Taking Comfort

ShawlSometimes a project comes along that just makes you sigh with pleasure. This is one of those projects. It is work knitting, but it also feels like comfort knitting. This is a shawl pattern that is destined for my Doggerland collection. It is knitted in Navia Uno, a gorgeously soft yarn from the Faroe Islands. Technically it is a light fingering yarn - almost 3 ply - but I am working with it on 4.5mm needles which gives it a magical drape, yet a satisfactory weight to the fabric. I am currently on the second repeat of my stitch pattern - the world is distracting me a bit too much with other things, but I need to knuckle down as I have deadline knitting in addition to this shawl.

I am really enjoying working on this collection, though. Part of the fun is researching Mesolithic Europe but also thinking about materials that would have been available to the peoples at the time. I have decided against using glass beads and metal beads for obvious reasons - but how can I justify using wool when I cannot a) find any material on Mesolithic textiles and b) any evidence of sheep? Well, I am allowing myself artistic freedom to use wool but I will attempt to use relatively unprocessed yarn. Obviously knitters using my patterns can choose whichever materials they want, but I have had fun thinking about my choice of materials rather than just reaching for the merino/silk blend and that jar of glass beads.. as tempting as though it may be!

I have been reading a couple of non-related books, too. I gulped down Susan Hill's Howards End is on the Landing last night. I adore books about books and have a big section of my home library devoted to them. Sadly Landing is not so much a Book About Books but rather a Book About Famous People Susan Hill Has Met  - and it does suffer from it.

There are some very good bits tucked away in Hill's book: how to (not) sort books, the physical pleasures of reading a codex rather than an e-reader, collecting books over the years, and how to choose a title for book. However, the good bits are drowned out though by incessant name-dropping.

Did you know she had lunch with Benjamin Britten who liked her novel? That she once waited on a doorstep with TS Eliot? That E.M. Forster once stepped on her toes? That Kingsley Amis once said to her in 'a genuine tone' that he was very proud of his son? That she interviewed one Sitwell and recited Thomas Hardy to another Sitwell? That Bruce Chatwin's parents lived doors down from her? And so it goes on.

I am sticking to Anne Fadiman's wonderful Ex Libris, John Baxter's A Pound of Paper, and Alberto Manguel's A History of Reading. Hill's Landing ended up reading like chatter from a woman who has nothing interesting to say even about the most fascinating things. But did you know she once was on a reading panel with Roald Dahl who signed a book for her?


I better get back to work/comfort knitting. (Fortunately all this knitting coincides with the European Championship of Football - my homeboys won their first match!  I may have biked through Glasgow silently singing old football songs.. this is an expat thing, surely).