Great teachers. Teenage boys. The Gettysburg Address.  A box of Kleenex. Watch The Address, a new film by Ken Burns.

We Fuss On

Dear Kay,

Squares are piling up for the Fussy Cuts Blanket. Mood regarding this project at this moment: resolute yet giddy at prospect of Phase III: The Attachment, when all this will come together.

fussycutsrededges

I still can’t get over how unfatigued I am after 20 squares and frames. It’s like I actually enjoy this. I haven’t been this gone on a project since—oh wait, that Birch wrap was pretty great. But I’m talking about the don’t-leave-home-without-it feeling, where you might have four minutes in the waiting room and by God those minutes shall not be wasted.

fussycutsredstack

This thing is wreaking hell on my reading of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. I’m not sure how I could finish a 1,349-page book in the next three weeks anyway. The Wiki entry I just linked to says he is at work on the sequel, A Suitable Girl. The good news for me is that he appears to be late with the manuscript. Not to wish ill on a writer, but take your time, Vikram! Don’t rush on my account!

I have never been good at reading while knitting, except for Us Magazine where I have mastered the art of voting on “Who Wore It Best.” Rules of thumb: always vote against a Kardashian. Always give a yes to Lena Dunham, no matter what.

Can any of you read while knitting? I know of one spectacular dual-tasker who does this all the time.

fussycutsredbench

Three things in Nashville today that must be seen:

1. At Vanderbilt: How to Build a Forest, where the theatre department is in fact cooking up a forest, then quite likely destroying it later on. Leah Lowe, the head of the drama department, oversees the mayhem.

2. At the Gordon Jewish Community Center: works by David Wasserman, the Tin Can Man. Curated by Gale Zucker’s cousin Steve Wasserman. Extraordinary works made from meticulously snipped and shaped pieces of metal. “Wheel of Fortune” is one particularly gorgeous example.

3. The Great Tragedian by Jack Rayson, a new play tonight at University School of Nashville. Proud of David’s friend and my friend Cary’s boy Jack, who at 18 is someone I look up to.

Love,

Ann

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Wow, that is going to be one gorgeous blanket. As for reading while knitting, my progress in each is inverse to the other. Now I need to buy needles to finish a project so I started a book. It is complicated!!!!

    • Exactly! A good book is a knitting killer. And good knitting can overtake reading. I did just recall that audiobooks are the perfect solution, though of course nobody’s done an unabridged Suitable Boy.

  2. I have found that I can crack out large swaths of stockinette in the round or garter whilst reading. I can’t do things with an all-over pattern, but if it is something that has a single cable pattern I can manage that. It definitely depends on what I’m doing if I can read. And I have found it is a thousand times easier when using a kindle, as I don’t even need to let go of anything to turn the page.

    • [pokes Kindle with nose to change page, knits on]

  3. I looked at the first few pictures and said, “Whoa, that’s a lot of knitting!” Then I read how immersed you are in it and smiled. As to reading while knitting, I enjoy each on its own so I guess I never thought to mix them. But then I don’t spend hours at a time knitting because my hands cramp. I read about knitting a lot, does that count?

    • Armchair knitting! Like reading cookbooks. So much easier than actual cooking.

  4. I can knit while reading, but really only garter or stockinette. I read a lot when I made my ginormous log cabin, esp. during the border! I agree with the commenter above–reading on an e-reader and knitting is much easier than trying to fuss with book pages, keeping them open, etc.

  5. I can’t read while knitting, but oh boy, can I listen while knitting. I have an Audible subscription, and there is nothing I love better than listening to a good book while knitting. It’s my two favorite things at the same time. As long as I use stitch markers and pick the right sort of audiobook (something not too brainy), I can even do lace work while listening to a book. It’s to the point now where each project is associated in my head with whatever book I was listening to while I was working on it.

    • Yes! Someone reads a story to you–how great is that? This reminds me of the Tampa cigar factories, back in the day, where el lector would read novels and news to the cigar workers. Here’s the story of that. (Sorry I can’t read it to you!)

  6. Can’t read and knit. I can listen to people yak while I knit, but I like to actually read a book myself. Only exception: I could listen to Harry Potter on a long drive or something.

  7. I often read and knit at the same time, especially if the pattern is simple or I have it memorized. I have a Kindle, but I’ve found that downloading books to my PC and reading off the screen while I knit is easiest. No need to find a way to keep the Kindle propped up, and no need to hold down or turn the pages of an actual book.

  8. When I used to read books (with my eyes instead of my ears), I sometimes tried to knit and read but found the rhythms were distracting to the point of arghhh. Without meaning to, I would be trying to knit in the rhythm of the words, or, probably more successfully in terms of stitches but entirely nutso in terms of the words, trying to read in the rhythm of the needles.

    Now do you see why I kept badgering you for your (lovely) audiobook version of Bowling Avenue? ;)

  9. Yep to the readnknit – one of my favorites, although the knitting needs to be fairly repetitive. And I totally agree with the ereader commenter, although I did have good luck in pre-ereader days when I trained up my then small children to turn the pages for me. They were more enthusiastic when I was reading aloud to them, however. :)

  10. I read or and knit, if the book will lay flat(ish) and the knitting is simple, like garter or stockingette. I learned how during college in the 1980s, when I pretty much only knew stockingette and had a ton of reading to do.

    This skill comes in very handy when I’m watching subtitled things too. BTW, I’m working on a Mitered
    Crosses blanket now.

  11. Yes to reading and knitting. I especially like reading and knitting with rest rows/rounds. Kindle or iPad on its easel works well for me.

  12. In no particular order:

    I’ve been waiting for A Suitable Girl for thirteen years, so I can wait a little longer and start when you do, Ann. (I heart Amit Chatterjee.)

    What an amazing story by your boy’s friend and your friend’s boy Jack!

    I think it’s the Noro that makes whatever you’re knitting with eternally interesting.

  13. I read and knit all the time, but only if it is simple knitting like stocking stitch; with a good book, the knitting just flies along. I also read lots of books about knitting! I could not get into A Suitable Boy, maybe I will try again at some point when there is more time for a good long read. Love the blanket.

  14. I read if I am knitting something simple. Propping up the kindle works well. However, I got a new gadget to hold open a real book, and found myself tapping the page to turn it. I do feel like I have my own ‘lector’ when I listen to an audio book while weeding.

  15. I only read and knit when I am cranking out beanies in the round on a 16″ round & I don’t have to change direction or pay attention. In my opinion, you lose the pleasure of both when you try to do them both at the same time. Your blanket will be beautiful!

  16. I knit and read all the time. In fact I am catching up on ten years of your blog entries, some of which I missed the first time out, while knittting. I must admit though that while I have knitting while reading since I was a child, I could not read a novel of over a thousand pages while knitting. Your fussy cuts looks great and thanks for making the whole blog available again. You and Kay are very close to my age and there is some actual LOLing.

  17. I can knit stocking stitch or garter stitch (socks or a plain sweater work well) whilst reading, as long as I’m using an e-reader propped up on the book ‘deckchair’ my husband bought me a couple of Christmases ago as it just needs me to quickly press on the page turn button and off I go again. Reading whilst knitting keeps me going, especially at the moment as I’m knitting Kate Davies’ Puffin sweater: 270-ish stitches, in the round, on 2.75mm needles, using Jamieson’s Shetland spindrift — in black! Only another 50 rounds and I’ll have finished the waist shaping!!!

  18. I always knit and read, no matter what it is. I love reading and I love knitting but I get bored while doing each solo, so I might as well multi-task!

  19. Such a beautiful blanket! I am so gratified to be able to see it in the various stages of its making. Thank you for sharing it with us, Ann.

    With regard to reading while knitting, I know EZ did it for her kids. I am not able to do it, but I will say that I gladly put down my knitting for one thing, and that is to read an MDK post. Keep it coming!

    LoveDiane

  20. I love to kit and read at the same time. I have a huge amount of genetic guilt that will not let me do just one thing at a time. I can hear my grandmother’s voice in my ear, screeching about leisure pursuits.

    B.K. (Before Kindle and Kindle Apps) I would prop a paper back open on my desk at work with a stapler on one side and a tape dispenser on the other and happily read and knit my lunch hour away. Now it is so much easier with the Kindle App!

  21. I do read while knitting plain stuff. I used to have to get broken backed second hand paperbacks which would stay open on my knee…Kindles make knitting and reading lots easier. I was knitting a sock in the atrium at work one lunchtime, much to the astonishment of a fellow luncher, who just *had* to chat to me about it as he’d “never seen anyone do that before, quite astonishing!” I think he was also thrown by the 4 dpns, which make it look very complicated indeed to the lay-person ;-) .

  22. Hey! I know Lisa D’Amour (of How To Build a Forest) from way back. She’s weird and wonderful — and deserves all of the support that can be thrown at her. Just sayin’.

    Also – that orange blanket/quilt is totes fab.

  23. I can read while I knit, but nothing complicated. But at least it helps while away the hours of stockinette on the socks and cardigans for my man. haha

    Katie =^..^=