper” cashmere yarn. But it was still expensive (about £100 for the sweater) and an unusual experience. The yarn is oiled when it arrives, and it feels cottony and stringy. Once it is knitted up you wash it in hand hot water and detergent, then tumble dry. It softens up a bit, but it doesn’t feel soft and fluffy like a cashmere sweater you would buy in a shop. It feels hard wearing, non-itchy, warm and light. But I am not sure I would pay such a high price again. Apparently it gets softer with each wash (I will report back).
Here are the four pieces before I started on the yoke.
There was more picking up stitches as the main pieces are knitted sideways, as it were. I got better this time around, but I still need more experience. The other new experience was the colour work – making the yoke pattern. I got it wrong, and it is not only upside down, it is also not lined up properly. Also I ran out of yarn right at the end so the collar is less deep than planned. But even with these mistakes I admit I am rather pleased with my jumper. The chunky yarn made it nice and quick to knit, and I wore it to visit our country retreat, Rainshore, now promised just before Christmas. We shall see.
I don’t think a jumper a week is a sensible resolution and I will calm it down now. I have yarn for two or three more sweaters, but SWAP is coming. Do you ever feel your creative endeavours become a little too addictive?