Saturday, July 24, 2004

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Most women's magazines simply try to mold women into bigger and better consumers.—Gloria Steinem

Can this not also be said about the knitting magazines these days?

Be a frou-frou yarn consumer—join the sisterhood.

I’m not excluding the guys, by the way.

Big Boy Knitting
I have to say that, as a reader of MenWhoKnit, a friend of Joe’s, and cyberfriend to other knitter-dudes, I think that these guys who knit generally do projects that are far more attractive and better thought-out than a lot of crap generated by women knitters.

Of course, women knitters probably outnumber men by 500 to 1. Statistics would indicate that there’s a far greater likelihood that some broad somewhere has knit something tacky and nasty than a guy. (And we know this to be true.) I truly have not yet seen a guy knit something ghastly, although if any of you know of a male counterpart to some of the Knit List ladies who do Dazzleaire warshcloths, let me know.

The knitting world needs more male designers (hint to Joe, Antonio, Rob, et al to get busy—and a hint to the X-Dragon to get out of the business). Years ago, when I worked for McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, we had a couple of guys who were incredibly talented. Sadly, one of the best, Donald Grover, who designed the best men’s sweaters I’ve ever seen, died of AIDS in the late ‘80s. Such a terrible loss. 

Speaking of McCall’s N&C
I was Googling around looking for used magazines when I discovered the cover to one of the issues I worked on when I was Assistant Knit/Crochet Editor.

This was arguably the finest issue of McCall’s N&C ever. And believe me, that’s not because I worked on it. It was primarily due to the extraordinary Fashion Editor, Lola Ehrlich, who went on to edit Vogue Knitting. I remember that even as I struggled to edit the knitting patterns (Gena Rhoades, the knitting/crochet editor and my boss, was primarily a crochet whiz and was happy to unload all of the knitting patterns on me), I was blown away by the quality and freshness of the designs. You can buy this issue used. I found it at, from where I also swiped the picture of the cover above. At $2CAD, its cost is a little less than the 1983 price $2.50. By the way, I still have my issue...and I still have nightmares about editing that goose sweater on the cover. Heh. 

Sneak Peek at IK
I spent yet another great weekend in Saratoga staying with Em and Mitch. John and I went up there for the Hargreaves Family Reunion. Shit, there’s a lot of them Hargreaves. But I had a great time and enjoyed meeting John’s Dad, cousins, aunts, and assorted relatives, and hanging out with the Hargreave brothers, Ken and Bob. I love my Johnny Action. He should have been a professional baseball announcer. (Sotto voce: GO YANKEES! The Curse of the Bambino continues.)

The point of all of this is that Em had the Fall edition of Interweave Knits. And you know what? It looks very good, at least from what I could see doing a quick flip-through. Annie Modesitt’s got a neat jacket in this issue. I didn’t study everything closely but at least IK is moving towards a good place, I think. Em has a subscription, so I suppose it will be several weeks yet before it’s out on the newsstands.

I checked out the covers for the next Knitter’s. I always go to Vote for the Cover to get a sense of the upcoming issue. The three sweaters weren’t bad but nothing to write home about. I rather liked #1 but I need to see a better quality picture first.

And besides, I’m not planning on making anything from any magazine right now, so it’s moot. 

Knitting Ennui Continues
Perhaps I need to refresh myself by doing something else. I did start a pair of socks on the Saratoga weekend, only to find myself bored with those too.

I’ve been reading heavily, which may account for my lack of interest in picking up the needles. I highly recommend the Jon Krakauer book, Under the Banner of Heaven, a fascinating look at Mormonism in the light of a murder committed by two fundamentalist LDS. (Of course, if you’ve never read his Into Thin Air, start with that—great adventure book about climbing Mt. Everest.) And then there’s Stiff, which I believe Carol S. has also read, about what happens to your body when you’re dead. It’s totally absorbing and often funny in its grotesquerie.

If anyone has any rare and handy books they’d like to recommend, I’m open.

Out of the Closet
I can’t say that I knit in public all that frequently because I seem to be either stuck in the office or home or at friends.  However, John’s family reunion seemed like the perfect place to work on a pair of socks while chatting with his family. And lo! Out of the woodwork comes John’s cousin Joanna, who was working on this wonderful braided rug. 

Here's a detail shot.

She’s from Massachusetts and has access to fabrics from the mills, which sadly, according to her, are going out of business. She’s been snatching up fabric as quickly as she can.

Funny how we have patience for knitting but not for other, equally challenging crafts. There’s no way I would have the patience to braid a rug.  Or do needlepoint.  And often, when I tell people of other craft persuasions just that, their response is almost always, “I wouldn’t have the patience to knit.”

You do what you do.

List Snooze
If it weren’t for Loopy sending me cherce bits from the lists, I honestly wouldn’t have the slightest notion as to what’s going on. And no loss that is, either.  Apparently there has been a bit of a to-do over the dumbing-down of knitting.

Have I been writing about that for two years or what? So this is news?

The only list I check out on a semi-regular basis these days is KnitFlame and even that I skim.

Out of Circ
The laptop has been out of circulation due to hideous adware/spyware infestation. My beloved daughter Corinne, wise in all ways technical because of her infinite smarts and a Network Tech diploma from The Chubb Institute, offered to take it while I was away last weekend, strip it down, and install spyware monitoring software. I just got it back the day before yesterday; hence, my tardiness in posting this week.  I rather suspect things will even out at work so that I can post twice a week again. 

Time to post this and get ready for AnnMarie’s annual barbecue, which, if we are at all lucky in rain-sodden NJ, will remain dry under cloudy skies and horrible humidity.

Ah, summer. It really is a rare and handy season.    

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