Friday, January 21, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.—P.J. O’Rourke

Once again, the disgraceful Bush regime flaunted its ignorance and insensitivity with its Inaugural extravaganza yesterday.

For many of us, his re-election is nothing to celebrate. Dead and wounded American soldiers and Iraqi civilians are hardly cause for an overpriced pat on the back, either. Loopy’s son, discharged from the Army last year, is now back in uniform involuntarily, and forced to pay for equipment that he can ill afford. This guy is most likely headed for Iraq, with little hope of having the proper protection because Rumsfeld treats our troops with disdain. These guys are not being protected. It’s a national disgrace.

Vague Knitting
OK, so I broke down and bought the latest issue. It’s so-so. I must agree with Joe in his assessment of Mari Lynn Patrick’s non-talent. Jesus, what goes through that woman’s head when she’s cooking up a “design”? That pink-and-black jacket looked like Chanel on crack.

I liked three designs—Brandon Mably’s, Sasha Kagan’s, and Kristin Nicholas’s. The rest you can throw in the garbage. Not even awful, just weird. Lately, though, there’s been a return to set-in sleeves in all of the magazines, thank God. At least the schmattehs will fit better.

What was rather amusing was the “Reader Survey.” I suppose that when interpreting statistics, the VK editorial staff takes its lead from the Bush administration. “You like what we’re doing with the magazine—46% of you think it’s better than it’s ever been.” Um, what happened to the other 54 percent?

And how about this wretchedly constructed sentence: “We also know that when it comes to studying the craft, our readers are prolific—more than 65 percent of our readers have twenty-plus books in their personal libraries.” First of all, I must have ten times that number, so I’m not hugely impressed, particularly with the evergrowing piles of sappy, HYUK-y books out on the market. Quantity means zip. Second, how does owning lots of knitting books make one more prolific? God knows buying knitting books hasn’t made me a faster, more prolific knitter. Of course, if I knit rags at 2 spi, I suppose I could then consider myself prolific.

The VK sop to technique was Meg Swansen’s how to do a German Twisted cast on, a cast on for which I have not found an adequate use in 47 years of knitting. So many of VK’s readers are newbies that I would think holding their collective hands through a basic cast-on or two might serve a nobler purpose. Veronik Avery did an excellent article on shortrowing for Interweave Knits, a far more practical and needed explanation than that of some obscure cast-on. That's the kind of technical article that's useful.

Catalog Time
I finally got the KnitPicks catalog in the mail and was surprised to see that they’re seemingly dumping other yarn companies in favor of their own label, primarily Andean wools and alpacas in different weights. Loopy ordered some of their DK and laceweight alpaca, so I’ll wait to see what she says about the quality before jumping on the bandwagon. However, the prices are spectacular and I liked the colors, at least online and in the catalog. Very bold and risky move, I think, but one that may be quite smart.

Along with the KnitPicks catalog, I received the Lion Brand Catalog. Why, I don’t know. The catalog certainly has improved as far as layout is concerned, but that’s Nancy Thomas’s fine touch. Of course, everything else within is crap.

So where’s the Patternworks catalog? That’s the one I’m waiting for. I’d say it’s about due.

Books Bitching
OK, so do we think there are now enough books on the market for idiot knitters so that no one need ask for the following:

A basic sock pattern
A scarf pattern
A basic mitten pattern
A basic hat pattern
How to do anything basic

It’s amazing how many writers keep rehashing the same old information. How many sock books do we need? If you’re going to own one, it needs to be Folk Socks—not for the patterns but for the design information. (I’ve heard that a few of Nancy Bush’s socks don’t fit that well.) But what more do you need than a basic pattern that fits your feet, anyway?

I don’t tend to buy pattern books because in general, they aren’t worth the money. The Jamieson books are the exceptions. But the technique books out on the market are just the same old stuff rewritten and repackaged. Rather than bother with all the new HYUK books, the fine old classics are better buys.

Hope everyone is staying warm because it’s fucking cold here in NJ. Seven degrees with a wind-chill factor of FREEZE YOUR ASS OFF. Heh. And a big mother snowstorm headed our way tomorrow. Oh joy.

Snow is ever so rare and handy…elsewhere.

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