PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Complaints about complainers

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One of my biggest pet-peeves is people who take the joy out of knitting through their complaints or by saying, "You can't do it that way, it doesn't work and it's not the RIGHT way to do it."

The first group of people are the ones who pick out and knit a pattern, and when they're done criticize it not in any constructive way, but for all the things that make it that pattern.  If they knit the Jaywalker socks, they might complain that they're too stripey or that chevrons are ugly.  If they knit a Clapotis, it would be too ruffly and they can't imagine that the designer possibly thought this through all the way.  That kind of criticism is absolutely pointless, but if the person saying it is a well-respected blogger, it can cause needless damage to the pattern designer's reputation as all the people who read the blog come away with the impression that there's something wrong with the design, when in reality there's something wrong with the blogger's expectation.

There's nothing wrong with legitimate criticism, and I have no problem with someone commenting that the pattern had a lot of errata in it, or that it would make more sense to do this step before that one, etc.  That's useful information, as it helps the designer create a better pattern next time.  But it's ridiculous for you to choose a pattern to knit out of the thousands that are available on Ravelry, and then lambaste it for the things that make it that pattern and not any other one.

The other group of people are the knitting police, who think that their way is the only or the best way.  The awesome thing about knitting is that as long as you're happy with the end result you get, then you did it "the right way."  There are always different techniques to learn, but that's all they are - different.  You might decide that they are better in particular instances, but in no way is any technique inherently better than another one if you prefer the result the other one gives you.  For example, I've read and been told repeatedly that casting on over two needles to get a stretchy cast-on is dumb, and that it doesn't actually give you a strechier cast-on.  But every time I do it, I get a stretchier cast-on.  So even though the knitting police tell me that it's "wrong," I'm going to continue to do it, because I'm happy with the result it produces.

I guess the reason both of these types of people bother me is that they both seem to assume that their view is right, and that people who don't adhere to the same view are wrong and somehow less because of it, and that bothers me.  Knitting is about sharing joy, not making people feel bad for not doing it the same way you do.
Saturday, November 9, 2013

Podcast love

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When we moved, back in March, my commute went from 12 minutes to 45.  That definitely took some getting used to, but one of the things that has made the drive easier has been podcasts.  Getting to spend the drive listening to other people geek out about yarn and nerd stuff and Shakespeare as much as I do has made the drive go by so much faster.  While I think most of these are fairly well-known, I thought I would share my favorites all the same.

1) The Knit-Knit Cafe.  Abby is so personable and funny, and she has the greatest laugh.  It's really like getting to hang out with a close friend.  Just be prepared for the fact that the audio levels vary wildly between her titles and when she's actually talking.

2) The Knotty Girls.  Jen and Laura might be my favorites, just because their sense of humor and range of interests align pretty much exactly with my own.

3) The Knitmore Girls.  Jasmin and Gigi remind me a lot of my mom and I, except they manage to finish a lot more projects than we do.  They're very educational, and I've learned a lot of new techniques and fun terms from listening to them.

4) Craft-lit.  I don't listen to this one as often because I have a hard time staying focused on my driving during the "lit" part of the podcast.  I get too involved in the story.  But it's a great podcast, and if you don't have that problem, you should listen to it.

5) The Knit Picks podcast.  I really love listening to Kelly think through her knitting goals, and she often has the best interviews.

6) Never Not Knitting.  Alana is super sweet, and I love the stories from listeners at the end.  Plus her theme-song is really funny.

Non-knitting podcasts:

1) The Giant Bombcast.  Video-games, geek culture, and humor.  Generally full of swearing and mocking one another and the rest of the world.

2) Chop Bard.  The tag-line is "The cure for boring Shakespeare." I never thought Shakespeare was boring in the first place, but Ehren does to Shakespeare what I do to medieval history, which is to take off the white gloves, pull it down to our level, and treat it like it was meant to be treated, instead of like this reified, sacred thing.  It's AWESOME.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

St. Denis

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Let's talk for a minute about the tragedy of my new yarn obsession.  St. Denis Boreale is the most wonderfully textured, beautifully colored 100% wool I've ever laid my hands on.  It knits up so neatly, and has an incredible springy texture that makes you want to squoosh your knitted fabric every couple of minutes.  The colors are gorgeous.  It doesn't make me want to scratch my skin off the whole time I'm wearing it.

And it's been discontinued since the fall of 2012.


Luckily, Webs has the last of their stock for sale, so I've done what any sane knitter would do.  I've purchased four sweaters' worth of Boreale for the stash.

Oatmeal, Red, Balsam, and Eggplant


(which actually came from the lovely autumnsky on Ravelry, as Webs sold out of this colorway before I could convince myself of the wisdom of this splurge)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

On the needles V

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What I'm doing: It is peak advising season at work, so mostly what I'm doing is meeting with 8-12 students a day to help them plan their schedules for next semester and talk through how to make their long-term goals a reality.  It's incredibly fulfilling, but also incredibly tiring, which is why blogging has taken a bit of a back-seat.

What I'm reading: I just finished Cotillion, which is one of my favorite Georgette Heyer books ever, and which I hadn't read since high school.  I've started one called The Women of Britain, which was published in 1941 by a Polish diplomat's wife who was living in exile in London during the height of the Blitz.  She describes the differences between the WAAF, the Wrens, the MTC, ATS, and other branches of female employment for the war effort, and includes personal accounts from women in each branch.  So far it's very, very interesting.

What I'm watching:  Not much.  We've both been so exhausted when we've gotten home at night that focusing on a television show has been a bit beyond us.  I did watch the Boris Karloff Mr. Wong movies the other day, from the late '30s, and they were quite good.  I was expecting all the Asian characters to be played by European-Americans in eye makeup, as the last thing they were worried about in the '30s was ethnic stereotyping.  But surprisingly, Karloff was the only instance of that sort of ridiculousness.  All the other Asian characters were played by Asian-American actors.

What I'm knitting: Hugo, by Veronik Avery, from Brooklyn Tweed.  I'm working this up for the Boy in Berroco Vintage, because it never gets cold enough here for him to be comfortable in a 100% wool sweater.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Indie Designer Gift-a-long

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Christmas knitting can be stressful.  Every year I say to myself, "This year, I just won't do it.  I love my knitworthy friends, but I can knit for them during a much less busy time of the year."  And then every year I wind up deciding to knit six or seven things just weeks before the holiday.  But this year, there's the Indie Designer Gift-a-long going on on Ravelry to give me the extra push I need to plan things early.

From Nov 1 through Nov 15, a bunch of really talented indie designer are offering their patterns for 25% off their regular price.  Once you've purchased a pattern (or seven) you can participate in the Giftalong (which runs until Dec 31) and be entered to win prizes for completing projects you needed to complete anyway.  It's a win/win situation.

You can find all the awesome patterns here, on Pinterest, but here are just a few of my favorites:

1) Myrna by Kristen Hanely Cardozo - regularly $6.50

2) Oak Park by Laura Aylor - regularly $5

3) Lempika Headband/Hat by Ash Kearns - regularly $6 CAD

4) Magickal Quidditch Socks by Jennifer Dassau - regularly $6

5) Ink by Hanna Maciejewska - regularly $6.00

All project photos are taken from the individual Ravelry pattern pages unless otherwise noted. No copyright infringement intended.