Before I show you my knitting progress I have to thank everyone for commenting last Wednesday when I really wasn't sure if I should continue with this yarn/pattern combination. To all those who said "knit on", I salute you! The photo isn't great due to poor light (July?! Pah!) and a short needle, but you can see how much progress I've made...
KNITTING: Nuvem by Martina Behm
YARN: Drops Lace in Light Grey Green
NEEDLES: 100cm circular needle - 3.5mm
READING: Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke by Peter Benson
The move to a single circular needle (the pattern uses two circulars) has made a tremendous difference, there is no more laddering and knitting is much much quicker and easier. I'm even getting used to the look of the (too-big-for-the-yarn) stitches because I can now see that they WILL even out when they are blocked. In fact I am enjoying knitting this so much I'm already looking at yarns for another - ideally something semi-solid and pretty. A solid pale shade isn't stimulating my colour-senses and I had to turn to some bright crochet earlier in the week... but more on that in my Ta-dah post on Friday.
If you're looking for some holiday/travel knitting this summer, I would recommend this pattern - it's just knit stitches apart from a few increases on each alternate row and with such a lot of yarn for such light weight and a circular needle or two, it'll fit into a tiny space - a huge lace weight shawl seems to be the perfect summer project. Don't take my word for it, Elizabeth Zimmermann says this in the Knitter's Almanac (p71):
When you set out on the annual family trip naturally you have to take your knitting; something has to keep you sane in the face of the possibly quite ferocious situations you will be up against in the next two weeks. Try a shawl. Do not scoff; it is the perfect travel-knitting.
Our holiday isn't for another month, but I don't think this will be finished before then. If it is, then I may well cast on another before we go.
And so onto books. On Sunday, amidst numerous mascara-streaked tissues, I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - for those who haven't read it, I'll share the blurb:
HERE IS A SMALL FACT - YOU ARE GOING TO DIE 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION - THIS NOVEL IS NARRATED BY DEATH It’s a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter and quite a lot of thievery. ANOTHER THING YOU SHOULD KNOW - DEATH WILL VISIT THE BOOK THIEF THREE TIMES
Tonight we get to discuss it at our book club, and I still haven't formulated my feelings about it into words, other than to say it's a book that will stay with me for some time. I loved the way the characters were written - there is much humour despite the subject matter. Set on the outskirts of Munich during the height of WWII, I found the tale particularly hard-hitting in the week that the RAF Bomber Command was given a memorial. D's grandfather was a Pathfinder and over coffee one Saturday morning - before old age and ill health stole the last of his memory, and his life (he didn't live to see this recognition given to his fallen colleagues) - we heard a chilling first-hand account of the air-raids that are a part of the novel. It was quite unexpected because he was never known to talk about those terrible days as a very young man. It made reading the latter chapters quite emotional for me, and incredibly thought-provoking, but I'm so glad I did. I would definitely rate this book 5/5. After finishing the book, I needed some light relief so I've just started reading Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke by Peter Benson which I'm enjoying after the first few chapters.