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Reading Material

So I’m going to ramble about things on the bookish front.  These are some of the books I’ve kept beside me for stolen moments.  Some have been beside me for quite a while and I’m just now getting to them.

I’ve been making my way through Genesis with a study group and though I’ve read it many times, am seeing things from a different perspective this year.  I am drawing connections between events (why one thing led to another) in the text that I never noticed before.  That’s the beauty of BSF groups: you cannot read on auto pilot.  If you want to read the Bible just to check it off your daily good deed list in the hopes you will feel more comfortable about yourself, you may need to rethink BSF.  It’s just not that kind of Bible study.  Don’t get me wrong, the aim is not a low self-esteem, it’s just that we read in view of our lives and our relationship to God.  It’s not just an interesting history book or subject for debate, we should regularly see ourselves in these pages- the good and bad.  If we don’t see it, we can’t have compassion on others and we certainly won’t see a need for Jesus.  Just seeing we are wrong is where the journey beings.

So, I get a healthy dose of conviction and the more I welcome it, the better I feel.  It’s like sterilizing a wound; not enjoyable but necessary to get well.   I’m going to risk generalizing here and say that if we say we are Christians but find we do not admit out loud to doing or thinking anything wrong for days or weeks at a time, we’re probably not being very honest.

So, Genesis– One thing that leaps out of the text to me is the harmful nature of favoritism and envy in a family.  It’s all through the first 46 chapters.  I am so very grateful my siblings and I never endured this and so there’s zero desire in us to perpetuate it.  But one that I have been able to apply to my life is enduring troubles God allows in our lives (which we may or may not have provoked) to achieve purposes we can’t imagine, as with Joseph and Israel.  It may be a difficult move that feels like punishment at the time, but actually gets us away from approaching danger.  Or maybe it’s a group excluding us to be unkind, but in the end it kept us away from poor influences and bad alliances.  Or how the extreme nature of my health issues taught me to just do all I sensibly could in a matter then let God have the result.  If He wanted me well, I would be and if He didn’t, could I really change that?  I quit struggling and so began to trust more deeply than I knew a person could.  Just little examples of thoughts this book has brought to my mind.  You had no idea when looking at the photo of knitting books that I was going to go there, did you?

Let’s switch gears:
I’m also trying to get back into the second Game of Thrones book.  Yeah, Game of Thrones and Genesis (I know, it’s quite a pair.  Look, I’m just being honest. )  Both are chock-full of lineages, incest, intrigue, betrayal, hedonism, and war.  I got sidetracked from reading and just haven’t gotten back into it.  Maybe it’s because I’m cabling right now and can’t read while doing that.

The rest of my reading selections have mostly been a feast for my eyes.  The photography in Jane Richmond’s Island is so meditative and lush, it would make a good coffee table book even if it didn’t have lots of beautiful knitting patterns.  But it does and both Rathtrevor Mitts and Renfrew are burning a hole in my queue.

I’ve been reading and hearing about Pom Pom Quarterly all year but never got around to subscribing until recently.  It is everything I heard it would be: beautifully photographed, designed, printed, and illustrated.  I think those little illustrations are one of the most distinctive features of the magazine.  The smaller dimensions of the books have a true “Zine” feel- like when indie zines were something I only read about other people reading when I was in high school.  The collections are well-curated with recipes, embroidery,  and short stories in the mix.  It’s definitely collectible.

Another one I’m in the middle of is Little Red in the City, which I picked up at Madtosh.  There is an encouraging, journal-like feel to Ysolda’s writing.  It’s as if a very talented friend left you a letter along with her personal notes and sketches for how to knit a sweater that fits.  In fact, I once heard the handwritten notes included with the designs are actually Ysolda’s own.

I haven’t finished Elizabeth Zimmerman’s The Opinionated Knitter yet, but would the pattern books above even be what they are today without Mrs. Zimmerman?  So many of the things I love about my more recent knitting books like illustrations, handwritten notes, multiple customizations, and a chatty personal feel were all done before I was born by Elizabeth in her Wisconsin schoolhouse.  This was a knitting zine before zines were cool, unfettered by commercialism or the aesthetics of the time.  The result is this collection of 22 timeless newsletters of which I’m trying to read one a night.  It is the ultimate in picking the brains of a genius knitter, with scratch-outs, arrows to follow, and ink underlinings for emphasis.  The fact that it was motivated by her love of craft, rather than business potential, makes it even more special.  I can “get” doing something for almost free just to see it done the way you want it.  I totally understand wanting to share information at the expense of networking in the publishing community.  But how many of us could do it with the style, wit, and volume of knowledge that she had?

I have Icelandic wool for a traditional Icelandic pattern in my queue, but I’m considering knitting Elizabeth’s from the 14th newsletter instead.  How can I knit as much as I do and still not have knit one of her recipes?!

Switching gears again:
Wasn’t Domino the best decorating magazine ever?  The Domino Book of Decorating is a collection of some of their best ideas and images.  It’s nothing new; I just never got around to getting a copy until recently.  Though from 2008, it is still timely, like an older sibling to Grace Bonney’s Design Sponge at Home.  It was an Anthropologie impulse purchase, like the copy of Anthology (no. 11); I didn’t  need them, but they were just so pretty…

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  1. What a wonderfully eclectic & lush pile of reading you have! I've been contemplating getting ebook versions of those knitting magazines but seeing your real live versions has me reconsidering this.

  2. Oh, I try to go ebook with patterns, but if there's much writing or special photography, I want the print copy, which usually includes a digital one too. I am running out of room for craft books, though.

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