Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon?

Missing! One (completed) sock. This is all that's left--a partially complete (this is an old photo) half of a pair.

Now I'm used to Second Sock Syndrome, but usually that's because, once I finish the first sock, I can't stand to knit the second one. Not the case here.

But to lose one completely? Odd. I haven't seen it since Stitches South and I keep tearing apart bags, thinking it will reappear like the Phoenix. (Hi, there, Fawkes!)

Hmmmm ... and now Ellen tells me that her Zauberball sock is gone too. Maybe they ran off together? Eloped to make little socks somewhere?

Friday, June 19, 2009

When Is a Design a NEW Design?

Just askin', you know.

I'm a member of a Ravelry group that will remain nameless because I'm about to ask a rude question about the moderator/owner/designer.

When is a design a Design? That is, when does a modification of a technique become a unique product?

This m/o/d is all upset because she says someone else is claiming she designed the m/o/d's unique design and is teaching it. The m/o/d says it's hers, it was hers first, and the other person is basically a copyright thief. (She actually said that in a very nice, non-confrontational way because she's really a nice person.)

Now the design is very pleasant. It's basically a modular blanket made of leftover sock yarn. Nothing you'd toss off your bed if you found it there. Probably a huge pain to make, what with the 9,000 little ends to weave in, but nothing wrong with it. In fact, kind of cute if you happen to have several thousand yards of leftover sock yarn lying around.

But is it unique? It's a garter-stitch knitted modular square turned on its point and attached to other squares with an applied I-cord binding around the edge. Chris Bylsma teaches a pattern called Crayon Box Jacket that is basically the blanket with sleeves (but the squares not turned on their points--knitted together side to side). Ginger Luter takes that same technique and makes any number of garments--capes and little tops and all manner of whatnots--point-to-point or side-to-side--doesn't much seem to matter.

Jane Slicer-Smith teaches the technique and her kits sell for hundreds of dollars (can't wait for her book to come out--more in my budget!). There's a sock called Diamond Patch that's the same concept knit in the round. Last year I made a baby blanket for the beautemous Ruby that's the identical concept without the applied I-cord and made out of one variegated yarn, not bits and pieces of sock yarn. I've been knitting for two or three years on a vest from Tess Designs that's the same concept with two armholes and a ribbed top. (And no, it's not the fault of the concept or Tess that I can't seem to finish it! That's a Me problem.)

So, when does a technique become a Design? If I make it from Noro (I know, I'm insane to think about it) and use 6 inch squares instead of 3 inch squares and put a garter stitch border on it, is it my design or is it my view of a technique? Or did I steal it? And if you make the same thing, did you steal it from me? Or did you just have the same idea about the same technique and put your own spin on it?

To take it one step further, when I made Wendy Johnson's sock but then screwed the pattern up, did I make a new design? Well, I put my own heel on it, not hers, and there's a subtle difference (which I prefer to consider a Design Modification rather than a Huge Error) in the lace pattern. But would I have thought of using that particular lace pattern on a sock? Maybe, maybe not. But I'm considering it's Wendy's idea with a little me thrown in.

I think there are a lot of knitters who are creative and innovative and imaginative but there aren't that many true designers among us. But we all want to publish our designs on the web like we're Designers. In my own highly personal and possibly wrong opinion, the true designers are the ones like who come up with their own take on many different techniques and when you see their designs on the street you say, OMG, that's a Jane Slicer-Smith, isn't it? Because she does lots of interesting things--enough to fill a book and to make me slaver over the thought of taking one of her classes. (Stop whining, Woof ... maybe she'll come to Stitches South next year.)

And then there's one of the Noble Knitters, who knits a wide variety of things but never uses a pattern because she comes from a tradition that doesn't use written patterns. I'd call her a designer because she's found her own way to use techniques in a unique way.

By the way, the original m/o/d in the discussion above is no slouch either. She's got everyone and their brother sending her their leftover yarn so she can finish her blanket. Now, there's a unique concept!

Just wanted to bring it up for discussion. Talk amongst yourselves. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program. (And yes, I know the hibiscus at the top doesn't have anything to do with anything. It's out of my back yard and I thought it was pretty. So there!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He's a Mean Hombre, He Is

Well, really more ombre than hombre, if you want to be absolutely accurate.

This is Zauberball, the real Zauberball made and distributed (I think) by Skacel. It's a perfectly lovely single with no plying whatsoever, as opposed to the also-named Zauberball which I bought a couple of weeks ago from Only Ewe and Cotton Too at the AKG meeting. That Z is two ply--lovely, but not the same.

Anyway, what does this mean to us? Well, it means that Z (color Cranberry if it matters) is supposed to gently morph from dark red to red and back to dark red with almost invisible gradations. And it does ... except when you stop to put a heel into the sock. Then, if you're unlucky, you get a perfectly gradated heel and ... a vivid, abrupt scar of a color change, right in the middle of the front of the foot. No blending, no gradual ombre-ing. Just red one row and dark red the next.

And, yes, you're right. A Purist would have broken the yarn, torn apart the ball to find the exact place where the color changed on the front, spit-spliced it, and bam, bam, shazamm, a graceful gradation on the front as well. But me? Nah, I'm not doing it. I don't have a full ball any more, not since I tore out the first iteration of this sock (see below).

Why I tore it out is another story. All right, all right, I was knitting it on size 0 needles and hating the way it split and one of the Noble Knitters ... Zina, if I remember correctly ... said maybe it was the needle and I pooh-poohed her and then I went home and tore it out and ... yes, it needed to be knit on a 2. And the yarn was so curly and messed up I just threw it away. See? I told you it was a long story ... and don't you just hate it when someone tells you something really obvious and you find out they're right? Yeah, me too.

Anyway, it looks much better now, in Wendy Johnson's Diagonal Lace pattern. Well, except that I didn't read the errata, so it's Wendy's pattern with my error. But we won't hold that against Wendy. And my sock looks fine -- no one but Wendy will ever know and since Wendy and I don't knit on the same subway, she'll never see it.

In other news, the Dumbledore socks are finished. Yes, the cuff is short. And that's because I used another of Wendy's patterns (can't remember the name but it might be Dead Simple because it was) and hated it (sorry, Wendy!) and got bored and cast them off. Since they too were knit and frogged at least two or three times, it's a freaking miracle they're even done, so get over it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

KIP Day - Sat, June 6

Where did you knit on Worldwide Knit In Public Day? (The first one of the year, I mean ... the second official day is this coming Saturday. Apparently some weird adjustment in the calendar had to be made for the LYS owners who were at TNNA and weren't home knitting in public. Like they couldn't all go hang out at a park together and knit.)

Isn't this the strangest concept? I have been knitting in public for about 35 or 40 years, with responses ranging from interested questions about what I'm doing ("oh, you're crocheting ... my mother did that when she was old too!") to blank stares ("oh, god, I hope that weird woman with the sticks doesn't try to start a conversation with me") to polite lowerings of the eyes in embarrassment, as if I'd just taken off my knickers and waved them over my head while doing the Chicken Dance. (Ellen, if this is a splorf vision, I apologize.)

Anyway, because we're good little followers, the Noble Knitters, or several of them, gathered at the Forum on Saturday to knit in public. Again, odd, because we knit in public (the Barnes & Noble at the Forum) every Wednesday evening, much to the consternation of the other customers who don't appear to understand why we're taking up so much space and having so much fun. ("Who are these old people and why don't they go home?")

We started with lunch at the new California Pizza Kitchen with mixed results. My salad was delicious but some of our team found the deliberately odd and random mixtures a bit odd (who thinks of putting beets and Moroccan chicken together?) and even a little offputting (Eve definitely thinks that pizza belongs on a pizza, not a saltine). And then there was our waitress who was a graduate of the Rude-with-a-Smile school of waitressing ("Separate checks? Yeah, that makes my Saturday!"). Not to mention that everything at CPK is made to order, apparently down to catching and killing the chicken, or at least that's the way the wait seemed.

Yes, we ate in small, discrete groups, because it never occurred to us to ask in advance to be seated together. Oh, well ... I hope all the other tables were as congenial as ours was. And note I didn't say "discreet" because there's really nothing discreet about this group.

Anyway, we straggled outside, again in small groups because the Forum is for ... er, shoppers, not knitters ... and thus there aren't that many chairs available, and certainly not that many with any shade at all.

Which is how some of us ended up ... you guessed it, inside at Barnes & Noble, hanging out in the coffee shop, sucking down pink lemonade slurpees and irritating yet another group of customers.

(How come when 7-11 sells you a Slurpee it costs around a buck and when B&N (aka We're Not Starbucks We Just Look Like One) sells it, it's four bucks? Of course, I'm the one who paid the four bucks, so who's the dummie?)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No, She's Not Dead

To be specific, No, Joyce, Lucy's not dead. She's just enjoying the heat, basking. Even I wouldn't stoop to putting a picture of a dead dog on a blog. Well, maybe if she was wearing something knitted ... no, not then either.

She's alive and well! And here's her sister, Lulu, who's more like me. She likes full A/C and a ceiling fan going, all day, all year. No basking for her unless it's under a stiff breeze.

Finally, Buddy's feelings would be hurt if he wasn't included. Seriously, this is the neediest dog ever ... he will knock you down to get petted ahead of anyone else.

And I've never seen another dog that sits on his butt like a human. It's like he's waiting for the beer and hors d'oeuvres to be passed.