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What else I read in 2018

Bible study books

I once complained to my mother, as she removed the cereal packets from the breakfast table, “You have taken my reading away!” Now you know that, it may not surprise you that I have not yet written about everything I have read this year. I have read instructions, messages, letters, the local newspaper, the free local guide, National Trust magazines, English Heritage magazines and numerous blog posts and Tweets.

Some of the books I have read during the year have escaped from my regular bookish posts. They are not books, which I have sat down and read from cover to cover; some are daily Bible reading notes, others are books which help untrained people study the Bible together.

The Bible reading notes I use are New Daylight published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) and The Upper Room also published by BRF in the UK, but also available in many languages and countries around the world.

Scripture Union/IVP publish Life Builder Bible studies. This year the Ladies Bible study group has used Daniel, The Fruit of the Spirit and is now part way through Angels. Because the studies are intended for use by untrained (lay) people, leadership of the group can be shared between those members, who are willing to chair a study. These were written by people in the USA. Some of the examples in them are less appropriate to UK culture and general knowledge.

The study of Angels barely scratches the surface of the subject. I hope to set aside some time to study it in more depth.

Some of the group read The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz. (I first became aware of this book via Bible Gateway.)

I have also continued to read through the Psalms as part of my daily reading and have begun to use Evelyn Underhill’s Prayer Book.

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What I read in November (Part 2)

The Boy Who Could See Death by Salley Vickers

When I borrowed this book from the library I hadn’t realised it is a book of short stories, which takes its name from perhaps the most haunting one. I may have mentioned previously that I prefer novels to short stories. Starting to read a short story is as much work as starting to read a novel. Then a few pages later it comes to an end. I don’t always manage to work out what the whole story has been about! There was at least one story in this collection, which left me guessing. (I like all the ends tied in and no room for doubt in a story!)

However, Salley Vickers writes extremely well and remains on my list of authors to look out for in the library. A review of another of her books appears in a previous post.

Meadowland: the private life of an English field by John Lewis-Stempel

I am cheating by including this library book here as I had not finished it by the end of November. It is a book I have been savouring. Each month of a particular year has a chapter to itself. The author describes life on his farm in Herefordshire near to the Welsh border. The history of the area, traditions, literature and patient observation of creatures and plants go to make this book rather special. While the author is very knowledgeable, he manages to communicate his knowledge in a way that is interesting to those with different levels of knowledge of the natural world.

It is the kind of subject, where the more you know, the more you learn. I found the prose particularly enjoyable, with a very gentle sense of humour being apparent. As in many of my favourite books, a map is included at the beginning. This one is of the farm. There are also lists of species observed, a list of nature books in the author’s possession and a list of music.

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A knitted teacosy

I recently began to drink decaffeinated tea. As hubby is still drinking the usual sort, we have two teapots on the table. I found that a half-full pot of tea cools down more quickly. We needed a teacosy.

When I was a child older knitters in my family used to make fluted teacosies. I learned how to knit these from them. I am sure I have a pattern somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. However I remembered how the pattern works. What I did find was a bag of assorted yarn. The pattern is for DK yarn, but all my yarn was thinner than that. I used two strands together and spent a proportion of the total time to make the item untangling four strands of yarn!

I cast on 98 stitches. The number of stitches has to be a multiple of 6 with 2 extra for the seams. Two identical pieces are required. Two rows are knitted in the yarn used to cast on; each subsequent row is worked in two contrasting colours. Unlike Fairisle knitting (where the work has to be flat and floats may be woven in during the knitting) the floats across the inside are pulled tight, giving the fluted effect.

Fluted knitting

The first stitch is knitted in one colour, then six in the contrast and another six in the first colour. Repeating the twelve stitch pattern leaves one stitch at the end to be knitted in the next colour. On the reverse row it is important to put the yarn to the wrong side (facing) when not in use. All stitches are worked knitwise.

Instead of knitting one side and then the other, I made both pieces at once using two pairs of size 4mm bamboo knitting needles. I was unsure how far the yarn would go and wanted both sides to match. It meant I had to keep cutting some of the yarn and rejoining it.

Right side of teacosy

An alternativee method is to wind small balls of yarn to divide the oddments into two equal lengths. This may reduce the number of ends which have to be sewn in.

Wrong side/inside of teacosy

I tied the pairs of ends before sewing them.

I worked out the shaping by comparing my work with the teapot.

The openings were neatened by working a row of double crochet. (Warning: crochet terminology is different in UK and US patterns.)

Teacosy

Teacosy from above

Detail of opening with crochet