Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Stitch 'n Bitch Calendar: a Quarter in Review

Toward the end of last year, I got it into my head to buy a page a day calendar for my desk at work. Naturally, I gravitated to the two geared to knitters: The Stitch 'n Bitch Calendar (hereinafter "SnB"), and the Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar.

I dithered between them; an informed decision was hampered by the fact that none of the places I went to had them out for display. I asked other knitters what they thought of previous editions, and got a few general opinions. I ultimately settled on the SnB because it was more than just patterns, and I figured that even if I didn't knit any of the patterns, I might get some useful tips.
Given my moderate expectations, I am pleasantly surprised thus far.

1. Patterns

Patterns appear on Fridays, and of the 13 that appeared this quarter, I liked about 1/3 of them and am currently knitting 2: a simple lace scarf (the one in Artfibers Sylph that is helping me keep the shreds of my sanity together), and a feather and fan wrap that uses three gorgeous Colinette yarns and was designed by Helen Kim at Urban Knitting Studio.

Ordinarily, I am a big one for planning projects in advance, and usually consider the yarn purchases extremely carefully. This is certainly true for long-term, "big" projects. I am a little more spontaneous when it comes to "on the go" and quick projects. So, it was fun to have suitable patterns at hand and feel inspired to look for yarn and start them soon. When the scarf pattern appeared, I bought the yarn the same day on my lunch hour, knowing that I would want something both simple and entertaining for some upcoming travel.

There is a third pattern that really stands out for me, which was a big surprise. To my way of thinking there are two types of knitters. Those who knit entrelac (or are willing to give it a whirl), and those who don't (or aren't willing). I was firmly planted in the latter category until the entrelac pouch pattern appeared on the calendar last week. As soon as I saw it, I said, "I have to knit that. It is the perfect first entrelac pattern and I love it." It uses one ball of Noro Silk Garden, which I have yet to try, and I think it will be fun.

For me, that kind of inspiration - something that gets me to try something I never thought I would try - is worth the price of admission.

2. Tips/Techniques

A number of useful things, but the best aspect of this is that I can take the ones I want and file them, and recycle the rest. It is very convenient. By way of comparison, I get a tips and tricks e-newsletter that is chock-full of great information. Frankly, a lot of those tips are more amazing and fabulous than some of the tips in the calendar, but I tend not to print things out right away, and I hate slogging through old email. As a result, I end up just deleting these emails when my inbox gets full. I have to hope that the most relevant of the email tips somehow stick in my head.

3. Favorite Yarns

I like this feature more for the yarn pr0n factor than anything else. It isn't particularly useful to me, as I am unlikely to go out and just buy yarn without a pattern in mind. Although I filed a couple of these pages away because the yarns were unique or particularly lust-worthy, for everyday knitting it is far more likely that I will either use the yarn specified in a pattern (if I like it), or look for a substitute in my LYS before turning to my very slender file on yarns. It's gotta be pretty spectacular to make it into that file -- those are yarns so rare and fabulous that I could see myself buying them in reasonable quantities if I happen upon them.

It was really cool, though to see mentions of my favorite yarns, especially Artfibers Kyoto.

4. Websites

This would have to fall into the "meh" category for me. Most were sites I already know about, and the few new ones weren't that interesting to me. We can all search the internet to find what we want, or get recommendations from other knitters. A calendar page featuring a website doesn't seem like much of a value-add.

5. Other content

The calendar also features quotes and knitting-related anecdotes. I LOVE quotes, and there were a number of good ones in Q1. The thing I liked about them was that most were not specific to knitting, but had to do with creativity or happiness, or something else that most crafty folk would identify with. Two were destined for my refrigerator, which is a good ratio for these things. Realistically, you don't want to collect loads and loads of quotes because then you have too many to display (and it is a little dotty to keep a file, unless you're a writer or something). A few pithy ones are all you need.

Similarly, the stories weren't the sort of things I would save or file away, but they did provide a pleasant moment between tasks at work, or first thing in the morning over my cup of coffee.

Overall, I'd give the SnB calendar a B+ for Q1. I probably will post a review at the end of each quarter, much more concise than this one, since there won't be much background. Just the highlights.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thanks for the review! I've seen the calendar around, and wasn't sure about it. One thing I do like about the Pattern a Day calendar though, is the fact that it's perpetual -- so whenever you're tired of it as a calendar, it's a fine mini stitch pattern book, then you can go back to using it as a calendar again years later.