Some reading, some knitting, some both

I spent most of the weekend meeting, or getting ready to meet, deadlines. Some of each. However, there’s got to be some variety and relaxation, even if only in the fifteen minutes before I’ve wrung the final drop out of the day and fallen asleep, so I did a few other things, too.

Ethnic Knitting Discovery goes to press very, very soon. A lot of what I did this weekend was make PDFs of the pages, print them, discover weird things that the gremlins had done to the files when I wasn’t looking (probably even when the computer was turned off), fix those things, make PDFs of the pages, print them. . . . There’s one bizarre thing in this particular file. If I print directly from InDesign, the bottoms of the letters in the headers on two pages are cut off. If I make a PDF, they’re fine. Go figure. As long as the PDF is the version that’s working right, this doesn’t matter. But I do keep having to check the files.

Last week I took a couple of snapshots of the small projects in the book for the cover designer to consider using on the back. She used the red hat (it looks great) but not the little purple bag. The bag pattern in this book, which is one of the introductory skill-building projects, is terrific fun. I could see knitting a whole bunch of these in random sizes. They’d make great gifts, if I didn’t use them all myself.


For that one I used leftover yarn from a baby blanket I designed for a book of patterns Leisure Arts put together to go along with Debbie Macomber‘s knitting-themed novels. The yarns needed to be produced by companies that are members of the Craft Yarn Council of America. This was Microspun, a microfiber acrylic that comes in brilliant colors. (I’m not into pastels for babies; I’m also much more of a natural-fiber person, but at the time the council members weren’t doing much with wool or organic cotton, which some of them now are.)

Of the eleven baby blanket designs in that publication, three are mine, although you have to read the small print to figure that out! I didn’t knit the models in the photos. This was a very fast-track project (thirty days from invitation to deadline), so the designers swatched and wrote instructions and Leisure Arts got other folks to knit the final selections at full size. The editors presented two of my designs in the colors I’d chosen, and shifted the third to pastel yellow. I guess lots of people do like pastels for babies. . . . Maybe it’s just that my kid turned out to have opinions too strong for pastels, even when she was tiny. . . .

Yesterday afternoon I read a book my daughter had left on my bed with a note about why she thought I would enjoy it. As you can see in the photo, this is an advance reading copy (my daughter works in an independent bookstore). The real thing will be out in October. It’s called The Arrival by Shaun Tan. A friend picked up an advance copy at BookExpo in June but I wasn’t especially drawn to it. I should have been!

My daughter’s note says, "If you’re willing to give another graphic novel a go, take a look at this. . . . Felt more like Griffin and Sabine, or the kids’ book with the garden on a boat that you used to read to me, or Jumanji or something equally surreal and strange and also convincing and familiar."

She nailed it.


No words. It’s the story of a man who leaves his family to emigrate to a new country and make a new life there. Yes, his family later joins him. It’s very rich and beautiful and lovely. Watch for it this fall. It’ll be out in not-so-many weeks (about the same time as Ethnic Knitting Discovery).

I’ve also been enjoying (and re-enjoying) two of Janet Szabo‘s independently published knitting books. The newest is Cables, Volume 1: The Basics, but reading it has also impelled me to go back and peruse her Aran Sweater Design.

See all those sticky notes? Those are things I want to play with. I don’t sticky-note everything that I think is interesting, because I don’t have a lot of extra time. Just the extra-cool things. Janet loves cables. I love what she does with them, and the ways in which she writes about them.


The yarns in that photo are in the "thinking about" stage.

The purple (it looks kind of blue on this monitor, but it’s called Amethyst and it’s quite purple here in the coffee house) is called Aussi Sock. It’s 400 yards to 100 grams, works up at 7 to 8 stitches to the inch, and is 90% Australian Merino superwash and 10% nylon. A friend suggested I try it out.

The little skein of blue is Euroflax, worsted weight, color 112 (Celtic Blue). I already know what I intend to do with this. There are five skeins. That bit is what I’ll be swatching with. I plan to reknit one of Ann McCauley‘s designs from The Pleasures of Knitting. It’s Peri’s Parasol, a pullover that makes beautiful use of the Barbara G. Walker stitch pattern of the same name. I made a version in a too-soft cotton that has not held up well enough. I love the sweater and want one that will last as long as it should . . . like for decades of steady wear. One hundred percent wetspun line linen ought to take care of that.


1 thought on “Some reading, some knitting, some both”

  1. Ooo, I’m intrigued by the Tan book! Thanks for posting about it 🙂

    I could see many of Ann’s sweaters looking good in linen and their classic designs will certainly hold up over time, so why not the sweater themselves as well!

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