As I hinted yesterday, today's post is all about a mysterious package that apparated into my apartment some time on Tuesday.
I unlocked my door on Tuesday evening, after an uneventful day marked by two subway rides and a quick stop at Whole Foods. Imagine my surprise when my eyes focused upon a manilla envelope leaning against the wall opposite the door. Hmmm, I thought. I know that wasn't there this morning when I left. Maybe Sven got home early? And then went back out (or disapparated)? There was no evidence of that. Besides, the mail was still in the box, and everyone knows that the first person home collects the mail from the box.
While I considered a few magical causes, the real reason behind the envelope and its location was anything but. Like many buildings in NYC, our super accepts packages and hangs on to them until he sees you. He has this uncanny ability to know when you've arrived in the lobby so that he can hand you the package as you're going upstairs. [Although he thinks that Sven's name is really Steve. "I have a package for Steve," he once said to me. It was on the tip of my tongue to say "Good for you!" Instead I asked "For Sven?" "Yeah, Steve." Whatever...] Or, he simply leaves the package outside of your door. I don't know what happens in other buildings, but this is what happens here.
For some reason the super decided to put the package inside the apartment. He's never done that before. It was a little bit strange, but no biggie. The super's a nice guy, and it's not like I found him sitting in the living room leafing through a copy of Interweave, "Hey! I made some coffee. Want some?" He just put the package inside the hallway and relocked the door. Maybe he thought that someone might kick it when getting out of the elevator (which is right near our door).
Or maybe this means that there have been reports of packages getting stolen when left in front of doorways. If that's the case, then I'm glad that he took the trouble to leave my envelope in a safe place, because this was what was inside:
First, let me say that this is not a book that I would ever buy for myself. And it's not just because there's a yarn/book moratorium chez Subway Knitter QNS. Romantic Knits? Me? Not so much.
After further investigation, I wholeheartedly agree with Claudia's assessment of the book. There's only a few things in here that I could actually envision myself wearing, but overall the patterns are the work of technological brilliance.
Before I go any further, I would like to officially apologize for the next several photos. I simply used my digital camera to take pictures of the pages. I didn't feel like sitting at my scanner for hours and hours. Perhaps in the future, blogger-reviewers could be lead to a website where we could download high quality images for our posts. Just a thought.
Annie Modesitt is not afraid to get technical with her designs,and push the idea of what's possible in knitwear. I like that. And yet, a few of my favorites are the most straightforward designs in the book.
Yeah, it's a ribbed tank with a funky edging. Nothing new here. Visually, however, I like the color combination, and I like the use of the ribs combined with the edging. It's definitely an idea to file away.
Call me crazy, but I like this design. I love long, flowing skirts in the summer. They're much more convenient than shorts for us weekend subway riders (bare skin on those seats? not on your life!) Of course, I would have to change it so that it wasn't a low-rise garment. I would want some guarantees that the skirt would splay out (like an A-line skirt), and not simply droop and cling as gravity pulled on the fabric. A clingy skirt is fine (see above) but it's not the look I want to achieve. Can such a look be achieved with a knitted fabric through the choice of yarn? Shaping? Construction? I wish that I knew. Remind me to continue this discussion in another post.
Lurve this! Of course, I would need to eliminate the peek-a-boo lace on the body, or be assured that I could find a cool white tee to wear underneath it. I want to know more, however, about the arm shaping. What's with the model's chicken wings? Is there puckering under there that we need to know about?
Designs that I thought were cool but that I would never, ever knit or wear:
First, because it's too long. I don't want to drag a beautiful silk skirt through the grass! Second, because knitting it would drive me bonkers. All that stockinette!! But, ironically, a pattern for a skirt has given me an idea for a sweater. Remember Kate Gilbert's swingy jacket a few Interweaves ago? What was it called? (Heck, you might think that sitting here with the internet at my fingertips I would look it up, but nooooo.) Imagine that shape with this stitch pattern and embroidery at the bottom. Nice, no?
Sexy. And I could think of people on whom this dress would be fantastic, but I'm not one of them. Didn't Grumperina knit this sample? Grumperina, designer of the Jaywalker? Who inspired whom, here :-)?
I don't like this dress at all (too clingy and too short), but look at the design, especially the front. Man, that's clever! I've been looking to do something like that for a long time.
I thumbed through many of the designs and was left with the idea that I could learn a lot from this book. And isn't that what we look for in knitting books and pattern? Inspiration? Education? I think so. If there's a great pattern or two thrown in, then so much the better.
Kudos to the publisher for not skimping on details like large, well-labeled schematics. Those are always helpful, especially in this book, when you need to know a lot about a garment to know if it'll work for you (or how to change it if it doesn't). If there's one thing I dislike it's a wimpy schematic (hello? Rowan?)
Also, I thought Anne's bibliography was a thoughtful touch. As someone who tries to design ocassionally, I was curious to see which resources a professional designer used to write her book and as overall knitting references. That's a great help to any knitter.
Annie's next book should be about design components--along the lines of Nicky Epstein's Knitting On (Over, Under, Beyond, Around, and Through :-P) the Edge series. I would buy it.
With all the Harry Potter business that's about to burst forth, it seems especially appropriate to debut this FO today.
We don't have the benefit of a professional photography staff here at Subway Knitter, so these photos will have to suffice.
"When did you knit this?" you ask. Way, way, waaaaaay back in September. I even blogged about it (I thought that the title worked especially well).
Believe it or not this project was only the second time that I've knit lace with a proper laceweight yarn. I really liked this stuff. It's Hipknits cashmere laceweight (yup, Kerrie designed the pattern and dyed the yarn). Yummy! Very soft, and (once the temperature drops below "hot and humid") I'm sure that it'll feel warm and snuggly around my neck.
I hear that there's even an knitalong.
The latest edition of VK wended its way into my mailbox this week (Finally! I seem always to be the last person on the planet to get her copy.) I usually give these magazines a quick browse over dinner. Then in a few days I give them a more thorough read to see which (if any) of the patterns inspire me to pick up my needles.
None of the patterns really stand out for me. There are lots of big-needle knits, lots of Fun Fur and novelty yarns, and (what seems to me) a focus on trendy, quick-and-easy patterns rather than something stylish, unusual, and beautifully handcrafted. There's nothing wrong with a little Fun Fur or novelty yarns now and again--I have seen some very interesting applications of both. By this time, however, I feel as if I could find all of those patterns online for free, or in a very basic pattern book. I want my Vogue to be about patterns that are stylish, unusual, and beautifully handcrafted. I want the patterns to showcase designers who don't otherwise have an outlet for their creativity.
Which brings me to another comment. Has anyone else noticed the product placement? Sure, have Margery Winter design a pattern with Berroco Yarns. Margery Winter is a great knitting designer, but she already has Berroco to distribute her ideas. It would be interesting to see what she could do with another company's yarns, and perhaps that might have been an interesting angle for a Vogue submission.
I'm not all about the moan and groan. There are a few exceptions to the above:
Beautiful pillows! So nice that if I were to knit one, I wouldn't permit anyone to touch it:
Get your dirty head off of that gorgeous thing!
My family has a do-not-touch Christmas pillow that my mother made during her cross-stitching phase (also known as her swearing phase, if I remember correctly). To this day, I will not touch that pillow when I see it.
Then there are the Victorians:
This is almost knit worthy. I, of course, would need to change the pattern. From a distance, the shoulder area looks sloppily resolved.
This falls into all of the categories I just bitched about, but I like it. The plaid collar detail makes it interesting.
Remove the ridiculous get up, change the colorways, and you could have a wearable shawl.
A felted coat! Can you imagine what that would do to my washing machine?
In the end, this issue is a toss up. It's one to put on the bookshelf and see if anything still appeals in six months or a year.
While I tend not to stash yarn, I do tend to collect interesting patterns.
This is Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Knits, which Kathy was so kind to scoop for me at Woolcott's last sale. I have mixed feelings about Woolcott, based on many mixed experiences. Since its location is very much out of my usual non-car orbit, I don't need to think about the store too often. I love many of the patterns in Viking Knits, and while there's no plans to knit one immediately, I can see myself grabbing for this book the next time that I get the urge for a smaller gauge and cables.
Meanwhile, Wild & Woolly is a store that I could definitely visit more often. I manage to get there about twice a year without making a special trip. Last weekend, Kathy and Paula accompanied me for a little shopping.
I have no mixed feelings about W&W: I love this store! Others, I have heard and read, have complained about the staff. I find that the W&W style is a little different than other yarn stores. They'll leave you alone for hours to browse, but the minute that you ask for assistance, it's one-on-one attention. All in all, I always find the atmosphere to be relaxed and cheerful.
So, what did I get?
It's Flora. I figure that between this pattern and the store pattern from Downtown Yarns, I can wangle a pretty cute feather and fan jacket for myself. Aren't those sleeves adorable?
Then, a bit of lace caught my eye:
This is the Gossamer Triangular Shawl from Karabella Yarns. I'm a complete newbie to lace, and I think that this is a simple enough pattern to use as a test. I am not, however, going for the mohair. I'll keep you posted as to my yarn choice.
Back in the beginning of January I came across this zine on Laura's blog. It looked interesting, and my appetite was whetted further when I discovered that it was available only in Toronto. I had to find a way to get a copy down here in Boston!
Luckily, Jae heard my cry and agreed to expand distribution to include mail orders. For the low price of 6USD, she sent me my very own copy of Take Back the Knit. From what I see in this new publication, the Toronto area is bursting with creative knitters.
There are 13 designs intermixed with personal essays about knitting, recipes, and stories about yarn-shopping adventures. This is definitely a publication that needs a wider audience. If you're interested in receiving a copy of your own, contact Jae via her blog (it's linked in the paragraph above) or email her at knitwit[at]bust[dot]com.
Although I like the printed format of the zine, production costs must impose some limits on the print quality. If this zine takes off, I wonder if Jae would consider an on-line, e-mail subscription.