Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Sticky Wicket

I am not the boss of much, but I am mostly the boss of this blog (except when Harry overrules me). And so today, instead of showing you knitted wares, I am going to tell a little story and ask you guys what you think of this practice:

An owner of a yarn store approached me last week, offering to supply me with yarn and let me do anything I wanted with it--knit cat hats, felt myself a mousepad, or just wind it around my ears. She would them pay me to post the review on my blog with a link to her store for those who wished to purchase the stuff.

I told her I might be interested, if, at the beginning of the review, I informed my readers I was being paid to fiddle with the yarn and say something about it. The owner did not like that idea at all. According to her, several Famous Bloggers, whose names she did not mention, are on the payroll of the biggest on-line store, which she again did not specify.

Besides the fact that this practice is now illegal (see here), the entire concept makes me a little ill. I am not a Famous Blogger, but I think I would be doing my readers (however few) a disservice if I didn't reveal that I was being paid to talk about something. And certainly, I wouldn’t review the yarn at all if it were a nasty knit.

I find it sad that Famous Bloggers have become Greedy Bloggers. I may have been laid off and spend a lot of time inspecting the couch for spare quarters, but I don’t want to do anything that would compromise my innate honesty. Or am I just being naive and stupid?

What do you guys think?

Friday, July 17, 2009

On (and Off) the Silk Road

Harry takes great pride in his designs, as evidenced by the fact that he spent an entire evening slowly creeping around the King Bat shawl searching for flaws. Fortunately for me, he only found five cat hairs and a single decrease slanting in the wrong direction.

After a stern lecture to me about carelessness and to Laptop about feline hygiene, he departed (with 11 suitcases) for Uzbekistan. Apparently, the owners of the ALBATROS Karaoke Club in Tashkent had been incredibly impressed by his performance in Albania a few months ago and invited him for a two-day gig. In an effort to avoid an International Incident, I will not comment on the listening tastes of either Albanians or Uzbekistani.

Where was I? Oh yes. Harry. Uzbekistan. Eleven suitcases. The mystery of the suitcases was solved when Harry returned with 20 skeins of Z-twist 30/1 plying silk as a gift to my proto-store (it's taking shape, but it's taking time to take shape, sigh). I was immensely touched for a second...after which he demanded 75% of future profits, as well as my cashmere bathrobe. I guess we can all share.

I happened to have a spindle full of merino-cashmere waiting to be plied, so I immediately wound the silk and the yarn onto a felt ball and twisted the two strands together. Thank you, Harry! He may be an obnoxious, demanding spider with a penchant for sarcasm, aggrandizement, and chicken-fried raisins, but he has excellent taste in yarn.

As you can see, the silk and merino-cashmere are about the same weight, so the final yarn can safely be deemed 30/2. I have another spindle half-finished, but haven't made much of dent in the two-ounce bag of fiber yet.

And thanks to everyone's suggestions from the last post, I have indeed ordered a Golding. Actually, I ordered two--Harry wanted his own custom job. Tom Golding was understandably puzzled by my request for a .1-gram spindle, but after I explained, he decided that he could make a nice one out of a hand-painted pinhead and a hand-carved Japanese embroidery needle. Good luck with that, Tom.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Harry's King Bat--It's Alive!

When Harry first tossed me his redesigned border for the King Bat shawl, I was skeptical. After having knit this border section, I just laughed out loud. Who else could work bats and hearts into a Shetland ring shawl? Sharon Miller should never see this. I see a hoard of peasants out there warming up their pitchforks. Not good.

I am about 30% done with the border...from here on, except for the addition of another row of hearts, the border sort of mostly follows the original design. And I promise to be faithful to the edging, except where I might change it.

Current dilemmas revolve around whether to buy another Bosworth or veer off the well-trodden spindle path and get a Golding. I know I can't go wrong with a Bossie, but those Goldings are so lovely... I am sure there are plenty of opinions out there. Convince me.