Friday, July 07, 2006

Forty-two: The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything

Don't you wish it were that simple? Perhaps not. I've always liked the number forty-two, being such a fan of Douglas Adams.

Yesterday was reasonably productive, from a delving and decluttering standpoint. A few highlights:


We love books. Reading and owning a sizeable book collection has always been an important part of our identity, yet the impending requirement to downsize our possessions cannot, practically speaking, exclude the books.

Our initial estimate was that we could manage to take along enough to fill six of these smallish shelves:

Note what already takes up one sixth of our can't-live-without-'em space.

I have been forced to give careful thought to what actually makes it so important to me to own all these books - or any given book, for that matter.

  1. Buying (when you can) rather than borrowing is something of a financial courtesy to the author, which in turn makes it more likely that good books will continue to be published.
  2. Being surrounded by books makes me feel rich in ideas and wisdom and vicariously shared experiences. I love bookstores in very much the same way as yarn or fabric stores - for the sense of potential and possibility contained on those overflowing shelves. It is hard to imagine giving up either stash.
  3. I identify myself as "the sort of person who is surrounded by books." This one bears careful examination, because it is perilously close to being attached to an object for the sake of status. A large and eclectic collection of great books creates an aura of knowledge and sophistication - "well-read" is an undeniably admirable quality. Would it say anything different about me if I no longer owned all those books I've read?
  4. I want my children to grow up with books, to experience the delight of raiding the bookshelf on a rainy afternoon and discovering all those wonderful stories that I wish I could read again for the first time. It is also a way of passing on part of myself - because so much of how I see the world is influenced by the books I have read - my children can dip into that same well of story and idea and take away bits to become part of their own selves.

I think, in the end, there will be more than six shelves. But we have decided that what we can't keep, we will take to Whistler and donate to the local library which, last I checked, was woefully understocked. Not only will they then be shared, but they also won't feel so far away.


I also dug up more yarn (big surprise.) This is Baghdad Blue from Peace Fleece:

Is it just me, or is this considerably more purple than blue? It was the first time I've been really stunned by the difference between the webstore's photo and the real life color. I'm not exactly complaining, because it's a beautiful color, scrumptious wool, and a company with a great cause, but I thought it might be worth a mention in case anyone reading plans to order it. Personally, I chose to see it as an opportunity to break away from my blue rut.

Here's the handpainted skeins in "heavenly blues" I bought to coordinate:

Also leaning strongly to purple.

Finally, a shamefully UFO (I think it stalled about 2 years ago):

This is from Alice Starmore's Fishermen's Sweaters (worth having as eye candy even if you never knit a single thing from it). I made it a little ways into the armhole steeks when I began to have a sinking sensation about the quantity of yarn left.
This is a loose fitting sweater with long sleeves - am I really going to get the remainder of the bodice as well as two sleeves out of the yarn pictured here? I was not nearly so confident a knitter when I bought the supplies and basically put blind faith in the yardage calculations done by the woman at the LYS in Winnipeg. My gauge is on, or if anything, a little small (which is fine, since I am slender) and I am in a real quandry. It is a spectacular design, which I would love to finish, and a great learning experience in traditional gansey construction - just look at the way the pattern flows into the underarm gusset: It is also very labor intensive and I don't want to plug along blindly and wind up short a sleeve's worth. The navy yarn is Paton's Country Gardens DK (which does not appear to exist anymore) and the red and oatmeal are a King Cole merino superwash, which does, although I'm sure the original dyelots are long gone. What odds the King Cole navy would match this one if I were to run out? I guess there's only one way to find out.

Learning point here: make sure you have plenty of yardage when you substitute AND beware leaving a UFO so long that its yarn is discontinued.