I just finished “reading” Educated, the next book for our Wool & Grace Book Group. I actually listened to it via audible.com and I’m pretty sure this isn’t cheating, just a great opportunity for me to multi-task and do two of my favorite things at once. I don’t see how this can be anything but a win-win situation.
Just to take a moment to talk about Educated – there were multiple times I was full-on crying while listening to this book. Crying (tears STREAMING down my face), knitting, “reading” – all at once. (It’s ok to be impressed by my ability to multi-task.) In my previous blog I’d likened it to the Glass Castle, but that is clearly oversimplifying the similarities. This book is very much about abuse (be warned), the psychological impact of abuse, and the author’s description of what it’s like to love her abuser is heartbreaking. It’s also about one’s ability to define their own sense of self and the author’s own journey to that place through books – which is empowering and full of hope. One more warning: I’m probably going to cry at Book Group.
Since I was fully engaged in listening to this story, I knit really simple projects throughout the book. I made another Turtle Dove (a great first sweater project, and for me a totally mindless project) and I made Doocot, which I referenced in a couple previous blogs.
Doocot is a new pattern from Kate Davies. Straightforward, top-down seamless construction makes for pretty easy knitting. I chose to make this cropped sweater a little longer than designed, and I chose to knit it up using Gedifra’s Metal Tweed. Last week I referred to this project as gobbly-gook. That is basically how I felt about it throughout the entire knitting process. Metal Tweed is very sticky: it’s a fuzzy yarn dotted with flecks of color and a teeny-tiny strand of metallic tinsel running through it. All that fuzz is what makes it really sticky, so I didn’t fly through it as quickly as I might with a smoother yarn. Big flecks of tweed color felt distracting at times, and I was tempted to cut or pull them out. I kept going, and when I finished it, it looked like a fuzzy amoeba. Meh.
Then I blocked it. And of course, that changed everything. That fuzzy amoeba transformed into a beautifully light and ethereal pullover. Those distracting tweedy flecks embedded into the fabric itself, and that fuzzy yarn seemed to pull together into a cohesive, cloud-like fabric. I love the neckline on this sweater, which is round and open just enough that it looks feminine and ladylike. There’s a good deal of ease throughout the body and the sleeves, but with this light-as-a-cloud fabric it just looks like it fits perfectly.
I had serious doubts as I knit this sweater. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I decided to be patient and just go with it. I’m glad I let the process run its course. I made this Doocot as a sample for Wool & Grace, but now I want to make one for myself! Also in hindsight, it’s probably great that I was distracted by a good book while I knit this sweater that made me feel a little unenthused while knitting. I didn’t give myself to time to second guess my knitting all that much!
Taking a tangent on distracted knitting, I just ran into one of our newer knitters while shopping downtown*. She was headed over to Wool & Grace, but asked me to take a look at her knitting because she had 1) been talking while knitting, 2) become distracted and 3) made a mistake. This knitter was making a hat in the round, and it looked like she had inverted her hat at one point, and started knitting in the wrong direction with the wrong side facing out.
FYI, this is a super common mistake for new knitters! When working in the round (especially with darker colors) it’s good to take a moment to check out your knitting and see where you are. Is the right side facing out? More importantly, when working in the round, your working yarn should be on your right needle! This will keep you from picking up your work and knitting in the wrong direction!
Anyway, this knitter had a section of stockinette followed by a section of reverse stockinette in her hat. While her hat wasn’t knitting up exactly as written in the directions, it was still a hat. I told her to think about it as her on unique design, and that her hat would be one of a kind. I figured this would be less traumatic than ripping out her hat in the middle of a clothing store. I also truly believe that her hat is supposed to turn out how she wants it to turn out.
If her knitting journey takes her to a distracting conversation and results in a totally unique hat, then that is marvelous! She can wear that one-of-a-kind hat remembering a fun conversation with friends and family. That hat pattern is a path, and she can deviate along the way. The end result is a hat as she alone defines it, and this is all a part of her own knitting education.
I hope you’ll stop by the shop to check out the Doocot sweater I knit up. It’s fun for me to think that I really didn’t like it at points, and now I love it. I hope that you’ll consider reading Educated. I also hope you’ll let yourself get distracted in your knitting. It’s ok to make mistakes. Whether you decide to learn to correct them or learn to overlook them, these are both important skills in knitting.
*I hope you’ll shop downtown Summit throughout the holidays and beyond. We have such a fabulous community of retailers in our vibrant downtown, and they flourish when choose to do your business there!
Also, if you’re interested in joining up for our next book group in which we’ll discuss Educated, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can bring you in the loop!