Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Maaaaac Attack!

Best Quote I Heard All Day

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.—Steve Jobs

As a geek and a very early Mac user—I began with one of the very first 512K Mac Plus models in 1984, right after the Lisa—my segue into the land of Billy Gates and PCs was an event over which I had no control. In 2000, when I left the land of magazine publishing where Macs reigned supreme and went over to the Dark Side to become a tech writer, I was tossed kicking and screaming into a PC world.

As I journeyed through the tech world, I found that I wasn’t alone in my disdain for Microsoft—most developers really hate Windows, despise Vista, and love the Mac operating system or Open Source. Linux is big, too. (Of course, being a SharePoint administrator and architect does rather tie me to Billy. But SP is arguably the best thing that ever came out of Microsoft.)

I caved and bought a Dell desktop and laptop, sadly dumping my old Mac G3. It’s been almost seven years since I’ve touched a Mac. Well, huzzah. I bought a MacBook. It’s almost better than sex. I did this entry on the Mac and while it's a bit fucked up, I'll get back into the swing of OS X soon enough.

Blog Redesign

My boss Rick, who as the Web Team Leader, gets to use a Mac, showed me how to use my Mac to redesign my blog.

After almost 7 years, I’ve about had it with Blogger. Because I use Blogger for the page layout and other stuff but I publish my entries to my own domain, www.knittingcurmudgeon.com, Blogger won’t allow me to use widgets. And I have to hard-code anything I want to change on the template.

So over the course of the next month or so, I’ll be working on a completely new look. I’m thinking I’ll debut it on the blog’s 7th anniversary.

Book Acquisitions

I’ve been on a binge lately. Well, for me. I am so incredibly sick of seeing the shitload of how-to-knit books (I’m tempted to do a count of how many how-tos are in print), it’s always a pleasure to find some good books that presume you know your shit to some degree.

There’s been four additions to my library lately: Cheryl Oberle’s Knitted Jackets, The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques, French Girl Knits, and Pretty in Punk. You know who'll benefit from the last title. All were worth every penny but The Essential Guide is unquestionably the most comprehensive book on the subject that I've ever read. It covers all color knitting, including working with hand-dyed yarns. That discussion alone is worth buying the book.

I have an extensive library but few how-to reference books. My preferred books for that category is the Vogue Knitting book and all of Maggie Righetti’s books. I own Principles of Knitting but never use it. It’s a ponderous tome and frankly, grossly overwritten and opinionated. I understand that June Hiatt has been updating it but I’ve heard that rumor for three years now.

Need to Know

I’ve managed to muddle along for years using four cast-ons: long tail, provisional, cable, and knitted-on. I don’t feel I need to learn yet another cast-on. The Double SwitchBack Rustic Arcadian cast-on ain't in my playbook. These four fill the bill.

Decreases? Well, those are actually more limited in the number of methods than increases. I never decrease on the edge of anything. But you know that, don’t you.

In lacework, I will make a judgment call on how I decrease. Still, decreases are always variations that are worked within the same number of stitches—if you have to decrease 2 sts in a lace pattern, you can either slip 1, knit 2 together and then pass the slipped stitch over, knit 3 together, or knit 2 together, knit 1 and pass the 2 into 1 dec’d stitches over it. With decreases, it’s always a matter of how the finished decrease looks that will determine your choice. You don’t have to use what the designer has chosen if you prefer another method. I often change my decrease methods to improve the look.

Increases are another story. I collect 'em. Depending upon the stitch pattern, you often must use a specific increase method. This is driven by the way the stitch pattern is formed and how the increase is blended into the pattern.

Bind-offs? I have a couple up my sleeve, as it were.

The sum total of my knowledge could fill a short book. Which is why I would never bother writing a how-to. It's getting tiresome to see yet another of these appear on the scene. I trashed my how-to book three years ago because I didn't want to waste my time or anyone else's by rehashing the same old shit.

My Writing Shit

Speaking of books, mine continue apace. I've put Rock Sox to one side because the other book has become far more meaningful to me. Suffice it to say that I am following advice Shannon Okey gave me awhile back, advice that I put aside and then reconsidered. I will be asking the Punk Princess to do the cover. Liz is a talented artist and the one person I can be sure will come through for me.

Most of my friends have seen this picture and are probably sick of looking at it, but this is Liz at her induction into the National Art Honor Society last December, with one of her pieces in back of her. She was almost 10 when I first started writing this blog and long-time readers have watched her grow up on these here pages. She's her Gangsta Gram's girl, for sure. Rare, handy, with a wicked sense of humor.

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