Tuesday, 2 October 2012

It's been a while

My holiday knitting is coming along just fine.

I've been away again to my favourite place for seriously unwinding.  Last year it was in Spring this year I had one fabulously hot week in August and then back again for two weeks of autumn sunshine.  It's the first time I have knitted with Norro and I love it.  First there is the self striping sock yarn effect, you know when you just have to keep knitting to see how the stripes will work out.  But also it is more random that the self stripe stuff so you Never Know What Will Happen.  You get bright thick stripes of turquoise and emerald one time around then just a teasingly thin stripe, marled with grey the second time. The texture varies a little too.  Mainly it's lace weight but every so often I come across thick bits - I just carry on knitting.  And the finished texture is wonderful, I cant wait to wear it, but of course I will as I still have to knit the sleeves!

I am aiming for as few seams as possible, knitting back and fronts together till the armholes, grafting the shoulders, and picking up the sleeves from around the armhole and knitting down to the cuffs.  The only sewing will be a short seam at the underarm and when I attach the front button bands.  Although I say I love the random effect I am trying to keep some symmetry as you can see from the fronts in the picture.  I am working out the pattern as I go (so a fair bit of frogging) but will post the pattern on Ravelry when its done and had its first test run (ie blocked, worn and washed)

But I didn't just knit while I was away I had lots of time for reading. I took four books with me all recommended by friends and I'm so glad I just took what they recommended and did not pick and choose which is what I usually do, just taking the novels and ignoring the rest.  The biggest surprise was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot  half biography and half  SCIENCE BOOK!!  I almost never read non fiction, except history and if a book I am reading has a lot of technical stuff I usually skip read 'the science bit'.  I think that is why, despite its banality, I always found that shampoo advert featuring Jennifer Aniston where she says, wagging her finger 'now concentrate, here comes the science bit'  funny because I always do the opposite.  I have always firmly believed that the world's readers are divided into Geeks and Dreamers - those who do numbers and scientific stuff and the rest of us who read about people , stories, and ancient civilisations.  But - no

I'm not really sure if this book will turn me into a Geek, somehow I don't think so, but it was a truly great read.  For years scientists had been trying to culture human cells in the laboratory, so that they could carry out drug trials and understand better how disease affects we human beings but every time they failed.  Then one day in 1951 the laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore USA received a sample of a tumour from a young woman, the mother of 5 children and wife of a hard-working but poor steel worker.  This time the cells grew.  They did not just grow, they kept on growing and although other cells have been grown since nothing, even to this day, grows as well as the HeLa cells. The book also tells the human story, of a young woman, who sadly died less than a year after her cancer was discovered, and her children and grand children.  I won't spoil a good read for anyone, but I cannot quite get over how beautifully written it was.  Rebecca Skloot is a scientist but she is also a gifted writer who is able to explain her craft in a way that this non scientist found fascinating and to write about the lives of others in a wonderfully sympathetic and sensitive way.

But you know what?  when I read her acknowledgements I found this 'My mother, Betsy McCarthy, has never faltered in her belief in me and this book.  She's kept me sane through pep talks, reality checks and the gift of knitting, a family tradition I treasure'.

Oh!... The Gift of Knitting!



1 comment:

Angela said...

Your sweater is looking beautiful:0)
Book looks interesting...too bad, I'm not a reader....glad you had a good vacation. I could use one of those!