Friday, November 17, 2006

Reading while knitting.

Here to the left you can see a wire doohicky. It's more creative madness from the husbeast, known as 'the book holder-opener thingie'. (We're real sophisticated about naming stuff around here.) It's a bent up piece of 'calrod', which is used in welding things together. It's about the same size and weight as a coathanger, though, and I'm betting a properly bent coathanger would do the job, too.

You can see how it's hooked over the top of a book at the spine, to hold it open. It works best on paperbacks, but it'll get the job done on hardcovers as well. If the book is VERY thick, it will chew on the pages and cover a little, but for the most part it leaves the books unscathed.

Other than practice, this little doo-dad is the most important bit you need to read while knitting. Book weights are all very well, but they don't work for shit on paperbacks, and I don't know about you, but I can't afford to buy everything hardcover. (Plus a lot of the romance novels I read for fun don't COME in hardcover.)

Mostly I sit with a book propped on my knees and my knitting in my lap and read and knit at the same time. I'm not sure if this is a case of me being crazy and just deciding to do it one day (I read, a LOT, and always have, so it could be an independent idea), or if I read about it in something by Elizabeth Zimmerman first and figured if she could do it, I could too. I really don't remember; I've been doing this for years. The book holder-opener-thingie is close to fifteen years old; I'd had a plastic doohicky that worked much the same way before that, and when it broke the husbeast made me this one. (Some of us work in fiber when creative; the husbeast works in metal.)

It's just a matter of practice, although I've found over the years that there are some things I can't knit while reading, because they're too complex. Lace for one, though if I'm doing two-row lace with a row of plain knitting between the 'action' rows, I can read during the plain row, if the gauge is large enough. (The 0000 needle knitting has to be paid attention to at all times.) Complicated color knitting, like the black and blue sweater, where I have a chart for each row and there's no pattern repeat, I can't read while knitting either. But in the case of the brown and red jacket and similar deals, with short, easily-memorized color repeats, I have read and knit. It just depends. Yesterday I worked on the Husbeast Gansey all day while reading; the scarf was too lacey and the Knucks are too small and fiddly for reading (I'm working on the fingers; when I hit the hands, maybe).

I've also found that I can't read about knitting and knit at the same time... brain overload, maybe?

But really, for rows and rows or rounds and rounds of plain stockinette, it's the easiest thing in the world to knit and read at the same time. Try it.


Teresa said...

I have something kind of like the wire thingie, but I rarely use it. When I was about ten I got quite skillful at holding books open with my elbows or hands and knitting at the same time.

I LOVE "But not the Hippopotamus!"

Bells said...

I'm so gonna try this. My husband is going to be shown this gadget and a request will be made!

NeedleTart said...

I have been reading and knitting since the 1970s. The best are library books that have been around a while. Other readers loosen up the spine and it will lay flat.What about "Moo, Baa, La La La"? We used to recite it in the super market, complete with funny voices.

Rae said...

Your Husband should sell them. Make you a ton!

MrsFife said...

I'd love one of those doohickeys. This past week I've been devouring some books which I accidentally kind of fell over and I've been wishing I could read and knit at the same time. Otherwise the reading is sometimes-always more tempting than the knitting.
Only thing is, you'd have to let go of your knitting to turn pages...But anyway, great idea. I'm still doing it with the TV remote.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother used to read, knit and listen to the ballgame all at the same time.