Sunday, May 09, 2010

Those beans I showed you yesterday are growing with great speed – they’ll have to go out in the cold, cold ground within the next 10 days whether they like it or not, else they’ll start falling over or twining around each other. Every spring, when it comes to sowing beans, I feel a great sympathy with Jack. Who would choose a cow over those beautiful, shiny, astonishing things?

In past years, I have been in the queue at opening time for the Christian Aid Book Sale – it’s the only way to get the gems. By the time we got there yesterday, the dealers had swept in and carried off the Vogue Knitting Books my Friend on the Inside had told me about, and some other choice items. She, Lindsay, was there behind the counter, well padded against the severe cold.

What dealers? Why don’t they deal with me?

I bought a couple of old Rowan winter editions, and my husband came home with a couple of bagfuls from the Art and the Languages tables. I overheard a bored wife tell her husband where she was going, and ask how long he wanted to stay at the sale. “Eight hours?” he said.

There are thousands of books there, donated from this bookish city. The truly astonishing thing is the way they have been lovingly and intelligently sorted. The knitting counter had quantities of those old leaflets from the 60’s, sorted into piles of Babies’, Children’s, Adult’s, Accessories. That’s Lindsay’s job – she’s also got to recognise the treasures and price them appropriately, as well as turning out in the cold to sell them on the day.

It was at the Christian Aid sale, some years ago, that I found the Paton’s leaflet for the shawl I knit Rachel before she was born. Somehow or other, the copy I owned in 1958 had escaped me, and I had been hunting it in charity shops for years.

As for knitting, I press on with the sock. I have opted (without asking) for caution, in my choice of a yarn to finish off the foot, now that the original has run out. Pic tomorrow, perhaps. I am more than halfway between the end of the gusset shaping and the beginning of the toe – it shouldn’t take much longer.

Then the 50 rounds of ribbing for Sock 2, then I will happily lay them aside. There is no doubt that despite Oliver shaping; despite the pleasant variations in the Socka yarn – like an old grey cat; despite Knit Picks, knitting a big grey sock is on the boring side. I was right to press on while I had some momentum going.


  1. Well Jean I have to comment on this morning's tale before I do another thing. Your Book Sale experience 2010 has echoes of the Annual Trinity Book Sale and the Dublin City Book Fairs which I used to participate in - as a dealer I might add. But I'm not one of those dealers who elbows ordinary people aside in order to snatch up the books he wants to resell. No, I'm a book collector who buys too many and then has to sell or give some of them away. And I am the one who wants to stay for 8 hours and bored spouse resignedly goes away.

  2. Aha! That shawl pattern. I still have mine - I think from my Mother originally, and did the other one (Old Shell with border) for the first baby.

    Was never very pleased, since I didn't know about blocking back then, and then the m**h got at it so it had to go.

    I do keep wondering if that would be a good idea for some of the laceweight I have put by.

  3. =Tamar12:53 AM

    It sounds like a lovely sale. The big annual book sale near here is held by a private school. Dealers get in an hour early if they pay (free to all, later), but since more books are brought out hourly for two days, there are still gems available if you're lucky. They don't sort the books so beautifully though. I always buy too much.

  4. I love book sales. In my hometown there used to be this used bookstore and my mom reads so many books (she practically inhales them) that she got a deal with the used bookstore guy-- she would bring him truckloads of books from her collection that she was done with and then he would give her credit, so she would take a carton of new books home. Once a month they swapped and she was so sad when he went out of business some years ago.

    On another note- from an American perspective- Happy Mother's Day Jean!