Yarn Along: The Christmas Edition (by Bethany)

2013-12-24 13.23.14

As a child I was a connoisseur of sitcoms, and sitcoms usually air special Christmas episodes. If Yarn Along were a sitcom, this would be the week when I needed one last skein of yarn of a certain dye lot, and you would see me driving all over town to find one, elbowing little old ladies out of the way. Then I would feel ashamed that I let something tangible become more important to me than love and generosity, and somehow I would find out where the little old lady lived, and I would show up there, and she would be all alone with a dinky little tree, staring at pictures of her grandchildren. I would give her the yarn and she would hug me and then I would bring her home for turkey and stuffing and pie and adorable children. And then there would be a dream sequence and someone would give birth in an elevator.

But Yarn Along is not a sitcom, and I am a real human being who never has enough time to finish her scarves, who loathes the custom of Santa Claus and therefore spends every December in a nasty mood, who starts worrying about three months in advance that her family members aren’t going to like the gifts she gives them. A couple of years ago, I mentioned something on Facebook to the effect that I wish I could remember from year to year how much I loathe myself around the holidays, and a friend of mine created an “event” called “Remember the Loathing.” He and I were the only guests, and every couple of months all year long I received a reminder about “Remembering the Loathing.” It was kind of hilarious – and it worked. I remembered and was prepared.

You’ll be surprised to know that the project I just cast on to those needles in the photo is NOT a scarf. It’s a hat – one of these hats, like the ones I made in my last obsessive-knitting phase. I plan to make one for each of my cousin’s kids. This isn’t as ambitious as it sounds – each hat takes about 3-4 hours, and I’m not seeing that branch of the family until Saturday. I should be able to make one hat on Thursday and one on Friday and be fine.

The book in the photo is William Boyd’s Brazzaville Beach. I just started it last night, and I think it’s going to be good. There are a couple of problems, though. First, I almost threw the book down in disgust when I saw that the rather young, naive narrator is named “Hope Clearwater.” I’m not a fan of authors who give their characters deeply-profound-and-significant names unless 1) the significance of the names is extremely subtle, or 2) the author in question is Flannery O’Connor. But I got over my annoyance about her name. The other problem is that I keep expecting this book to be Little Bee. I think it’s something about the combination of an African place name and the word “beach” in the title that does it. I keep frowning and flipping through the pages asking myself, “Where’s the little kid in the Batman costume? And which character is it whose hand gets chopped off at the end?”I would say that Chris Cleave deserves to be given intellectual-property rights on all African beaches in literature, except that William Boyd published this book many years before Cleave published Little Bee, so never mind.

I still have only two scarves completely finished. Here are some nice outdoor shots of the green one:

green forgiving scarf - 4

green forgiving scarf - 5

As a rule, Yarn Along is hosted by Ginny on her blog, Small Things. I tend to think that she’ll take a break from Yarn Along for Christmas, but you should check out her blog anyway. Such beautiful children, such disheveled hair. Candid photos of beautiful children with disheveled hair are one of my very favorite things.

Merry Christmas!

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6 Responses to Yarn Along: The Christmas Edition (by Bethany)

  1. Cherrie says:

    I would so very much like to have the pattern for the green scarf. I’ve knitted hundreds of items, but never have seen a scarf like this one.

    • lfpbe says:

      Sure! I adapted a sock pattern to make this scarf, and I love the way it turned out. I used a border of 4 rows of garter stitch at each end of the scarf and 4 knit stitches at the beginning and end of each row. The pattern goes like this:

      Row 1: (K2tog, YO, P2) repeat until end

      Rows 2 and 4: (K2, P2) repeat until end

      Row 3: YO, K2tog, P2

      For the scarf pictured here, I used worsted weight yarn and size 6 needles. I’ve experimented with other yarns and needle sizes as well, and the pattern is really versatile.

      The original sock pattern is in a booklet called Lace Socks by Kathleen Taylor.

      Happy knitting!


      • Cherrie says:

        Thank you so much! I love to adapt patterns, and I enjoy experimenting with different needles and yarn weights. I read while I knit, which I have been doing since I was a little girl in Hong Kong.

        I enjoy your fresh take on books, since I am also a voracious reader. I just finished hunting down and reading all the Man Booker Prize winners. How I managed to end up undepressed after absorbing all that crazy English angst is a puzzle.

        I give my favorite people books for Christmas,and inside each front cover I write an inscription. Sometimes they read the books I give them, and sometimes they don’t.

        I’ll get started right away on my new scarf!

      • lfpbe says:

        I’ve never been able to read while I knit. I can multi-task in some areas, but reading needs my full attention. When I’m writing, though, I take knitting breaks when I get stuck – no TV, no conversation, just knitting and thinking about whatever issue in the writing has me stuck.

        I’ve learned that I don’t often like the Man Booker winners, although I liked Bring Up the Bodies last year and am very intrigued by The Luminaries this year and will definitely give it a shot. Once when I was browsing a university’s English dept. website I saw that a grad student’s dissertation was titled “The Man Booker prize as Colonial Instrument” or somthing like that – the general idea was that post-imperialist Britain uses the prize to keep its former colonies loyal and in line. That made me want to read all the winners right away. 🙂

      • Cherrie says:

        An apt observation in regard to The White Tiger (oh, how I hate not being able to underline). but then what to make of Mantel, Anne Enright, and Hollinghurst? The Line of Beauty was modern day political satire with a sharply honed and witty edge, certainly on a par with anything by Swift.

      • lfpbe says:

        I haven’t read Hollinghurst but want to – I’ve heard he’s terrific.

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