Monday, March 29, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
When we lost I couldn't sleep at night. When we win I can't sleep at night. But when you win, you wake up feeling better.--Joe Torre

Tomorrow, 5 a.m. EST. Opening day for the Yankees against the Devil Rays in Toyko. Another glorious baseball season has begun. And it’s spring.

I feel better already. And I bought the Stones’ 40 Licks CD this weekend. Mick and Keith at 60 or 20 make fine music together. The Glimmer Twins are ageless.

Gimme Shetland
Melanie, a Tontant Weader, wrote to me the other day about substituting yarn, since she’s planning on doing the Ran tunic but doesn’t want to use Lavold’s Silky Wool and can she do that?

Well, as I said to her, maybe yes and maybe no.

With the Ran, I chose to use the Silky Wool for several reasons: The drape, the color, the texture. If the garment’s design integrity is contingent upon using the designer’s original yarn and IF I want to reproduce the garment precisely, then I will not substitute.

Substituting yarn is a tricky bit of business, and gauge is the least of it. It’s a given that you’ll have to achieve the same gauge as the designer, no matter what yarn you choose.

If something is done in a plain vanilla yarn, such as a basic worsted, then I have no qualms whatsoever about digging about in my stash for a substitute. Whatever slight differences there are between brands makes me no never mind, as my old crochet teacher, Alabama native Ada Ellis, used to say.

If the design is not done in plain vanilla, I might substitute a differently textured yarn if I feel that it would work as well if not better. This is when swatching becomes critical. I’ll know from the swatch if the yarn will fly as a substitute.

Here’s a prime example of a substitution disaster. (If I’ve told this story before, forgive me--I think it’s worth repeating and I find it amusing—now. Didn’t back then.) Back when I was young and had absolutely no money, plus two kids to feed, I saw a ribbed coat made of brownish Tahki Donegal Tweed in either Better Homes and Gardens Needlework magazine or Handmade magazine. I had to make it. The coat took about 15 or 16 skeins. I couldn’t possibly afford it. So I made the coat in Red Heart worsted, in aqua.

I cannot now adequately explain why I did that. Even in my early 20s, I had some sense, albeit limited. I certainly had little access to decent yarns nor did I have any experience with good yarn in general (although I knew a shop that sold the Donegal Tweed). And obviously my color sense went south, although I suppose in 1973 aqua had some merits, fashionwise. Needless to say, the coat was an abomination, which I realized immediately upon its finishing. (I think this was also the point where I understood that crocheting together the seams of knitted garments was a foolish and unsightly way to join pieces.) The coat did fit, more from luck than any skill on my part, I’m sure. I wish I had saved it, kind of.

My point is, substitute at your own risk. Sometimes you can make better choices than the designer. Sometimes not.

Drag ‘n’ Sag
Joe did some great reviews of FCEK and VK—I haven’t seen them but am stopping on my way home from work to check them out at the local B and N.

Worsted-weight cotton? Feh. Knitted and crocheted bikinis? Ridiculous. Unless you line ‘em, don’t bother. And don’t bother thinking you’ll be swimming in them, either. Of course, you may enjoy having your ass hang out at the beach because your cute handmade bikini bottom just grew like Topsy and is down around your ankles.

Of course, I don’t need to worry about knitted/crocheted bikinis these years. I wear Speedos and I swim laps for exercise, not that it does me much good.

Shut Up, I’m Counting
That’s the book’s title. Of course, it has to have a secondary title as all books do these days. You know, My Life In The Sparkly Spotlite: Tales from Around the Knitting Universe by the Tiny Diva.

[Aside] Did you read her breathy, excruciatingly lengthy post to Knit U about knitting in China? I’m seriously concerned that I won’t have enough yuan to purchase yarn in Shanghai on my next trip.

Back to the book. I think it would be fun to include a chapter with random questions, so if you have random questions, feel free to submit. I promise you a mention, either your real name or your nom du guerre, whichever you prefer.

When I go to the bottom of the publishing barrel, I’m happy to drag you along for the ride and give you all due credit for being the Tontant Weader that you are. Heh.

Back to the rare and handy world of adult education, which differs only slightly from adult entertainment insofar as you can get credits from the former but not from the latter.

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