Yarn Along

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading (though not at the same time!), and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

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This week I have been reading mainly non-fiction.  I am toying with the idea of trying to read all of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books this year.  But really, if I even read one of them cover to cover, I’ll be happy with that.  I own several and right now am reading her Knitter’s Almanac.  I love all the little anecdotes that she writes, and that even reading through her patterns is interesting.

After mentioning a book here about frugal organic eating that I was reading recently, one of you recommended Wildly Affordable Organic, saying that you liked it better.  Yes, it is better!  There is more useful information in this book, in my opinion. I have it out from the library, but may end up buying it.

I’ve also read the first few chapters of Ken Ludwig’s How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare this week, just enough to get us started.  I’m excited to start studying Shakespeare with my kids!  I plan to include everyone Seth down to Beatrix.  I’ll let you know how it goes and if we stick with it!

I’m knitting a ribbed hat for my brother-in-law, and I’m almost finished with it.  You really do have to just power through when you are knitting ribbing round and round for what feels like forever.  It makes such a nice snug hat though, so it’s worth it.


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  1. Those two books are so interesting to me! Since moving to Canada we have had to change our marketing to mostly not organic and I would love to figure out how to get ourselves back towards mostly organic. We have a big garden and animals but still, one must run to the store frequently. You always have great book suggestions.

  2. Does Elizabeth Zimmerman have an instructional book for beginners?

  3. It was me! Wildly Organic is my favorite! I am also buying it! make sure you fill out her survey at her website, she is also encouraging people to give classes in their communities! GOOD FOOD!

  4. Ginny,
    I really look forward to reading about what your children think of the learning Shakespeare book… and the organic frugal eating book sounds great too!
    Blessings in the New Year,

  5. Oh gosh, Ginny, I can’t tell you how EXCITED I get when I hear people want to study Shakespeare with their little ones! I’ve never read a formal book on doing this with the children, so I want to encourage you that if you give up on reading the book, just pick a few things that make for a fun intro into the plays.

    We always found a library version of Shakespeare plays (or used Charles & Mary Lamb’s Tales) to read first to the children, then we would try to break down scenes by me writing them out on a white board. The children would put their own paper booklets together and draw out each scene and then write a bit under each picture (or narrate to me to write it for them). They’d do neat cover pages and voila, a book on the play made by themselves.

    We’d also use Playmobil to act out some scenes or just create a scene (or with modeling clay). Even last year we did this with my 12 year olds and they loved it! We even had the kids practice a shorter version of the play or even just a scene from it to act out for daddy when he’d get home from work (complete with their version of costumes). If there was a movie version suitable for them to watch (or even parts of it) we’d also include that as part of our study.

    And now that we live only an hour from Stratford (in Ontario, Canada) we have the opportunity to go see many Shakespeare plays on the stage. This year I took my eldest (16) to see King Lear. Not a favourite one (and very dark and artistically done. ha!) but an experience all the same. But we’ve accessed all the plays-in-the-park that put on Shakespeare as well, and the children have loved going.

    It has been so much fun studying Shakespeare plays this way and makes them less afraid the older they get to think of studying these more intensely in the older grades. I highly recommend throwing yourself into this task of teaching it when they’re young. Can you tell I get excited about this stuff??!!!

  6. Where did you acquire your Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books? I’m sure Amazon and eBay probably have them listed but I’m curious which route you took. Beautiful yarn and hat!

  7. what a great knit and sounds like the organic book is super useful! I need to read E Z’s books someday as well!

  8. I’ve knit a few Lorne’s hats. i LOVE the finished product. knitting them is an exercise in patience. they do seem to go on forever don’t they!

    hubby and i are hitting up the mason dixon cafe sat. for breakfast. any recommendations?

  9. I am so excited about The Year of Books. Somehow I missed that last year.
    The Shakespeare book looks so good. I’m going to check it out to see if it has any tips for a public school teacher!

  10. Reading Shakespeare with your children – what a fabulous idea! I’m going to pass that along to my daughter. I’m still reading Sylvia’s Farm – the Journal of an Improbable Shepherd, and enjoying every page!

  11. Oh how exciting to be learning Shakespeare for the first time, what a blessing! I’m a great believer in watching as many interpretations as possible, because the plays were written to be watched rather than read. Enjoy!

  12. We are not homeschooling but I might have a look at that book on how to teach Shakespeare to kids. I’d really like to find a way to enjoy Shakespeare with the kids. I went to the theatre and the opera a lot as a child and really enjoyed it. With our three boys we read a lot together, but living out in the countryside we rarely have the opportunity to go to the theatre and they enjoy both fiction and history a lot so this might be something we can all do together.

    I’ve had the Knitter’s Almanac for years but still haven’t read it. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it though, I really should…

  13. Our kids enjoyed studying Shakespeare so much in home school! We even made it to see a show at the Globe before we moved back to the USA. To help with understanding the language we used the “No Fear Shakespeare” versions which have both the original and a modern English version. It is sometimes problematic because Shakespeare can be very rude!!
    I will have to check out Wildly Affordable Organic Thank You.

  14. Dear Ginny,
    We started Ken Ludwig’s book (after the intro from Sarah’s read aloud revival) this school year and we are on to Bottom’s passage ‘I have had a most rare vision I have had a dream… ‘— even my 4 yr old !!
    We are really having fun with it and I imagine we will stick with it for all the years bc it is truly is enriching and worthwhile for so many good reasons.
    Love your sharing of books and knits-
    I still find the blog world so weird bc we glean from complete strangers who we have so many interests in common but no real connection-…
    I call my fav bloggers my friends who aren’t my friends 😉

  15. I started that Shakespeare book with my kids recently and we love – all of us! Do you use a certain pattern for your 2×2 ribbed hat? It looks simple, but I’m not quite to the point of seeing something and coming up with how to do it on my own! It looks like a hat that would be great for my husband. Love that yarn you are using!

  16. I have gotten so many project and book ideas from you and the other lovely participants of your Yarn Alongs. Thank you!

  17. Oh, how I love Elizabeth Zimmerman! She was absolutely brilliant. The first time I wrapped my head around the Baby Surprise Jacket, I was totally in awe of her! I need to get home and photograph my current knitting and reading … pesky work day has me running late, ha ha.

  18. I love that hat, especially made with good yarn, like you are using. I made one for my husband last year at Christmas, after perusing your patterns on Ravelry. 🙂 I just blogged about my sweater-that-never-ends yesterday so I’ll hopefully blog about the finished sweater next week. Back and forth on a cardigan is almost worse than round and round, though now that I’m on the sleeves, I’d rather be going back and forth. Never happy!

  19. Melanie McGrogan says:

    You know I love the Shakespeare book! I have some book recommendations for your younger ones. Caroline LOVED these: Green Tiger’s Illustrated Shakespeare, More Tales From Shakespeare, and, William Shakespeare and The Globe by Aliki. Great illustrations and in a narrative form so the younger ones can understand. I also HIGHLY recommend the trips to Blackfriars in the spring. We’re seeing a comedy so it’ll be lighter than the ones we’ve seen to date!

  20. Oh what fun! Shakespeare and kids! I vividly remember studying Shakespeare with my children. I have a photography of one of my daughters lying on the floor, painting the ceiling of her Globe Theater that she made. Here is another great book that we used in our studies:

  21. Beautiful yarn color! I’ll have to see if our library has the Wildly Affordable Organic book too. I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Zimmerman before, but she has certainly been recommended to me quite a few times and I should check her out.

  22. I love it when ‘instruction’ books are readable in that way. I’ve got some recipe books like that, where even though I only make a few things from them, I love to sit down and leaf through them. Rick Stein (British Chef) is great for that, as he loves telling stories, and I find Nigella Lawson is the same. Without the rich history that knitting has, I don’t think there are many crochet books with anecdotes, stories and suchlike alongside the patterns. Maybe there’s a gap in the market!

  23. Can’t wait to check out this book. I love buying organic, but it can get so pricey, especially when buying for a whole family.

  24. Thank you for the book recommendation – hopefully the library has the Wildly Affordable Organic book.

  25. The Shakespeare book sounds interesting. My eldest homeschooled when we lived near London, so we did a ton with her. We used everything from film adaptations to graphic novels to Cliffs Notes-type books. Then she went back to school and had to do it all over. Oy! She spent nearly a year last year just on Romeo & Juliet (after we had already throughly done it). This year she has switched schools again and guess what? Romeo & Juliet coming up this spring!
    I just recently tried to introduce my 9 year-old, but she was horrified by all the violence (and it was played way down…and we only read one or two sentences from, like, two plays). Sensitive girl!

  26. I will check out the Wildly Affordable Organic book, looks great! EZ is amazing she taught me how to knit well and I sit right now drinking tea out of mug with one of my favorite quotes by her “Knit on with confidence and hope though all crises.”

  27. Oh I love EZ s Knitter’s Almanac. She has such a way of grounding me. If I get overwhelmed with what I want to do I just think “what would Elizabeth do” and the answer usually comes quick and it always puts a smile on my face. I agree with the ribbed hat, it is such a good fit!

  28. Back when our kids were growing up we had a home school mom in our circle who did Shakespeare classes and made them so interesting including a meal where they ate with their hands and all. Some actually read it on their own after those classes. I kept a book of the sonnets on the coffee table and would sometimes find one reading one. They are way less of a reading commitment than one of the stories and it helped familiarize them with the language.

  29. I am going to have to look for that Wildly Affordable book. My grocery budget really needs tweaking now that we have sort of got over this hump with the Celiac’s diagnosis, and I’d definitely appreciate more help in the area. Especially with E’s extreme sensitivity, we’ve found that we have to be very wary of grain-fed beef and have to have grass fed, and that gets a bit crazy making. I have yet to read Elizabeth Zimmerman- she must be some woman as all my knitting friends have mentioned her and her books at some point or another. 🙂

    • Joy, The author relies heavily on grains–pasta, homemade breads and pizza dough, etc. She has ideas that I can appreciate, but her actual recipes probably won’t be much help to you. Hopefully your library has it!

    • I am wheat free/gluten free and have been emailing the author. Really everything can be made with different flour blends. It just take a bit of creativity, the meat free recipes with veggies are good!

  30. I really enjoy reading Elizabeth Zimmerman. My favourite one is “The Opinionated Knitter”, which is a collection of all her newsletters, as well as anecdotes written about her by her children.

  31. I love Shakespeare, but sadly I am the only one in the house that does. When my babies were young I used ‘Shakespeare Can Be Fun’ by Lois Burdett and Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb that seemed to help them understand the story lines a little better

  32. I just started reading through this same EZ book a few days ago. I absolutely love the way she talk-writes her patterns. If you could even call them patterns. Can’t wait to see if any of her pithy instructions inspire you to knit:)

  33. Thanks for the book recommend on Wildly Affordable Organic. I just put it on my book list.

  34. Melissa N says:

    I was just paging through Knitter’s Almanac last weekend and enjoying the story about waiting in the car during the ski jump. I have had the book for a few years but never read through it. I have a bad habit of buying books and placing them on the bookshelf to live out their lives.

  35. I love EZ books and have read almost all of them. That one is my favorite, I love how she knits while being with her husband 🙂 Good luck on the Shakespeare!

  36. That’s my favorite EZ book right there. Lots of good patterns in that one. I would have loved to have met that woman.

  37. I read the last book you recommended on frugal eating – I enjoyed it but was looking for a bit more. I will have to check out Wildly Affordable Organic. Anything that has suggestions to get the cost of good quality food down is a plus in my world!

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