Libraries, the universe and everything

May 3, 2011, 22:01
Filed under: Non-library stuff | Tags: , , ,

I’m not sure if it’s all the good weather we’ve been having lately, or a lingering bank holiday feeling, but I really can’t work up enough enthusiasm to blog about anything serious. I’m also conscious that I chose the name for this blog with a view to posting about things other than libraries once in a while, so now seems like a pretty good time for my first non-library-related piece.

Particular inspiration for this post came from the fact that over the most recent bank holiday weekend I managed to finish one of my most challenging projects this year – knitting my first pair of socks! I’ve been knitting for a little over 2 years now, mostly basic hats and scarves, but earlier this year I felt I was ready to try something a bit more challenging. Supported by an excellent book which I thoroughly recommend, I dragged my husband out to my favourite knitty shop to select yarn and needles, and got to work. Following initial trepidation I was delighted to discover that it was actually quite easy – the pattern was really clear, and as long as I read each bit of the instructions at least 3 times before trying to put them into practice it all went according to plan – and I’m extremely pleased with the results. Inspired by this I’ve been busy taking photos of all my other knitted projects to upload to my Ravelry page, but I shan’t bore you with them here (if you’re really interested I’m el399 on there too). Next up, I’m making myself an iPad case, though as I’m pretty much improvising the pattern as I go along I’m expecting it to turn out rather wonky!

super stripy socks

As I’ve grown in confidence as a knitter, and started to turn into the sort of person who talks about knitting in the pub, I’ve realised that quite a few of the other librarians I know are also into knitting – as well as face-to-face discussions I’ve participated in the odd exchange on the subject on Twitter, and I’m looking forward to making @girlinthe’s classmark mittens later in the year. This has set me wondering, is knitting a particularly librarianly hobby, or is it just that it’s quite popular generally at the moment? I guess one could say that knitting requires a methodical approach, is aided by an ability to memorise instructions, and enhanced by a certain amount of creative flair, which with a sweeping generalisation can just about be applied to librarianism too, and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this too…!

Interestingly (to me, at least), another hobby of mine also requires a methodical approach and a good memory, and is equally well-populated by librarians (although in my experience predominantly retired ones) – bell ringing. Described by one of my friends as akin to doing su-doku in your head whilst standing up, I find ringing much harder than knitting (with the added complication that it’s really obvious when you go wrong, and you can’t just quietly unpick it and make it all better!), but I’m still enjoying the challenge. I still don’t like su-doku though.

My next challenge is to combine the two – ringing tunes (or ‘methods’) are written out in a way which translates beautifully into patterns, and the über-geek in me is itching to do just that! I’ve come across a couple of knitted and embroidered projects based upon them, and am keen to create my own (though am open to suggestions if you happen to have a pattern to hand!). Cross-stitch bookmarks would be by far the easiest way to do this, but I really want to knit something – I’m thinking maybe a scarf based on one of the most simple methods, though currently I can’t decide whether to do this with different colours or stitches, or maybe cabling…

method diagram for plain hunt on 8 bells

One other thing that librarians, knitters and ringers all seem to have in common is a shared appreciation for a good pub, though as I’ve also noticed this trait in most of the choristers, skiers and other groups with which I’m involved it’s possible that this is just a defining characteristic of the sort of person I tend to hang out with! 🙂


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ooh, interesting! I haven’t knitted anything since primary school (and badly then), but I’ve wanted to give bell-ringing a shot for ages! I put that down to being the logical kind of musician rather than to librarian tendencies but maybe you’re onto something.


Comment by Niamh

Ringing is great, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go!


Comment by Emma Davidson

Ooh, and now I just realised I met you at the #lisnpn meet-up after LILAC and am already following your blog. 2+2=…(a bit slow on the uptake)


Comment by Niamh



Comment by Emma Davidson

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