Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A book of hours

A book of hours is more or less, a medieval prayer book. They contained fantastically illuminated stories of martyrs and saints and short devotions, and were usually given as gifts from wealthy husbands to wives on their wedding day. They originated out of monastisicm, where each hour was marked by prayer.

One of my most treasured books is a book about the Belles Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry. It is beautifully bound and comes in a small box to protect it from harm. I have always loved its beautifully illuminated pages, and the histroy behind the men who painted the masterpieces but more than that, I love the name 'book of hours'. I had no idea what it was when I ordered it from the book club special catalogue. I liked the name, and I had these points to use up.

In my grand imaginings (yes we are still doing grand imaginings here. Maybe I need more coffee) a modern day book of hours would have little pages you could tear out if you were short of time. You could trade a page in for more hours in a day.

Wouldn't that be great, if we could do that? Think of how much knitting we could get done? Think of how much extra sleep I would get. Think of how I would be all caught up with all the things that I am not caught up with. If I had a book of hours that could give me extra time, I might have used 10 or 15 pages of it yesterday.

I knit all day yesterday, and worked so diligently on a few of my remaining Christmas presents, but it seems like I am no farther along than I was yesterday morning. I don't have the thrummed mittens finished. I need to check out the sample at the store to see just how big the thumbs are, the hat I knit in the mean time would not fit, and I had to rip them back and restart with the right number of stitches, and though I worked on the soul sucking black socks, there seems to be no progress there either. The toe of sock two is still just a freakishly small toe. (In case you thought they were done, no, no, they are not)

Everybody feels the need for more hours in a day but really, in truth, what we really need to do is to stop focusing on how busy we feel. Busy is a thing you can think yourself into. We have to plan to think slow, plan not to rush. We have to look at everything we are doing and appreciate each little step along the way.

So when I say I didn't mind ripping the hat back, that I didn't mind that two hours of knitting went down the tubes, know that it is really part of my strategy to think slowly. Know that I was really disappointed with the part of me that felt, quite sincerely that an hat measuring 16 inches around would fit a head that is 24 inches around.

1 comment:

Knitting Alchemist said...

That book sounds very interesting. And we can never stop having grand imaginings. How much in this world wouldn't exist if not for grand imaginings?