Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ring Out the Old Shit, Bring in More New Shit

Best Quote I Heard All Day
New Year's Day - Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. -- Mark Twain

The old boy had it right, as he usually did. Fuck resolutions. However, having some general goals isn't a bad thing. Focus, people. If you do, you don't need to waste your time on resolutions.

KnitterGuy and the KC Eat Pancakes and Talk Fiber
Well, I missed seeing Kristin--she had to leave to go back to MA and my back was fucked up for the first two days of this week. We'll play catch-up the next time she's down to see her mom in Dover. But I did see my dear Ted, who was staying at friend Jack's in Nutley. (For those of you who know nothing of Jersey, Nutley is the birthplace of Annie Oakley and hometown of Martha Stewart, who started life in Jersey City, something I'm sure she'd rather forget.)

So on this snowy morning, I skipped and skidded the four miles up to Jack's, grabbed Ted, and off we went to IHOP for pancakes and a happy reunion. Ted is one of my all-time favorite friends. We made up for time missed at Rhinebeck this morning. And lookee at what he gave me for Christmas!
It's 80% mohair, 20% wool laceweight. Ted knows me all too well. I was delighted! And I gave him a copy of IK's Accessory issue, one that's hard for him to get in Canada. After the food, we took a short 10-minute drive to my hometown, Montclair. For those of you who have no clue as to where in the world New Jersey is, see map below for reference.

Yes, Google is your friend. The "A" marks where I live--for some reason, Montclair didn't show up on this view but it's slightly west of Nutley.

Anyway, we took a trip to my favorite yarn shop, Stix 'n' Stitches. If you live in NJ or visit, this is a must-see shop. Sheila, the owner, is a woman after my own heart. Knows her shit but no bullshit.

A good last day of 2009.

What I Like
OK, Duffy, here you are. Heh. I did promise to note what I found to be useful, what I think is the best of WTF, some new things, some old. Of course, as with all the other crap you read here, the opinion is mine alone. Ain't it always?

Best New Spinning Books: Bumper crop this year! First, there's Abby Franquemont's outstanding Respect the Spindle. Along with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts's Spinning in the Old Way, you can teach yourself how to spindle without much ado.

And then there's Spin Control: Techniques for Spinning the Yarns You Want by Amy King. If you are confused about the difference between a draft and a draw, you need this book. I use a short draw, primarily because I prefer knitting with worsted as opposed to woolen yarn but if I want to teach myself to spin using a long draw, this is the book that will help me achieve that goal. Novice spinners should invest in this book, absolutely. I wish I had had it when I first taught myself to spin. Lots of heartbreak and cursing would have been avoided.

Best New Knitting Books: Honestly, I wish there were more to rave about. Perhaps I'm jaded. And God knows the market is awash with a lot of garbage. I did like French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, Color by Kristin (yeah, I'm a bit biased but I calls 'em like I sees 'em and this is a damned fine book), and Personal Footprints for Insouciant Knitters by Cat Bordhi (if nothing else, ya gotta love the use of "insouciant").

Books that I want to check out include Crazy Lace by Myra Wood. And Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. I would love to see a Lucy Neatby book. Come on, Lucy. Give it up.

Best New Yarn: I have to say, it was Mini Mochi by Crystal Palace for me. I used this for my book and other than its soft twist, I liked it very much. Fun for little doopy things like socks 'n' scarves.

Best Knitting Tool Buy: No question, it's KnitPicks' brass markers, 100 for $1.99. I bought a bag of these and they will fit needles up to #10s. I've found that markers with dingleberries hanging off of them tend to get caught in my work, as much as I love millefiori glass markers.

Best New Spinning Wheel: The Schacht Ladybug, hands down. I had the pleasure of spinning on it when it came out and I'm still jonesin' for one.

Best Spindle
This is a tough one. It's a toss-up between the Starlite Comet, made by Tracy Eichheim, and the Golding RingSpindles. I own both and each spins sublimely. If you can't afford a Golding, get in touch with Tracy. His are reasonably priced and superlatively balanced.

Best Knitting Magazine: Rowan. With runner-up, The Knitter Magazine from the UK. Frankly, the American magazines just don't measure up. I saw the Winter VK today and wanted to retch. Awful.

Best Fiberart Magazine: Spin-Off, HandWoven, and PieceWork--all three are unique and special. Sadly, I can't add IK to any list. Interweave, please take note that this magazine is a mess. However, the aforementioned magazines are beautifully written, photographed, and damned user friendly.

So that about does it. Whether you agree with me or not, I'm glad that you take the time to read. The year that starts tomorrow, 2010, will mark my 8th year of blogging. I'll be writing more this year, I promise.

Happy New Year, tontant weaders. YOU are rare and handy, and I treasure each one of you. OK, enough of the sop. Get the fuck to work on your New Year's project! NOW!

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