Sunday, 28 February 2016

Dominitrix Review

 Domiknitrix - Jennifer Stafford

I've got to the stage in my knitting career where I assess books I'm going to buy more on the patterns than the information on how to knit in them.  I have a chunk of books on that topic and I know most of the basics. Yeah, yeah, I know pride goes before a fall and all that, but such is life.  I had dismissed this one before as her aesthetic isn't mine but it turns up on a lot of recommended beginner books so I decided to try it out and I have to apologise to Jennifer Stafford, her book did have a few tips that I hadn't come across before and her well-organised photographs, however goth, are very instructive.  Her reasons to knit a gauge swatch are excellent and made me think a bit more about them.  I'm not sure that clothes should be fitted as well as wearable, my rule would be Clothes should be wearable and make the owner comfortable.

She doesn't do the knitted cast-on, or the cable cast-on, but does offer a lot of other options, I'm not sure that it's one I'd recommend to a rank beginner for these instructions but it's a good set of reminders for people who know some basics and it would make a valuable reference book for a lot of people.

The how-to section is helpfully coloured to the edge in black so it stands out in the book, the white coloured pages are the patterns and as I said before I'm not a great fan of them. Some of them appeal in a "I'd bet a friend or family member would get a kick out of" way but none appeal to me personally to knit for myself.

One of the best things I have seen is an actual bust-waist-hip measuring for what the author means for XS, S, M, L & XL, a quite helpful hint

Thin mint is a scarf that's a tubular knit from the middle and grafted together at the end, knit with 4mm needles in a light dk weight yarn with stripes.

Valentine Candy Pillows, offers heart-shaped cushions in bulky yarn on 6 mm needles with embroidered lettering that doesn't offer a template but gives somewhat vague instructions on spacing and placement.

Flower Pins are lillies, camellia and rose flowers knit in an aran weight yarn (noro kureyon that the author snipped out the sections of 6 balls that she wanted... ) they're felted

Snood Spiral Mesh cap is both a Cap and a Snood, though it doesn't show it being worn as a snood. A open lace cap knit in an acrylic/nylon yarn  in an aran-weight yarn with 5.5mm needles.

Mohawk Hat is basically a close-fitting hat with a mohawk for those people who want one without the career-limiting head-shaving.  Knit in Bulky wool on 5.5mm needles.

Strings of Purls is a set of stuffed spheres along an icord, there are some suggestions for variants.

Homegrown is a hemp yarn handbag using a bamboo placemat and pair of chopsticks for structure. The yarn is DK using 4mm needles and with an icord decoration and closure

Devil & Snow devil hats knit in a bulky-weight yarn with 5.5mm needles.

Star Pillow - a cushion with a pentacle knit on the front in intarsia in a super bulky yarn with 9mm needles

The next chapter are more challenging knits beginning with L'il red riding hoodie, a cardigan with pockets and a zip knit in a bulky yarn and 6.5mm needles.

Big Bad Wolf pullover has an intarsia wolf on it and some suggestions for other pattern ideas.  Knit in a bulky yarn with 6mm needles.

Bob Dobbs & skull vests are a tank top with some intarsia patterns on them knit in a bulky yarn in 5.5mm needles.

The Winged heart bralet is for a or b cup sized women with some colourwork.

Sweetheart is a jumper with a intarsia bow, worked in black for the body and the bow in pink, knit in a dk yarn with 4mm needles

Diva Halter is a halter-neck waistcoat with a zipped front. Knit in two colours in a bulky yarn with 5.5mm needles.  It also has suggestions for a mock-laced-up back.

Swizzle vest is another zipped waistcoat knit in a super bulky yarn with 9 & 10mm needles in two colours.

Next chapter is side to side and on the bias, more difficult projects.

Jughead hat is knit using short-rows in a dk yarn on 5mm needles

The Slink is a top knit on the side with some stitch shaping incorporated, a v-neck and cap sleeves.  Using Crystal Palace shimmer with 5mm and 8mm needles.

The final pattern printed in the book is City Coat which is knit sidewards with a double ended zip or buttons, there's some suggestion for variations under the Mod Coat title, this is a bulky weight yarn knit at a tighter gauge on 5mm needles to try to give it weight and body.

The final project in the book is a teaser for the Elfin Bride & Gothlet pattern which is available on the web site. Free if you have the book.

I got this one from another Irish library via Borrowbooks 

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Some people don't get it

I read a book recently that made me a bit cranky. Craftsman by Richard Sennet,  apart from the view of craftsmanship as being mostly male he also didn't get the concept of mindless crafting. Sometimes mindless crafting is an accompaniment to complex working, but sometimes it's it's own thing.  When you're in a crafting slump or something complex is occupying your brain,  and not necessarily a crafting project, retreating into the simple is actually comforting. When a lace project is in the slog,  why is there no progress stage, a simple dishcloth can be useful,  a sense of accomplishment can be made out of that little thing. Without slogging by assistants there isn't time made for a master.  But also there is the issue that until you understand your material, you can't really explore it's possibilities. Without scales and warmups your hands will suffer on the piano. Also without understanding both your and the materials issues you can't work with them and through them. I will never play some pieces on the piano that require octave stretches, my hands can't do that, but I can work with it, choose the notes that sound the best, the most right.

But what really ticked me off,  as the daughter of a master cabinetmaker and carpenter; sister of a master carpenter; cousin of a master glassworker (not sure of his proper title but he made a glass sword as his masterpiece!) on page 58 when he talked about a chef d'oeuvre éleve I was somewhat annoyed,  it didn't convince me that he knew enough about what he was talking about because that's known as a masterpiece or master piece. And maybe if we regarded those pieces made by more crafters as being as important and we saw the beauty in them and the skill it took to make them like we look at paintings maybe we would start to have a better understanding of how there is more artfulnes in the world than we notice.  That the present by someone that took more effort than a few minutes in a shop actually has worth, and doesn't deserve derision.

Cross posted to my reading blog