Three Books to Inspire

I believe my love of reading came from a childhood where I was surrounded by books. I've never been a morning person and as a little girl my mom would read me awake. Goodnight Moon was one of my first favorites. I still find reading aloud comforting, even as an adult.

My mom would find me a book whenever I had a new interest. From Queen Elizabeth I when I was in 3rd grade, to Chuck Jones, the animator of Looney Tunes, in middle school, to marine biology in high school, to my first Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book as an adult, my mom fostered my interests through books.

Last week my mom turned me on to the Three Books... project on NPR. This special series chooses a topic and finds three must-reads. While there are no doubt a ton of books that could be celebrated, NPR chooses three because, "three is a number that allows for conversation, completion, and understanding."

In a past life I was a librarian who recommended books to middle-school-aged children. Here, I'll try it for adults.

My Three Books To Inspire
What do all of these books have in common besides being inspirational? They were all given to me by my mom.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I first read The Alchemist shortly after graduating college. While I had a college degree, a salaried job, and a steady boyfriend, it was a time of uncertainty in my life. I've always been a really creative person and the path I had found myself following was easy. And maybe my uncertainty was just that- I had settled.

Reading The Alchemist changed my life. "Everyone believes the world's greatest lie- that at a certain point in our lives we lose control of what's happening to us and our lives become controlled by fate." I was no longer going to be complacent. But as time passed, like the people in this book, my life faded into routine. And then one day the King of Salem visited me in the form of a divorce. And now, like the main character, Santiago, I'm walking down the path less traveled, going after my personal legend. And when I hit bumps in my road I find myself looking to The Alchemist for encouragement.

The Alchemist combines travel, adventure, danger, and hope. It is truly a life-altering, incredibly inspiring book.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency features a strong woman protagonist breaking out of the traditional female role to follow her personal legend. Mma Precious Ramotswe, a "traditionally built African lady" uses her inheritance to become the first woman detective in Botswana. While being the first of anything may daunt some, Mma Ramotswe takes it all in stride, using her intuition and cunning to make Botswana a better place.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the first in a series of books that feature Mma Ramotswe. All books in the series are packed with exciting mysteries and beautiful portraits of Africa.

My Life in France by Julia Child
Being a woman, I'm empowered and inspired by reading the stories of powerful women who could. I'd like to introduce Julia Child. Need I say more?

Julia Child came into my life as a college student during a summer internship at the Smithsonian. I really had no idea as I cleaned and cataloged her kitchen tools, and helped to install the Julia Child Kitchen exhibit in the summer of 2002, what a huge inspiration she would be in my life. Her story shows that if you have an interest, work really hard to get good at it, and want to share it with others, it can happen.

In My Life in France Julia shares with us how the tome, Mastering the Art of French Cooking(MtAoFC) came about. Did you know it took over 7 years, several rejection letters, and numerous re-writes for the book to be published?

My Life in France is also filled with Julia's experiences living in Paris, Marseilles, Oslo, and the US. It is not only a romantic, inspiring travel book, but also shows that perseverance pays off.


worldknits is partnering with madeline ruth to bring you knitting classes

Whether you're a new knitter, need a refresher, or are ready to take the next step in your knitting, worldknit & handspun offers classes that will get you knitting like a pro. Check out the list of classes being offered in February and March at Madeline Ruth (610 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA).

Call (540) 656-2865 or stop by Madeline Ruth to register

Follow worldknit & handspun on facebook to get the latest news and updates.

Beginning Knitting
$85 - 4 sessions

Learn to cast-on, knit, purl, and bind-off in this introductory level class. Classes will also include discussions on yarn, pattern reading, fixing mistakes, and ravelry.

Class will meet February 22, 28, March, 8, and 15 from 6:30-7:30pm

Space is limited to 8 students.
no previous experience required

Cables Demystified
$25 - 1 session

Learn how to read cable charts, create your own cables, and how to cable with or without a needle. This class will cover both English and German charts.

Class will meet February 22 from 8:00-9:00pm

Space is limited to 8 students
You must know how to cast-on, knit, and purl

Knitting in the Round
$25 - 1 session

Learn how to convert flat patterns to the round. You'll also learn how to knit in the round using both double pointed needles and circular needles. Great for learning to make sweaters, hats, socks, cowls, infinity scarves, and mittens.

Class will meet February 28 from 8:00-9:00pm

Space is limited to 8 students
You must know how to cast-on, knit, and purl

Toe-Up Socks
$25 - 1 session

Beat second sock syndrome by learning how to do two socks at a time from the toe-up. This technique can also be used for mittens, gloves, and leg warmers.

Class will meet March 8 from 8:00-9:00pm

Space is limited to 8 students
You must know how to cast-on, knit, and purl

Finishing School
$25 - 1 session

You've knit the pieces to your garment, but how do you put them together? Learn the various seaming techniques, blocking, how to knit button bands, and the best way to weave in your ends.

Class will meet March 15 from 8:00-9:00pm

Space is limited to 8 students
You must know how to cast-on, knit, and purl


Happy Reminders of a Constant Companion

The other day I grabbed a pair of knitting needles that I hadn’t used in a while. As I began to cast on I noticed tiny little bite marks in the tips, complements of my tiny little girl, Marbles. Marbles of course is a cat.

Marbles passed away on December 28, 2010, marking a horribly crappy end to a horrific year. After eating her dinner she started acting strange, dragging her back legs and meowing. When we rushed her to the emergency vet (I was in FL visiting my parents) the vet told us she had cardiomyopathy and a blood clot had paralyzed her from the legs down. There was no cure and heart failure was next. Sobbing, I had to make the hardest decision of my life and signed the papers to put her down.

The supreme grump face.

I miss Marbles terribly. For the past 6 years she’s been my constant companion, from waking me up in the morning to falling asleep in the crook of my knee at night. She was my family when my husband left and was going to be my partner in adventure in Argentina. Of all of the loss I’ve experienced in the past year, she is the only thing I miss.

Marbles had an affinity for water.

Marbles helping design the Conundrum hat.

There are reminders of Marbles all over; in the things I do during the day to physical reminders, like her little harness (for outside time) and photographs. When I work out in the morning I see her lying next to me on her back with her two little fangs poking out of her mouth. When I go to feed Patches I imagine Marbles sitting there, waiting patiently for her breakfast and dinner. When I look at the girls' water dish I see Marbles splashing around in it. When I see her empty circle bed, I think fondly about how she spent 10+ hours in it a day. And when I knit with the needles with the tiny little bite marks, Marbles is there with me, even if her body is not.

My littlest one.
1 09 10