Friday, March 30, 2012

FO Friday: Longest Scarf EVER Edition

Just in time for incredibly hot weather (to wit: the fact that I was wearing a tank top when I photographed it), I give you: The Longest Scarf I've Ever Made.

Seriously, it's huge.

Pattern: Douma's Multi-Directional Scarf
Yarn: Fortissima Graffiti Colori
Needle: US #6
Finished Size: 8" x 9'4". 

I really love how it turned out. I blccked it pretty strongly, making the fabric thinner so that I can wrap it multiple times without getting too hot. I love the way it turned out, and am kind of bummed I won't get to wear it for months. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WiP Wednesday: A Clockwork Scarf

New scarf time! Pattern is Clockwork by Stephen West, and I have just finished Section 1. 

Yarn is malabrigo sock. The dark purple is eggplant, the lighter pinkish multi is archangel.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Kind of Ugly Hat

A new slouchy hat for me!

Pattern: None; I don't use patterns when I make hats. 
Yarn: Mystery Yarn from a random Raveler.
Needle: US #8
Finished Size: Slouched and fitted, all at once!

It's so hard to photograph hats when they're on your head. I need to start recruiting the more photography-oriented individuals in my life to take pictures of my knitting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This was part of last year's Feminist Classics Challenge. I didn't get a chance to read it because I was totally overwhelmed by graduate school that month. I finally got around to finishing it a couple of weeks ago, and wound up being pretty underwhelmed by it. A lot of that was probably hype; The Beauty Myth is one of those Big Feminist Books That Everybody Reads and Thinks Is Really Important, and the only author in that category who has ever lived up to the hype, in my opinion, is Susan Faludi. I've also had my view of Naomi Wolf pretty well poisoned by Fire With Fire, which is unbelievably victim-blame-y (so much so that I could only make it through a few chapters before tossing it aside in disgust), and her conduct during the Julian Assange rape fracas of a few years ago.

Reading The Beauty Myth confirmed what I've come to think of her: an embodiment of everything that annoys me about white, affluent, "empowered" American feminists. Incapable of seeing past her own good fortune, Wolf's analysis of the role that the beauty industry plays in the lives of women is shallow and completely lacking in nuance. Much of the book is songs in the key of "Duh!"-- totally obvious. Like, eating disorders are a form of social control? Really? Women lose a lot of time and productivity to looking good? No way! There's a double standard between the ways aging men and aging women are perceived? Say it ain't so! The cosmetics and plastic surgery industry exploit women's collective low self-esteem for profit? Whoa! That had never occurred to me before.

Admittedly, The Beauty Myth was first published in 1991, but I have a hard time believing that this issue hadn't been addressed in previous feminist works by other authors. Perhaps in a less comprehensive form? I don't know. Either way, it's relative strengths as a cohesive narrative of the way that beauty culture screws women over is totally undermined by the fact that it's really quite racist. In all of her talk of makeup and cosmetic surgeries and eating disorders, Wolf discusses racial issues once. In a single paragraph. No analysis of whiteness as the overarching standard of beauty, no discussion of the psychological damage that ideal inflicts on women of color, and no referencing the further extremes that they must go to in order to appear White-beautiful. That's a huge weakness, in my mind, as is the fact that she doesn't discuss the realities facing poor women of all races who are often stuck in the service industry, which is incredibly biased against women who are less attractive and/or are aging visibly.

The fact that the issues of race and class are totally off Wolf's radar is something I take a pretty strong issue with. Not only is it really myopic, it undermines the credibility of The Beauty Myth as a feminist work. I'd say it's worth reading for the theory behind it and its and the fact that I mostly agree with her overarching thesis, but it's so dated (how ironic that a book about beauty culture didn't age well!) that I don't think it's really worth it. 2 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 16, 2012

FO Friday: Matchy-Matchy Gloves

As expected, I finished the mitts before I finished the scarf. Hopefully, the scarf will be done soon. 

Pattern: My Fingerless Gloves Formula, which I adapted from Pam Allen's Progressive Gloves pattern. 
Yarn: Fortissima Graffiti Colori
Needle: US #2 & 3
Finished Size: Fitted! 

I like how you can see my dad's truck in the background. Pro!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WiP Wednesday: A Sort of Ugly Hat

Getting a somewhat late start on my March hat (I knew this challenge was too ambitious!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I don't buy a lot of books these days. Grad school ate my life and my wallet, after all, and I've therefore been getting the vast majority of my reading materials from the library. Unfortunately, it takes the library a while to get new releases, especially in the kids section, and I didn't want to wait to read Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver's sequel to Delirium, which I really enjoyed and reviewed here.

As is my custom, I'll be putting my review of Pandemonium behind a jump so as to not spoil the ending of Delirium for those of you who haven't read it yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: Hana by Lauren Oliver

I pre-ordered copies of Hana and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver back in January. They were finally ready to download a couple of days ago. I have since finished Hana and am about halfway through Pandemonium. You all know how I get about these dystopian YA novels.

Hana is essentially Delirium from Lena's best friend Hana's perspective; the reader gets to see what was going on with Hana during that tumultuous summer. I can't go into the plot without revealing too much about the end of Delirium, but I can say that it provided an eye-opening look into the world of Delirium and provided the reader with some much-needed context of why things happened the way they did.

You don't have to read it to get the other books, but at only sixty-four pages, it's not a big commitment and is fairly enjoyable (though I found the ending a bit jarring and abrupt). 4 out of 5 stars.