Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Reading

I don't just save reading for summer. As with knitting projects, my reading usually involves having several books going at once at all times-- at least one audiobook and then three or four honest-to-pete books made of paper. My knitting mix usually includes one complicated project (I just started a sweater), something a little easier (basic socks), and there's always my emergency knitting project (a very basic garter stitch purple thing I have been "working on" for years-- that means it's buried in the car just in case I forget to bring something else along).

Even though I read (and knit) all year, something about summer makes me wish I could read (and knit) around the clock. I spent childhood summers immersed in books, usually Little Women (which I've read a million times) and whatever I could find of interest in our tiny town library. This summer's reading includes a 48 hour (!) audiobook about India on my iPhone, a stack of magazines, an ever-growing pile of Sunday NYT, a memoir, a novel and -- this is where the knitting and reading join forces-- Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

I've heard EZ's name tossed around for years-- Brooklyn Tweed, for example, loves EZ-- but never got around to looking up info about her until recently. I've been eyeing the free pattern for Lady Sweater at Ravelry for sometime now. Haven't committed to making one. But when I was reading the notes about it, I saw the recommendation for EZ's Knitter's Almanac. I ordered a used copy for a song from Amazon. I'm so glad I did. Now, I am reading it sort of like a novel. I haven't picked a project to work on yet. I'm just enjoying the heck out of EZ's conversational tone. She is so witty, so easygoing, so very pleasant that I feel like I'm having a personal chat with her-- I actually looked up her bio on the Internet and was so sad to see she's no longer among the living because I would so loved to have met her.

Reading EZ isn't just fun-- it makes me feel smart. It occurs to me that, after eleven years of stumbling around with knitting, I've actually come to understand quite a bit of the lingo and know more than a few techniques. When she describes the way a project is supposed to go, or outlines a shortcut, I realize that either a) I can totally visualize what she means or b) if I'll just try it, it will make sense as I go. This is such a far cry from my early days as a fearful knitter.

This thrills me-- it is a serious goal of mine to become not exactly a certified master knitter, but at least someone who can knit on the fly, without a pattern, and feel all joy and no frustration along the way. I didn't pick up this "hobby" (I use quotes because we all know it's more than that) to lose sleep over it. I picked it up because I wanted to bring some happiness to my life. And that has been overwhelmingly the case so far. Reading the almanac reminds me of how far I've come (and, okay, how far I have to go).

I was in talking to Suzanne recently about her trip to Market last month-- I'll post about that soon. I told her about my EZ reading. She told me the store just got in a bunch of new books. So even if you've read the Knitter's Almanac, fear not, there's plenty of new Knit Lit awaiting you. Here are pictures of a bunch of the books-- and remember, you don't need to make all the projects you see, or even any of them. Sometimes it's just fun to thumb through the pages for ideas and inspiration. Happy summer reading!

No comments: