Thursday, May 27, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.--H. L. Mencken

I'm in floral mode. Flowers in my knitting, flowers my deck, flowers in the house.

Primrose Path
Now, being a Taurus (if you believe that stuff), I love beauty and luxurious things.

It must be true then, the horoscope BS?

I couldn't just design any old baby outfit, I had to find something really different for the baby to wear and for me to fuck around with. Thank God for Barbara Walker's books. They are the most used of my collection, and I unashamedly and unabashedly rob stitch patterns from them constantly.

I defy any designer to say he or she doesn't do the same.

These days, if I'm knitting anything, it's for the book. My new mantra, the book. So when I decided to design an outfit for my new grandniece, Sophia, it was the book that motivated me. After all, the kid doesn't care what she wears at this stage of her life.

BW's Second Treasury (and my personal favorite) has a nifty little slip-stitch pattern in three colors called Three Flowers. How fucking original. I think it's on page 111, for those of you who would like to look at the directions. I thought this would make an excellent motif for a pullover, hat, and sock ensemble that I'm calling Primrose Path, for lack of a better name.

Here's the initial swatch, still in its natural state.

The colors are pretty true, I think. The yarn is Dale Baby Ull, which has been hiding out in my stash for about 2 years. I have no recollection of why I bought it, since there were no babies in the family at the time.

This stitch pattern is quite simple to do but I think the results are pretty nifty. I very much like the bobble and may separate that out and use it within the garment pieces, probably around the cuffs and the neck. Haven't decided that yet.

You may be asking yourself, why the jade as the background and not for the stems? Two reasons. One, I have a ton of the jade and only one ball each of the yellow and pink. That's reason enough. Second, I rather like the contrast and may flip it for the hat and socks, if I have enough--I should. In other words, make the hat's motif yellow with green stems and pink buds. Or pink stems and green buds. Whatever works. And then make the socks' motif pink with green stems and yellow buds. I dunno. Gotta get through the pullover first.

I'm working the pullover in the round. Side seams and this motif just don't mix. The motif cannot be interrupted, in my mind. Obviously, the hat and socks would be knit in the round anyway. Should be a fun project. I've already written the preliminary directions for the pullover and have cast on the first row. No ribbing, just a rolled hem. Got the picture?

I will not be showing the photos of the finished book projects. If you can get the milk for free, why buy the cow? Isn't that how it goes? But I will publish my working swatches for your knitting amusement.

Summertime Blues
Good God, but the knitting magazines are awful for summer. Of the big three, the worst by far was Knitter's, as if any of us would be surprised at that. Besides the Lily of the Valley shawl, which was done far better and more interestingly in the last Spin-Off, every single item in this issue was positively fugly. And the worst two were the X-Dragon's designs. I think either Cojo or the Fab Five need to get out to SD and give this boy a 6-month intensive style and taste rehab.

Mind you, I've viewed these things via the internet. Heaven forfend that I would go to a bookstore and waste time looking at the issue in question or worse, buy it.

Not much hope, is there?

Out and About
With the holiday weekend approaching, I'm taking two days off prior to the weekend, although I've just been called back to the office for a few minutes today to e-mail some documents to the new owner and my new employer. Otherwise, I'm a busy girl this weekend: Saturday I'll be at Bob and Jean's annual Memorial Day barbecue and then leave to join John at our friends Emily and Mitch in Saratoga Springs. So this will be the last post until Tuesday, most likely. Lots of knitting, little computing. As it should be.

Have a rare and handy holiday.


doloreshaze said...

See now, I thought the summer Interweave was pretty good, actually. Liked both shawls, liked most of the summer tops (except the cropped crissy-crossy one, sorry Joe), loved the Juliet sweater. But that's me, and my taste can get dodgy.
Have a wonderful long weekend!

Marilyn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marilyn said...

I think I accidentally deleted my last comment. Sheesh.

What I said was: What I've seen of IK, I didn't care for but I haven't seen the entire issue so may not be qualified to comment.

And I'm fast becoming unenamored of the Primrose Path swatch. The more I look at it, the more I think it looks very '70s. And like something from Cast On. I think I'll ditch it.

That's what swatches are for, at the very least.

Enjay said...

hehehe that little trash can is enticing, just begging for your clicks, isn't it Mar?
Thanks for the lovely comments today everyone.
As for the new mags, I haven't seen them yet, and it sounds like there's no rush to go out looking either.
Enjoy your weekend!

Barb Brown said...

So, not only do you suck me into joining the knitlist (and watching those fat guys in jogging sweats bend over) now I have a blog page I have no idea what the hell to do with. I grow every day.
All I wanted to say was your quote reminds me of my Ukrainian Granny's saying about pessimists...translates sort of as He's knee deep in shit and can't smell the flowers.
I kind of like the flowers....
Barb Brown

iambic tramp said...

So it's fine for you to "unabashedly rob" stitch patterns from the Barbara Walker treasuries, but it's apallingly unethical of the knitter who created the baby sweater all of you were dog-piling on a few days ago to do the same thing with motifs from "Poetry in Stitches" for *her* baby sweater?

Issues of personal taste aside (we can all differ on what makes a cute baby sweater) the sweater you were abusing was a well-executed, challenging knit which is, I though, the sort of knitting you have tended to support in the past. And the design motifs were borrowed and credited. Just like yours.

Ordinarily, I love your blog. These two posts, though, taken together, aren't just curmudgeonly. They're cruel and stupid.

And that's neither rare nor handy.

erica said...

I like the new look - does the white background mean you are out of your Black Background with Tiny Font phase? This one is much easier to read.

And on the fugly "Poetry" sweater - if she just hadn't done the checkerboard sleeves in those particular unrelated colors - I know about the urge to finish the sleeves quickly, I did it a little differently on mine - Poetry sweater

audrey said...

Holy Moses, that was a pain in the rear. I just wanted to say that I liked the summer IK. Damn. I usually don't like spring/summer issues at all. I really liked what I think was called the Victoria tank, and I liked the Hemp tank minus the ridiculous string-around-the-belly. I also liked both "shawls", although I won't ever knit one of them.
I have to say, that although I love you dearly, and always look forward to reading your blog, I semi-agree with iambic tramp's last comment. I think (she?) has a valid point, I just don't feel so STRONGLY about the issue. That sweater was, well, ugly. But, its your blog, and you are entitled to your opinion, and your opinion is always entertaining. So I will keep on readin' it. Have an awesome holiday!

Marilyn said...

Cruel? Perhaps it was. But it's still an ugly sweater. Shit, I've even decided that my Primrose Path design is not exactly wonderful. If it sucks, it sucks. Opinions are like assholes--everyone's got one.

Using a stitch pattern from a book whose sole purpose was to spread the use of the patterns within as opposed to taking an original motif from a published sweater design is quite a bit different, in my opinion. That large flower motif is an integral part of someone else's design and I very much doubt that it was intended to be taken and put with gingham sleeves. It is clearly identifiable as the focal point of the Poetry in Stitches sweater.

There's not a designer I know who doesn't use Barbara Walker and most of the time does not offer a credit to her. BW WANTED people to use her collections.

Now, if I took a large motif from Alice Starmore's Pacific Highway,for example, and plopped it into one of my sweaters, not only would I be doing her design an injustice, I'd probably come up with something awful and Alice would probably sue me. No "probably" about it. And I wouldn't even consider taking a motif that is so closely connected to someone else's design.

Walker is another matter. If, as you believe, iambic, that taking stuff from Walker's pattern books is the same as taking stuff from a sweater design in Poetry In Stitches and that both actions are ethically wrong, then I would suggest to you that you check every sweater in every magazine and book for all those "original" stitch patterns and let those designers know loud and clear that they're stealing wholesale from Barbara Walker.

Marilyn said...

One more thing. What I really disliked about that woman's sweater wasn't so much that it was ugly. It was that she called it "My Design." She should have just left the designer credit.

Lots of people modify designers' patterns. I often do. But that doesn't make it "My Design."

iambic tramp said...

I don't believe either action is ethically wrong. That was my point.

You didn't do anything wrong. Neither did the other knitter.

I suspect the comment "my design" was meant to indicate that while the central pattern motif came from "Poetry in Stitches" the sweater did not. Which, since you hate the sweater, ought to please you because it absolves the author of "Poetry in Stitches" from any responsibility for the sweater.

And of course Alice Starmore would sue you.

She sues everyone.

Gail said...

Marilyn, thanks for posting about the Barbara Walker Treasuries. I didn't realize that she wanted people to use them in her own designs, so I've made a point of not really claiming anything I've made using a stitch/pattern from her as my "own".

Of course, I'm just talking about scarves. I've got a great scarf in Green Manos using a cable and lace pattern from Walker's second treasury that looks exactly like entwined snakes. I'm disgustingly proud of it, but I haven't wanted to submit it to any of the free sites, or even post a free "pattern" for it, since it involves some edging, yarn selection, and two repeats of a published pattern.

Marilyn said...

This whole conversation hearkens back to the ever-ongoing debate about what makes a design original. I don't suppose there will ever be total agreement on that one.

Gail, Walker compiled those Treasuries (note the word "compiled") so that people would have all these wonderful stitch patterns to use. Although I think some of them may have been her own, a number of people, including EZ, contributed to the books. Many of those stitch patterns date back to God knows when. BW understood that all of them were, in effect, in the public domain.

However, there are many talented designers out there who have created their own stitch patterns, particularly cables. My rule of thumb is, if it's in a stitch dictionary, I have the right to use it how I see fit in whatever permutation and garment set-up I wish AND sell the rights to the pattern without giving anyone any credit (other than to myself, of course). If I lift a design or segment of a design from a copyrighted garment AND try to sell it, I'm in copyright violation. The woman who knit the PIS knock-off was obviously just displaying her work and therefore wasn't doing anyone any harm, other than offending some of our collective ethestic senses.

I've altered other designers' patterns in the past but generally, if I'm knitting their stuff, it's because I like it just the way it is.

And I do give credit to that woman for tackling a difficult project, even if it isn't what I like. But the original was so much better, why try to change it? I would have kept the original colors and patterns and downsized it for the baby. Although I do think that even the original would be way too overwhelming for a small child's body. And certainly nothing I'd put on a kid. At least, not the kids in my family.

Kathryn Merrick said...

Holy Jeez. Don't get the idea that this enforced blog thing is going anywhere. Feh.
I'm appalled that anyone in their right mind couldn't see the difference between utilizing a stitch pattern simply rounded up by Barbara Walker and looting someone's sweater design.
Yikes. Get in the game please.
Off to bella Italia domani, see y'all in two weeks.

jenifleur said...

Damn, I liked that Lily of the Valley Shawl, but I've never checked out Spin-Off. I guess it's high time I got off my lazy ass and expanded the horizons a bit, thanks for the tip.

Marilyn said...

I spin, and I'm no whizkid at it, so I'm still learning a whole lot, even after 5 years. Spin-Off is the only fiber magazine that I read regularly. Even if you don't spin--and it's great fun, try it--there are always knitting articles and ideas within. Of course, the knitting patterns are for handspun yarn, but as long as you know the wpi, usually you can adapt them for commercial yarns. Spin-Off may even have the spi, I don't recall.

Kathy, have a great time in Italy. Buy more of those great bags like the one you gave me for my birthday. Everyone who's seen it, covets it.

And now I'm off to Saratoga Springs tomorrow, so comment away while I'm gone. I'll be back Monday night.

Kathryn Merrick said...

Yeah, bebe, I have a few people hounding me for those lovely bags, which can be see at
They're made of recycled rubber-type stuff and silk fabric scraps. Fun, useful, pretty and sturdy.
Have fun in Saratoga!

j-jen said...

Mar? Can't get through to you by email, but did you intend that only people with a blogger account would be able to post comments? Hardly sounds like you. I think you need to change a setting somewhere in your blogger account.

I'm still not knitting, after a year and a half. Just can't seem to get myself to pick up the needles after knitting my mom's afghan. Even the arrival of my last issue of IK didn't provide a jumpstart.

At the moment, I'm working on a group blog for confirmed yarnaholics in the hopes that will help inspire me. Will let you know how that's going.

Have a good weekend.