confused? you will be

I got the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Knits this week, and was entirely underwhelmed by it. There’s a cabled hooded scarf that looks lovely and squishy, but which I don’t think I’d ever actually wear, and apart from that there’s just nothing that takes my fancy. There’s some bulky chunky knits which would make me look, well, even bulkier and chunkier, and some little fitted numbers which aren’t really ‘me’ either.

This was the last issue in my 2 year subscription, and I don’t think I’ll be renewing. I do think it’s generally a good magazine, certainly better than the perpetually lame UK offerings, but the most popular patterns are usually available on their website (eventually, anyway – and I’m happy to wait), and although there are sometimes some informative articles in it, there’s usually nothing I can’t get from friends/blogs/ravelry if I need to. It’s also jam-packed full of ads – for stuff I can’t buy (without running up huge customs bills, anyway!). Also I’d like to subscribe to Spin Off for a while and I can’t justify both subscriptions!

Of course, Spin Off is from the same people, so I won’t escape the renewal notices, which are one of the most annoying things about this magazine – I think it’s an american thing. IK started reminding me roughly 32 minutes into my 2 year subscription that I could renew my subscription for various different rates. They started sending me letters through the post about renewing about 6 months ago, obviously deeply concerned that I couldn’t read a calendar of my own accord and would end up IK-free and not be able to work out how to obtain further copies.

As Winter 2008 is my last issue, they really got quite hysterical about it.

subtlety not an IK trait

subtlety not an IK trait

Just in case I, and everyone else in the communal post area, had failed to notice the A4 reminder on the cover (oh how I love the words ‘Final Notice’ all over my post!), there were 2 further reminders inside.

One reminding me of The Best Deal! for my renewal:

The Best Deal! - or is it?

And in case I had wantonly ignored the first 2 reminders, or somehow been struck blind since the last issue, a reminder to the cat that she can Make holiday shopping easy! by givng me the Gift of Interweave Knits.

I hope the cat can read

I hope the cat can read

Confusingly, each of these reminders offers the magazine at a different price. Now, you would think that first-time subscribers get one rate, and continuing subscribers maybe get a bit off of that rate as a present for loyalty or something. Not so! It appears for a start, that noone who subscribes ever has to pay the full cover price – makes sense. However the first huge notice offers me the price of $38 for 2 years (save 32%!) or $24 for one year (save 14%!). The second reminder offers me 2 years at $39 or one at $24, and the gift subscription offers me 4 issues (a year) for $21 – a saving of 25%!  I’m not great at maths, but I really can’t work out who decided all those figures made sense!

So… Spin Off it is :)  And I’m sure their reminder messages will be just as confusing!


am in the middle of transferring my flickr account to a paid one, and reorganising my collections & sets over there – and seem to have managed to disappear a load of my pics – oops!  will gradually fix them!

now for an little update: move to brighton went well, in the end, and am loving it here!

plus, I get to see Tiaan and her mummy & daddy loads, which is ace! she’s just got her first proper grownup bed & bedroom, and I’ve been altering curtains/making cushions and a laundry bag and so on. She reeeeally liked the first cushion and wouldn’t be parted from it!

word nerd

I’ve been thinking about words a lot this week, their power and usage. Yet again I am congratulating myself on cunningly arranging to have myself born British in this life, as English would be a bugger of a language to learn if I wasn’t. The nuances of meaning you can describe within a single sentence, simply by the words you choose to include or omit, are virtually limitless. Partly this has been sparked off by some frenzied discussions on the Ravelry forums this week, regarding censorship and the lack of it, and whether there should be any or not – I’ll probably write about my thoughts on that another time.

There are some things that I wish we had words for though, and where English speakers tend to describe a noun by surrounding it with adjectives, other languages simply make up a word, by inventing one or compounding existing words. Some of my favourites are:

  • Japanese: “bakku-shan” – describes a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.
  • Dutch: “uitwaaien”, which means walking in windy weather for fun.
  • German: “Kummerspeck”, which literally means ‘grief bacon’: describes the excess weight gained from emotion-related overeating.
  • “Backpfeifengesicht”: a face that cries out for a fist in it.

The Germans are especially good at it, I’d have to know more about German to know why, but I think it’s generally to do with word order in sentences meaning that it’s easier to make a compound word than using lots of adjectives. Or something like that. I remember at school learning that the longest German word was “Der Vierwaldstätterseecapitänsmüetzensternlein” (why I learnt it, I don’t know, I suspect I was a word nerd even then). It means ‘the little star on the cap of the captain who drives the steamship across Lake Lucerne’.

Germany actually has awards for the longest words – apparently the longest word in current usage is now – “das Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz”: “beef labeling regulation & delegation of supervision law” – sparked off by the BSE crisis.

So now you know.