Yarn Along: Full of surprises

It’s funny how your idea of yourself changes over time, isn’t it? Stuff happens, circumstances shift, and suddenly you find the things that you thought about yourself aren’t quite true any more.

As a child and teenager, I always had my nose in a book. Coming home from school (something of an epic journey, involving 2 buses and the Tube), I’d get off the bus, cross the road and immediately open my book up again as I walked up the street. My blazer pockets seams were stretched because they always had a paperback in them. Yet over the last couple of years, while I’ve still been buying books, I’ve barely been reading.

Bleak house

Until last winter, when J was studying all the time and I had a lot of time to myself. I had a lot to do, but wanted company at the same time, and I discovered my local library has a huge collection of audiobooks. Huge. And they’re all free. I really can’t recommend them enough. Your local library almost certainly has them as well, and while getting them isn’t always the smoothest experience (Overdrive, I’m looking at you here), they’ve been an absolute lifeline over the last six months. Having worked my way through most of the Bryant and May books, and half of the Burglar who… ones, I decided to try something different this week, and downloaded Bleak House.

Cue surprise number two. Although I had to read Great Expectations at school, I’ve always said that I don’t get on with Dickens. And that’s perfectly true on the page. I’m an impatient reader, and I think to get the most from him, you have to be prepared to take your time and savour the prose. So having it read to me is perfect, and was sorely tempted to volunteer to do the shelving this morning, just to get through the next chapter.

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Something seems to have come over me with my yarn projects as well. I’ve got two almost finished and one that I’m not really enjoying, and yet I have no inclination to start something new. Instead, I’m concentrating on the edging of my Vintage Fremont (started with 18g of yarn, which may or may not be enough. more pictures on Rav page) and am ready to start the sleeves of mum’s cardigan. I keep thinking “I should wind some more yarn for a new project because these will be finished soon,” but instead, I keep on keeping on with them. That doesn’t mean I’m not planning what I’ll do next, it’s just that for once, I’m happy for it to stay a plan until I’m actually ready to start. And I’m even thinking that I might drag something out of hibernation and actually (whisper it) finish it.

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of maturity, regression or just that my need to clear the decks has overtaken my need to start new things. Either way, at least I’m getting things done!

To see how others are getting on this week, head over to Ginny’s. (no picture today, because WordPress won’t let me copy the code!)

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28 thoughts on “Yarn Along: Full of surprises

    1. I find with any dense prose, I really have to have it read to me for it to make sense. Otherwise, I struggle with the structure and can’t get into the story.

      Thanks!

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  1. I was an avid reader for many, many years and then I learned to knit, ahem. I wish I could read and knit at the same time, but I can’t so now I read at night before I go to sleep.
    Good for you in sticking with your projects, I have a blanket that has been on the needles for way too long that I am trying to pay attention too, but I keep finding other projects to work on. πŸ˜‰

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    1. Audiobooks give me that ‘stitching and reading’ fix, so I definitely recommend them.

      It’s far too easy to find other things, isn’t it? I think as I have a set of stuff I want to work on without distractions, it’s easier to focus on getting things finished!

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  2. I’m glad you enjoy my Bryant & May novels. Dickens always read his work aloud so they should work well on audio. Parts of ‘Bleak House’ are a bit of a slog but it does pay off beautifully.

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    1. I’ve had to slow down my reading of the Bryant & May books, because I was powering through them so quickly! When you’re enjoying something, you don’t want it to end, and I absolutely love the characters – they’ve spoiled me for other detective stories. Thank you!

      I’d forgotten about Dickens’ performances of his work, and yes, it makes total sense that they’d be ideal audiobooks. It helps that the readers are very good – the right reader can really make or break a book, I think.

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  3. I love a lot of Dickens but Little Dorrit was the limit! Now I struggle to read poetry but love it when it’s read to me. Well done on deck clearing. Could do with doing a bit more myself.

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    1. After hearing good things about the BBC version of Bleak House, I thought it would be a good one to start with, and I’m definitely enjoying it more than I ever did the physical books.

      Poetry isn’t something I really enjoy, if I’m honest, or rather, I enjoy very, very little. Maybe if I tried some recordings, I might get more into it!

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  4. Audio books are simply wonderful, aren’t they? Most of us enjoyed being read to when we were young, and we still do read alouds at home even though our kids are teens, so why not enjoy being read to? Hope your yarn is enough to finish! πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s a good point about liking being read to as children. I think there’s also something about having the words come so directly into my head. I’m terrible for mis-reading or skipping words, so having the characters ‘live’ in my brain is very effective for me!

      Thanks. I’m slightly nervous, but will knit down to the last yard before admitting defeat πŸ™‚

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  5. That’s so true. We change. It is good. And we can also really choose what we want to be, don’t you think?
    Take your time and enjoy the planning πŸ™‚
    Your projects are very beautiful!

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    1. You’re absolutely right, and it’s funny the things that change, and the ones that don’t. I still can’t stand baked beans or Roald Dahl’s writing, but I’ve grown to love Dickens and Austen.

      Thanks. There’s a definite air of finishing things to start anew around here at the moment. I’m intrigued myself to see what’s going to happen.

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  6. My reading has ebbed and flowed over the years. I went through a long spell of just reading quick romance novels (when my kids were little and time was short). I realize now that I probably missed out on a whole lot of great books. I am making up for it now. I just wish I had more time. Don’t we all. Your knitting is beautiful. Maybe you are just doing some Spring cleaning of projects to see new ones bloom in their place. Enjoy.

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    1. I used to worry that I was reading the ‘wrong’ things – I like sci fi and fantasy, which meant I read very little that I was ‘supposed’ to read. I think now, I’m happier about saying that I’ll read the right book for me at the right time, and that it doesn’t really matter if it’s what I’m ‘supposed’ to read or not!

      I love that way of putting it. Yes, it does feel like spring cleaning my projects, and hopefully the new ones will be just as satisfying πŸ™‚ Thank you.

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  7. i had never really considered dickens on audiobooks…..but i think i just might queue one! great suggestion!!!…….I just wish i was as disciplined with my knitting as you; at the moment, i’m hardly getting one thing cast on before I cast on something else!! (this ebbs and wanes fortunately!) Love the vintage freemont. (maybe I need to cast that one on, too!!!! hee hee!)

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    1. I’ve found that in audiobook I can get through things that I would never tackle on paper (Dickens, Hilary Mantel).

      Don’t worry, normal service of starting ALL THE THINGS will be resumed around here soon! For some reason, these projects are particularly gripping me right now, and I really want to get them done – I think it’s more about wanting to do these than not wanting to do other things, but I’m sure I’ll get over it πŸ˜‰

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  8. It’s amazing to think about changing. I remember feeling like things changed so much for me while I was a teenager and into college. Looking back, I think I didn’t change that much during those times as I have since “being an adult” with a real job and responsibilities. Maybe those changes happened out of necessity but maybe not. I can say that I’ve learned a few things in my adult life I couldn’t grip when i was younger: braiding hair, golf, knitting, crochet…:)

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    1. Change creeps up on you, I think. You think you’re doing everything the same, then look around one day and realise it’s all different! Just as well, really – if we thought about it too much, we’d never do anything πŸ™‚

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  9. I can’t knit and read at the same time, so it’s either one or the other for me. When I was a young girl I read so much, similar to you also on the sidewalk while walking… Thanks for your reading recommendation you left on our blog. Crocodile on the Sandbank sounds so fitting, as we’ll also be travelling a bit through Florida πŸ˜‰

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    1. I listen to audiobooks so I can do both at once, although if it’s a complicated pattern, I’ll sometimes have to switch to music!

      Hope you enjoy the book and your trip!

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  10. Good job sticking to what you start. I am a finisher as well…… if I start something, I feel like I need to see it through.
    My son listens to audiobooks constantly. I do normally, but have been listening to lots of podcasts lately… my new addiction!

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    1. I’m awful for not finishing things, so this is very out of character for me. Not sure it’s going to last, but I’m enjoying it while it does πŸ™‚

      I love podcasts too, and it’s hard keeping up with them as well as the audiobooks. I’m going to have to get more organised, I think, so I don’t get too far behind with anything.

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  11. I loved listening to the Classic Serial as a child, it is still on Radio 4, most of what I listened to was way beyond what I could read and understand. Hearing a book is a very different experience and I have never really go into audio books (I still listen to the Classic Serial occasionally), I prefer a book in my hand πŸ˜‰

    Hope you have enough yarn…….

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    1. I used to be a Radio 4 addict and had it on all the time. But the new podcast app on my iPod isn’t as good, and I’ve fallen out of the habit as I’ve found more audiobooks I like. I still love to read, but mostly on trips or holiday. For day to day, audiobooks are a lifesaver.

      Thanks! I’ll let you know πŸ™‚

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  12. Your knitting is beautiful. I love the colors of the yarn you’re using. As to Dickens, I watched a couple of shows on PBS and had to read the books. What confuses me with Dickens is that he has so many characters to keep track of. I ended up printing a list of the books characters so I could keep track in the story line. That’s a great idea – audio books!

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    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ I’m very proud of it, as it’s only my second knitting project!

      I know what you mean about all those characters. At least on the audiobook, all the voices are different, and you can’t misread a name!

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