reading

Combining my twin loves

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Somewhat appropriately after my last post, it's been a while since I've put pen to paper but I've had a wonderful holiday and break with my family and am now back at my desk. As usual after a bit of a break all those creative ideas and projects that I've been mulling over forever all seem to be clamouring for attention at the same time and it's difficult to force myself to sit down and focus - never my forte at the best of times.

For today I've decided to go with my heart and set up something I've been meaning to do for ages. As you know I love to combine my twin loves of knitting and reading and I'm often seen with my Kindle or a book in hand. Since becoming a parent and a knitter however the amount of free time I have to read has dwindled sadly and I can only look back with fondness on those days when I could sit and read a book in a single sitting.

My recent holiday though did give me the opportunity to sit and read for whole blocks of time which felt like a lovely self-indulgent treat and one which I want to carry on doing now that I'm home. Nothing major and no huge goals, just the gentle commitment to try and fit more reading time into my everyday - spending less time on Twitter might also help.

With that in mind I was looking on Instagram for good hashtags which celebrate my twin loves of knitting and reading and found very little. There are some great #bookstagram accounts which I love - those like @bookishbronte and @julybookshelf are really inspirational and have some great recommendations - but I couldn't find many which were specifically for knitters who love to read.

So - we now have #bookishknitter as a hashtag and I also took the opportunity to dust off my long-dormant Goodreads account. It has been neglected for ages so I had a bit of a spring (autumn) clean, added a few new books and away I went.

I also set up a Bookish Knitters Group on Goodreads too - because - well, why not? Please do connect to me over there and let me know what your reading plans are. And if you'd like to join the group - or use the #bookishknitter hashtag on Instagram that would be fabulous too.

And if you are interested in more community (and bot free) hashtags please do think about signing up for my monthly Instagram newsletter. The first one will be hitting inboxes next week and will contains some great ideas for livening up your Instagram, making new connections  and avoiding the bot-ridden bigger knitting hashtags.

How I knit and read at the same time

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I post a lot of photos of my knitting, often with my Kindle alongside as that’s my favourite way to spend a bit of down time, and I’m frequently asked how I manage to knit and read at the same time.

I think it’s important to say up front that this isn't something that I do all the time and I’m certainly not some sort of multi-tasking guru. Only certain kinds of knitting is appropriate for this and only at certain times. But yes, with that caveat in place I believe it is perfectly possible with a little practice to teach yourself to knit without looking at your yarn. Your eyes are then free to watch TV, go to the cinema or indeed to read. I don't know about you but my reading time really suffered when I took up knitting and I really needed to find a way to bring it back into my daily life.

It really is a habit and we often look at our stitches just because they are there. We don’t really need to see what we are doing as we are relying on touch and muscle memory to do most of the work for us. A lot of the time I watch my stitches just because it is soothing and slightly hypnotic and because who doesn’t like to see pretty colours.

But if you do want to branch out a little and expand your skill set I put together a few simple tips for knitting without looking at your stitches:

Pick something simple - preferably all stocking stitch or garter stitch. Something like a sock or a hat knit in the round is perfect, especially if you are using a circular needle.

Start to knit and for a stitch or two try closing your eyes or glancing away from your work.

Use a Kindle, e-reader or a book that will stay open by itself. Put the book on a flat surface in front of you.

Just take it slowly, don’t rush the stitches and have patience with yourself. Don’t try to do any complicated cabling just yet or to read War and Peace. Just pick some lovely smooth yarn (something that doesn't split) and a good, relaxing read.

Have a go - just a few minutes every day - and you might just surprise yourself.