The Luxury of a Head Cold

At the moment, I have the luxury of being sick during spring break. Not that being sick is fun—but it’s such a relief to have it happening over spring break, when I can just stop everything and curl up in bed while I wait to feel better. My two favorite sick-in-bed activities (no surprises here) are reading and knitting. For the reading part, I’m working my way through the full Harry Potter series again; I’ll get to the knitting in a moment.

This past winter, I used a gift certificate to pick up the Harry Potter series in hardback and read them straight through for the first time. (I’d read them individually when they came out, but hadn’t read most of them since.) One of the surprises was how different they are from the movies.

Now, the movies are good adaptations, but they’re just that—adaptations. Without tripling their length (at a minimum), it would be impossible to include in the movies everything that occurs in the books. And making cuts sometimes requires making other changes: giving a particular role or responsibility to a different character, carefully excising one thread of the tapestry. I’m not complaining about the movies. I’m just saying that the movies are less rich than the books. You can’t see on film all that you can see in your mind’s eye while reading.

As those of you with children (and those of you without children who share my mania for all things Harry Potter) know, ABC Family Channel frequently has Harry Potter weekends, during which they broadcast the first few films in sequence. When it’s Harry Potter weekend, I’m glued to the tube.

What I hadn’t realized, until I reread the series this winter was that the film versions had replaced the book versions in my head. The narratives that came to me most readily were those from the films. Rereading the books felt like deepening a long-standing friendship, coming back to a truth that had been obscured by more everyday occurrences. So I’ve become determined to make my internal, personal version of the Potter series the book version, which requires rereading them regularly. I don’t want to give up watching the films; I just want to make sure that they’re secondary in my memory.

So I’m in bed, working my way through Harry Potter (I’ve reached The Goblet of Fire) and enjoying myself immensely, despite the cough and the mucous, and the sore throat.

But a proper take-to-bed, self-indulgent illness also requires knitting, so I’ve cast on for Anemie (the blog is in German, but you can find an English-language version of the pattern on Ravelry). I’m knitting with a USSY—Unidentified Skein of Sock Yarn— so am not altogether sure I’ll actually have enough yardage for the project. My plan is to work the body of this shawlette and the pointed edging in the yarn I’ve begun with, which is a dark, variegated brown/purple/blue. I’m planning to work the cabled section in a complimentary solid-color yarn, which should make the cable pop, and should keep me free from worries about running out of yarn.

Right now, I’m on the large ribbed section with short rows, which makes for excellent sick-bed knitting. The stitch pattern has a regular rhythm to it, and the rows get shorter as the piece progresses, so the pace of progress quickens as I move along.

A chapter of Harry Potter. A few rows of knitting. A chapter of Harry Potter. A few rows of knitting. Mucous be damned—I feel like one very lucky woman.