“I love people who harness themselves . . .”

AugieI was enjoying a post on building a handmade wardrobe over at kariebookish.net this morning when I came across the following comment by someone named “jackiemania”:

This is something I’m trying to work on (slowly but surely) too. Last week I was sick and I felt so much better because I had on a hand knit cardigan <3 I once wrote in my blog that wearing something handmade made me feel like I am wearing a talisman against the vagaries of the modern world, and that I’m convinced that objects we make with our own two hands are imbued with integrity, magic, and soul.

Of course, I had to immediately find out more about this person who describes wearing handknits as “a talisman against the vagaries of the modern world” because clearly she is someone who knows what’s what and is out there talking about it.

It turns out that Jackie has two blogs. One of them, jackiemania, is all about books and what she’s been reading. It’s no longer updated regularly, but oh, my goodness . . . if you’re a reader, you absolutely must check it out. She’s spent several years posting about what she was reading at the time, and her comments are seriously interesting. It’s like finding a great knitting blog but about books. You get the feeling that it’s almost as much fun hearing her talk about something she’s read as sitting down with the book yourself. I had to stop myself after ordering the third one of her recommendations on Amazon this morning!

In case you’re wondering, I got The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’ll report back.

So anyway, Jackie’s active blog right now is called Life During Wartime Challenge. I need to spend more time with it to really get a sense of what it’s like, but the farewell entry on jackiemania, describes the new blog as having a focus on “sustainability, frugality, making, and doing.” I think the last part of her comment on the kariebookish.net post might be representative:

Finally, I am obsessed with the concept of verum factum: The principle states that truth is verified through creation or invention and not, as per Descartes, through observation: “The criterion and rule of the true is to have made it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giambattista_Vico#The_verum_factum_principle). So, I feel like you can’t really know something until you try and make it yourself. If I’m interested in something, I want to make it to understand it.

This!!!!!! So much THIS.

And guess what! Jackie has a very active twitter feed where she not only tweets about knitting and books and making things but also posts pictures of extremely cute kitties! And cooking. And trees. . . .


On a day when work has been especially worky, it’s nice to have found someone who loves a lot of the same things I do and spends time talking about them online.

Sock 2

The line in the title is from Marge Piercy’s poem, “To Be of Use.” It’s featured in this post at jackiemania.wordpress.com.


  1. no, seriously. You work as many, if not more hours than I do. You find the time to knit more, read more, yoga more, cook more. I have NO idea how you do it. When I knit, it’s the pattern equivalent of the ‘vampire smut’ I read. (or rather, listen to on Audible because I can do that while I work). Example: current projects on the needle, utterly mindless scarf, relatively mindless shawl, and the book is about a 22 year old recently ‘out’ religiously repressed blacksmith who unwittingly reforges a magical norse sword meant to slay dragons. Not actually profound stuff here. You use more of your brain by noon than I do all day long. I’m in awe.

    • melinda

      Au contraire, my friend. We just use our brains on different things. You spin more, dye more, goat more, people more, go more, and lots of other things more than I do. It’s all good. The magical sword story sound pretty interesting, by the way. So there. 😉

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