Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is a smart and intriguing book about popular culture, from Left Behind to internet porn. Reading Klosterman is not like reading Bryson or Dawkins; Klosterman is not informative–except about internet porn, since he realizes that women don’t know about it. In fact, he has this whole essay on how the only reason we went from no one having heard about the internet to being unable to conduct our lives without it in about a decade is because it quickly became a source of pornography, but then has to end his essay wondering how it is that women were able to catch on to computers so quickly without it. In general, though, if you don’t know who Layne Staley is or what “The Real World” was when you start reading, you still won’t know when you finish. There were a few of the essays which I just had to skip entirely. I’m sure the whole thing about how being a Lakers fan allows you to make all decisions on the basis of What Would the Lakers Do was very witty, but it just doesn’t make any sense without the prior knowledge.
I started the Doctor’s Bag from Knit 2 Together. Since I am making it in deep blue wool, there is no point in taking its picture. You can scarcely see the cool texture of the pattern in person, let alone in a photograph. The stitch pattern is very nice, though. It is a slip-stitch pattern in a single color, which I have not seen before, so it ends up very thick and stiff. Telemark is the perfect yarn for this stitch.
However, the stitch pattern is written very stupidly. It is a sixteen row pattern. There are four different rows, and you essentially do them 1234123432143214, which makes sense since you are after a herringbone pattern. The authors have written out rows 1 through 4, but later they begin having things like “Row 12: repeat Row 9.” You go to row 9 and it says “Repeat Row 2.”” This is very confusing. It really wouldn’t have been that much trouble to write the rows out, if it comes to that.
The thing that got me, though, was that I was not even surprised that the directions were badly written. So many modern knitting books are. Every book that comes out — except for the rare new book by an actual professional designer — has an errata site. And usually it takes years for all the errors to get onto the site. It’s as though the books were wikkis, but expensive and cumbersome.
Knitting patterns have become a very democratic area. Everyone who has a blog writes a book — I’ve thought about it myself. And many of the New Knitters don’t know the old standard knitting code. So they make up new terms for old stitches and describe things in cumbersome ways because they don’t know how to say it in knitterese. I have sympathy for that.
But don’t they know any old ladies? Don’t they have grandmothers? I feel sure that there are lots of unemployed older knitters out there who would proof these manuscripts at a reasonable price. It’s ridiculous to go to all the trouble of writing these books and then to send them out filled with ambiguities and errors. But when was the last time you made something from a new knitting book without having to figure out what they really meant?
And this is only the stitch pattern.
The bag as it is written is enormous — 19″ wide. I am therefore making it on #4 needles instead of #11s, with a single strand of yarn instead of a double. I am optimistic about it.
Otherwise, yesterday I finished up the white satin half slip and got to the gym and watched a Netflix (Serendipity — quite enjoyed it, and I had serendipitously just read Klosterman on how all women are in love with John Cusak and therefore there is no chance for happiness in modern love) had some visits with friends and dealt with some insurance issues and spent time with my sons. Today I will be back in the store.
The four days a week that I go up there, I wake up dreading the drive and come home seriously tired. I’m fine while I’m there, though. Maybe I will get over it.