Wednesday's WIPs and books

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...
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.

How about you? If you'd like to share this week's knitting (or crochet) and reading, please leave a comment, or join me in linking up with Tami's WIP Wednesday and Ginny's Yarn Along.


  1. Glad you are enjoying your shawl more :)
    I have often picked up The Book Thief but never bought it ( or stole it!) I think I will be more decisive now.

    1. :D you know, it was such a sensation, there are usually multiple copies in charity book shops or second-hand shops for pennies. It's definitely worth picking up, in my opinion :)

  2. Oh that looks like a scrumptious yarn! I do agree, I love shawls as travel projects - as long as they are not lacey all over :)

    Nuvem added to my favourites!

  3. Ooh, that pattern looks wonderful - I love big shawls and scarves that you can really wrap yourself in. It definitely looks like you're making great progress, and as someone who's really into silvers and greys at the moment, I think the yarn looks beautiful.

    I tried to read The Book Thief a while ago, but only got a few chapters in - I think I was finding it a bit too hard-hitting to get through. Maybe I'll give it another go on holiday this year.

  4. oooh yay I'm so glad you decided to keep going with it!!!! it looks very pretty, and the colour is amazing. have a knitty wednesday xxx

  5. It is a good thing you did not rip out your work! I am looking forward to the result:)

  6. The shawl is gorgeous so far! Knitting with lace weight is on my list of things to try for this year. :)

  7. Your WIP looks difficult, I'm glad it is going well now. The book sounds good, I like stories set on farms.

  8. I am glad you are still moving forward with the shawl.

  9. Yay for shawl knitting!

  10. Shawls are such great projects and yours is looking lovely!

  11. Thanks for the sweet comment again on the 2nd year of projects post sweetpea! It will be an adventure :-). I can't wait to see this one blocked. I like the pale colour, I think it looks very posh. I just bought some Malabrigo lace yarn in almost the same colour! It goes very well with my skin colour (which is sooooo very pale too ;-)).

  12. WOW that is one huge shawl!
    It does look very pretty, though. I like what Suzanne says, it looks posh. ♥

  13. It is a wonderful book, one that stays with you for a long time and deserves to be thought about.
    Your shawl is looking very pretty and sophisticated.

  14. I was one of those voices that encouraged you to carry on last week, so I'm relieved to hear that it's working out. After I hit "Publish" I thought, was that responsible? Did I really think that through? Should my opinion hold any weight? LOL!

  15. Interesting book description. I am going to put it on my TRR list.

  16. Reading about such times is so mind-blowing. Have you read The Devil's Arithmetic? It's about a young girl who in modern times didn't quite appreciate her Jewish heritage and who travels back in time to the Holocaust. Not violent but your imagination fills in the details. I taught the book to GATE students one year.

  17. I really loved The Book Thief, and it is definitely a book with impact. I listened to the audiobook, which is not something I normally do, but it meant I didn't get hung up trying to figure out how to pronounce the German in my head. If I re-read it, I'll definitely read the book myself.


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