Monday, 4 November 2013
Monthly Planner: Hunkering Down in November. . .
October was just mad and went by in a blur. It felt like I really didn't do anything except work. I took on so many extra shifts that most days I just got up, went to work for twelve hours, came home and immediately went to bed. So I'm quite looking forward to a more gentle month even as the days get darker.
Reading: From the sublime to the mostly ridiculous.
I love this new hardcover edition of the Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig published by Pushkin Press. It is so lovely to hold and read; it's going to be my dipping-into book for this month. I have long admired Zweig's novels/novellas which I have in beautifully published NYRB Classics editions, but it's heartening to know that he's just as lovingly published on this side of the pond. It contains twenty-two stories over 710 pages in a wonderfully designed chunky edition and includes "Letter From An Unknown Woman". I love the Max Ophuls film but I've never read the original story. "Mendel the Bibliophile" looks intriguing too.
And yes, the other book on my bedside table is the new Bridget Jones. I bought it out of nostalgia - I was a bookseller when the first one came out which incidentally I bought at Heathrow after a holiday in London. I'm fifty pages in and it's silly and rather boring but I'm still oddly charmed by Bridget and rather relieved that any resemblance I might have thought I had to her back in my twenties has pretty well vanished by now.
I'm taking a few days off in November and my weekends are booking up fast. There will be at least two hiking days, a trip to Birmingham to check out their spectacular new central library, and another day out with the girls to Harrowgate and the Knitting and Stitching Show! I also hope to visit Baa Ram Ewe's new Harrowgate store and hopefully find time to have a cuppa at Betty's famous cafe.
I'm very excited about several projects I have on the go even though some of them are going wrong.
Like this mitten. Love the yarn and pattern ( Maize from Tin Can Knits' The Simple Collection) but it's too small. And I'm not sure I have enough wool to make the larger size. So I've dug out some black wool from the stash and plan to do the cuffs in that (and make them longer). It's a slightly thinner yarn though, so I'm playing around with different needle sizes. Not sure if it'll work out yet, but I'm hopeful.
Also on the needles is the one and only xmas gift I'm intending to knit. It's a cardigan for my mum and so far, so good. The pattern is Peasy by Heidi Kirrmaier and I'm using Debbie Bliss Prima, a bamboo/wool combination in a gray-taupe colour. It's my first raglan, top-down cardigan but the instructions are very clear so I'm feeling quite confident about this one. All the hard bits seem to come at the beginning and then it'll just be rows of stockinette. I can do that!
The weather is getting colder which means the house is getting very chilly at nights. I'm craving big, chunky sweaters, so I'm attempting a version of Erika Knight's Houndstooth sweater from the October issue of Knitting magazine. It knits up fairly quickly. Here's the back which I completed in just two days, but it's now going to become the front as I think my gauge is way off and I've decided that I'm not going to continue the pattern on the back but just knit it in green stockinette. I also forgot that the stranded knitting would really draw the stitches inwards and my tension isn't great. In short, this may end up being too small. Or too puckered. Or too strange. Or maybe blocking will do its magic. It's a complete experiment at the moment as I'm probably going to end up changing the neckline too. Or not. Maybe it will end up as a cushion cover.
Finally, the only knitting I really got done last month was one of those multi-year projects that I started because it required no brain power, it was easy to pop into my purse, and I could get little bits done during my twenty minute breaks or on the bus ride home. And it uses up my rather extensive stash of fingering weight. It's a simple mitre-squared blanket done on ridiculously small 2.75mm needles. I will have to do a gazillion of these squares and then sew them all up. It will take forever, but it's strangely addictive. I have about 35 done - I've thrown them into the same bag as my 70 odd hexipuffs and they can battle it out for my capricious attention.
It just feels good to have some play time again.