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Gibblegabble and an Author Headed My Way

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Dear Kay,
As you know, boys who knit are near to my heart. If more boys took to knitting, I honestly think the world would be an actual, literal better place.
Above is the latest work by one of my favorites, Richard of Clarksville (sounds like one of King Arthur’s knights!). It is a cow from the March issue of Simply Knitting. According to Richard’s agent/aka mom, Hilda, this is not his first animal-making effort. “He kind of died out on my pig . . . we have a body, but no head!!!! He has decided to make a log cabin, but each strip is a different stitch pattern, we have done garter, seed, stockinette, and the latest strip is a k2p2 rib.”
Sir Richard of Clarksville, I ought to add, is seven:
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Another Genius at Work
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Shannon of Chico writes re HER knitting prodigy, Josh. Who is also 7. Can you believe how much these fellas resemble each other? Separated at birth?
“I just wanted to tell you how much fun my son and I had making a 12 pound ball of yarn. We went on and on even to the point of saying, ‘Hmmm, these PJs are kinda old. Let’s cut them up too!’ ”
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I love that picture, which Shannon of Chico explains: “He had as much fun putting on bit by bit of clothing scraps as he did doing loops.”
Ann Hood to Be Within One Mile of My House
It takes a LOT to pry me loose from my addiction to Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin seagoing novels. I am on Number 7 of 20, The Ionian Mission. I can’t believe I haven’t written about these books, but frankly, it’s probably a good thing. I’d be telling you about how profound they are, how fascinating 19th-century British naval life is, how smokin’ hot Stephen Maturin is. You’d be begging me to get back to talking about the White Stripes–that’s how annoying I would be.
I’m listening to my Jack Aubrey novels on my iPod, as slowly as possible, because when Patrick Tull’s perfect voice finishes reading me Number 20, I am going to go into a steep decline.
So, you may wonder, what would pry me loose? Incredibly enough, it’s a novel about knitting. I have to say, I’m on the lukewarm side when it comes to reading fiction which involves knitting. When I’m knitting, I want to be in the Indian Ocean on a 84-gun ship of the line. I love a big, engrossing story. Calgon, take me away! Listening to a knitting story while at the same time knitting seems a bit like gilding the lily. Like eating Count Chocula with chocolate milk.
HOWEVER. At the moment I am listening to a knitting-based novel and really enjoying it.
The reason is because I just discovered that Ann Hood is coming to Davis-Kidd on Tuesday, May 29. A fine writer, right down the road from me. How could I miss that?
Her recent novel The Knitting Circle is the knitting novel that has been getting the good reviews. So I downloaded it the other day, and it’s a lovely, quiet book that immediately drew me in. Awfully sad, but tender in a great way. I can’t wait to hear her read from it–and I hope a bunch of us knitters comes to welcome her to Nashville. The signing is at 6 pm.
Finally, I have to say how sorry I am not to be writing more often. My head is about to come clean off the top of my body. Either we finish this book, or we die trying!
Love,
Ann

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. I just finished reading a “chick lit” knitting novel called “Knitting Under the Influence”. It was entertaining; the main characters are in their 20’s and like to knit things like gold tube tops and hot pink bikinis and are in the throws of relationship drama. It was nice to live vicariously for a few days! BTW, I am reading you all’s book and am enjoying the banter and am inspired by the Moderne Log Cabin spread.

  2. I loved the movie “Master and Commander”. Now you’ve got me thinking I need to read the books too.

  3. I’m not a big fan of books that seem to center on knitting, either. The plots seem to me to be really weak and, honestly, I’d rather knit than read about other people knitting.
    Having said all that I’ll have to give the Ann Hood book a try. I’d read a couple of reviews and it sounds pretty good.

  4. So far as I am concerned, one can never talk too much about how hot Stephen Maturin is! I’m up to The Commodore, and I had to stop because I don’t know what I’ll do with myself when they’re finished.
    I read them on the bus, and very much enjoy the looks I get giggling over them. So fabulous. Most people don’t believe me when I talk about how funny they are.

  5. So far DH has gotten two of his friends and my father hooked on Maturin and Aubrey. Especially fitting for my Dad since his grandfather was on an American ship of line during the later period covered in the books.
    I’ve been resisting, but now you’re wearing me down too!
    BTW, I wanted to send a thanks to you gals a little while back… our LYS owner was pregnant and our Tuesday knitting group had a baby shower for her repleat with Mason Dixon bibs! *Everyone* made one for her. It was a hoot!
    Thanks for the pattern and idea! (She had a lovely baby girl three weeks ago)

  6. All support and encouragement to you slaving and suffering knitting authors! I’m sure the book will be awesome because you both are.
    Idea: At least one other knitting writer-blogger has arranged for ‘guest bloggers’ when faced with a book writing deadline.

  7. I’m with you on Patrick Tull: he has a divine reading voice. When you’ve worked your way through O’Brian’s novels, don’t worry–Tull recorded lots of other (unabridged!) audiobooks, including many of the Brother Cadfael mysteries, some Dickens, and How Green Was My Valley. His output was so prodigious that I suspect you’ll be able to avoid that steep decline for a long long time.

  8. My DH has read the whole series at least 4 times! He gets done then he just starts over again. He also has a few other series in the same vein that he has read if you’re interested I’ll find out what they are. At least you have a ways to go. Maybe they’ll hold out through the summer.

  9. I love the Aubrey-Maturin books! Of course, I identify more with Jack Aubrey than Dr. Maturin, but I devoured the entire series in about a year. There are a couple of companion books, including a cookbook that is a little scary. I moved on to the Hornblower series after that, but O’Brien will always hold a special place. (You should check out O’Brien’s bio…very strange man.)

  10. I feel your pain about the Aubrey/Maturin novels. But don’t worry, many before you have also survived the withdrawal. I’m just very grateful that he did tie up most of the narrative before he died. I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t finished one of the cliffhangers.

  11. New book, new book, new book! Yay, and hurry-I am waiting.
    I’m knitting my niece a Moderne-ish blanket for her to take to college. It is so much fun.

  12. I have read all the A/M novels with my “Sea of Words” books at hand. (A ‘stave” what the heck is a stave? Sound of pages flipping….) I am sorry to say that by the time you finish them all you are doomed. You’re a total addict and there AreNoMore. A major shift happens that affects the wonderful doctor in No. 20 and we’ll never know where it goes I’m hoping that another movie is made sometime soon.

  13. a) Count Chocula with chocolate milk is sublime. I mean, you put chocolate sauce on chocolate ice cream, right?
    b) I LOVED Ann Hood, even Ruby, which was achingly sad. In this new book she’s got dead babies AND cancer. I’m done with her. Friday Night Knitting Club was even worse. The Barbara Delinsky was decent, but not really about knitting.
    c) I am no longer “sadly blogless”.

  14. I’m a little more partial to the Hornblower books myself, mostly because Ioan Gruffudd does more for me than Russell or Paul, but I love the genre. I think O’Brian is a wee bit too detailed, and I think Forester is a little more readable, but I enjoyed the first two O’Brian books. I’m glad someone else reads them!

  15. Ok, I’m going to HAVE to learn how to get books on my i-pod. I uploaded some from the library – don’t tell – but I couldn’t get them into the “book part” and I couldn’t get them to play in the right chapter order, made for interesting listening, but not exactly the effect I was going for. Do you know where I can go to learn this skill?

  16. Yea(or should that be huzzah!?)for another woman discovering Aubrey/Maturin. Have to say I have more of a pash for Jack myself but it’s certainly a double act.

  17. I was given the book Knitting Circle as a gift and it is on my pile of “to read” books once school is out. I think I will now move it to the top.

  18. Ann Hood came to the knitting store where I moonlight on weekends (Wool & Company, Geneva IL) for a booksigning a few months ago. She was a lovely person, and her book is lovely as well. Sad but tender is exactly right.
    Angie, go to Audible.com. Its all there!

  19. That is some pig!
    What cute kids. I’m inspired to teach my own son to knit. He’s only 2 but often picks up my needles and plays with them. he also has a lot of fun throwing “yarm” around. So maybe when he’s 7 or 8 he’ll be cranking out the handknits!

  20. I knitted and listened to about the first 3 CDs of the first Jack Aubrey novel last fall. Unfortunately it had to go back to the library…one disadvantage to audiobooks on loan is they “listen” a lot slower than I actually read. But I liked it! Thanks for the re-recommendation…
    I can’t wait for the book, but can do without your heads blowing off.

  21. You can NEVER talk too much about The White Stripes!!
    Sorry – it just had to be be said….

  22. Don’t worry about O’Brian withdrawl. Seriously. My spouse and two of my friends are O’Brian addicts of the highest order. (All three are also knitters. Coincidence?) When they finish Blue at the Mizzen, they simply pick up Master and Commander yet again.
    I believe my spouse is now on his 26th read through the series. (And no, he is not institutionalized–at least, not yet.)

  23. My mom loved The Knitting Circle, but unfortunately had really awful timing and read the cancer part while she was alone in the room where she was waiting for her breast ultrasound for a suspicious lump. We’re still waiting to find out and I’m not sure I can read it now…

  24. OK I knew I loved you guys, what with the washcloths and those adorable blue jeans and log cabins, but NOW I KNOW THE REAL REASON. You are one of them! those who get it! those who understand that you haven’t really fully experienced life if you haven’t read these books. I have been an Aubrey/Maturin fan since way before I was a knitter. I’m on my about 10th go through, alternating between reading and listening every year or so (hear hear on the Patrick Tull praise). But how, tell me me please how, did you get them on your ipod? did you pay all that money to Audible? somehow get them off the old Interweb? I’m so jealous. I have always listened on a walkman but since being ipodded I fear I can never go back to that.
    And while I’m about it, can I just say how hard it is to turn people on to these books? Hard for me anyway. I used to try to convert people. Never worked. One day, a guy who I’d unsuccessfully tried to convert (and who I had just known would love them) said to me, hey I’ve found these great books! you’d love them! and I was like ‘dude, I told you about them two years ago!’ so then I knew I’d never make a P O’B evangelist. Just don’t have the skills.
    cheers, Liz.

  25. The Jack Aubrey cookbook (Lobscouse and Spotted Dog) has some fabulous recipes, and some that look just plain weird. I will vouch for the Lemon Shrub (over ice instead of diluted with boiling water), spotted dog (how I love to grate the suet!), Shrewsbury cakes, and especially the pickled salmon (the best buffet fish ever!)

  26. Some times when I am listening to a good “book on tape” (can be a CD) I will catch myself going out to the car to listen and knit for a while. For some reason, they sound better in the car. Maybe it feels like vacation. But my 13 year old daughter was absolutely convinced that Jack Aubrey is wierdly free of emotion, and it bothered her to listen to the books. (maybe now that she is 15 she would get it). But yes, I can feel the sway and hear the creak, and laugh when Jack wears his old stockings to visit the Admiral with the cranky little dog. The series is the top of the line.
    One of my other all time favorites has been Laurie King and the Mary Russell series of Sherlock Homes revival which started with The Bee Keeper’s Apprentice. It makes absolutely great listening.
    Sometimes I even perfer a book listened to over the same book with me reading. I love the performance aspect of the reading.

  27. Delurking to say that I could not agree more about Maturin!! I’m a fairly recent addict, only up to #10, and I haven’t had such a crush on a character since I was 11 years old and in love with Aragorn….
    Of course, the bigger crush is on POB himself. Such a delight in language, history, adventure and honour. Heavy sigh.

  28. Oh, this recommendation comes at the perfect time, as I’m on my umptieth pass through Jim Dale’s reading of the Harry Potter series, in preparation to be devastated in July when it’s all over for real. Lots of people, including my father, have recommended O’Brien before, and now, just coming off Pirates III, I will be looking for more salty entertainment.
    And now I have a recommendation for all of you who haven’t yet discovered the delights of Len Deighton, a somewhat underappreciated writer I think, whose brilliant spy novels (three trilogies and a prequel, starting with Berlin Game) have stayed with me like few other books. Much fun and very, very deft writing.

  29. Yes, please tell how DO you listen to all that on iPod. I am reading lots of varying reviews about Audible.com. Not all good as far as putting long books on an iPod Or on a cd. ??????? anyone????

  30. What to do when Patrick Tull runs out:
    1) listen to all the other stuff on Audible that he’s read (I think I could even stand to listen to Dickens if he were the reader
    2) listen to the Aubrey Maturins all over again; I haven’t tried that yet, but I was able to listen to all the Amelia Peabody mysteries twice thanks to Barbara Rosenblatt’s terrific reading
    3) Listen to all the Amelia Peabody mysteries; Barbara Rosenblatt isn’t Patrick Tull, but she creates her own magic

  31. Hi Ann,
    I’ve read a couple of knitting novels… Knitting Under The Influence and Friday Night Knitting Club… and a month or two ago I picked up The Knitting Circle at my LYS to peruse. I couldn’t get past the first page or two when I read about the little girl… same name and roughly the same age as my little girl. I put the book back on the shelf, trying not to let my mind go THERE.
    Is the book good enough that it would be worth it to try and muscle through?
    Speaking of little girls, I wish I could show you the “cape” my sweetie knitted for her stuffed cat! I’ll tell you, when a fairly new knitter teaches a 6 year old how to knit, the results are… ummm… interesting?
    Now, about these other books you’re talking about… I’ve never read them, but your description has me fascinated. You may have turned on another reader to this series.. I’ll keep you posted. :)
    And of course, best of luck to you and Kay in getting your book finished. I can hardly wait to see it!!!

  32. …or fill their ditches with our English dead. (I {heart} Henry V).

  33. Now those are some handsome and intelligent boys!

  34. The Aubrey/Maturin series is beyond great. My advice: take it slow. Savor each book. I haven’t read the last one yet because I can’t bear the thought that there aren’t any more after that. I suppose there’s always the chance to read them all over again, though. Enjoy!

  35. The Aubrey/Maturin series is beyond great. My advice: take it slow. Savor each book. I haven’t read the last one yet because I can’t bear the thought that there aren’t any more after that. I suppose there’s always the chance to read them all over again, though. Enjoy!

  36. Oh you can just keep on talking about him as far as I’m concerned;)

  37. Hooray – I knew I liked you. Yes the PATRICK O’BRIAN / JACK AUBRY novels rule! Recently, when I was on a 3 hours car ride with my older brother we listened to one of the audio books – not sure which one. This was the most peaceful ride this brother and I have ever had in our lives – and we are in our 60s – we were thoroughly entertained and we didn’t have to talk to each other (VBG). I have read all the books and listened to most of them in the audio version – truly wonderful stuff. Most of the other audio books I have listened to don’t seem to satisfy me as much as these books do. I try not to overdo with these books – but I think I’m addicted. Best – Hester from Atlanta

  38. Kay, I see your loose knitting and I match you! Bet we could work well as a team. . . now you can use that picture to show the naive that Gauge Matters!
    And Barb C., what makes it even sadder is that Ann Hood herself lost a daughter, abruptly, at age 5. I couldn’t believe she could write that book, but I guess it helped. And the book is very, very good.

  39. Huzzah! for Captain Aubrey and Dr Maturin! I only wish John Lee would record the entire series- he has the true laugh and spirit of Jack and makes Patrick Tull sound like a creaky, short-of-breath old man that he is.
    I really enjoyed the Ann Hood book, too. Every life is a story…
    Looking forward to M&D II!

  40. I love, love, LOVE the Aubrey/Maturin series! I finished them all a few years ago— now that I hear they can be downloaded I may have to listen to them this time.
    Too bad that Patrick O’Brien did not live to finish the series the way he wanted…. but there is so much good reading there, it’s okay.
    I know, isn’t Maturin HOT? Even if he is a little, scrawny guy.

  41. I gave up knitting for 9 months while I read the Aubrey/Maturin Canon. I hope you have the supplementary books “A Sea of Words” and “Harbors and High Seas” by Dean King to help you along. I want to go through them again on audio this time so I can knit while I listen. You should visit this site: http://www.hmssurprise.org/ and join the discussion group. They’re a great bunch.

  42. What a wonderful discovery! I’ve not met anyone else who loves the Aubrey/Maturin novels! I’ve been addicted to Patrick Tull’s reading of them for years, now. What a voice!
    And to find someone else with a penchant for Maturin, rather than Aubrey? It’s a connection. I’m exceedingly happy to have discovered it! All I can say is . . . Keep Reading! You’ll love it!

  43. Where do you get them on books on tape? Does audible.com have them? I’ve “read” several, but am also in the middle of “His Dark Materials” and the Terry Pratchett canon and can’t tear away for more British navy! But I do love them. And Maturin is, indeed, hot.

  44. Reading that you have a thing for boys knitting, i thought i’d show you my grandpa in action – in this knitblog entry: http://millemakes.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/knitting-gramps/
    love your book too, by the way :)