When one of my friends sees me posting blog entries again, she suspects I am avoiding the thesis. She may be right. I prefer to think of it as writing therapy, or maintaining contact with the outside world. Actually, my REAL daily therapy is the knitting. I’m doing something useful and creative, and when I focus on the knitting I am less likely to have that mental tape going that reminds me of my failings, things I need to do, et cetera. Weaving used to do the same thing for me, but it takes much longer to warp a loom, and they aren’t nearly as portable.
A couple months ago I discovered the Yarn Harlot’s blog( http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/ ). I enjoy Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s dry humor, and admire her beautiful knitting. So I ordered a copy of one of her books: Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing and Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter (Storey Publishing, 2006). Not only is it fun to read, but I learned a LOT! Being a beginning knitter, my only other knitting book is Knitting for Dummies, which actually has a lot of good information. (And they don’t assume I know anything about knitting, which helps.) Stephanie’s book is the sort of thing you need to read once you know at least a little bit about knitting, because what she really supplies is inspiration. And little tricks of the trade. I was already knitting hats by the time I read Knitting Rules!, but Stephanie gave me insight into making the hat look better. And her stories about managing your yarn stash had me laughing enough to scare the cat.
I bought the book initially because one of her blog entries mentioned it contained her receipe for A Good, Plain Sock. So far, most of my projects have not required much effort in the guise of measuring gauge or specific fitting. But a sock! After reading her chapter on socks, and seeing some of the beautiful knitted socks online, I may just have to try knitting a pair. (After I finish several hats for other people, and another table scarf.) I love Stephanie’s lists of reasons, such as “Ten Reasons to Knit Socks.” Her list includes such things as 1) socks don’t require much yarn (and cost less to make), 2) they are a very portable project, 3) they wear out, so you can never knit too many, 4) they feel better on your feet than the store bought ones, 5) you can make them many different ways, and so forth. I may actually get brave enough to knit socks.
And that’s the beauty of her book — it gives you courage to try knitting things that seem scary. Or to vary some of the things you already know how to do. Experiment! On one of the last pages in Knitting Rules! Stephanie writes, “Wool is reusable, your mistakes are your own, they can all be fixed, and nobody dies or is fired when you make them. It’s only knitting, and it’s one of the few times in your life when there are no bad consequences to a mistake” (p.211).
Next payday I’ll invest in another one of Stephanie’s books, probably At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. Or maybe Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot’s Guide to the Land of Knitting, or maybe Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. Or, this week she has a new one coming out: Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not). And, she is currently writing a new one, which maybe comes out next September and is titled Free Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again. It makes me happy when someone can make a living doing the things they love, which in her case are knitting and writing. And she does both so well!
Okay, now I’ll go work on my thesis. 😦 Oh, and Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everyone!