Monday, March 24, 2014

Editing one's own work and a book review

For quite a few years I was a bibliographic editor and technical writer/editor for a library bibliographic company. I enjoyed that job and excelled at it. I could remark two hundred pages in no time at all. I was vicious and liberal with my red pen and earned a place on the Grammar Patrol. I could quote Strunk and White and bring embarrassment to even the retired high school English teacher. I knew my grammar and let everyone else know it as well.

Yet when it comes to my own editing I truly suck. Sometimes when I am blogging I am typing so quickly (I've been clocked at over 90 wpm - note the missing c) that I don't even notice my own errors. Even reading through them a time or two I still miss many stupid little errors. I keep telling myself that I could correct this by first typing my blog into Word and then copying it to blogger. Yet, each time I sit down at the computer to add to my blog I open a compose page and start typing. It's quite embarrassing. As punishment for yesterday's hasty post (I was still quite excited having visited with RAchael Rachael) I made two errors and left them crossed through. Forgive me my grammar errors when you see them and know that I was probably too hasty and did not use Word to check for my errors.

And now on to something a bit more fun. As some of you may know I've written a book titled Knitting a Boyfriend Sweater. Some of you may even have had the chance to read the manuscript. In the book I have a magical and imaginary sweater that the main character knits. It's a lovely sweater in my mind, but I'm a bit too lazy to make it a reality. I know what it looks like in my head, though. Since writing this story, I have been fascinated with the idea of a boyfriend sweater.  For you non-knitters, there is a
mythos that if a boyfriend sweater is knit too early in a relation, or possibly at the wrong time in a relationship, or  in a premarital relationship, or even at all that the sweater will doom the couple to certain breakup. Then there is the problem of what to do with the sweater. Perhaps the guy burns it. Maybe he is nice and gives it back to the girl. In which case she may be tempted to burn it, but, oh, all the hours that went into that sweater. She might decide to donate it to charity or give it to a friend. She might wallow in it, sniffing the sleeves wailing about her broken heart, leaving salty tear stains down the front. She may even come to the conclusion that she knit it, damn it, and so she is going to wear it, even though it was knit for someone with a completely different body shape. The one conclusion that all women agree upon is that by no means does a girl regift a boyfriend sweater. There is really bad mojo in that act and it is best to give it away to a friend than doom a future relationship. Even if he would fit it and the color would bring out the lovely teal in his eyes. Don't do it. Just don't do it.

I came across a darling little book called Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him that You'll Want to Wear by Bruce Weinstein. You can see all his designs on his Ravelry designer's page. I love this book. I bought it immediately. The sizes are wonderful going from a 33-3/4" chest to a 60" chest measurement. So many generous sizes to choose from. The book is filled with wonderful textures, too. I am all about the textures. There are subtle diamond patterns done in knits and purls as well as more complex textures of honeycomb. Even the simple patterns have enough interest to them that you aren't going to feel like you are doing round after round of nothing but stockinette stitch, although there are a few sweaters that are composed of primarily stockinette stitch (although one is an initial sweater and another is houndstooth, so yeah, still not boring). There is a lovely Project Index page in the back of the book so you can easily find the pattern you are looking for if you can't remember it's name, but you remember what color it was. This happens to me far too often and I spend many hours thumbing through books searching for that one pattern that I remembered seeing. Aside from the fourteen sweaters, which include both cardigan and pullover styles, there are four scarf patterns and a reversible paisley stocking hat, which is called Reversible Paisley Hat, for those of you who aren't quite ready to commit to a sweater's worth of work for your boyfriend.

I think my favorite sweater in the entire book is the Seed Placket Pullover. Do not fear, those of you frightened by seed stitch. The entire sweater is not composed of seed stitch, only the collar area is seed stitch with simple seed stitch striping to give it a nice clean look.  I even like the variegated green that is used for this sweater.  I also love the Shaker Cardigan done in a nice easy-on-the-eyes brioche stitch with a flattering v-neck and simple raglan sleeves. It is ranked as an easy skill level and I believe this is accurate.

Almost all the sweaters use a medium or worsted weight yarn save for a few that us a DK weight. Several of these sweaters could be made from either a cotton or wool blend to match your area's climate. I will warn you ladies out there, this is not a true "his and hers" book. These are sweaters designed for men and for men's bodies. There is no flattering waist shaping, bust darting or short rows. These are long straight sweaters made for long straight men. If you are skilled enough to nip in the waist a bit and make it a more girly sweater then go for it, but don't be disappointed if you get to the end of this sweater and realize that you look like you are wearing a potato sack. There are a million sweater patterns out there (actually, according to Ravelry there are over 62,000 sweaters, but that's pretty close to a million) and of those million sweater patterns the majority of them are for women. So if you are looking for a flattering sweater to fit your girly curves, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a nice sweater for that special guy in your life (be it a boyfriend, fiance, husband, father, or teenaged or adult son) this is a wonderful book that will give you many options available. Just, please, for the love of all things alpaca, don't burn it when he gives it back you to. Put that sweater on, realize that he simply was not knit worthy, and move on.

Boyfriend Sweaters is published by Potter Craft, a division of Random House, and retails for $21.99. The ISBN is 9780307587121.

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