Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yarns in the Pipeline?

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Start thinking outside the box"--one of my many corporate bosses

So, apropos to last week post, I have come to an epiphany about the so-called knitting world.

Are You a PC or Apple Knitter?
Therein lies the rub. Knitting, due to the enormous popularity of the craft, has become a corporate nightmare, as I see it. Once a craft that attracted people who were individualistic, since 1997, when the KnitList became the refuge of many KnitDweebs and knitting started to take off, knitting has become "big business" propelled by the yarn companies and magazines.

In other words, the knitting "world" is now the fucking craft paradigm, pardon the jargon.

Anyone who remembers when Knitter's Magazine still made a connection with its readers, when Interweave Knits was edited by people who understood the individualistic nature of the craft, when yarn company ads were less like an insurance company commercial and more like an ad in your local paper, remembers that knitting was and still can be a personal, expressive craft.

Yes, knitting has joined corporate America.  Hence the rise of the knitting celebs, along with ghastly knitting jargon. I never have, never will use the following:
  • Knitterati
  • Knitterly
  • KIP
  • SEX
  • Tink
  • Frog
  • The word "ewe" in any form of idiotic pun

God help us all, there's even a book on knitting jargon--"The Secret Language of Knitters."
This is why I will always be an indie. Knitting does not define me. I define it for myself.

Tour de Fleece
As you know, if you're a Tontant Weader, groups and me don't generally equate, with the exception of my beloved skanks at Stix-n-Stitches, Sheila and I having been separated at birth, and my occasional appearance on Ravelry.

This year, because I have more fucking time on my hands than ever before, I've decided to join Team Peleton on Ravelry. Why not? I spin every day anyhoo. This week, though, I've been rushing to get the Black Bunny Fibers Bluefaced Leicester/silk of the Joy to free it up for TDF.

This was fun to spin, another entry in my project to spin various weights. I used two different colorways, both with that amazing yellow. Carol, I don't know how the fuck you got that yellow but I love it!

Now, I have some Chasing Rainbows bombyx silk top in the Pansies colorway that's been percolating in the fiber stash for several years. Laceweight is calling.

Got four ounces of this stuff that I'll attempt to spin during the three-week TDF period. For those of you who are interested, it starts on Saturday, July 3 and continues until the end of the Tour de France. Check out the group on Ravelry. I'll post my progress here as well as on Ravelry.

Shut Your Sockhole
Recently, I read in some knitting rag that you can't avoid holes in cuff-down heel gussets. Bullshit. I've got my own little tricks that make for a nice gusset join with no holes whatsoever.
This is the Punk Princess's teeny foot doing a preliminary modeling for one of my Fiberality Stoopid TV Knitting sock designs. She gets to keep all the socks, too. Liz is the only one in the family with small feet. The rest of us wimmens have humongous dogs.

I did take a shot of the gusset so that you can see WTF I'm talking about.
If you're interested, I'll write about how I do my gussets next week. Ah, fuck it, even if you aren't interested, I'll write about it. Holeless gussets are rare and handy, dontcha know.

Have a great 4th, skanks!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sycophantastic! Knitting Kiss-asses Rule!

Best Quote I Heard All Day
I don't like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists.--George Carlin

The day Carlin died, I wept. Bill Maher has taken his place in many ways but this quote from George says it all.

Haven't been much in the mood to post recently but I'm gonna get back onto a writing schedule. I'm spending way too much time on FaceBook. So, let's continue with my rant, eh? Haven't ranted in a while.

Lackey Love
Lately, I've become more aware of how many toadies the minor world of knitting has created. Including people I thought were above prostrating themselves at the feet of knitting "celebrities." Or who view themselves as such, perhaps because they've had something published and had their asses kissed.

"Oooh, oooh, oooh, I loooovve that incredible mess of yarn that you call a garment." Fuck ya. Everyone's a fucking designer these days. I design...for myself. If you like it, great. If not, it ain't gonna change my life.

Let's take the Wayback Machine and look at the original true stellar knitters. Elizabeth Zimmermann, no argument there. Barbara Walker, Barbara Abbey, Maggie Righetti, Ida Riley Duncan, Gladys Thompson, Mary Thomas, Mary Walker Phillips, James Norbury, Marianne Kinzel--these are the people from whom I learned, and whose books are well loved and well used.

If there were no other knitting books available, you could learn what you needed to know from these august writers. God knows I did. These writers taught me everything.

As for spinning, that's a world less filled with sycophants. And a world with far fewer stars. I learned how to spin from Mabel Ross's "Essentials of Spinning" and Lee Raven's book "Hands On Spinning." Then came Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Abby Franquemont for spindling. Any other spinning books are simply icing on the cake.

These days, too many people are clamoring for star status. So who are the stellar knitters these days? People who actually contribute to the body of knitting knowledge: Shirley Paden, Kaffe Fassett, Nancy Bush, Cat Bordhi, Ann Budd, Marianne Isager, Nicky Epstein, people like these. The rest of the "celebs" need to disappear, put their egos into perspective, and STFU.

And what wid every designer now having their own yarn line? WTF? Frankly, there is too much yarn out there as it is. Do we really need yet another line of yarn? I don't think so. That said, here's my new line of KC Idiot-proof yarn, specially milled for me by the local hardware store.
  • Fuck You Red
  • Kiss My Ass Orange
  • Bite Me Blue
  • WTF White
  • Skanky Silver
  • Gobsmacked Green
  • Asswipe Aqua
 More colors to come, Tontant Weaders welcome to submit their ideas in the comments. Heh.

Obligatory Knitting Shit
So, yeah, I'm still out of work but knitting and spinning away.

One thing I've realized from talking to other knitters at Stix-n-Stitches, my local yarn hangout, is that people really don't want to work complex designs.  What they want is simple shit that looks good. So I've been working on a series of designs I call "Stoopid TV Knitting". The sock below, knit with Carol's wonderful Black Bunny Fibers SoftSilk 50% merino/50% silk sock yarn, is a 6-round, 4-stitch repeat.
All I need to do is finish the second one and jam the pair onto the Punk Princess's teeny feet so I can photograph them properly.

Evening is spinning time.
More Black Bunny Fiber--this fabulous 50% Blue-faced Leicester/50% silk has been incredible to spin. Have you figured out that I'm a big BBF fan? Carol is one of the finest dyers, with great taste in fiber. You can't go wrong with her stuff.

Punk Princess Time
My baby girl isn't much of a baby anymore. She's starting college in September, accepted into Montclair State University's BFA program. She's quite the artist. This is one of my favorite pieces from her senior art show.
Her senior project theme was music. Each senior had to produce 24 pieces for the year, then design their own booth for the show.
The Four Gens: Me, Liz, daughter Corinne, and my everlovin' Mammy, who'll be 87 in August. And still puts knitters half her age to shame. A rare and handy group, no?

I promise, I'll be writing every week now. My 8th blog anniversary is next month and I'll be damned if I let this blog go down the tubes. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.