Thursday, September 22, 2011

on the book stack

Last week I shared my addiction to library books.  As the weather turns colder and I sit in my chair with a blanket for a little more time during the day, I start to pick up more books for cozy reading.  Perhaps, at least for the cold season, I will write one post each week on a book or two that I have been reading - maybe I will write only a little about many books I'm reading.  We shall see.  And it will be called "on the book stack" since I store books that I'm reading by piling them on top of each other.  We ran out of space on bookshelves a while ago in our house.

On the stack this week:

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson

Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders, Judith Durant, Ed.

Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson

Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson

Shout out to Kate Faith for the last two, which are really the most exciting to me right now.

In fact, last first - Home Comforts.  Can't say much about it yet because I need to read it first ... but it's written by a Harvard Law School graduate/philosophy professor/novelist who grew up on a working farm in Greene County, PA and now lives in NYC (this info is taken from the back of the book).  She begins her book on keeping home in this way,
"I am a working woman with a secret life: I keep house.  An off-and-on lawyer and professor in public, in private I launder and clean, cook from the hip, and devote serious time and energy to a domestic routine not so different from the one that defined my grandmothers as 'housewives.'  ... Until now, I have almost entirely concealed this passion for domesticity.  No one meeting me for the first time would suspect that I squander my time knitting or my mental reserves remembering household facts such as the date when the carpets and mattresses were last rotated."
The back cover and one page in and I'm already excited to read the whole thing.

And speaking of keeping home, I have been eying Super Natural Every Day for a while, hoping for some help in the vegetarian cooking department.  Yesterday, we received a late wedding gift (ahem) from a dear friend containing this book!  She likely had ulterior motives to convert me from my meat eating but I accept the gift with enthusiasm all the same.  We eat very little meat in our house since we have constrained ourselves to eating only animals that have been raised on pasture, which makes great demands on our budget and hence, decreases the amount that we can eat.  My knowledge of making meals without meat has been significantly stretched these last few months and this cookbook will be a welcome addition to my vegetarian repertoire.

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts is a library find that I have checked out at least 3 times now.  I have yet to make a project from the book, since my yarn stash is rather limited at the moment, but just the photos themselves are inspiration.  All of the projects look so soft and simple but not so simple that you would feel silly giving one as a gift.  There are patterns for all ages and interests and all different yarn weights as well.  My friends need to start having babies so I can make the adorable "easy baby cardigan" or the "pointy elf hat."  For now I will probably stick with the "family ribbed hats" for at least one person on the Christmas List.  As with many knitting books, the back section contains useful instructions for finishing projects and interpreting abbreviations (something I still need help with sometimes!) - but this books does it with pretty pictures.

The other knitting book, Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders, is a compilation of patterns by many different knitters.  All of them are supposed to use only one skein of sock yarn, but all skeins are not created equal.  I had a hard time finding anything for my one skein that contained only 185 yards of yarn.  I believe I did find a pattern that will work, the details of which will remain a secret, by checking it by other knitters' experiences on ravelry.  Many of the patterns are quite clever though, so I look forward to a time when I will buy a skein with a specific project from this book in mind (probably one of the gorgeous shawls).

I'll let you know how the first two books turn out once I actually start reading and using them.  I'm always open to reading suggestions as well - send them my way!

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