First, there was the skein. The ball of yarn. The one and only.

One Skein.

The One Skein Wonder.

One Skein Wonders (the book, not to be confused with One Skein Wonder, the pattern. Don’t make me post a responsive comment about copyright, trademark, and titles, thanks).

What’s next? Why, why not two balls of yarn?

You know those television commercials for men’s disposable shaver heads that feature three — no four! five! blades? That’s what I’m thinking.

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13 Responses to Incremental

  1. Did you know that the “One Skein Wonders” book is about to be joined by “101 Designer One-Skein Wonders” from the same author? Just in case you felt there were insufficient one-skein projects wondering around.

  2. j. says:

    Well, I started out mocking the title because it suggests “hey, we’ve exhausted the one skein idea, and if we want to get into this particular submarket we’re going to have to differentiate… why, there are so many things that take a bit more yarn… two! we’ll write a book for two skeins! but we can’t call it two skeins because we’ll be accused of ripping off the first one-skein book… okay, balls. People know balls. And they’re not going to always use the whole second ball, because some of this stuff might have been good in a one-skein book but we can’t call it that… two balls? one ball or two? hey, why is the mail guy laughing? no, that will be confusing because people might think there are one-ball patterns, and we’re trying to differentiate here… okay, two balls or less? that gets the message across. That guy’s still laughing. I don’t see what’s so funny, get him out of here. Tell Susan that we can’t have disruptive employees here, I don’t care if he is her teenaged nephew.”

    And then the same thing could be repeated for three, four, etc.

    I don’t get to knit as much as a few hours a week. Fortunately, not because of CTS or some other physical constraint, but because of time constraints (another type of physical constraint). I get easily distracted with new designs. I could feel inferior because it literally takes me years to finish any sweater… but I don’t, and neither do I choose to knit small projects simply so that I can say that I’ve completed something.

    If there’s any judgmental attitude here, perhaps it’s divided along the lines of process vs product knitters?

  3. Anna-Liza says:

    I like having small project patterns around because I’m a project polyamorist, and prefer to have a couple of smaller projects going at the same time as my larger ones. Also, I frequently end up with one or two skeins of leftover yarn from my larger projects, so it’s nice to have something to do with those.

    I have never finished an entire sweater in under a year. I’ve been working on Eris for almost two! (I tend to put away larger wool projects in hot weather).

  4. Donna says:

    Wow, I’m a little surprised to hear a knitter being so judgmental about who knitting is “for.”

    I focus on small, fast projects because otherwise I wouldn’t finish much. I can only knit a few hours a week without severe pain from the carpal tunnel I picked up during one of my college jobs. At the risk of sounding bitchy, I’m not going to feel like some knitting inferior just because someone without my issue could finish my typical projects in a weekend.

    I’ve enjoyed One Skein, and have used six patterns from it so far. The other quick knit pattern books have seemed less than impressive in terms of quality and originality of the projects, but this is a problem with knitting books in general.

    I promised myself awhile back that I’d never buy another book that included pattern for a yoga mat bag.

  5. Penny says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever knitted a sweater in 6 weeks, Spike. I’d allow a year for a sweater-type project, and I’ve knitted enough to know that is reasonable for me.

    My problem with all the one-skein type books, is that they tend to have at most one thing I’d knit.

  6. Spike says:

    Oh for the love of Zimmerman! How many patterns does one need that require bits and bobs of yarn? Is two skeins’ outlay for a pair of socks THAT MUCH??

    Or is it the commitment to about six weeks for a sweater that’s so terrifying? Is there that much need for handknit items that we must have projects that can be completed in an afternoon?

    Process, people; knitting is a process craft. It is one of the slowest ways to make an item (except naalbinding, perhaps). If you can’t feature working for hours (days, weeks, months) on a project, then perhaps knitting is not for you.

  7. j. says:

    Okay, here’s the thing about the less/fewer usage. If you said “two balls or fewer” (ugh — “fewer than two balls”), the implication is that you have one ball or two. “Fewer” doesn’t connote fractions, does it?

    If we were to say that all the projects required less than a single ball of yarn (like, less than a Pound of Love or whatever they’re called), we wouldn’t say “one ball or fewer”, it’d be “one ball or less”, because the “fewer” alternative would be nonsensical, and we’re using “one ball” in this context to denote a quantity that is not strictly defined — it could be 100g, but it could be 50 g, it could be 100 yards, the point is that it is put up in a single unit. I think the selection of the title for two balls, here, was made with this in mind.

    Why am I defending this book’s title? Why didn’t they use “skein” and therefore avoid all sorts of jokes? Is “skein” too uptown or something?

    I’d like somebody to write a book called “One Cone Or Less: Try Committing To A Large Project For A Change”.

  8. Dr. Steph says:

    I would like to see the belly button cozy. It could keep one’s navel ring from freezing to the skin in cold weather (snort).

    I believe we’re hitting the high point of knitting books being published (ie the number that are being released). The down turn should be coming very soon if this is what is being released.

  9. Carol says:

    The unfortunate thing about so many of the patterns in those books is…they are kind of dumb. How many coffee cup covers does one need? How often do I wear sleeves without any other part of the sweater? What’s next? The Big Toe Warmer? A Belly Button Cozy?

  10. He he…do you remember the old SNL skit making fun of the razors. I think it was back with they can out with 3 blade razors. The skit was making fun of 5 blade razors, which we obviously have now.

  11. fillyjonk says:

    There are all kinds of horrible jokes that could be made about that last book title. (must….not….mention….Lance Armstrong….)

    And yes, I’m also bothered that it’s given as “less” and not “fewer.”

    They could have gotten away by saying “100 g or less” of yarn (But I suspect many of those Two Ball or FEWER projects are designed for some of the mega-putups some companies are doing, like Helen’s Lace and such). Heck, they could even say “Less than two balls,” that’s not quite so fingernails-on-the-chalkboard if it’s not strictly correct.

  12. Megan says:

    Could “The Wonder of Ten Balls” be too far behind?

  13. ivete says:

    I hope I’m not the only one cringing that it says “less” instead of “fewer” . . . ;o)