Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth. --Bill Clinton

So what took you so damned long, Bill? Instead of immediately condemning Bush's total failure in responding to the Katrina disaster, you say nothing until last Sunday. Your successor is making your quote very viable indeed.

The Democrats had better get their act together and show some leadership in the Senate now rather than worrying about what they're going to do in 2006.

A Fine Ending
At last, the edging for the Field of Flowers has begun. I tried to take pictures of my provisional cast-on for those of you who have never done one; however they came out a bit dark. This is the best shot, where you can see the crocheted base and the laceweight stitches picked up and ready to be knit.

It's one of three cast-ons that I use. The other two are long-tail and cable. Don't need more than that in your repetoire.

What I'm saying is, don't bother to teach yourself the Half-Twisted Reverse Toe Loop Czechoslovakian Cast-On. It's good to know that it exists but you'll probably never need it.

I always use cotton yarn as waste. It has no loft, no fibers that will catch onto the laceweight and cause a disastrous mixing of yarns. I also crochet more chains than is required, just in case. In case, for some reason, the chain starts unraveling. In case the loosely knotted end of the chain comes undone.

You can't be too careful.

So I stayed up until 1 a.m. this morning getting the edging started. It's pretty much a no-brainer stitch pattern. After you've cast six stitches onto a dp, you slide them back onto the lefthand shawl needle, work the first row of the edging and end with knitting the last stitch of the edging together with one shawl stitch to join. That's it.

Once it's blocked, the points will really stick out. Right now, they're feh.

Veni, Vidi, Blogi
You may wonder why I don't list a thousand knitting blogs in my sidebar. That's because I don't read more than a few blogs on a regular basis. I simply don't have the time to waste reading about someone's Red Heart Clapotis, someone's iPod cover or someone's latest health crisis.

However, lately there have been some really outstanding knitting blogs started by some incredible people. And I'm reading these regularly. (Besides Joe's, which I always read and have since he started.) I thought I'd let you know what's good out there.

  • The Panopticon--Franklin, who often comments here, has one of the best new knitting blogs I've read in a long, long time. Not only is he a gifted writer and photographer but he's fucking funny as hell. Franklin's only been knitting for a year or so but he's got the beginner's angst down pat. He won't be a novice for long.
  • YouKnitWhat--I know, we've all been reading it but for those who haven't, you must. Although it honestly saddens me to see that they've got plenty of material.
  • Manolo's Shoe Blog--Yeah, I know it's not knitting. But it's The Manolo and The Manolo he knows the crappy fashion.
  • Parlez-Moi--I just read this blog last night for the first time--Kathleen Valentine, the blog writer, e-mailed me regarding my blog and I went to check hers out. Her lace knitting is outstanding. And the writing's excellent as well. Plus she lives in Gloucester, MA, one of my favorite places.

I read others as well, though not as frequently. I like String Or Nothing and Tricky Tricot, both excellent. But it's good to know that there are writers/knitters out there who do something more than Einstein jackets.

Readers' Comments/ Questions (with apologies to Joe for fucking up his header the first time. There, it's fixed. Happy, my gay bro?)

MOG asks, "576 stitches?!?! Are your wrists killing you?"
Nah. I wear a wrist brace and generally ignore my CTS.

Sravana asks, "perhaps it would be a good thing if you would pixellate the faces of the gastlies?"
Well, besides misspelling "ghastlies", Sravana has a good question. I believe I did that last year and the year before. If I forgot, tough shit. However (and Franklin can correct me if I'm wrong), if you're in a public place, no one has to either ask your permission to take your picture or hide your face via pixellation or a big fat fucking black box over your eyes.

Valerie asks, "Do you have tips for learning to spin? Or could you point me in the direction of books?"
My tip for learning how to spin? Keep at it and don't give up. I'm not going to teach everyone how to spin on this blog. However, the two books I found most useful when I was teaching myself were Lee Raven's book Hands On Spinning and Bette Hochberg's Handspinner's Handbook. The Big Book of Spinning by Alden Amos is a fabulous reference book but much too much for a beginner.

Even though I like a lot of KnitPick's yarn, their exclusive designs are as dull as day-old toast. I mean, I understand that Kelley Petkun's husband owns the company but must we be inflicted with her hideous designs and her face spattered all over every single catalog? And heaven knows, it's good to see unknown designers given the opportunity to publish but most of these designs look like they came straight from the Knit List Christmas Gift Patterns. Feh.

Interesting that I've receive a complaint about them from a professional designer who shall remain nameless. This designer says that KnitPicks' "design coordinator," Bridget Suma, when Googled, shows her as a stagehand in a college theatre production a few years back. Hmmm. Kinda figures, given the level of designs KnitPicks uses.

The designer in question submitted eight designs a number of months ago. KP thought they were wonderful, agreed to the industry's going rate the designer requested, would get back to her the following week and then she heard...nothing. Until now. When they decided to take one of her designs and offered her half. So she's pissed and refused to deal with them, having kept these designs on hold for more than three months and not offering them to other publishers.

I'm not saying that KnitPicks deals unfairly with everyone. I don't know if they do or don't. I only know what this designer has said and it's her word against theirs. But I wouldn't be surprised. The yarn industry is a nasty, dirty, miserable business. If you design for publication, you'd better be prepared for the bullshit.

The yarn business is not the most rare and handy of industries.

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