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rionafaith

rionafaith

Currently reading

Fire Watch
Connie Willis
Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a shoestring
China Williams, Greg Bloom, Celeste Brash, Andrew Burke
Fodor's See It Thailand 2008
Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.
The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting: Learn to Knit with more than 30 Cool, Easy Patterns - 'Nancy Queen',  'Mary Ellen O'Connell' This seems like a decent knitting book, but not my favorite. The tone of the text is a bit irritating in an overly perky peppered-with-exclamation-marks way and it's trying too hard to be cute. I started rolling my eyes on the second page, which proclaims: "Are you destined for knitting? Take a quick quiz!" and goes on to ask such probing questions as "Do you have a lot of stress in your life?" and "Do you like to make cool stuff?" OMG you guys, knitting is my DESTINY! They also have cutesy names for everything - their tips and shortcuts are "Cheep Tricks", information about the pattern and skills involved is "Chick Feed", and ideas for variations are listed under the header "Fly the Coop!" Are you groaning yet? The best-slash-worst part is the "Recipe for Success" which has an extremely strained analogy that details how knitting is like baking a cake. I feel the need to quote it here so I can continue to giggle at it after I've returned this book to the library:

"
  • The 'recipe' (skill level): Is the pattern designed for an apprentice or a master chef?
  • What 'ingredients' (materials) will you need to whip up this tasty morsel?
  • 'Serving size' (completed measurements): Make the right amount for the number of guests or, in the case of a knitting pattern, the right size garment for the wearer.
  • What 'temperature' (gauge) will the chef use to bake the cake? Remember, just as temperature varies from oven to oven, gauge varies from knitter to knitter!
  • Finally, follow the instructions for putting it all together. Just as baking may have some interesting terms and abbreviations, so does knitting. Once you become accustomed to reading knitting lingo and schematics, the better 'chef' knitter you'll be!"

    I don't get it. Does anyone find this comparison genuinely helpful? I just think it's dumb.

    It also has some serious gender bias and assumptions of heteronormativity - the "Boyfriend Basket Weave Scarf", for instance, looks decidedly unisex to me, so why assume it is for men? Why assume all your readers are female? Why assume all these females have boyfriends? Why can't the boyfriends knit their own scarves? Maybe I should have expected it from the name "Chicks with Sticks", but whatever. These are minor quibbles, to be sure, but they bother me no matter how easy they are to overlook. /rant

    This stuff probably wouldn't bother me at all if the patterns were great, but I'm not really impressed. Most of them are extremely plain, so it's all about what yarn you choose. A few scarves (one is in garter stitch and one is a rib - do you really need a pattern for that?), several variations on almost the same sweater, 2 beanies that are very similar except one is for men and one is for women (see gender bias above), a couple decent shawls (I'm sorry, wraps), some wristwarmers that I actually might make. Plus some washcloths (??) and a bunch of purses that I have no interest in (but then, I've always been a fan of the ginormous leather satchel). I might end up making some of these, but none of them is really inspiring me. The photos are gorgeous, though, and the book is laid out well. A decent resource.