Saturday, July 23, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much. --Oscar Wilde

And exactly why I shrug off negative comments.

FO! FO! FO! Oh Shut the Fuck Up.
Jeez, I really despise those stupid abbreviations and acronyms. The Estonian scarf is finished, according to Nancy Bush's directions.

This is the actual finished size of the scarf if you do it as designed. As you can see, I have plenty more yarn. So it continues until the yarn runs out.

Despite the initial mistakes in the chart's key and my discovery that the left selvedge is not as firm and distinct as I'd like it to be, I'm having a good time with this.

And getting the opportunity to help some people with the pattern, too.

Here's the deal with knitting lace in general, based on some egregious mistakes that I've made in the past:
  • Don't forget one single yarn-over or you're fucked.
  • If you plan on ripping out, make sure that you've had a hefty dose of your preferred controlled substance.
  • If you've never knitted a lace pattern before, do a swatch on heavier yarn so you can learn the ins and outs there, not on the actual piece.

Working the scarf has inspired me to consider doing my own lace shawl design. I have another quad skein and it might be fun to give it a shot. Lace is the one genre I've never attempted to design. However, I'm now re-committed to finishing the Forest Path Stole.

Incidentally, I am an excellent lace mistake-fudger. I'd have to show you in person but I can fix a forgotten yarn-over if necessary. Anything to avoid ripping.

Editing Patterns--A Job for the Emotionally Challenged
I really don't mind that there are errors in knitting magazine patterns. Probably because I understand completely what it takes to edit directions. It's a bitch. These days, most magazines have strict guidelines as to how the designer must write up the directions. Even so, the editor must check and recheck the directions and charts. Think about it. You miss one "yo" in a lace pattern and you're screwed. The directions are wrong.

I will now admit publicly for the first time the most hideous mistake I ever made as a knitting editor. Even after almost 23 years, it galls me.

When I was assistant knit/crochet editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts, back in 1983, one of my responsibilities was to put together some of the special issues, like the afghan special, the Christmas special, and Fashion Bazaar. Since McCall's bought all rights to designs and had a tight relationship with Phildar, who was happy to supply us with freebie patterns, I would collect around 20-25 designs from our stock, edit the directions, and ship the whole package off to the art department for production.

I'm putting together a Fashion Bazaar and for the cover, I chose a beautiful Aran, sized for men and women. The photo was perfect. Of course, while I'm doing this, I'm also editing the knitting patterns for the regular magazine (Gena Rhodes, the editor and my boss, was a crocheter and didn't like editing the knitting stuff). Add to this mix my inexperience with magazine production and wah-la. Major fuck-up looming.

When Fashion Bazaar came back from the printer, I found the senior editor, a New York fashion bitch if ever I met one, standing in the doorway with the magazine in her hand and a foul look on her face. "Look through this and tell me what's wrong with it." I knew I was in deep shit. So I sat there while she tapped her foot and I found the mistake.

I had forgotten the directions for the cover Aran.

I still have that issue. I keep it to remind me that publishing requires focus. And that's why I am forgiving of most magazine errors.

Starry Night
You'd think that with all the moving activities going on in the house, I wouldn't have time to do anything else.

But if you get up at 5:30 a.m. every day, you can fit stuff in. I managed to get two more bobbins of Starry Night finished, with a third on the wheel almost complete. I love this stuff. The mohair that appears in the wool like the filling in a Twinkie makes spinning this a real challenge.

In the top bobbin to the right, you can see the faint pink of the mohair. In the bottom bobbin to the left, you can see the pale yellow mohair. And sometimes, the mohair is white.

I'm spinning this single using a worsted draft. This helps keep the fibers from lofting up excessively. Once it's plyed and washed, there's plenty of loft. The wpi is 31, for those who want to know.

Well, enough procrastination. I still have to pack the yarn and the knitting books. Wednesday is the day. On Monday, July 25th, I will have a special anniversary post.

Three years of a rare and handy activity. I wonder if I'll blog for 48 years. That's how long I've been knitting. Feets don't fail me now.

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