This isn't a book, it's a piece of crochet, haphazardly put together from random squares of indifferent colour combinations.
We may take a moral fromThis isn't a book, it's a piece of crochet, haphazardly put together from random squares of indifferent colour combinations.
We may take a moral from it: no number of highly qualified birds does a swallow make.
This book has prize-winning and NYT best selling authors coming out of its what's it. But in the end it is that creature to be avoided at all costs, the one to which, ironically, knitting never descends: the crocheted blanket squares. The one everybody's grandmother made and 99% of the time they are a hodgepodge of the consequences of 'waste not, want not' with no concern whatsoever for the general notion of aesthetics or any particular person's sensibilities. Uggggh.
I cringed every time I read one of these writers talk about how amazingly impossible it is to knit and how they took twenty years, or isolation with their grandmother or some other extreme measure to learn - that's those who succeeded. Quite a few of them took up astro physics or open heart surgery instead because you know. Knitting is SO HARD.
It's not that I don't want to sympathise. I can look back to my first knitting day, my complete frustration because I couldn't figure out for myself how to do purl, this being just pre-internet - that is, there is no longer any excuse. But Simon showed me how and Simon hadn't even knitted before, he'd simply watched women knit 50 years earlier when he was a young boy and remembered. With all due respect to Simon, this means knitting is NOT THAT HARD.
Like most things in life, becoming a wonderfully accomplished practitioner is hard, but becoming competent is SO NOT HARD.
I couldn't do it. I couldn't sympathise with women talking about how it took them hours and hours and hours and years and generations to learn how to wind a bit of string over a stick. It's a time for embarrassment, not sympathy.
I wanted to sympathise with the writer who ended up giving somebody something that was complete shit, suddenly in the zen of the notion that it's THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. But I can't. If that's the thought: I've given you something perfect and you give me in return something shit, I get the thought and it isn't pretty. It's insulting. My friends reading this please take note. I never want to get a lousy meal in return for a good one, a lousy scarf in return for a beautiful one, a crap book in return for a magnificent work of art. Please give me nothing. I will take the message that you care. Not as much as if you'd given me something lovely, but more than if you'd given me something crappy. IMPORTANT NOTE: anybody reading this who is under the age of six is excluded from the above principle.
This is the positive side of self-publishing: a magnificently thought out combination of instruction and pattern which will be a classic in another twThis is the positive side of self-publishing: a magnificently thought out combination of instruction and pattern which will be a classic in another twenty years' time.
It simply has no point at which it falters, the layout manages to be pretty without that being distracting, it has one very overweight model as well as one of normal size, and when you buy the hard copy, you also get a digital version. This is such a good idea: it means one can use a printed out copy for writing notes on, leaving the original in deservedly pristine condition. It also means that as errors are found and need to be updated, one can readily access corrected versions. The interaction of designer with knitters is a small but marvellous aspect of the functionality of the internet.
I guess there will be an update when I get around to knitting something from this....more
A charming premise for anybody interested in knitting: apparently the nurse, while threading the needle to darn a sock, children gathered around her,A charming premise for anybody interested in knitting: apparently the nurse, while threading the needle to darn a sock, children gathered around her, would look back through her memory for a story that would fit the hole.
Oh and pics by Edward A. What more could one ask for? I loved Farjeon when I was little, but I can't recall having read this....more
This reminds me of the discussion we were having elsewhere about copyright. The simple way of looking at it seems like this. If you think what you wriThis reminds me of the discussion we were having elsewhere about copyright. The simple way of looking at it seems like this. If you think what you write is worthless and you might as well give it to somebody else, or not concern yourself with who takes it and does what with it, by all means! But surely if you think your work is of value and you wish to own its copyright, so be it.
I have a friend who wanted me to give her a pattern from this book. When I said I couldn't, it was copyright and she had to buy a copy, she said 'but people take my work and don't respect copyright, so why should I?' She writes about history. Hardly the point is it? People take my stuff, to which I own the copyright without permission and do things to it without my approval. The idea that this means I should do the same to others beggars belief.
Kim Hargreaves is an artist. She puts out wonderful work which exists if and only if we are willing to pay for it. My friend went on to say there was only one pattern in the book she'd want. So pay $30 for it. Why not? You are going to spend $100 on the yarn. You are going to spend 40 hours working on it. What's another $30?
What is it with the Swiss? The apartment was advertised as fully furnished. We are in the land of the Swiss army knife. Dead set, there are knife museWhat is it with the Swiss? The apartment was advertised as fully furnished. We are in the land of the Swiss army knife. Dead set, there are knife museums here. Oh, okay, ONE knife museum, but isn't that quite a lot.
Frankly a Swiss apartment advertising itself thus should have more knifeware about the place. When hacking one's knitting to death, one wishes to look dramatic, big swipes with an imperious looking blade. Sawing it on the cutting board with a four inch vegetable knife just doesn't do it. Nor does the bread knife work. Yes, sorry, I've tried.
What I really want right now. What my mood cries out for...
Is a book called It's my knitting and I'll hack it to death if I want.
I happened to receive an email today from Lavold which prompts this recollection. In the course of her lengthy communication she explains various trutI happened to receive an email today from Lavold which prompts this recollection. In the course of her lengthy communication she explains various truths about her business in order to counter the rumours that get going on the internet and before you know it are quoted as fact even on such a discriminating site as goodreads.
This is one of the observations she makes:
On a side note (and we need to repeat this), we do reply to every single email requesting support (well, in the past eight years two or three may have been left unanswered because of their utterly rude tone, but these are very rare exceptions). It may sometimes take a week, more if we’re traveling, but we always send replies.
In fact I had quite a discourse with Elsebeth on the matter of the cover design of this book. First I discovered that the colours used for the picture were discontinued. I wrote to ask for her suggestions on other combinations. She has her own yarn label I was going to be using, buying the yarn from Sweden without seeing it, so it would be impossible to figure suitable combinations in the blind. She wrote back with a lengthy discussion of the options. Gratefully appreciating this, I took one of her suggestions.
The story continues...Again, from her email of today:
A vital person in keeping the number of errors down is Carol Rhoades, our irreplaceable pattern translator and technical editor (for the benefit of our Swedish sample garment knitters, Elsebeth writes the original instructions in Swedish). Not only is her terrific work directly beneficial to the knitters, indirectly she reduces the time we have to spend publishing errata and answering support emails, thus freeing resources for creative work. Carol, thank you so much!
The yarn arrived and I put it away and came back to it ages later. After I knitted for a while, it became evident that there was a massive error in the quantities of one of the yarns. I wrote to Lavold and soon enough got back a reply that I was quite right. Damn. Since I'd purchase the yarn so long ago, I could neither return it or knit what I wanted with it. I unravelled what I'd done so far and eventually made something completely different and not nearly as nice with it.
Frankly, I think that as mistakes go, this one shouldn't have been allowed to slip by, especially on your feature pattern. Still, I can't complain about the impeccable follow up I got every step of the way. Lavold and her husband must work 24 hours a day.
Thomas is a physicist at Cern who knits in public at lunchtime. Anna is a physicist at Cern who envies ThAn odd and somewhat distressing juxtaposition:
Thomas is a physicist at Cern who knits in public at lunchtime. Anna is a physicist at Cern who envies Thomas but can't knit in public at lunchtime because she feels bad enough already that she is a girl without adding to her woes by typecasting herself even further. Maybe Thomas can afford not to give a fuck and Anna can't. Or maybe Anna is just being paranoid.
Women began denigrating knitting as part of the 'feminist' thing which involved rejecting everything their mothers did as being unworthy. Men had already denigrated such things since they stopped doing them centuries ago. Women, oddly, saw that being feminist involved thinking the same way as men did on these things.
Maths. Elegance is not optional.
This book's introduction:
My inspiration doesn't come directly from mathematics. I'm unlikely to knit a Fibonacci pattern, use cellular automata, or think of ways to incorporate crazy topological spaces. But my entire approach to life involves abstract thought rooted in maths. An elegant proof is one that is simple, involves a bit of insight that isn't considered obvious, and proves something that is greater than the sum of its parts. An inelegant proof is one that is done by brute force or is overly complex. I find exactly the same to be true of knitting. Taking simple components and combining them in a way that is greater than the sum of is parts is the essence of good design.
What are those components? 'Everything boils down to three actions: wrap yarn around needle, stick needle through loop, and pull yarn through loop. Depending on the order or the direction of these three manoeuvres, infinite possibilities exist.' ...more
Being a knitter, I can’t say anything positive about this book, but in the interests of fairness, I will quote the eminent mathematician William Thurston, who said of it:
“These models have a fascination far beyond their visual appearance. As illustrated in the book, there is actually negative curvature and hyperbolic geometry all around us, but people generally see it without seeing it. You will develop an entirely new understanding by actually following the simple instructions and crocheting! The models are deceptively interesting. Perhaps you will come up with your own variations and ideas. In any case, I hope this book gives you pause for thought and changes your way of thinking about mathematics.”
I’m sure it should, William, I’m sure it should, but. ...more
I bought this book for the patterns. It turns out this is a bit like saying you bought The Diary of Ann Frank for the sex.
WELL I DIDN'T KNOW!!!
It's aI bought this book for the patterns. It turns out this is a bit like saying you bought The Diary of Ann Frank for the sex.
WELL I DIDN'T KNOW!!!
It's a knitting book. It is not entirely unreasonable to expect it to have knitting patterns in it.
Not only that, it is full of calculus and difficult maths and quantum physics, as is all the rage at the moment.
And if you think that's funny, really, it isn't.
The modern interest in math and craft began in 1997 when Taimina devised a plan for crocheting a hyperbolic plane. Hyperbolic planes are spaces of negative curvature (imagine the shape of a riding saddle) where all lines curve away from each other. Hyperbolic planes are fairly common in nature, appearing everywhere from the frills on a sea slug to growth patterns of coral to the way the brain folds.
The craft objects themselves tend to be common shapes, such as discs, spheres and cones. However, just as a triangle that normally only has 180-degrees worth of angles can have three 90-degree angles when drawn on a sphere, the shapes take on novel and surprising forms when projected across hyperbolic space.
Despite being widespread in nature and well understood in theoretical math, no good physical models of a hyperbolic shape existed until Taimina crocheted her first plane. In hyperbolic space, points move away from each other as the shape expands. While it is hard to model this using paper or plastic, it is easily replicated by simply increasing the number of stitches per row as the shape is knit or crocheted.
“What you can do is get a tactile insight. I theoretically understand the concept, but [the model:] allows me to communicate it,” said Taimina.
After Taimina’s crocheted models gained a degree of notoriety, Hinke Osinga realized that if a hyperbolic plane could be modeled with crochet, then a model of the complex shape her research focused on could be made the same way. Osinga was looking at the Lorenz manifold, another shape that had yet to be presented in a physical model. Manifolds are shapes where the curved nature of the larger shape can be treated as a flat plane over short distances, like a 2-D road map sufficiently representing a portion of the 3-D Earth.
The Lorenz manifold models how objects move through a chaotic space such as a flowing river or the atmosphere. Various applications include meteorological prediction and spacecraft navigation. Before Osinga made her crochet Lorenz manifold, there had never been a physical model of this shape for reference.
Around the same time that Osinga was using craft to answer questions about math, Yackel and Belcastro began their attempt to answer questions raised by craft with math.
Belcastro designed a mathematical proof detailing why any topological surface can be knit. While seemingly limited to explaining yarn work, the proof could have ramifications for biology. A range of phenomena from shell growth to bird’s nest-building replicate knitting by building up a structure one line at a time.
I've wavering between lots of stars and a totally mean number. I am expecting to learn a lot about technique from this book, but in the process I willI've wavering between lots of stars and a totally mean number. I am expecting to learn a lot about technique from this book, but in the process I will acquire many weird, unwearable scarves. I just don't know...
When I bought it I wrapped it up and put it under the Christmas tree. Yes, it is a sad story, but it is true. I was dying to open it before the big day but eventually I forgot it was there...and so it was an exciting surprise after all. And yet. I started looking at it in a new light. I started thinking maybe even the book my partner of the time had bought me - which was something he should have known I didn't want - wasn't so bad after all.
Have you ever had that thought about Christmas presents? Nobody who wanted me here would have bought that? Sort of a book equivalent of buying a drill set for your girlfriend. Sort of a message?...more
Another of my collection I can see going on a permanent holiday some time. Mostly too weird and I suspect a lot of the instructions are inadequate. ThAnother of my collection I can see going on a permanent holiday some time. Mostly too weird and I suspect a lot of the instructions are inadequate. The only pattern I especially wanted to knit has tortured people according to experiences documented on the net....more