My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Begonia Wrap and American Revolution Books

     Begonia Wrap, a new pattern in January, hit the "Hot Right Now" list on Ravelry a few weeks ago and it caught my eye and it's free!  It's a cozy beautiful asymmetrical shawl with a scalloped edge that features the soft Knit Pick's Chroma Fingering Yarn, which I had one skein tucked away in my stash.  I had tried this yarn on another shawl and it didn't work, so I was eager to see if this would be better.  Right away this easy pattern has delighted me.  It's fun and requires a repeat of two lines of instructions.  I did make a mistake at the beginning (reading and knitting sometimes lend to losing track of rows).  You are supposed to repeat the rows 7 times, then add an 8th row that adds 8 stitches (the bumps for the scalloped edge); I did an extra 2 rows and then found I liked the more pronounced bump, and the smaller bumps at the edge (three in total) look on purpose before the slightly larger ones.  Some mistakes are meant to be.


     I've been still listening to "John Adams" by David McCullough sporadically, but I'm up to 1786 and I want to know more about the American Revolution.  I've surrounded myself with a stack of history books on the subject and I'm totally so excited to be digging in.  Many are considered Popular History, that is historical books written for the general public versus scholarly works by historians.  I might have a history degree but I'm pretty new to the American Revolution having had only taught the 7th-grade level decades ago and the school textbook was not exactly riveting in it's listing of events.  My total dislike of the time period would be a good summation.  But "John Adams" brings it alive and these Popular History books delve into the subject in an exciting manner.  It makes it alive and graspable. 

      Another  David McCullough book I find myself drawn to the most lately is the book is "1776"; it is riveting.  I've enjoyed reading about Knox's amazing feat of procuring the cannons of Ticonderoga through snow and over a mountain range.  This plan was devised by the 25-year-old and was the deciding factor in getting the British out of Boston.  This is what appeals to me about the Revolutionary War; how the winning of the war depended on so many differing, often unplanned elements.  The weather, a particularly daring move or plan of an individual, luck or providence?  So many aspects of the war leave you with your jaw on the ground, totally amazed we won.

       To get a broad understanding of the American Revolution from it's rooted in Colonial Society to the impact of the Revolution globally I've been reading "American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804" on Kindle and also following it on Audible.  This does delve into nitty-gritty details, but I find them very interesting.  I like this author's perspective.  It's one of the newer books out on the Revolution (2016) and it comes from a fresher perspective that the war was not a neat war, compact to violence only on battlefields, but a total society upheaval with messy violence in many places and global impact.  I'm up to the French and Indian war and refreshingly I hear of Washington's disgraceful attack on the French and outcome.  I had read about this earlier and I was shocked very few mention it, except to say Washington is heroic (which he totally is later in life).  But he is 22 now and very green (he was skilled as a surveyor but knew west of the Appalachians well).  He is ordered by the Virginian Governor to stop the French by any means because the French were trying to gain a foothold in the disputed Ohio Valley for their trade.  Washington using the advice of Indian allies surprise attacks a group of French soldiers (who were on their way to warn Washington that he was to leave French territory).  The French are sleeping in a depression with large boulders around it.  Shots are fired.  One account by a private in Washington's regiment, who wasn't there, but heard accounts from others said a Frenchman fired first and Washington ordered for all to fire. (John Shaw's Account of Jumonville's Murder, 1754).  This was the start of the French and Indian War and really a global World War called the Seven Years War between the French and English.  The French captain Jumonville is killed in murky circumstances.  Reading several versions from differing viewpoints (including the French and Indians) Jumonville was either killed in cross-fire or wounded, then captured by Washington and in the midst of being interrogated the Indian Chief ally tomahawked him and ceremonial washed his hands in his blood.  Then scalped him, a common proof of a kill by both sides and not just by Indians.  Despite being a prodigious journal writer Washington was known to only write of the incident of the musical sound of the bullets whistling by.  "I heard the bullets whistle. And, believe me, there is something charming in the sound."  On one hand, he was ordered to do anything to get the French out, but he attacks in cold blood sleeping French and at that point, there was no war, now there was.  I do appreciate Washington as he ages and learns from mistakes but I heartily appreciate authors who accurately re-tell historical events and are not afraid to speak the truth, even if ugly.  "George Washington's forays into the Ohio country shaped his career and sparked a global war." and Jumonville Glen Skirmish, and a more clear and graphic account - Jumonville Defeat Historical Marker.

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  1. What a lovely start to your wrap!!!

  2. That yarn is going to be gorgeous in that shawl! It reminds me of summer skies!! I have never read 1776, but you are inspiring me! That might be the perfect book for a Summer Book Bingo Square!