Tuesday, July 29, 2008


When the going gets tough, the tough go mellow. At least this is one of my experiences. Even though I've now heard slightly reassuring news regarding William and his operation, I still feel like I am sitting on pins. Not only am I sitting on them; I can feel them through my head, a bit like this. But it is important to think positive when negative events befall us and so today seemed like a good day to have a rummage through the stash, just to see where we are at. And this is where:

Those of you who are familiar with this daily drivel will recognise this from here. Yet, what you see above is not the same picture I posted in May. This stash has grown since then. It was originally only ten skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, while it is now thirty. Because I've been so busy with that flipping lace scarf I had to re-do what felt like a zillion thrillion times, the crochet blanket has lingered in the rattan trunk all wound up in colourful balls. In fact, it's rather nice to call it the crochet blanket since it's really nothing more than balls and balls of wool right now. I may as well call it the Kaffe Fassett Fair Isle cardigan or the Batman rainbow wooly cape and nobody would be any wiser.

However, I am not one of those people that just 'stashes'. My stash is all carefully sorted, with the above going towards a fabulous crochet ripple blanket, the green variegated Misti Alpaca towards a scarf, the variegated pink merino towards a crochet scarf and so on and so forth. Many say that stash is like shit, it just happens. I suppose that's true, except we cannot prevent shit from happening, but we can prevent stash. I am currently operating under the misguided pre-conception that my stash isn't really a stash at all but is all a giant trunk of balls-in-progress projects, even though they haven't made it to the needles or hooks yet. I know what you're thinking but I swear this is no intellectual masturbation of mine; because every single skein of everything is already allocated to its own designated project, I can go out into the open and buy more patterns and more balls because I only have six scarves, one blanket, one capelet and one shrug on the go. It makes perfect sense here.

Which brings me to my next point, Rowan Magazine 44. Because I am a girly girl, 44 speaks to everything that defines me as a person. It speaks to the side of me that is nostalgic about an era I really cannot be nostalgic about because I never experienced it; it speaks to the part of me that would like to be able to wear empire-line dresses and jumpers without looking six months pregnant; it speaks to the part of me that is longing to be able to try some of Kaffe's truly hair-raising Fair Isle-cum-intarsia-and-vice-versa knitted beauties. It also speaks to the repressed writer within me that loathes sloppy writing. As I cracked it open today, I almost had to reach for the oxygen mask. Who on earth has edited this stuff? I could make ten examples from page six alone, but I will limit myself to only one because it's so bad it becomes good (and in this respect, it reminds me of Dirty Dancing):

"Sasha Kagan, has now had six wonderful knitting books published".

People, honestly, I thought that 'writers' that stick a comma after a subject and before a verb were a plague of the distant past, when people had to set characters by hand, one-by-bloody-one before a book went into print. In the day of writers, agents, sub-editors, proof-readers and editors, nobody spotted that offensive comma right there? I am sorry but this sort of sloppiness is one I do not tolerate. The whole mag is full of such crap.

Still from the same page (sorry, I know I said I'll only show you one but...), I would like to show you an example that demonstrates that the road to writing hell is paved with adjectives and adverbs:

"Intriguingly many of Rowan's designers joined over 20 years ago and remain strikingly loyal".

If we close both eyes on the lack of suitable punctuation and just look at the two adverbs here, intriguingly and strikingly, anyone with good sense and good hearing can tell that, just because you can stick -gly to every adjective doesn't mean you should. Intriguingly? Does this 'writer' ever re-reads her own writing out loud, just to ensure it sounds as good in real life as it does in her head? Who writes this stuff? Who edits it? I'll tell you who: Elizabeth Fayling-Cork and Kate Buller. Buller says in her 'Editor's Letter':

"Here at Rowan all the team are feeling very nostalgic [...]"

Jeepers creepers woman! Get yourself a grammar book, they don't bite! The above should read:

"Here at Rowan, the team is feeling very nostalgic [...]"

This is because, no matter how much illiterate people try it, the verb that accompanies a neutral noun referring to multiple individuals is the third person singular, not the third person plural. This is the difference between the grammatical number and the natural one. I could go on but I just cannot be asked.

The mag redeems itself in what are, in my very humble and un-educated knitting opinion, lovely pieces which I would not hesitate knitting and wearing (well, ok, maybe not the empire-line things). As I clamp the lid shut on the current balls-in-progress stash, I feel a surge of inspiration in the shape of adorable little cardigans, pretty vintage berets, long lady gloves and fabulous Kaffe Fassett, tapestry-like creations. You have to love the man, I know I do. I am rolling down a hill of wooly fabulousness, crashing all the way down into the impossible-to-by-pass Stash Valley. I think it may be true after all that stash cannot be helped. It really is like shit, just ask William (or indeed Rowan).
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