Archive for the ‘ Knitting ’ Category

Of quality and image

Or, Why the HELL did I look at the Burberry website?

See, I’m a guy with an understanding of how raw materials become fabrics become garments. Anyone who pays a little attention can know how things work, and for someone who uses yarn a lot, this knowledge becomes integral lore. If I needed to, I could construct a drop spindle and spin and ply my own yarn; probably, most knitters, crocheters, and weavers could.

This is where today’s little diatribe starts: at the cost of producing a fabric product. For something hand-made, these costs can skyrocket if the effort is exceeding a certain level; there’s no real way to produce things like socks in an economical amount of time, unless you’re selling them for hundreds of dollars a pair; say, 8$/hour with 10$ for materials; most pairs of socks take at least 30 hours to complete, if you’re lucky. Suddenly that’s 250$/pair; (friends of mine, take note: that’s why I don’t sell socks. You can’t afford them, and if I give them to you as a gift, I damn well expect them to be worn.)

What is shocking, though, is going to the Burberry website and seeing a scarf cost 400$ or more; that’s just absurd. That’s fucking absurd, for a machined product. Especially one which uses yarn that I can acquire from an online retailer who is marking up that yarn, having acquired mill ends of it, for about 20-30$ a cone; each cone, if I purchased the four colours necessary to weave one of those scarves, would cover the production of probably four or five scarves, all for around a hundred dollars. Somehow, you expect me to believe that your machine-produced scarves are worth 400$? Bullshit.

On the other hand, I’ll sell people scarves for 350$, with better workmanship than the Burberry product. You can take orders in the comments.

Getting back to knitting …

And blogging, apparently. Hey blog! I owe you more material, and a candy. I’ll get around to that when I can get a candy thermometer.

On-topic, then. Knitting is one of the things I love to do, but often ignore for long periods of time. Like playing music. Once I have (more) time, I’ll return to playing the violin. Honest.

Now, really on-topic. Every year, it seems, I return to knitting just as exams and assignments start piling one atop each other; whenever I’m studying and just reading, I start knitting to avoid boredom and stress. Plus, it produces materials that I can give other people. Really, the only problem I see is in acquiring the proper materials here. In Canada, I see a fascinating conundrum of fashionable, modern stores — and low consumerism. Online shopping? Yeah, that doesn’t happen. Stores regularly have no internet presence here, or the least possible presence, which makes acquiring yarn quite difficult, since there’s only a few yarn shops around here.

As for what I’m working on, well, I’m finishing up some socks, and I’m about to work on another pair of socks based on a similar pattern; other things, well … those are secret.


Well … here goes again. Yes, this is a post about nothing much, but it is a sense of relief to know that I am now skilled enough to be able to fix my fuck-ups on a regular basis … at least when it comes to knitting, eh?


I was working on my sock, when I realised that something was horribly wrong with the heel; I had a feeling of foreboding as I noticed that one side of the heel was terribly lopsided. A moment’s exploration, and I found the source of the error; one shaping row was badly misaligned. Times like this can lead to a loss of momentum — or the sure knowledge that such an error is correctable. All it takes is walking the knitting back to before the error, then completing the misaligned arrangement.

Which I am now doing, if slowly.  

A defense of socks

I’ll start with a basic concept: the modern world runs on efficiency. We use mechanical looms to weave gigantic swaths of fabric for all purposes, making the skill of weaving technically obsolete, we use knitting machines to produce basic knitted fabric at a speed that leaves even the fastest hand-knitters in the dust, and these two devices use thread spun by machines that can out-pace any hand-spinner, to exceptional effect.

Now consider the hand-knit sock. Continue reading

Sock it to me . . .

. . . and never let me make a pun like that again. Please. Hit me with something if I do — but that won’t stop me.

In any event, it looks like 2011 will be the year of the socks, given that I have a sock pattern to complete, and another to start on, as well as plentiful time in which to do it. After all, each pair of socks should take me at least a month, and that way I have something else to do.

I have to wonder, though, if this isn’t folly; at least I’m over the angst I suffered from the first time I knit socks. I looked at the product of months of work, and thought, That’s all ? I’ve worked so hard for that !? But now, I don’t care about the time, I just want to have something to do. To that end, socks are perfect.

So I’ll keep knitting, and knitting, and knitting … all year long.

Looking back after a semester

Well. Let’s address the concepts from the previous post, even though it’s from 4 months ago, to the day (sort of). Yeah, the Caf sucks, and wow I want to have an apartment. Cooking! How I miss cooking. As for the book, well … it was disappointing. Really disappointing. Incredibly disappointing. Good, but still a disappointment.

I have returned to knitting, and therefore I am bringing knitting needles back to Canada with me, as well as enough yarn to knit four socks. Hooray. Somehow, I have renewed my interest in knitting socks, even though they are terribly slow. Perhaps because of that?

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