There’s no doubt about it: this has been my slowest reading year since I started blogging in 2007. Each year I’ve read more than 70 books, with a high water mark of 81 in 2008. My “year in review” post will be up in a few days, but — spoiler alert — I’ll have read less than 65 books. I’m only a teensy bit bothered by that, because it’s easy to explain. Yes, there have been some stressful life events that made reading a challenge, but on the plus side I took up a new hobby: knitting. And I love it.
It all started about a year ago, when my daughter came home from university having learned to knit in her spare time. She took a few lessons at our local yarn shop over her Christmas break, and I was so impressed that I took the same course in January. Little did I realize, when I finished my first pair of socks, that sock knitting would become an obsession. I couldn’t help combining my sock obsession with my reading obsession, acquiring three excellent books on knitting socks. And the good news is, I have something to show for it: five pairs of socks! My first three pairs were all from Ann Budd’s Getting Started Knitting Socks. I made two pairs for me, and then one for my husband. The fourth pair, in blue, is from Favorite Socks, and the fifth pair (also for my husband) is a pattern I found on Ravelry. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge:
I love the geometric logic behind socks; each successful heel is like a little miracle. I enjoy knitting designs with patterned stitches more than the basic stockinette stitch. And I’m beginning to learn how to pair yarn with a design. In my fifth pair, the yarn competed with the pattern, and the stitch design kind of got lost. I’d use a “quieter” yarn the next time. I started my my first pair of socks with a lacey pattern, and I’m very happy with the way this subtle yarn knits up (click for a larger view):
The only problem is, after knitting an entire leg I discovered I made a huge mistake reading the knitting chart, and the resulting design was completely wrong. I couldn’t live with it, so I “frogged” it and will start over after a short break to make a different pair as a gift.
Socks are a nice short-term project. It usually takes a few weeks to knit a complete pair, and I like being able to take my knitting with me when I travel. When I have free time I’m always faced with the “do I read, or do I knit?” dilemma. But as with reading, it seems I always need to have a knitting project on the go. I’m still intimidated by more complicated garments, but yesterday Santa brought me three books on knitting sweaters. I guess it’s time to broaden my horizons. And buy more needles and yarn!
So all in all, I don’t feel too badly about reading fewer books this year.