On the needles: mittens with color-stranded heart for upcoming holiday revelry.
I've been reading Elizabeth Zimmermann's knitting books. Written in the middle of the last century by this famous knitter, they've been reprinted in recent years. My library lends them out. This is a fabulous system.
Knitting Without Tears is full of advice for simple techniques, how to make your own sweaters and things come out right. But most of all, a reminder to enjoy knitting without all the stress.
Knitting? Stressful? If Grandma can do it, how is it stressful? The two words seem oxymoronic, until you try to make something out of two sticks and some string. It's HARD. It's WEIRD. It ain't EASY. So yes, a book is a wonderful companion when you are near the tears. Elizabeth has a style that is something like, "Don't sweat it, I've got a fix for that." In her Knitter's Almanac she narrates one year while filling a book full of techniques for various projects. I loved reading about knitting at night in a dark car's passenger seat. Or, how the temperature was 20 below at 11 am, the fire was hot and it was good knitting weather. Might as well get to it. Besides, my great-grandmother raised six children with an alcoholic wife-beater on a remote farm, and lived to be a rather happy old lady. (He died.) THAT'S STRESSFUL. Knitting? Not so much.
This is the kind of thing that I like, people. If you do, too, then check her out. She's been in your shoes, and what is more comforting than someone telling you you're not alone, AND having something beautiful to wear at the end of it?