Yesterday was the first day of the rest of your life. You're late getting started.
~ Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle
Knitting Olympics Day 5
Day 5 represents a personal best in distance knitting over moguls! That's why Day 6--which was mostly spent lounging in the ski lodge, drinking cocoa, and trying to pick up cute speed skaters--saw only 1" added to the body. No photo; too distressing. Thankfully I'm allowed a second chance to make the finals....
I have been waiting for the English translation of Knitting Out of Africa by Marianne Isager for a long time, so I was really happy when Interweave Press published it last month. This book had a great reputation for interesting designs and techniques, and I have to say it delivers on both counts. No bulky speed knits here! I especially love the cover sweater. African textile traditions offer a wide field of inspiration. Isager uses entrelac, intarsia, stranded knitting, and double knitting (no, not all in a single sweater!) to great effect in her interpretations. The negative? I am always irritated when publishers feel that, just because the design inspiration comes from Africa or from urban sensibilities, the models have to be African or African-American. My background is Swedish/English/German/Irish and I grew up in Seattle in the 1950s in a very northern European environment. The de facto separation of races was the norm; when I see old photos or movies or magazines, I am struck by the lack of diversity shown. I can remember when the first African-American person moved into our neighborhood--when I was in high school! So I have greeted the changes in our society with joy--and I've appreciated the way Interweave Press has reflected these changes by using models of different colors and ages on their pages. Lace shawls are not just for Whistler's Mother; Aran sweaters are not just for freckle-faced young men. Assumptions such as these should be challenged. That's why I was stunned to see that Interweave had restyled all of the sweater photos to feature the same African-American model. It seems very cliche and a bit insulting.
Oh well. "At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected...." as the poem In Place of a Curse by John Ciardi begins...
Speed Knitter Hint
After reading Anj's description of cast-on problems that cost her valuable Knitting Olympics time, I offer a hint, which does not directly address any of her issues but might help one of you out someday: If you have carelessly begun your first row of knitting with the tail from your long-tail cast on rather than the knitting yarn (and I'd hate for you to know how often I have done this stupid trick), don't rip back--use our friend the spit-splice by breaking off the knitting yarn and splicing it with the end of the tail yarn. I challenge the judges to look closely at my sweater to see where I resorted to this time saver!