Saturday, November 21, 2009

She's back...mostly.

Best Quote I Heard All Day

As I get older, I just prefer to knit—Tracey Ullman

Right, Tracey. A true celebrity knitter…maybe. Somehow, I think she really can knit well. (Certainly Goldie Hawn is an experienced knitter. The rest—who gives a fuck.)

Except as I get older, it seems as if I keep adding other crap to my repertoire. Besides spinning and weaving, I can embroider and quilt. And sew, if I ever get my Bernina back from daughter Jenn, who designs her own medieval costumes for her SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) events.

There’s not enough fucking time. Literally.

I’m finally back up and running, as long as I'm in NJ. I'll be moved in by the 30th. Until then, I won't be uploading any pictures. It’s been tough to function without internet at home. At work, they have it so locked down, as they should, that the best I can do is write a blog entry and save it until I can get it up on Blogger. Those of you familiar with WebSense, which allows network administrators to control where and what you can see on the web, know that blogs, social networks, and of course, nasty pictures, are banned. So I’ve relied on my BlackBerry to read e-mail and do FaceBook. Feh.

Mammy Update

She’s doing very well. Off to get her lymphoma zapped and her prognosis is excellent—she’s feeling quite chipper. Let’s put it this way, she’s busy knitting. told her that my readers sent her get well wishes. She doesn’t quite get what I do, either here or at work, but she did appreciate your kind thoughts.

Rhinebeck Feh

I have to say, I was not exceptionally thrilled about Rhinebeck this year. I barely saw anyone, other than Mel and David at their booth, Joe for a split second, Lorraine for a little while longer, Sean for another split second, Ted, Carol, Laura, and a few other guys from Easton Mountain whose names I’ve sadly forgotten.

Who I missed seeing:

  • My dearest Lee Ann Balazuc, who couldn’t make it again this year. Dude, if you don’t fucking show up next year, I swear I’ll drive up and kidnap you, Spiff, and Twinkle.
  • Veronik Avery, with whom I always enjoy chatting. Carol did give me some wonderful samples of her new St. Denis yarn. But still…I wish I’d seen her.
  • Mindy Soucek—I really, really felt bad that we didn’t run into each other. Mindy is very special to me.
  • Fredda Peritz—missed you, woman!
  • Lars Raines—I know, it’s tough for him with his insane schedule.
  • BJ Restropo—Beej, where WERE you???
  • Cheryl Anderson, who I wanted to meet very much.

Oh well. I did have Jerry with me but I told him that next year he stays home. Let’s face it, when you drag your significant other to these yarn/fiber extravaganzas, it’s a drag on you and on your love. Better he should stay home and watch some movies. I took Jimmy to Stitches once, years ago, and swore I would never take him again. You’d think I would have learned? Nope. So next year, I’ll do my one-day run on my own.

What I bought:

I was on the lookout for fiber other than merino, which seemed to be the overwhelming choice at MD S&W. I was rewarded at Rhinebeck, buying some various fibers. Silk, of course. I can’t resist Chasing Rainbows. Skanska had no cormo, sadly. But I did find some nifty dyed targee at Carolina Homespun, along with a little bit of pygora to sample. And then, there were the bags of mohair/merino.

My bad. I bought two more Golding spindles. I love the ones I already have and have been spinning this nice Corriedale on my little Golding spindle. The Russian hand-painted inset spindles are my favorites—I’m starting to collect them. Look at it this way—these days, I’m making plenty of bucks and I can afford to buy them. Besides all the “I’m going to be 60 and I’d better smell the roses” nonsense, having a lovely spindle in my hands makes me spin more.

So much for Rhinebeck this year. I will not go to MD again.

Joy of Sox

That’s actually a title I may use if I ever do a sock book. God knows people suck up sock books like shop vacs.

Generally, I take time in October to replenish the sock drawer. Two lightweight pair for me, two Raggi pairs, one for Jerry and one for me.

I enjoy designing socks but when it comes to making my own, I could care less about patterning. I use the same plain vanilla 60-stitch pattern with self-patterning yarn that I’ve worked for the past 15 years. It fits. I wear them with my Mary Janes to work. I don’t need anything else.

As far as the Raggi socks go, I call them the “Loopy” socks because Loop turned me on to Raggi. She has made her husband Jerry socks from Raggi for a long time. Again, these are plain vanilla. I made my Jerry a pair last winter and he loved them so much, I’m at it again.

I may size the Raggi socks and then put the pattern up here as a freebie.

Da Mags

I’m sorry to say that IK is a mess. Vague seems to be getting back on track, thank God. But IK is foundering. It was bad enough watching Knitter’s go down the crapper but now, IK is racing down the poop chute. Reviewing the fall issue, it struck me that the designs’ colors were drab. No matter how well designed the garments may have been, the issue as a whole was downright grim.

WTF are they thinking? I realize that it’s been quite some time since I did a magazine but there are some design concepts that don’t change.

Concept #1: Don’t fuck up the page layout by cluttering it with little photos that cause “eye confusion.”

Concept #2: Work with a photographer who understands the vagaries of shooting knitted garments and is willing to teach you how to style. IK’s photos are often badly lit, frequently staged in an uninteresting location, and most of the models lack character. I rather miss the red-haired IK model of the past. One of the best photographers I ever had the honor to work with was Ian O’Leary, who did the photography for Sasha Kagan’s first few books. Ian taught me how to style sweaters, how to capture the design’s personality, and how to choose and work with live models.

Concept #3: Make sure that the editorial pages stand out and don’t look like advertisements. Otherwise, you’ll have confused readers.

I have found a good magazine, new to me, and one that I think is a serious threat to IK—Creative Knitting. It reminds me very much of the old IK, with directions on the left-hand page, photo on the right. No little bits and pieces scattered across the spread. The issue I picked up had some very nice designs. Check this one out. I have a feeling that it’s an up-and-comer.

My other favorite magazine is online—Twist Collective, by Kate Gilbert and her crew. This is undoubtedly the classiest netzine I’ve read in a long time. Yes, I know. Knitty and Knitter’s Review are beloved. Honestly, I find them less interesting than TC.

All that said, the IK Accessories special issue is arguably the best publication they've done in a long time. Well worth the fifteen bucks.

Spin-Off, Handwoven, and PieceWork continue to be exemplary magazines.

Other Obligatory Knitting Shit

I’ve been pretty busy, in the little spare time that I have. Besides the pile of socks, I've finished several designs for the book, spun a fair amount, and written another book chapter. I think I've scared the shit out of Jerry with the boxes of yarn that I've packed up, not to mention my library. I'll have pictures next week of some works-in-progress but until then, you'll have to make do with plain ole flat text.

Once I've moved in with Jer, I'll have my own room for a little studio. After two years, I'll be able to open up the big loom. Somehow, I'll pack in some weaving time. Time management--rare and more than handy.

By the way, if you really want to know what the fuck I'm doing, you can friend me on FaceBook if you let me know that you read the blog. I will most likely set up a separate page for my design work in the next few weeks. I don't bother with Twitter these days.

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