It’s Wednesday. Time to share my knitting progress and current read. You’d be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t look dissimilar to last week’s offering. Despite appearances, there has been progress.
I’ve turned the heel on the first sock. Always makes me feel like I’m on the homeward stretch. The yarn feels thinner than my recent sock yarn. I’m knitting it on dpns (double pointed needles) and was finding that moving from one needle to the next was leaving more of a holey ladder effect than usual.
I know most of the tricks to solve this, but they weren’t working, so I’ve slowed down, to ensure the stitches are sitting closer together between needles, which seems to have sorted it out. May take longer to knit this pair, but at least my husband won’t be wearing a socks with a lacey inset!
I finished Hidden Figures over the weekend. So glad I read it. I found the second half of the book with more touches of hope. They didn’t seem so bogged down by people’s attitudes preventing them from achieving the ultimate aim of their work. It was still there, but they seem to push on through. People helped each other to succeed and progress in their careers. There was a momentum. There was passion in their work.
I still found frustrating moments, such as the mathematicians not moving to Houston to follow the project, due to family commitments, but it has to be seen in the context of the time. If it was me, I would have packed the family up and gone before you could solve a simultaneous equation. A new adventure, but that is me. I’ve not walked a mile in these pioneering women’s shoes.
Only problem with devouring such a fantastically, good book is deciding what to read next. It’s a toughy. Nothing in my pile of books to read, jumped out. So instead I chose a sci-fi short story.
I’ve been running an experiment. Let me set the scene. We live in an old house. It is over 260 years old. No foundations. Walls that you could use to build a cathedral. It’s the way they used to build humble cottages. The down side is that air circulation is not so great. Bookcases against walls tend to lead to musty books if left undisturbed for too long, which has happened to a bunch of my older sci-fi books.
So I did a bit of research. Not wishing to read musty books with a peg on my nose, I looked at a way to freshen them up. I ruled out fresh air and sunshine, as I started this experiment at the end of our UK winter. If they had mentioned heavy rain, that would have been another matter, but they didn’t.
That left three possible alternatives. Kitty litter, talcum powder or sodium bicarbonate seemed to be the most popular. No cats in the household, but fortunately, I had large amounts of the last two options in my science kit, so I tried leaving a few books in each, sealed in old biscuit containers.
Result. Given time, they both worked to freshen up the books. The thinner books were fresh after a week. The thicker book took longer. Certainly after a month (hmm..I kind of forgot to check inbetween), I could read it without being bombarded by the terrible smell. So now I’m reading a good old Asimov, with a touch of talcum powder aroma!
Also reading a new-to-me magazine – Dressmaker. I’m trying to make something for me to wear every month. January, I made gloves. February, I made socks. March, I would like to add to my work wardrobe, and I quite liked the patterns they were including. Always interested to see dressmaking tips too.
(affiliated links included)
I’m a believer in reading a book and then seeing the film. Or not. Let’s be honest. Some stories are best left as books, with the images swimming around your mind for weeks, months, years later. Savouring it. Watching the film version would never live up to your imagined images. The story is best left between the book cover.
I’ve been looking forward to reading and seeing Hidden Figures, after being introduced to it by fellow Yarn-Alongers reviews (thank you). I bought the book and intended to read it before our trip to the cinema. Needless to say, I conformed to my norm, and ran out of time. Like I didn’t see that coming!
This weekend, we went to see the film. It’s only just been released in the UK. I loved it. It is brilliant. If you haven’t seen it yet, put it on your list of must-go-to. You can thank me later.
With the subject matter, it would have been easy to go down the sensationalizing route, or to try and shock. I don’t think it does and that makes the story somehow stronger. I didn’t feel lectured or patronized. It has been a long time since I’ve felt the urge to stand up and applaud at the end of a film. It is that good.
It’s OK, I didn’t. I maintained my english reserve. My children would have died on the spot, if I had. Incidently, they (14, 12 and 9) loved it too, but were less moved to express their appreciation in the same way. Part way through the film, I did have to explain segregation to my 9 year old. The film gave all three children, a lot to think about and we have talked so much since, about the issues it raised. I’m probably most glad that they saw it.
Our cinema trip left me wanting to know more about the story and the women in it. I couldn’t wait to start reading the book and I’m now half way through. This book bucks the trend. I’m convinced that watching the film first, was the right way to appreciate the book, for me. It is not a light read. At points, it verges on text book depth. If aeronautic engineering or maths isn’t your cup of tea, please don’t be put off reading this book. If you are techy (like me), you’ll eat it up, but by no means does it get in the way of anyone else enjoying the book.
I am in awe of the strength of the brilliant women that the story follows. So many obstacles. So many people telling them that they couldn’t achieve their ambitions because they are women and they are black. As a woman in tech, decades later, I can’t remember anyone sitting me down and telling me I couldn’t follow my chosen career, because I wasn’t a man.
No-one told me I couldn’t. So I went ahead and did it. I followed my ambition.
Although, on the first day of an early job, I do remember looking around the huge, open-plan office and wondering where all the other women were. So maybe I just didn’t hear them saying it, while others did. I had it easy, which makes the journey of the three women, in the film, even more moving to me. They had so much more to contend with.
(I did learn a bit of Fortran and I did hold court in the head office boardroom of the bank I worked for, a few times, because I knew more about a subject than they did, but that is as far as comparisons go.)
There is only so much that can be included in the movie. In any movie. The book includes other woman that paved the way before the film picks up the story. Providing more context.
I’m only half way through. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it.
And on to the knitting, seeing as it’s Wednesday….. I broke my no-buy rule. I bought sock yarn to knit a birthday (late) present for my husband. It is 4 ply Regia Snowflake. There was a knitted up pair of socks using the same yarn, in the shop, and I was won over. The band of snowflakes absolutely grabbed me and refused to allow me to leave without buying a ball of the self-patterned wonder.
I know. I’m weak. Resolve has now been re-established. I’m on the first sock and nearing the heel. I’m not sure the snowflake band is standing out as much. More of a snow blizzard.
On the face of it, I’ve made little progress on my shawl. It has grown by 30 rows, which doesn’t account for the other 20 odd rows that went wherever frogged rows vanish to.
I’m a tad frustrated.
The pattern is not complicated. There are yarn-overs and pass-stitches-over-other-ones, but it’s not complicated. Nothing beyond my knitting experience, at least, but I cannot remember a more frustrating knit. Believe me, I’ve had time to contemplate it.
I think the problem is the yarn. It is very pretty. It is soft. It will look amazing, once it’s finished, but (you could hear that coming, couldn’t you?) it is not helpful when doing anything other than stocking stitch. Throw a yarn-over into the mix and get ready to pull your hair out.
The yarn is basically a wool-like twist and a fabric ribbon, held together by the thinnest of black threads, loosely wrapped around the other two. The colour varying every few inches. If any of those get separated, or broken in the case of the black thread, between stitches, then counting stitches or knitting the next row can be a challenge. Good luck if you want to pick up stitches.
I have undone so many rows. Grrr! I am not giving up. I’ve turned this into a military operation. This was once a knitting project. It is now a logistics exercise.
First step is a life line, which I move every other row. I have frogged back to it so many times. Next, each repeat in the row is marked by a stitch marker. I ran out on my last row and ended up using my engagement and wedding rings, as I couldn’t risk putting it down, to find more stitch markers. Third action is to count, count, count.
I overheard a conversation between two of my children, one evening.
“Don’t talk to her. She’s counting.”
“But she’s always counting.”
Hmm. I’m sure I’ve read a book with a character just like that…..
I will get there. I’m on row 58. Another 96 to go, plus the inevitable frogged rows that are yet to happen. Please no one point out that the number of stitches is gradually increasing as triangular shawls tend to do. I am in denial and ignoring this point.
The yarn is lovely. I am still wondering if I should have made it into a jumper for one of the children, as it is going further than I imagined. I picked it up from a charity shop. With hindsight, I can make a fair guess about why it ended up there in the first place. I wonder how many times.
I’ve not had much time to read my book this week, but I have managed a couple of chapters in the evening, before my eyes can stay open no longer. It’s good and I’m into it enough now, to want to find out what happens. A good sign for me!