Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, January 11, 2004  


Alas. That's where I am right now. Surfeited with food first, and wondering just how much more I am going to eat if I continue to ramp up my workout. I was supremely hungry yesterday after the 90 minute session at the gym. I noticed this last Wednesday too - when I did a circuit with a tad of aerobics plus the larger muscle groups. Saturday's workout, though, was the longest I've ever done. Most of it was the weight stuff and I'm such a beginner with them I suspect it'll take less time as I gain mastery. There's an initial mental set-up I have to do with each muscle group. Each time I sit down at a machine, after I've set the thing at the right height and weight, I have to identify what I'm working on, doing a mental inventory of my body, then make a quick internal check of what I'm supposed to be achieving with each exercise. I am sure there will be a time when I don't have to do that - when I'll just settle down at the machine or with the weight, and work that muscle group. I just ain't there yet and it makes the workout take longer. Nevertheless, I am working harder and longer than ever before ... well, harder sounds like it's unpleasant. I suppose I should say I'm attempting to do more with the old bod than ever before and I find I'm hungrier than usual as well. One thing I have yet to learn to do is carry water with me - and there's a chance that some of this hunger is really thirst, but I've packed in more food this week than I did through the holidays.

This is the first morning I've had guests for breakfast, too - a sure pitfall for this weight watcher. House-of- guys, from teens to seniors, men who do things in a big way - men whose ways I really like and enjoy catering to. Especially when the teen likes to mess about in the kitchen with me. But plates of Smithfield bacon, eggs and pancakes later there is a decided misery in the belly that only adds to the bloat supplied last night at the Mexican restaurant. A very long walk in this very cold weather is very much in order.

There is also a surfeit of wet fleece stacked about the house. I should have - lawsee this weekend is full of should-haves but this one is another quantity issue. I should have washed that fleece a packet at a time, instead of filling the washing machine with hot water and fitting it all in. I enjoy working with wet wool, be it garments, yarn, fiber or fleece. I have a very modest textile plant in the house that includes a large window screen for drying, but it won't hold 4 lbs of wet wool. Though I want to have all this done by Friday, I ought to have washed a pound a day. Now there is a heap of the stuff that didn?t get thoroughly clean. If it were summer it?d be dry so fast it would hardly matter, but when it's 10* outside in the a.m. .... There's nothing for it, but to spend the next few days turning the locks and teasing them open.


Still, all this is but a prelude to some thoughts I've been having about the plethora of knitting verbiage out there. Thoughts may be too strong a word, since this ENFP is a feeler, not a thinker. But I suspect I'm reaching critical mass when it comes to knitting books, magazines, testimonials and perhaps even designs.

I'm not surprised. I have a maximum amount of yarn I can enjoy in my stash. Beyond that, I feel crummy instead of inspired. This is such a personal assessment I hope nobody who reads this thinks it's an actionable commentary on LiveAsItIsInTheKnittingUniverse. I'm talkin' 'bout me here and that's all the qualifying I'm gonna' do.

Friday's trip to Boarders was fun and productive, but I was disappointed in the new KnitIt mag, which was the initial reason for going at all. My local WalMart hadn't gotten its copies in yet and I was tired of waiting. I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue and liked the second enough to buy it. So - what was wrong with this issue?

Well - there was nothing new in it. Eyelash trim? Everywhere. A sock primmer? Man what I wouldn't have given for that 3 years ago, but there have been so many sock articles and books published lately, I can't figure out why they bothered? Easy Knitting For Beginners? Yet again? It's enormously tempting to utter my most despised snappy teen comeback "Been there done that...." Boxy sweaters for kids in bright colors. I don't begrudge them in the magazines, but I don't need patterns for them, nor do I really need a pattern for a plain felted tote with eyelash knit into it.

I have heard magazine editors say they like to include easy projects so that beginners won't be discouraged by the projects and will actually buy the magazine. But how will a beginner know if a project is easy or not, unless it's labeled - something I doubt I'd do if I were a magazine editor, because what's hard for me is not necessarily hard for you. My first project ever was a Norwegian ski sweater and though I did a wretched job of it, I certainly made it - and the wretched job was because it was a HUGE job, not because it was a difficult one. I?m attracted to stylish projects, not easy/hard/or in-between ones. Stylish and different and unique. That's where I spend my money.

I thought this issue of KnitIt was sadly lacking in any of those qualities and since it's an annual - something folk are beginning to look forward to getting, they ought to put a little more emphasis on projects for experienced knitters.

That's why I bought the INKnit winter issue, instead. It has an article on knitting roving into your garments for added warmth and another on knitting shapes to fit a paper pattern, like a sewing pattern. It also had an article on sizing up or down someone else's design, which I have yet to read. In fact, there weren't all that many actual sweater designs I wanted to make ... maybe none, but I felt that after reading this issue I would know more than I did before. With KnitIt, there was no opportunity for growth. And since the $ I was spending was my own - and for me - it's easy to see where it was going to go.

Towards the bigger picture of knitting publishing, alas, I am feeling pretty much the same. There are so many new knitting books out there these days. Time was, and not all that long ago, a visit to the craft shelf offered about 10 different titles, with three of them being different publications of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears. I?m glad there are so many gorgeous, colorful knitting books, with stories, recipes, meditations and philosophies woven among the patterns. Or perhaps, with more honesty, I can say I don't mind that there are and would certainly rather have too many than not enough. But at $40 a pop, I can't really see my way to buying all that many.

Again, just how many eyelash and glitter scarf patterns do you want - if you really want any at all? Again, the easy projects - I am not ever going to knit a holder for my cell phone - if I ever do get a cell phone. I don't even keep my glasses in their darn case half the time.
MyEasyFirstSweaterKnitOnNeedlesAsBigAsFencePosts designs are, not only ubiquitous, but at this point, not really very flattering to a busty, shortwaisted, even if slimmer, 51 year old.

I don't mean to dump on these books. Well. Maybe I do. Maybe what I'm looking for is SoYouThinkYouKnowHowToKnit,Huh?JustTryThis designs.
Still on my list of books I want to buy:

Barbara Walker's 1st and 3rd Treasuries
Anna Zilboorg's Knitting for Anarchists
One of those northern European twisted stitch pattern books - maybe
Something printed about two end knitting - another northern European technique I'd like to get under my belt.

And then, I have deeply personal responses to certain colors and shapes. The Niki Epstein embroidered jacket in one of last fall's issues of Knit 'N Style made me drool. It didn't look really hard. In fact, it looked like something I could do fairly swiftly. No teensy needles using thread. No complicated structure. It just thoroughly pleased me and I wanted it in my life - if only in 2 dimensions. I may never knit it, but I want to own the possibility to knit it and you can be sure, I put my money down for that issue.

But even when I like something, I may not buy it. It's awfully tempting to buy things rather than to do them. I have 2 shelves of knitting books. I have enough yarn, roving and fleece to knit 20+ sweaters. I have only X number of hours to play each week. I spend a rather substantial chunk here on-line. I have LovedOnes who want my participation in their lives (as soon I finish this row). Adding one more book to my life can feel like I've interrupted the feng shui or short circuited the karmic currents. Whatever, I did not buy Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting, although I really liked it. I suspect it just came out at the wrong time in my life. I can imagine settling into a deep bubble bath in a scented room, my head pillowed and the tea steaming by my side as I leisurely flip through the pages.

Just not yet.

posted by Bess | 11:18 AM