I’m still reading Out on a Limb. I saw a method for reading and knitting at the same time at a knitting blog which I have not been able to find again. This knitter props her book open on her desk at work with a stapler and a tape dispenser, and knits while reading — presumably reading stuff for work. I don’t have that kind of job, and even when I did have a desk, I would not have knitted at it. I sure would have liked to knit through staff meetings, though. I think most employers would look askance at people knitting during work time. Some of the knitting blogs even talk about people complaining at them for knitting on buses and other public places (although the Knitting Revolutionary http://monnsqueak.blogdrive.com/ points out that you have sharp sticks with which to poke their squishy bits if they do so. Not that I would ever do that…). However, I think the propping idea would work for those who like to read and knit but cannot keep their books open. Out on a Limb, since it is a mass paperback, is not big enough to accomodate a stapler, but maybe a pocketknife or some keys would do it. Something small but heavy would be the thing to look for.

I have completed the ribbing for both sleeves — I knit them both at the same time, in hopes of increasing the chances that they will be identical when I finish. And here is where the knitting geeks have a decided advantage. They will have taken multiple measurements of their arms, graphed out the sleeve pattern, used the gauge and their measurements to figure the precise number of stitches for each measurement, and written it all down somewhere. They will count their stitches at each point. They will never have to fear that one sleeve will be in any way different from the other.

My mother, who crochets, tells the story of how she learned to do so. She was making slippersocks (we have never inquired further into what those are; I assume it is a sort of unconstructed slipper, or a heavy sock intended for use as a slipper). She made one successfully, and then had to make a whole bunch more before she ended up with two that actually matched. By the time she had done all that, she was accomplished at crochet. She is now a fiber artist who crochets elaborate scenes and sells them for large sums. Here is one of her pictures. I was not able to find a picture of one of her fiber art pieces. I own a scanner and of course have pictures of her pieces which I could scan in, but for some reason I have not yet grasped the means of making scanned pictures small enough to be digestible to xanga. Like all middle-aged people with computers, I intend to have my kids explain it to me some day.

Now, I have an aunt as well. I know that she sews, but I don’t know whether she knits or not. However, I do know that — if she did — her sleeves would always be identical. I know this because she is the very pattern of domestic perfection. She has no dust in her house, for example. Every room of her house is beautifully decorated, and she probably made all the curtains herself. She is not fussy and nervous, though. Her lovely meals are all served after she has spent about five minutes in the kitchen. This is not because they are secretly take-out meals, but because she is so organized that she has everything done ahead, and arranged so well that she rarely has to do any work when anyone can see her. I assume that when we don’t see her, she cleans things and cooks and otherwise works like a demon, but I have never seen her other than serene.

It is my goal to achieve this when I entertain. Not in my daily life, of course, because I like to set realistic goals. If you were to drop by my house at this moment, you would not only find dust on the piano legs, but shoes on the window seat as well. What can I say? But when I do the holiday meals, for example, it is my goal to do them the way my aunt does. People should come in and find a splendid meal and everything looking nice, and me relaxing and looking like a lady of leisure who has just given the servants the rest of the day off.

In reality, I am always still racing around a little, and calling one kid or another to fetch and carry something. But it is good to have goals in life. It is possible that I will achieve the goal of identical sleeves this time around.