Saturday, March 19, 2011

Me and Knitting books

I have a secret affection for owning knitting books. I know I can find 1000s of free online patterns. My ravelry queue is more than 5 pages long and a single search for a particular type (say, hat) nets me 5 or 6 new ideas. I have 3 or 4 projects on needles and I keep thinking of new ones. But I really like the books because reading them absolutely drives my inspiration. I find all sorts of things I really love, and I think about changing them, and dream about the types of garments I could make if I had the patience to shell out for 12 balls of yarn.

The problem with this is that I'm frugal. I don't want to purchase a book that has patterns that I dislike. Since I've never encountered one book with 100% me-appropriate patterns, I've settled for a reasonable percentage. 50% to consider it. I'd like to say 80% to purchase, but I've bought a few books far below that.

This is especially a problem with the felting books I'm currently looking at. I am very interested in wool and the concept of felting, and I want to give it a try. I'm a scientist. I'm sure I can figure out how to do it from a minimum of research (and I already know it involves 100% natural animal fibers, hot water, and agitation) that I can do on the web for free, but I want a book because I want to read all about the complications in size, gauge, and color effects.

But every single one of these books (that I've found on Amazon) has felted balls.

I hate felted balls.

I'm sure they look really cool on some people as necklaces, or in some houses as decorations. I even understand the usefulness of starting with a simplistic project to teach me about not killing the washing machine, and the behavior of animal fibers under the hot-water-and-agitation principles. But to me they are nothing more than a cop-out in the pattern department. They're round balls, for crapsake! You're lucky if they're on a necklace and not just something you stuff in a bowl! They are not remotely useful. I know that it is a lot to ask for patterns to be useful, but I suppose I really mean, "something I would ever employ as a knitter." I don't need felted balls, and I really really don't need decorative balls that go in a bowl to look pretty. I don't have kids, but I do have pets--decorations do not last long in my house. Including them as one of your 10 or 16 patterns means that they are 5-10% of the value of the book--this is not fair!

All right, grumpy aside, I think I'm going to have to put up with them if I want to get a felting book. Maybe I can just cut that page out and pretend it doesn't exist. Yeah. Repression is the answer.

Friday, March 11, 2011

what to cast on next?

I finished a shawl! well, it's really more of a shrug, and I haven't blocked it yet, but it's done!

which means, *drumroll* I get to cast on another project.

Now the real test. what to do? Things I have in mind:

A Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmerman in greens and browns
mittens with that peruvian wool (but... they'll felt :( )
an apple discloth a la Mason-Dixon Knitting (here)
socks from my 5 or so possible sock yarn combinations
something vintage and tunic-y with that caron spa bamboo mix yarn
something with the noro I got on sale
a first major lace knitting project with that heinous scratchy ancient gray caron in sport weight? maybe it softens after washing!
another amigurumi? maybe the loch ness monster this time?
a cat bed with the heinous leftovers I have
gifts: something pink and lacy for Robin, something red and hatty for the WI senators, a buttonhole bag using up that scratchy yellow wool, or the tried and true lace-up wrist warmers

gahhhh! so much to knit! so little time!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

8 things

8 things about me:

1. I have a twin sister! I'm so used to it that I often forget to tell people, and they are always surprised.

2. Just got my hair cut supershort... not short enough, I think!

3. I have half a semester of classes left before I get my Master's Degree and get to do research 24-7

4. If I had a million dollars I would start a foundation for the advancement of society through logic, intelligence, and compassion.

5. I am waiting to hear back from a research grant that will send me to Denmark for 6 months. If I don't get it, my advisors have discussed sending me anyway! (but I'd have to see what my collaborators decided). This is especially exciting to me as I have never before been out of the country

6. If I had to choose one place to live for the rest of my life, I think it would be Puerto Rico. Especially if I could get all my family down there. The land, the people, the science... it is all amazing!

7. One thing I really don't understand, after studying for however many years, is Quantum Mechanics

8. I firmly believe it is insufficient to merely survive, to merely do what is good for ourselves--we must without question strive to leave the world a better place than what we entered into.

I'd tag someone else but all of my friends have been tagged. So if you visit this blog and I don't know you--you're it! leave me a comment and let me know when you've done your 8, and I'll come read it!