Thursday, February 08, 2007

Knitty gossip

This is a really gossipy post. Of course, even to knitters it'll probably be rather tame, but I don't usually talk about people per se, but this is one of those times I do.


Yesterday I went to my favorite LYS a few towns over from mine for the express purpose of picking up cute buttons for a baby sweater I knit awhile ago (and that, given the recent events, is past being delivered for the baby shower). When I walked in, I saw my old knitting instructor, who I hadn't seen for just about a year or so. We chatted, had a good time, and she proceeded to show me Lorna's Laces sock yarn, which just arrived.

Given Grumperina's resounding love of this yarn, I had to check it out. I LOVE STR, but I'm so curious about LL's. So, I took a look, took a look at the price, found two hanks of the same color and dye lot, and purchased.

They come in hanks, and I don't have a swif (swift?) and winder. My LYS graciously let me use theirs, and hank one wound up like a charm. But hank two had a very weird twist in it and couldn't be wound on the swif and winder. In fact, TWO HOURS LATER and SEVERAL HUGE TANGLED KNOTS later, I finally wound that !@#$%^ hank into a ball.

TWO HOURS. For an $11 hank! WFT?

All I can say is this yarn had better knock my socks off, make me look 10 lbs lighter, and make passionate luv to my feet, because I've spent two friggen hours on this shit already and all I have to show for it is a sloppy hand-wound ball of yarn.


HOWEVER, I did get a chance to get some good gossip in. I like my LYS, but as you can probably guess from past posts, I'm not a very homey, chit-chatty, sorority-girl type of gal. I'm direct, I negotiate fiercely for salaries in new jobs and in reviews, and I fight like I mean it. I'm kind of snotty albeit a bit dorky, not the world's greatest knitter by any means (and probably not the world's greatest anything, truth be told), but my favorite company is myself. I *DO* like other people and have dear dear lovely in-person and cyber friends who enrich my life, but, well, nothing compares to being in your own skin. I like mine.

So anyway, I had a nice 2 hour chat with the ladies there, soaking in gossip about other LYS owners (all whose shops I've been to), when the conversation turned to the blessed YH. Yup, our very own Stephanie Pearl-McPhee whose blog delights me to no end and whose skills make my jaw drop. My LYS pals discussed her latest books and decried what they deem as a true decline in the quality of her latest books.

"Knitting substance, not philosophy. Give me a darned good bible of knitting techniques and how-tos. That's what I want. Not some mopey dopey diatribe about the psychology and philosophy of knitting."

I have to admit I've NEVER read YH's books. I read her blog daily and check it twice-daily for that rare double post, but I've never read her books. Somewhere in this blog I've mentioned how I'm not a reader. True. True. I'm not a reader (though I majored in literature and I can usually devour a book in a night or two if it engrosses me).

But, all I could think in response to my YS friends was how I see book after book called "Knitting Techniques" and "Knitter's Bible" and "Everything You Need to Know about Knitting." OK, maybe not these EXACT titles, but surely, there must be some ungodly number of books out there that claim to be "IT" in knitting techniques.

But knitting philosophy? The spirit of knitting? The joy of it? Its pains and aches and splendor? Well why not? Technique books are technique books and have a very well-deserved place on the shelf. But art and philosophy? Those belong, too. And why not? Life is multi-dimensional, quite possibly in dimensions that our human minds can't comprehend. So why not delight in those dimensions?

Anyway, so I told you this would be a boring post, even though I tried to jazz it up with a juicy title including the word gossip. All the same, I raise my glass to technique books, history books, fiction books, non-fiction books, philosophy books, art books, and even food books that revolve around knitting. Cheers to you!


Julie said...

Actually, I've read all of the Yarn Harlot's in-print stuff (obviously not the book she's working on now, ha) and I like her latest work, Knitting Rules! the best.

I've been knitting for twenty years, and at one point in my life was an English major in college. If there's one thing I do, it's research. New hobby? Get me ten million books on the subject. I've got about ten feet of bookshelf dedicated to knitting books that I OWN, not to mention the stuff I've read from the library. (Just to give my opinion some weight.) I think that Knitting Rules! is one of the best beginner knitter books (as in, 'I've learned to knit and purl but don't know anything else' level knitter) if not THE best beginner knitting book I've ever read. Every time I leaf through it, I think of what I'd have given to have all that information at hand when I first started knitting, instead of having to learn it myself. And I'm currently using it to knit socks.

Not that there's anything wrong with philosophy. Haha.

NeedleTart said...

After 40+ years of knitting and 18 credits of philosophy (loonngg ago) I really enjoy the Harlot for her thinking behind the knitting. Of course, I enjoy EZ, too, same reason. Sometimes it's important to think about why we do what we do. Besides, haven't those other lys customers (ohh! almost said "ladies" and wouldn't Franklin from Panoptican have something to say) ever heard of different strokes.....

Amy Lane said...

Now see, I'm with Julie and Needletart--when I teach new knitters, they want 'how to make a basic thing'--they don't want to learn how to learn the knitting language until they know how to do the technique itself--YH is great for that! And as for Lorna's Laces...uhm...I might not love it nearly as much if I'd had to hand wind it (that happened to a ball of Schaeffer for me made a whip-spiffy hat, but boy did having to spend hours fixing those tangles piss me off...)but it really is amazing stuff... I loved the colors more and more as I worked. And I loved this post--the idea of socks making luv to my feet is going to follow me until I make myself a pair. (In Cherry Tree far, my personal fave...)

Netter said...

I think they just don't get the Harlot. How many books are there out there that are dry how-to books? How many more do we need? I think Harlot is like EZ in that she tries to empower you to love the knitting, be the knitting, and now I've gone over the new age philosophy, psycho-babble fringe.