Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now gimme money (that's what I want)

Best Quote I Heard All Day
If you want it in the worst way, that's probably how you'll get it--Patrick Conway, my former boss at The Chubb Institute and a very good friend

Do you wonder how much money knit/crochet designers make for their published patterns? Shit dollars. A mere tuppence, considering the amount of work that goes into even a simple design. And to add insult to injury, knitting editors often force them to change the design elements and then substitute another yarn (usually due to pressure from advertisers--I know, was in that boat onceuponatime long ago, which is why I left craft publishing). Designers have no control over the quality of the directions either.

Shameful. This is why I don't submit my stuff to magazines, although I do trust Trisha Malcolm, based on what friends have told me about her.

Recently, a good friend who is a well-known designer and a wonderful lady, wrote me and in answer to my question, "How come I haven't seen your stuff in the mags for a while?", she told me that the magazines and yarn companies are hiring newbie designers or using in-house people to keep costs down and walking away from the better-known names. She's now concentrating on other outlets for her talents, such as writing articles for a magazine that has nothing to do with knitting.

It's fine to give new names a chance but to fill your issue with unknowns is downright stupid. Yeah, I know. It's the economy, stupid. But you get what you pay for, no? Along with poor photography, IK being tops in this category, the designs you see, other than those in VK, are blah-blah-drab. Can we blame the designers? I think not..

I'm saddened that my friend may disappear from the knitting design world. How many more will we lose? Yo, magazine editors. Get smart and stop being fucking idiots. Let your designers do their thing and pay them decently. Keep giving the novices a chance but don't forget the tried and true people who have made your magazines popular. I know that your readers would pay more per issue if you gave them quality instead of crap.

OK, I'm done with the rant. For the time being. Now, a beacon of light in the knitting publishing world that I am happy to discuss.

Go Gwen!
The other week, when I was hanging out at Stix-n-Stitches, my favorite knitting haunt and home to my soul sisters, the divine Ms. Sheila Handelsman and the incomparable Patty Way, I saw and grabbed Gwen Bortner's new book, Entree to Entrelac, published by XRX. Holy shit, what a book! I first did entrelac back in my Mon Tricot era, around 1978, just fooling around with it. Later on, I started but never finished the Forest Path Stole, a fabulous entrelac design in IK. I loved working it but somehow got off the beaten path.

Gwen's book truly is the definitive guide to entrelac. The amount of work that went into this book is astounding. Everything in it is outstanding--excellent diagrams, concise text, good photos, fabulous designs.

You know me, I don't blather over a book unless it hits me between the eyes. This one did, the first in a long time. I would say that it is equal to Cat Bordhi's books in technical information imparted perfectly.

I might even learn to knit backwards, something that I've shunned in the past. God knows, if I can't learn from Gwen's book, I'm a fucking moron.

So check it out, skanks. And buy it. I'm looking forward to meeting Gwen when she teaches two workshops at Stix-n-Stitches Sunday October 24th. If you live in North Jersey and are interested in attending, contact Sheila at the shop, 973-744-3535. I'll be there, just to meet Gwen. Being on unemployment precludes my attending the workshops, unfortunately.

Rhinebeck Prep
The clock is ticking. Three more days to go. This is the premier event of my year, possibly anticipated more than Christmas.

I will miss Lee Ann and Ted, neither of whom can make it this year. But there will be lots of friends there, plus readers whom I have never met.

So what knitting will I bring? Probably two things: a pair of Yeti socks that I'm making for a Christmas present. And this:

About a year ago, I spun this silk laceweight and two weeks ago, decided it was time to use it. You can kinda see the pattern--it's one of Sharon Miller's, from her Heirloom Lace book. I've used it before and although it's fairly complex, a 20 st/ 20 row repeat, I've pretty much memorized the pattern, with a quick glace at the chart sometimes.

As for spinning crap, I've been spindling this Corriedale for ages. It's about time I got it done.
So I'll bring this to Rhinebeck too, just to keep my fingers busy. I was going to bring the Punk Princess but she got tickets to a show down at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, so she won't be with me this year. Can you believe my girl is now a freshman in the BFA program at Montclair State University? Yikes. She was 10 when I first started writing the blog. Now she's 18, and besides being my beloved granddaughter, a dear friend too.

So the next blog post will be about Rhinebeck, obviously. There'll be lots of pictures, no doubt. For those of you who can't make it, maybe next year? It's the one fiber festival that's worth attending, better, in my opinion, than MD Sheep & Wool.

Go early, shop heavy, hang with friends. I won't be spending a lot of money--do I really need more shit? But I look forward to meeting any readers who will be there. You'll usually find me at the concession stands, sitting at a picnic table with friends. If I'm not there, I certainly will be anon. Please don't hesitate to tap me on the shoulder and do a "Hey Mar!" in my ear.

My readers are rare and handy. Meeting you is even more so. See ya on Saturday (and Sunday, if I have the energy to make the 2-hour drive again).


anne marie in philly said...

I'm sorry I am on the not-this-year attendance list (my spouse was just laid off his job). so please display pix so I can tame the green jealousy monster and hope for better times (and spouse has a job) next year.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mar, I'll be there on Sunday with a newbie from my knitting group...hope to run into you! -maria

jaya said...

Haven't seen you in years, but hopefully we'll catch up this year!

Gwen said...

Sorry finances preclude taking a class, but I do understand. But I look forward to meeting you -- please make sure you introduce yourself!!


PS - And thanks for the nice review, I really appreciate it!

J. Kwiatkowski said...

That's the second recommendation I've read for that book. It must be something!

Petunia said...

Learned to knit backward from Cast On issue a year or so back, and for Entrelac, it's wonderful. When you're only working on 8-10 st at a time, you would otherwise spend more time turning and untwisting your work. It was awkward for the first few rows only!
Enjoy the weekend!

Marilyn said...

AM, I'm so sorry you can't make it. I know it's tough for you and your family these days. Hang tight, babe. One of these days we'll meet. Maybe Carol will reschedule her open house for BBF.

Hey Gwen! I just did the numbers and if Sheila still has room, I can do the workshops! As everyone knows, I never take workshops. At least, until Vogue Live and you happened. See you on the 24th.

Fiber Ninja said...

I AM going next year, come Hell or high water!! I've already made the spouse put in for vacation time. Eat some fried artichokes for me, please??

HL said...

Well..and when you print weird patterns by people I've never heard of with bad photography--why do I want to grab it off the newsstands again?

And they wonder why my subscription lapsed.

Anonymous said...

Loved that entrelac book too. Gwen Bortner brought this technique into the 21st century. Not everyone agrees, if you read the Amazon reviews. No accounting for taste, I guess!


Susan said...

I know this is an old post, but...
I've just looked at the IK preview. What can one say?

Ann286 said...

I completely agree with your statement on magazines being crap. And often I wonder who these designs come from and how come they're so awful. It's been sad as once IK was really good.

Thank goodness for Ravelry, & Twist collective, where at least I can find all the good designs and of course designers.

Cheers to you!