Mar 29, 2007

Visual Learning

I am a reader and, in general, my first response to the unfamiliar is to go to the library and find a book. Buying an appliance – find a book. Taking a trip – find a book. Parenting issue – find a book. Medical difficulty – find a book. It’s my response to just about everything and, through the years, this has served me well. I learned how to cut my hair (ok, that’s a bad example but it was the 80's), to knit, to do household repairs, and to cook. All of these things were pretty successful.

Lately though, the books have been letting me down. I’ve come across some new-to-me cast-ons and, although I consulted numerous books, I just couldn’t wrap my head around them. Ditto for chained singles or Navajo plying. I just couldn’t figure out how to get it to work for me. I tried and failed miserably. Thankfully, I found some great little tutorials on the web. What would we do without the internet and, more importantly, knitting/spinning blogs?

Chained Singles - FinnFor spinning techniques I seem to gravitate to The Joy of Handspinning ( The quick little videos are just what I need. I can read all about the why’s and wherefore’s but, in the end, what I need is for someone to just show it to me and these little video’s do the trick. Granted, I watch them over and over and over again – sometimes as many as 10 times before I try it myself. At some point though, it clicks.

Most recently, it helped me figure out how to Navajo ply. See this, it's the remainder of the Finn as a tiny skein of chained singles. Isn't it cute?

Speaking of reading. I've been reading quite a bit lately. A little over a month ago I mentioned some of the books I'd been reading. In response I got some great suggestions of books to add to my reading list. I wrote them down in a little notebook to carry in my bag so that it would be handy if I found myself at the library. I just finished the first one on my list, Cane River by Lalita Tademy, a suggestion from Carole. I loved this book! The story is a fictionalized version of the author's family history. This story about a family of strong women in Louisiana and their gradual move from slavery to freedom was totally engrossing. I love books that take me away to a different time or place and this one truly did.

I'm actually not the only one who's been reading a lot lately - the Drama Queen has been bitten hard by the Harry Potter bug. We've had these books in the house for years but they've sat, mostly undisturbed, for a long time. Suddenly, about 2 weeks ago, DQ picked one up and now she's on #5. She just won't put them down. Sadly a recent dip in her usually stellar grades reflect her total fixation on Harry Potter and, although hubbo and I have tried to realign her priorities, she is resisting strenuously. Thankfully there is only one more book on our shelves now and the last installment won't be out until the summer - after school ends.


Carole Knits said...

Your Navajo plying looks great and I'm impressed that you could get it from the videos on the web. I tried and tried but couldn't figure it out until someone showed me - in person. I think I was over thinking it because it's really quite simple.
I'm so glad you enjoyed Cane River. There's a sequel now called Red River but I haven't read it yet so I can't tell you if it's good or not.

Margene said...

Nice work on NP. I too didn't understand it well until someone showed me in person. Spinning Spider Jenny has a great tutorial on her blog today!
I'm someone who read book IN THE PAST! LOL

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I took to spinning pretty easily so only about 2 months after I got my wheel a took a class with one of the other SnB gals at a shop about an hour away. It was an intermediate class and we did the chained singles in class, but I really didn't catch on particularly. I really need to give it another go now that I am more comfortable on the wheel. I think the video may serve as a good reminder to me.

Krista said...

It's amazing how fast that Harry Potter bug hits! I picked up book #1 one day on a whim and 4 weeks later was I finishing book 4 and waiting for book 5!

Your spinning has been so beautiful. I love all the colors you've chosen.

Krista said...

Oh, by the way, A Harry Potter Knitting book is coming out in May by Alison at The Blue Blog.

Melissa said...

I love Harry Potter!! :)

A girl at work is reading the Cane River sequel and is loving it!