I do not knit. Or do I?

It has been a packed week, so let's get right into it. This week I have been...

...reading an incredibly thought-provoking book. Although it is called The Knitting Circle, it is actually less about knitting and more about people. I was initially drawn to the book because of its title, of course, although I do not knit (I crochet. It’s all wool, though. Or yarn, if we’re being pedantic. We’re not, though; we don’t care). Knitting is one of the things I plan to learn to do this year (hold me to it; if I am not posting knit attempts by September, poke me). Anyway, I picked up the book, already thinking I would like it, but it became more than a book I merely liked (weird how, when I use words such as "poke" and "like" now, I feel they are almost too ambiguous and that I should choose other words, which haven't been practically redefined by the virtual world. I don’t feel that way about "windows", or "mouse". To me, they are just words that have more than one meaning. But poke and like – ugh, negative connotations now. I don’t lik much care for those terms any more).

Anyway, I’m getting well off track and – although it's my blog and I’ll deviate if I want to – I feel I have what amounts to a near-duty to inform you of this book's existence. So, The Knitting Circle, by Ann Hood. It covers an experience unimaginable to many: the grief of losing a child and the seemingly-impossible task of continuing to live yourself following such a loss. I’ll resist the temptation to leak any further details re story, but I would encourage you to seek it out, if only as a way of gaining a huge understanding of others’ lives and how important it is to be mindful of other people (strangers as well as friends and family): what may have happened in their lives, what may be happening right now, even as you wonder why they haven't been in touch or why they behave the way they do. I feel a huge amount of compassion for others at present (I have just finished the book), so it’s probably best to keep away from me for the rest of the day – it is possible that I may hug people.

Don’t worry, you’re safe: I was so moved by the book I sat down to write this part of the post despite blogging time not being for a few days yet, so the moment has probably passed by now – you can come out! I worried that, by the time Blogday came around, I would feel the book’s impact less keenly and issue an inadequate, pithy review, when I really do think it is a worthwhile read for a lot of people (please do ignore the title if you’re anti-knitting or whatever: it is categorically NOT a knitting book, so don’t think it is not for you just because wool has not – yet – entered your life).

It’s also not as morbid or depressing as you might imagine; it left me feeling more thoughtful and enlightened than anything else (although there is definitely sadness in this book – it’s no chick-lit). Oh, and if you don’t know how to knit before you begin reading, you are unlikely to be any wiser at the end (perhaps the only downside for me – I secretly hoped it might be more of a knitting book!).

The rest of this post is being written in real time! Perhaps unwisely, but motivated by the above, I picked up another knitting-titled book this week: Knit Two. This is - so far - a disappointment. However, on the positive side, I have been...

...learning to knit! 

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Yes! So no need to poke me, thank goodness. I stopped by my local yarn shop last week and had an epiphany, of sorts.

Towards the end of last year I bought a ball of yarn simply because it was so very sparkly. I had no idea what I might do with this ball other than look at it and admire its sparklyness (typing slows whilst I attempt to spell/make up sparklyness. Sparkliness?). It has since sat within my stash (that's how crafty people refer to their yarn collection) looking beautiful if redundant.

No more. When I visited the yarn shop, I saw my wool, albeit in a different shade, knitted into a rectangle. That's all. And I realised that that is what I needed to do with my ball - learn to knit and make it into a rectangle. It would still be my sparkly yarn, but it would look better (read: more sparkly) as a rectangle than as a ball. So I spoke to a table of ladies who were knitting in the shop and asked them what needles I should buy to make the rectangle. Then bought the needles. Then taught myself to knit.

Now, the bloody sparkly yarn may be astonishingly beautiful, but it is also not the easiest thing to work with. Rather than throw both ball and needles across the room, I switched to a ball of merino wool (see above image) and we are off. I love knitting. I also now have grander (if more distant) plans for that sparkly ball, so watch this space.

All this knitting has left me with less time for...

...crocheting blankets, one of which is threatening to take over the world. 

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It doesn't look like a lot, but it is very much a 3D blanket thanks to its überbobbliness and it is already too large to transport with ease (I have taken my hobbies almost 100% outdoors of late: books, crochet, knitting - it all gets taken to the beach, park, bench, bus - nowhere is sacred).

This blanket is inhaling yarn but, ever the optimist, I see this as an opportunity to go for a nice bus ride, visit a yarn shop and choose more wool (colour scheme has gone out the window, by the way - I am freestyling now).

The other blanket is just being a normal blanket; no inhaling, no world domination plans.

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This one does still lend itself to travel opportunities, but knitting is proving the ultimate portable companion (needle issues aside) so it has only been out once this week (note to self: do not apologise to blanket for lack of trips, nor to crochet for being temporarily usurped by knitting).

Is it just me or are these posts getting longer? I have never noticed the word counts but this feels long and there is still a fair bit to cover. Hmm. Lots to shoehorn into AOB, perhaps. Still on the topic of woolly stuff, I have been...

...thinking about my next project(s). I have heard about these crafty types, always having several projects on the go, many more in the planning, even more in the head etc. Apparently it's more fun to start projects than it is to finish them. Anyway, I hope I don't end up with half-finished masterpieces all over the house, but I do have a couple of things in mind. One is to make myself a garment of some description: wrap/cape, hooded top...something.

The other is a floor mat made with t-shirt yarn. Yes, for the uninitiated, this really is as it sounds: yarn made from t-shirts, also known as tarn. I probably sound like a hippie - look what I'm making out of these old t-shirts! - it's really less appalling than it sounds, I promise. And I'm not into tearing up my clothes so I actually buy the tarn ready torn. I have a pack of grey (yes, the classic t-shirt grey) at the moment which just needs some neon to go with it (hopefully pick some up in Brisbane) then I'll start on that.

I feel as though I am writing loads; let's wrap this up with

Any other business:

  • cooked an awesome mushroom, pea and thyme risotto with garlic-infused olive oil. Thyme smells so delicious - I need to throw it in more dishes.
  • ran in rather intense heat this morning. The forecast for today is 30ºC so I headed out this morning to miss the peak hours, but it was humid and hilly and 5k I am unlikely to repeat in such circumstances again.
  • baked ANZAC cookies for a friend who spent his birthday in hospital. I tried to class up the disposable container with a big yellow bow but it may not have been entirely successful.
  • got Twittered up. I am still uncertain as to the merits of this but a very clever person said it would be beneficial so come and Tweet me (see, I have no idea) @1000timesblog
  • watched the Sydney Roosters vs Wigan Warriors (rugby league) at the Allianz Stadium - it's a far cry from the KC Stadium back in Hull, and I loved the KC! A really fun night - will I ever become a cheerleader...