Spiraling Notions

Kvetch

Weaving Bug

I have been bitten by the weaving bug. It has begun to occur to me that I wish my interests were not so expensive...

But I will not think on this right now.

I have finally gotten my hands on my first floor loom. I preface this with “my first” because I know how this has gone with every piece of fiber equipment I have purchased to date. From my first crochet hook to my 5th spindle.

I was able to get my hands on a beautiful, hand made, floor loom from a lovely couple who no longer use it.

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STOP!!!

Dear Lord,

I have received three yarn catalogs and umptyfour email “newsletters” in two days. I can barely stand it. Don’t these people understand how weak willed I am? Perhaps they do understand and that is why the constant barrage of email sales and direct mail catalogs seem never ending. Well these pushers have another thing coming, I am determined. I will not be swayed! My course of abstention is resolute and unshakable. I am not going to submit to their temptations...

OOOOH look at that one...

Never mind.

Sorry to have disturbed you.

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Irony and Other Things

Maybe I am just feeling snarky today - but really - how can I stop being me for a moment?

I got a catalog today, Herrschner’s Quality Crafts Since 1899. And Several things struck me while “reading” the catalog. One might offer up that I should have been sitting to fend off the waves of irritation... alas earwax.

The first thing that struck me, as it has so many times before with any number of things, is that the quality of items within a catalog or shoppe declaring the word quality will most likely leave you wanting. Not a little... but really wanting, possibly regretful...

Second thing that hit me is people’s willingness to dress themselves and their children in the yarn version of napalm. Think about it for a moment... what is acrylic? It is plastic... what is plastic? it is petroleum. What is petroleum? dinosaur rot. It is the petrified, liquefied, remains of millions of dinosaurs (that mysteriously died out due to a changing climate - poetic right?). Why are we wearing, eating, breathing, having sex in, lathering and all other forms of using this crap? Aside from the fact that it is ruining everything it is also dangerous. If acrylic fibers or yarns catch fire - say goodbye to whatever it was on: your leg, you child, whatever! They literally melt and adhere to whatever they are touching. I have seen injuries from it and it is hard to imagine why it is so prevalent. If I cannot have a cigarette without 10 pressure groups, 27 laws and 43 random nobodies trying to intervene - how can people be using so much of this stuff with out so much as a warning to the contrary?

Next was the yarn. It is interesting to see the “trickle down effect” of the most cutting edge yarns getting watered down for the Plastic Heart fans. Maybe I am projecting but it is hard for me to see flattery in it sometimes. Although I do appreciate that even the big companies understand they need to open up new doors because the christmas doily is dying out with the older generations - and the new ones would rather die than make one. And the names they have out now -seriously- Nob Hill and Chunky Delights should not ever be on yarn labels... I have a hard time thinking of items they should refer to.

Lastly, and you thought it was over, is the fact that I got this catalog at all. All these places promise that they do not sell your name and address... so who is lying? And what the fuck is a “trusted affiliate” anyway? What an oxymoron there... We won’t share your information (unless we do) and then it will only be to a “trusted” affiliate (who does not have the same privacy issues we were stupid enough to promise but they agreed to give us a cut). So your personal information is SAFE with us!

Ugh!!!!!

All from a damned catalog eh?

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Great Expectations, um yeah...

So...

I started knitting socks. I am really annoyed about this for a number of reasons, actually. Although they are nice to wear around and if the pattern is simple you can bring them anywhere. But they are a pain in the ass. For the amount of time you spend on one pair of socks you probably could have knit an afghan for a king sized bed.

And don’t get me started on sock yarn... too late!

I am disenchanted with spending 20-30$ on 4 ounces of yarn when the make up is identical to every other yarn out there. That is to say: 80% wool 20% nylon... But this is special nylon that was hand spun by Peruvian temple virgins and came from the elusive nylon goat native to the slopes of Macchu Picchu and can only be harvested at 8pm on the spring solstice every four years. And each goat has its own personal masseuse following it through the mountain trails to make sure the resulting nylon is exceptional... oh wait nylon comes from wood chips and vegetable waste... made in a factory from digested sludge.

But apparently this nylon/wool combination is from exceptional sludge.

I went a bit off-the-handle and bought about 10 skeins of sock yarn so that I could satisfy my current binge. It got a package from Knit Picks - the enemy - with 5 different Stroll Tonals. And from JimmyBeansWool, I decided on Lorna’s Laces shepherd sock yarn. Upon arrival I instantly tore into the packages and closely examined my 10$ skeins and comparing them with the 24$ skeins... aside from the label there does not seem to be much of a difference in quality... and really, both labels were made of paper...

But then Lorna’s Laces is Kettle Dyed, by hand, right...? OOOOhhhh. Well so is the Knit Picks stuff, apparently by hand as well. Course that hand is probably also an unpaid peruvian child... but then again... maybe Lorna’s is too... Their website is a tad obscure about such things. Don’t get me wrong. This is not an advertisement for Knit Picks. It is an exhaustive missive about yarn snobbery. What makes this child-labor-violating-animal-cruel yarn better than this non-fair-trade-slum-originating-hand-dyed?

I only wish I had the balls to add an extra 10$ to my yarn because I sneezed near the dye pot while I was in the kitchen.





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Kvetch About Instruction Books

I am just starting out... I began crochet in October of 2009 and knitting about a week ago. I have not even finished, well I just finished one knit item. But In my quest for knowledge about my new found obsessions I have come across a huge number of books which make no sense at all...

Explain to me why a book with advanced patterns would list beginner instructions on how to make a slip knot? And this new book I bought, with a DVD and everything has instructions again... on how to cast on, knit and bind off on standard needles but not how to continue around properly on circular needles. Seriously? If I needed step-by-step instructions on how to read a yarn label and which side of the needle is used for knitting don't you think you could have included some useful information like:

Hey... knitting on circular needles is just like knitting on standard needles, you just keep going around... or knitting with circular needles is a little different than regular needles... here is how you do it. I mean it is an instruction book after all, right?

No matter how many times I read the instructions they never actually seem to reflect the images and charts shown on the page. Many of them do not even address real problems with the patterns, like gaps and seems.

You are either an expert or a novice and there seems to be no middle ground here. As an advanced beginner it is really frustrating to move past this stage. Obviously I am going to make mistakes and will need to figure out my own rhythm but some common issues or even realistic direction would be nice. Why do I need to reinvent the wheel?

Maybe these people should have novices actually read the book after is it written to make sure that it is actually something someone can do without prior knowledge. I bought one book on amigurumi and emailed the author about something, I got a response saying I should find an instructional book instead... however the first pages were dedicated, again, to the slip knot, single crochet and other basics that if you did not know already you would never be able to do anything in the book... so make up your mind people: you are teaching people from the ground up or you are going to stop wasting 1-2 chapters of my $30.00-$40.00 (fully illustrated, in color) book to basics which people already know or should put down your book if they do not.
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