Sunday, April 22, 2007

Knit Lit Bits

Not much interesting knitting news. Not much knitting at all. Instead of knitting, this week I've been enabling Mum (still) and reading about knitting.

Firstly the Knit Lit.

This books is worth the read - The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood (available in the ACT Public Libraries).

I was a bit over the premise of knitting as a saviour for the grief stricken but this book is not mawkish or over-sentimental. In parts it is heart-breakingly honest and so sad I was beyond tears. I now find it is semi-autobiographical. There are few actual surprises after the first chapters but it isn't twists we want from this book and it manages to avoid some of the manipulative cheap shots that are used in the other knit-novel of the moment The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.

Also available from the ACT Public Libraries, FNKC is mostly trite. It is transparently written with the movie rights in mind and manages to incorporate all the demographic and ethnographic characters and concepts (white, black, Asian, young, middle-aged, older, mixed-race love affairs, ballsy single mothers, over-achievers reclaimed by the power of knitting, celtic wisdom). There is a twist and it is unexpected and it's what lifted my rating from "trite" to "mostly trite". I'm sure Julia Roberts will walk through the film role with (my guess) Blair Underwood as the romantic lead. Olympia Dukakis as the older woman, perhaps?

A recommended read is the Australian novel Knitting by Annie Bartlett. It is set in Adelaide and deals with knitting and grief in a very beautiful way. And yes, the ACT Public Libraries have both the paperback and audio versions of this novel.
There has been some knitting - most of it in the week before last.
Finished are 7 more hats

Beanies 2007.33-38

TTWC 2007.39

Mum has completed 15 pairs of wristwarmers for Stasia. She's also made another 4 pairs for the kids and our parcel lady.

Yesterday I made the mistake of taking her into the Smith Family shop. While I was chatting to the staff and checking out the fat clothes (Phillip Smith Family has the best selection of fat clothes of any op-shop in Canberra), Mum found the yarn boxes. As I rounded the corner she took a protective stance over the containers and with a look that said "back off, bitch" proceeded to defiantly hoik several balls of 8ply into the basket of her walking frame. She also scared off a very nice man who knits for his sons. My knitting mother is back with a vengeance.

This is great, really it is. She hasn't knitted in 10 years and we fought for the last 5 of those years about her stash and her needles. She wanted me to take them, I insisted she keep them. (I'm a knitter, I know how much those things mean!) I only yielded and took the stuff to my place less than 18 months ago. There was not much decent yarn left in her stash. She'd knitted most of it, or the moths had got to it and over the years I'd managed to "borrow" lots of the needles - usually when I'd come home from Sydney for the weekend and find I needed another size or whatever.

She's also using the knitting to combat the need for lollies. Mum has used the Soothers cough lozenges as a substitute for cigarettes and for years. She's on one-two packs of Soothers a day. I've been trying to get her onto sugar-free lollies as her blood sugar is a little high. However, the sugar-free lollies, when taken in excess, can cause diarrhoea. The transition has been less than smooth and knitting helps.

So far her RSI has not been a problem. The pattern is easily memorised and gratification is instantaneous and accompanied by the knowledge that she is helping less fortunate people.

The second All Sorts Beret is complete. I'm in love with this technique and I'll be keeping this beret.

I'm also keeping the latest Short Circuit Scarf. This one is in Cleckheaton Naturals boucle in black and a dark bluey-grey. It's not too long (only 2 x 50g) balls, knitted on 5mm needles.

Not the best photo. It looks great with jeans, black t-shirt and my black leather jacket. It's still too warm to wear it that way, but I gave it a go anyhow.

I leave you with puppy-porn. My brother and his family are away for the school holidays leaving me with joint custody of the 3 dogs. From left is Lochie (son of my Peggy), Rosie and Peggy.

Seconds before taking this photo they were all together in one basket looking like a Christmas card. Here they look tired and confused.


amanda j said...

Those dogs are so cute and shiny!! My goodness your mother is going nuts with the knitting.

I just looked in our library catalogue, and none of those books appear, except FNKC which I have already placed a hold on. What a bummer! Since I never buy books, I will just have to miss out I guess.

Jejune said...

Thanks for the book reviews... I didn't realise the ACT Library had them, so will need to add my name to the reserves list :)

I've just won "Knit One, Kill Two" from Donna at Random Knits, and will probably register it on BookCrossing, and pass it around the Canberra knitters.

Wow, your mum is knitting a LOT ... damn about grabbing stash from under your nose at Salvos! She needs to be re-trained or restrained or something ;)

Beanies, beret, and new scarf look great! And of course the cute puppies... look like a small furry huddle of trouble if you ask me! Have they behaved themselves?

Georgie said...

LOL at your mum at the yarn bin at the op shop. Maybe if you only take her when she doesnt have the basket on her walking frame, so she's restricted to what she can tuck under her chin ;-) Its great that she's launched herself back into knitting with such vigour.

Thanks for the book reviews too - I've been very hesitant / cynical about the rush of knit lit, so now I can target my attentions. Like knitting, there's never enough time to read everything I want to!

Kate said...

Yeah, knit lit is a big worry. Same as I was enjoying chick lit before it became its own genre and turned to crud. I read an old Anne McCaffrey non-fantasy knit lit book (McCaffrey wrote about 5 romance novels.) "Stitch in Snow" was wonderful murder mystery with a knitting/children's author amateur detective. Not high lit. but fun.

Bells said...

The state of knit-lit is very poor indeed. I have dreams of a knit-lit contribution but can't quite get my head around it. I've avoid FNKC so far because of fear of its triteness. I will probably read it, just not in a rush.

Your mum sounds like a card. And her output is incredible.

Puppy porn is always good. :)

Sue H said...

I also thank you for the book review, and now I think I'll go and get them from my local library.
Cute dogs, I'm really into "little", and my own dog is a Chihuahua/Mini Foxy X.
Love that all sorts beret, what did you use and where can I get the pattern?

Kuka said...

You're right about FNKC - on both accounts.
Julia Roberts was signed for the movie before the book was even released, and I agree that there was always the feeling that it had been written especially for screen. I did kind of enjoy it though - probably wouldn't re-read but didn't hate it either.
I have just finished Annie Bartlett's Knitting, and enjoyed it too. It was a very quick read, and it was nice to read something set in Australia =)
Sounds like I'll have to get my hands on the knitting circle next =)

Caffeine Faerie said...

Squee for the puppy-porn, they are adorable! (and I'm loving the all sorts beret too...).

Kuka said...

btw taph, re the royal shawl - check out Danish Royal Watchers blog for lots of pictures and links to even more pictures =)