Friday, May 14, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day

That’s about where I’m at with TCI. Details next week, when I’m free to discuss in public what’s going on with me careerwise.

Slut-tique Knitting
Good discussion about Rowan’s R2 designs in the last entry’s Comments. Do the knitters who make these designs (and I use the term loosely) understand that what they are making look like shmattehs, as this native-born New Yorker likes to call them?

There’s something about Yiddish that, whether you’re a New York Jew or not, conveys the true sense of the meaning. Shmatteh in Yiddish means “rags.” But there’s a delicate connotation that implies a certain trashiness too, I think.

The garments in Rowan R2 are all shmattehs. In fact, the rise of shmattehs in all the magazines would worry me even more if it weren’t for the fact there are still decent designers using decent yarns.

Even if I were 25, svelte, and elfin, I would not make those garments in R2. I remember exactly what I was making at 25: Arans, simple sweaters with lace panels, that sort of thing. If you have any knitting booklets from the late ‘60s, you know that many of those sweaters were completely hideous and shmatteh-esque. It just seems to me that there’s been a recent proliferation of knitting crap the likes of which I haven’t seen in more than 30 years.

As long as the yarn companies keep selling the good stuff, the knitting sluts can wear what they want. I’m just not into making holes in my work unless it’s lace. And as long as the KnitDweebs buy eyelash to make scarves, the march down the road to knitting mediocrity will continue to be promoted by the yarn companies and the magazines.

It’s the economy, stupid. It surely is.

I keep records and lists of all my knitting fantasies and plans, not to mention my work tasks, grocery lists, birthday and Christmas lists, ad nauseam. My mother taught me at an early age to “write it down.” And so I do. There’s this vision in my head of some descendant of mine discovering my Franklin-Covey 200 years from now and going, “What the fuck?!”

This weekend’s fantasy includes winding and swatching the linen stitch jacket. It’s almost easier for me to work on writing the book than to force myself to set up the ballwinder, load up the swift, and get out all my plastic baggies. Yes, I’m putting the Koigu in plastic baggies, numbering them with the color code AND the sequence in which they’ll be used.

And this OCD behavior segues nicely into my absolute mania for detail and planning.

The problem with me is, I can’t just pick up sticks and string and go off into the woods singing a chant and knitting away. I have to plan. With 8 different colors of Koigu, all shading from one end to the other, I know I’ll never remember which color is which when doing the progressions in the jacket.

And then there’s writing the directions. I swatch a lot, get the gauge for the fabric I like best, and then write preliminary directions with all the math done first. As I go along, the directions get edited where needed if any adjustments are made.

Does this obsessive planning interfere with my creativity? I think not. My creativity lies in color sense, in balance of stitch patterns and texture, not in developing the Right Angle Motorized Five Decrease Modular Knit-Around Cardigan. Some people can do that—I prefer to work my color and texture ideas into a traditional garment shape. At least I know my sweaters fit.

I like to know where the pitfalls are before I put my foot into the swamp, you know?

And with that, I am off to lunch and to see what rare and handy entrees the cafeteria has to offer. That should take a nanosecond.

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