Monday, September 04, 2006

Further to yesterday's post & sweater update

In my last post, I described a batch of new knitting-related books coming this fall and winter from PotterCraft. One of the books, "Naughty Needles," stirred up a tiny brouhaha in the comments. The book is described by the publisher as "half instruction book, half peep show" and features a cheesecake photo on the cover. I think it is perfectly legitimate -- and not ad hominem -- to discuss some of the implications of this book, namely: is it necessary, or desirable, to use sex to sell a knitting book? is it necessary, or desirable, to use a cheesecake, 50s movie star pose on the cover of a knitting book? who is the target audience: real knitters or the men in their lives who might want to view the "peep show"? what is the sensibility and viewpoint of the author, given that she blogs as "Disgruntled Housewife" and how might that affect the content of the book? Is there anything truly "naughty" about the patterns in it, or is this just a publicity ploy to get attention and sell books? In fairness, some of these issues -- but not all -- can't be resolved until the book is actually out there to be seen. There are also legitimate feminist issues raised by this (ooh, I said the "f" word), like the longtime debate between hard-core feminists, who don't think it is possible to empower oneself by adopting patriarchical constructs of female beauty and/or sexiness, and a newer generation of feminists who believe that it's possible to take back their sexuality in whatever form they choose. Given that this is primarily a knitting blog, I would refer anyone interested in this latter debate to look at I Blame the Patriarchy and other blogs that cover this issue better than I ever could.

A lot of knitters don't live near a great LYS that carries a wide selection of knitting books. Many don't even have a chain bookstore nearby that carries lots of craft books. So they're forced to buy books on-line, sight unseen. Sad, innit? I'm really spoiled by the fact that Rosie's carries an excellent selection of knitting books so one can browse through them before one purchases. But for less fortunate readers, the more information that a person can find about a book before buying it, sight unseen, the more likely they are to be pleased with the book, rather than have to return it to an on-line seller. This is one reason why I like to review books on my blog. I encourage real discussions about books rather than sunshine-and-hearts "don't say anything negative" discussions because I find real and fair discussions of the merits of a book helpful and interesting. I hope you do, too.

Tie-Dyed Sweater

Aided by the able tie-dyer James, I finished Grace's cotton sweater and we proceeded to tie-dye it. I think it came out quite nicely:



Today I shall sew a button on the shoulder (what can I say? my kids have big pumpkin heads) and then hope that Grace will wear it. The yarn is Inca Cotton and I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed knitting with it. Sometimes cottons feel harsh in the knitting, or the lack of spring hurts my hands, but this stuff is extremely soft and pleasant to work with. It would make wonderful baby items and I definitely would use it again.

Happy Labor Day to all my American and Canadian (thanks, Mamaloo) readers!

18 comments:

mamaloo said...

Just a heads up: it's also Labour Day in Canada.

:)

kmkat said...

To those of you who, like me, have no bookstore within 75 miles: if you are interested in a book, request it from your local library. If you like it, buy it on-line from Borders (Amazon contributes to right-wing conservative causes, Borders to leftie liberal ones -- you can see where my sympathies lie!) or whoever. If you have no local library, or the one you have sucks... I'm so sorry.

Carol said...

Hey, I wasn't aware of that about Amazon. Ick. However, does it really matter if you go into Borders first? aren't they the same website? What about B&N?

Lee Ann said...

I'm of the second breed of feminist, and I still think the "Naughty" thing is ridiculous. In fact, it's *because* I'm of the second breed that I think it's ridiculous. That whole conception of women being sexual as something wrong or punishable just burns my butt.

That said, you'd have to do a hell of a lot of convincing to make me think a knitted bikini is anything but a sopping mess of heavy wool after a good swim. Bleah.

Thanks for the heads-up about Inca Cotton...my kid needs non-itchy stuff, but dude, I HATE knitting with cotton because of that inflexibility. I'll have to check this one out.

Elizabeth said...

Carol, I really appreciate your book reviews because they are fair, balanced, thorough, and intelligent. Even when a book is not suitable for your own needs, you point out its strengths. Even when a book is right up your alley, you point out its weaknesses.

Thanks!

Charity said...

Great little sweater! Looks like a fun knit, and an even more fun dye job!

Thank you so much for the book reviews. I am one of those knitters without much in the way of bookstores, and I appreciate your balanced reviews.

Barb Brown said...

What Elizabeth said, better than I can. I lived for 25 years in a town where only the corner of the local hardware store carried any fibre, and 250 km. from the nearest bookstore. Wish I'd had your reviews then.
Being the old fart I am, I vividly remember the wool swim suits we were compelled to wear at the "Y". They fit great till you hit the water. Then the neckline was at your waist, and the crotch at your knees...no kidding. I was always glad the boys weren't allowed in...of course they were in the next pool, naked.
Barb B.

mindy said...

I echo Elizabeth and all regarding the book reviews. It's often months before I can get to a yarn store, and while I usually hit B&N once a month, that one usually doesn't have many newer knitting books.
LOVE that sweater- want a pic of the cutie in it! Is her surgery coming up soon? If we know, we can all send you both tons of safe, soothing thoughts.

Sherry W said...

I guess boobies don't offend me as much as the yearly faux-vintage trendy-trends. As far as the concept goes, all the other 'new vintage' hooha sells like hotcakes, so why *not* a 50s pinup inspired book? I find it no more offensive then the 'boho' crap from Rowan last year,and the 'Victorian' stuff that seems to be coming out this year.

Kathy Merrick said...

Sherry, I'm afraid you've missed the point.
I'm not afraid of "boobies" (how twee).
No, that's not it at all.

Anonymous said...

"how twee?"

Ms. Merrick, is it possible for you to speak without infusing your words with condescension and bitterness? Sheesh. I don't think Sherry was directing her comments at you, so there's no reason to be so nasty to her.

I fail to see what all the hullabaloo is over this book. It looks like a a fun little book, along the lines of Stitch and Bitch, and probably aimed at the same audience. I think those types of books are great, because they probably attract young knitters who might not continue the craft if they didn't have something fun, trendy, sexy, and uncomplicated to knit. Anything that brings knitting to the younger generation is fine by me.

At least the model on the cover has a healthy body type, and isn't a waif or a silicone porn star. I doubt men are going to start buying knitting pattern books to ogle any time soon. After all, the Victoria's Secret catalog is free and delivered right to your home.

Nobody here has seen the actual contents of this book, except perhaps for the knitters who say they knitted for the book. So I'll withhold further judgement until I actually see what's inside that cover. But from what limited information I have, I'm not sure what warrants these attacks - especially the personal ones against the author.

Anonymous said...
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Lee said...

A small note on Borders/Amazon online ordering: Many years ago, Borders tried to set up an online ordering system of it's own. They found that they couldn't compete with Amazon and teamed up with them instead, leaving Borders free to conquer the bricks and mortar bookstore world (or the mall world, anyway). For what it's worth, K-Mart aquired Borders in 1992.

Sara W. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sherry W said...

If you guys are stuck buying online, I've found this site helps compare proces at least:
http://www.bestwebbuys.com/

Anonymous said...

Just a quick note on Borders from a former employee. KMart hasn't owned Borders since 1994, when they teamed up to by the companies back and go into business together as a public company. While Borders is progressive in many ways, they do not give money to political causes of any stripe. There are a larger than average number of employees who give to lefy groups, however.

Anonymous said...

ok, that would be buy the companies back and lefty causes. Can't type.

Carol said...

Hey, thanks, Anonymous! I love when we get the straight poop from the horse's mouth (so the speak).