Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yarn Along: "The Other Einstein" and a Knitted Hummingbird

Yarn Along is a wonderful weekly link-up hosted by Ginny at the Small Things blog about two of the best things in life: books and knitting.

yarn along 092116

Reading: I'm a little over a third of the way done with the October release "The Other Einstein" by Marie Benedict and I like what I've read thus far. It's based on a real person, Albert Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric, a brilliant physicist in her own right. It's reminiscent of "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain, about Hemingway's first wife Hadley, and "The Atomic Weight of Love" by Elizabeth J. Church, about a gifted female scientist who's overshadowed by her husband. Most of what I've read so far has taken place in late-1800s Zurich, where Mileva is the only woman in the physics program at her university, and I'm enjoying the atmosphere: the boardinghouse where Mileva lives with three other university girls, the cafes near the campus where Mileva goes to sip coffee and engage in heated scientific discussions, and the beautiful Swiss wilderness where Mileva and her friends love to hike.

(I will say that I'm anxious to be done with this book... usually advance-read copies are set up for iPad reading, but not this one. And reading a book on the computer is really no fun. I'm longing to hold a real book in my hands... and my wish will soon be granted because I have seven holds ready for me at the library!)

Knitting: If you've visited for Yarn Along lately, you'll have seen me making progress on my gorgeous Earnest cardigan by Joji Locatelli. The pattern is really not that hard, but I just had one problem after another, ranging from mismatched dyelots to uncharacteristic difficulty with the provisional cast-on to discovering many, many rows on that I had miscrossed three cables. But the death knell for the cardigan came Monday when, after doing the waist decreases, I tried it on... and it still only came to the bottom of my bra -- about 2 1/2 or 3 inches above where it should have been. I did some measuring and apparently my gauge is quite a bit off, which I think must be the fault of the yarn, which, though it's 100% merino, has a sort of elasticity to it. I am absolutely devastated and I will admit to shedding a tear or two. All those hours... And I don't have enough of any other yarn on hand to use, so my Earnest cardigan is officially on pause for now. (Sob.)

Luckily, in a wonderful coincidence of timing, I have a diversion! A co-worker from the library where I worked in Ohio came across this hummingbird pattern in a book she was flipping through at work and asked me to knit it for her. She'd like to hang it from her rear-view mirror. I dug around in my yarn stash (why, oh, why don't I have 1,740 yards of fingering in there somewhere?!) and found several greenish options for the hummingbird body, but none seemed to capture the beautiful iridescence. So I played around with knitting two strands together, and I think I'm going to go with the combo in the photo above, a teal fingering weight and an old skein of Caron that's grass-green with flecks of red, blue, green and yellow. I think I'll only use the portions that have red flecks, which will nicely set off the ruby throat.


  1. I'm so sorry about your cardigan! Knitting a fun toy sounds like exactly what you need right now.

    That book sounds very intriguing. I also greatly prefer paper. I have some books I bought for my ereader that are going unread because I haven't wanted to read in that format.

    1. I'm enjoying the book! I did some more reading since I put the post together and it turns out Albert was something of a jerk -- at least if the book is to be believed. It's definitely one of those books that reminds me I'm lucky to be a woman living in the 21st century.

      I'm still devastated about my sweater... it's sitting on the coffee table waiting to be ripped out. :( But I'm excited to put my energies in to the little hummingbird and forget about Earnest for a while!

  2. I'm sorry for your cardigan - hopefully one day you will return and it will work out. Meanwhile, I loooove your mix of yarns for this little bird! I really love knitting with two ore more strands of different yarn lately and it is so much fun and there is so much to dicover! I especially like mixing different qualities and material like a thiker sheeps wool with a very fine alpaca...

    1. Ah, thanks. I do hope to get some different yarn and start it again... it was working up so beautifully!

      I really don't knit with two strands all that often, but I've seen some absolutely gorgeous projects knit that way! I think it'll be perfect for the hummingbird. :)

  3. The book sounds just amazing! I am reading Einstein's biography right now and there is not much information about Marie. It would be interesting to know more about her!

  4. You are so brave knitting fitted tops... haha. I started swatching for a knit top, but it's very much just a boxy thing. But I've never made a garment really, so I figured it was an ok place to start! Also that hummingbird is super cute


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