Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.—P.G. Wodehouse

Too much loafing and not enough writing makes Jill (or Jack) a throbbing bore.

I do know that my favorite song lately is What Would Brian Boitano Do? I wish I had written that.

Ruminations on Publishing, Knitting and Otherwise
In the course of a day, my sometimes forgetful and enfeebled mind is so grossly put upon with shit technical that I barely have time to ponder what it is I want to do with myself, other than make a living. Commuting 28 miles each way to work or, should I say, crawling 28 miles, gives me plenty of opportunity to come up with bright ideas, usually bright knitting ideas.

Unlike some Knit List idiots, I do not knit while sitting in traffic.

Yesterday’s commute helped me solidify what it is I want to do in the near future. Knitting and writing are the two things that I love to do. I do both well. Combining them in a blog is wonderful but makes me no money whatsoever, a complaint that I’ve voiced here on occasion.

Everyone says: Sell your designs, we’d buy them. And I’m sure you would. However, I can write faster than I can design, knit, and publish my designs.

And so it came to me, my writing epiphany, in the car at 7:45 a.m. yesterday. Write a fucking book about knitting. But not just a book for beginners. A book based on all the knitting crap and knowledge I have floating around in my head, most of which is not of my own creation but a repository of all the tricks, processes and procedures, and general modi operandi that have made my knitting successful.

A Best Practices for Knitters, as it were. That is, after all, what I do for a living. I research and write process and procedure, put it all together in a nice little manual, and everyone in the company uses what I write to do their jobs.

There’s so much information out there for knitters that I think people are overwhelmed and need guidance as to what’s worth using and what isn’t. What’s good to do and when. What’s not good to do and when. My article on gauge in the Spring 2003 Knitty, which contains absolutely nothing earthshaking or unknown, is sort of where I’m going with this. Or my Blocking for Blockheads.

Simple shit worth knowing is the key to good knitting. You don’t need to master 23 different ways of casting on.

Or tell me I'm full of shit. I'll listen to whomever wishes to voice their opinion.

Blog Renovation
The blog is about to be generated by Movable Type. I’ve got it up on my server space and now that the database has been created, I have to go back in and modify some of the Perl (that bit is for the benefit of programmers who know what the fuck I’m talking about) and hopefully be able to redesign the blog, with its new domain of

I found that I did not like Type Pad, and Blogger really doesn’t give me what I want anymore. So it’s time to let the blog grow up.

Once the new site goes live, there will be a link here redirecting you to the new site. This all depends entirely on my learning curve with Movable Type. But it’s a change that needs to happen. I can’t get my graphics up on this site, some of my pages are lost forever, so I need to shitcan this site fairly soon.

I’m thinking that there’ll be a major color change, for sure.

When Knitting Gets Boring
Oh Jaysus, as Kathy would say. I’m chugging up the front of the Lavold Ran tunic and am I fucking bored? Oh yeah. Once the knotwork is done at the bottom, it’s really just 4-stitch cables with 8 reverse st st in between. Of course, there’s a knotwork motif that’s centered on the chest but that’s a mere blip.

This will be a beautiful sweater if I don’t die of knitting ennui, as I call it. Since I rarely violate my 3 projects-at-one-time rule-except-socks, I’m putting max time into the Ran so I can finish it and be done with it.

Funny how we get sick of our projects at times. Like a lover whose charm has worn thin, eh?

It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Motion
Sarah asked a really good rhetorical question in the Comments from the last entry: “Why on earth doesn't the knitting world use a figure suitability guide like the sewing world on patterns? (Like Vogue's "Figure Flattery Key)"

I think there are several reasons why. For one, sewing as a media-supported homecraft has been around much longer and many more people do it, even today. That’s probably because it’s been taught in American schools for eons, which knitting has not been (Waldorf schools and other smaller private school systems being the exceptions). Since I no longer have school-age children, I don’t know if sewing is still taught as part of home economics or whether home economics still exists. I certainly remember my 7th grade abortion of a Home Ec sewing project—a blouse that didn’t fit.

Knitters don’t really have a huge variety of figure-flattering shapes from which to choose, if you think about it. So it’s much more difficult to knit something that hides figure flaws. In sewing, you have an enormous amount of latitude in the shaping and construction of the garment, depending upon the fabric that you use. That gives the sewer a wide selection of garment shapes and types to choose from.

Fitting is much more of an issue with sewing than it is with knitting because generally, sewing fabric is much less forgiving than knitted fabric. Knitters use only a few basic fabrics—jersey (stockinette) and garter stitch, with variations on those themes that may make the fabric firmer or looser. The common denominator with knitted fabric is always the stretch/cling factor. Unless you sew knits, that’s not an issue that affects a sewer’s garment construction or selection. One sewing pattern will frequently support a number of different types of material. However, handknits tend to be much heavier and thicker than most fabrics purchased by sewers, with the possible exception of coating and suiting fabric.

So knitting is really much more limited to the type of garment shapes it can accommodate than sewing is, I think. You most certainly can knit skirts, coats, and dresses if you know what you’re doing. But these garments are almost always more successfully sewn than knit.

Seamstresses are much more likely to look at their figure flaws and learn how to best choose the most flattering shape. Knitters don’t always have that awareness, I’ve found. The woman who buys the most carefully tailored and flattering suit for the office will wear the most god-awful chenille intarsia drop-shoulder potato sack to Stitches.

It’s time that knitters started looking at fit of their garments and maybe looking in the mirror as well.

Wouldn’t THAT be rare and handy?

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