Of knitting and Virginia Woolf's novel Jacob's Room

When trawling through my list of 'someday' reads, I chanced on Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room and decided to give it a try, as the person who recommended it, said, "You should like it, it was experimental - it has no plot or background and the central character is shown only through the impressions of the women in his life." Then the throwaway line - "By the way it also has a lot of knitting 'stuff' in it." The bait worked. I wound up downloading both the PDF and audiobook versions. Sadly, they sat on my 'to do' list, way down as item 397 or thereabouts and that was that, until I decided to spring clean the hard drive and there they were. So I decided to give the audiobook a go while knitting what you see below:

Well that..


 and that...


And that...

And even that..


More details on my Ravelry page. Sorry but I couldn't resist that shameless plug...

Now back to the topic of Jacob's Room. Confession time: the decision to listen to the audio book lasted for about half an hour of knitting time. I got distracted..with the idea that it would be worthwhile to put the work in context ie to read around the topic first. Well,  that was a VERY bad idea - the long and the short of it is - I got side tracked further and wound up reading A Room of One's Own instead. Then I watched The HoursTo the LighthouseMrs Dalloway. Bought a copy of Orlando (which no doubt will attract dust and moths on my 'to-be-read-someday list').  In another light bulb moment, decided to take a 'trip' around Woolf's favourite haunts, starting with a couple of tours of Monk's House (the country house she shared with her husband Leonard) and wound up getting hopelessly mired in 'tours' of  Charleston (the home of her sister - another Bloomsbury group figure - Vanessa Bell) and how Charleston inspired contemporary artist Lottie Cole to produce her own artwork and punk rock singer-songwriter Patti Smith to produce a photographic essay of the place. Now enough is enough. It is time to start working through Jacob's Room, so, I am issuing an invitation to anyone who would like to participate in a 'read-along' to feel free to let me know.

In the meanwhile I shall begin - though be warned, I cannot resist relevant digressions (well sort of relevant digressions) and here is one by Aki Katayama, to whet your appetite. Speaking of appetites, it's even possible to sample what the Bloomsbury group ate - via Jans Ondaatje Rolls' The Bloomsbury Cookbook  and buy fabric designs that Vanessa Bell commissioned.

The Bloomsbury style is loved for its painterly warmth, loose flowing brushstrokes and expressive use of stripes, spots and cross hatching. The group itself was comprised of writers, philosophers and artists, whose creativity spilled out onto frescoes, mosaics, ceramics and fabrics, but sadly, none of them ever knit.. (sigh)...


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