Friday, 1 August 2008

No MoreTwist

My back is improving nicely (thank you for the good wishes) and I have knitting progress to report. First, something rather alarming. An emergency, you might say.Do you see that? I've done 16 repeats and I'm casting off... and I've run out of yarn. I could rip the cast-off and a couple of rows of the edging, but I would really rather not. I reckon I need 2 yards, maybe 3 to be on the safe side. It's Rowan Kidsilk Haze, shade 581 aka Meadow. I don't care about the dyelot. I am even toying with the idea of ripping the bind-off and doing the last two rows in a slightly different shade: I have some 601 and a blind man running for a bus would never notice the difference. Eeeek. But it would be nicest just to do it neatly in the right colour - do any of you have a secret KSH leftovers stash?

In spite of this dreadful experience, I am preparing to do my next piece of lace. It's the Adamas Shawl and this is Fyberspates' Scrumptious Lace which I bought shen she visited K1 Yarns. It's 55% merino and 45% silk and there are 1,000 yards of it so I shouldn't run out this time. I had great difficulty stopping myself from casting this on on Sunday night, when I really should have been knitting Chrissy, but I was saved by the fact that my printer had run out of black ink so I couldn't run off the pattern. The ink arrived in the post this morning so I can spend today staring blankly at the charts.

Speaking of K1 Yarns, they're having a visit from Old Maiden Aunt in a couple of weeks, on 16 August. I will so be there. After all, I need more wool, don't I?

This is Chrissy as she currently stands, or hangs. I took the opportunity to try it on, just in case I hated the neck, and I'm quite pleased with it. It is the sort of size and shape that I had intended and it fits me (it doesn't make me look as cute as the girl in the picture, butI was prepared for that). It has, as you can see, a different-dyelot stripe around it. I don't mind this too much as it's a casual sweater for floppy occasions, but what is a bit odd is that the stripe appears to be very slightly heavier yarn and the tension is better on the stripe than it is on the rest. Oh well, as I say I'm not planning to wear it on tv so it doesn't matter. I really like the colour on me: I can't wear beige without looking as I've recently been dug up, but this is definitely cream. I think I might get the sleeves out of what's left of the main dyelot: if not, I can do another stripe on the second arm.

I finally watched Blood Diamond, which had been sitting in my DVD pile for far too long because I kept feeling too squeamish to watch it. When I was young I made myself watch and read all sorts of things because I felt I ought to, but as I've got older and more awful things have happened to me and my loved ones I've felt less inclined to put myself through virtual pain, and I knew this was going to have some difficult scenes so I'd been putting it off. It does have difficult scenes, but of course it has other things too and at least the violence serves a purpose in that it reates to real events and isn't there just because someone thinks it's time for another explosion. Leo DiCaprio did a brilliant job, not only with the Rhodesian accent but also in looking like the person he was meant to be, a sun-dried white from Southern Africa. I know the make-up does a lot of the work, but it doesn't do it all - he even smoked convincingly, how many young actors can do that? Djimon Hounsou was excellent too, and David Harewood, who's a black British actor that we see on television a lot. I think he's played a lot of policemen, but he has a very wide range: he was certainly convincing as a psychopath here.

I watched it again with the director's commentary (once I get started, I'm quite tough really) and enjoyed that too. Commentaries can be very variable, but Edward Zwick had a lot to say.

Now, The Poisoner, Judith. This is a French television series, three hours long altogether, about a woman, Marie Besnard, who was tried after the War (World War II) for the murder of a number of members of her family - a true story. She was tried three times, for a different number of murders each time, between 1952 and 1961. I'm not going to tell you any more about the plot in case you want to watch it. No Spoilers Here. But I do want to write about the production.

I'm the worst person in the world to watch any sort of historical film with. I get very grumbly about the make-up being wrong, the hair wrong, all sorts of things being wrong. Sometimes I try not to, but I still end up doing it. I don't mind if it's something made-up but if it claims to be history, then it should be right - what's the point otherwise? McKnitus had a post about this recently. And I mind a bit when it's classic literature; I mean, Jane Eyre wouldn't wear heavy make-up, would she? That's part of the point. And Fanny Price wouldn't wear her hair down and wouldn't have huge fixed teeth and big black painted-on eyebrows, and wouldn't run about all the time (have they read the book?). I like Billie Piper, she's a good actress, but that was bad casting and worse direction. The fixed teeth and collagen-packed lips are a recurring problem in films, and on television too. I'm not saying that people should look entirely accurate, complete with missing teeth and hair that was washed once a fortnight, but there must be a place in between, where the actors aren't 18th-century from the neck down and 21st-century from the chin up. And the sets and lighting should make an effort too: there's no point in having halogen-bright lighting in a grubby Dickensian kitchen. So, as you can tell, I can go on like this for hours. But The Poisoner was a revelation: the people really looked like people from the '40s and '50s and 60s; the women looked awful, it has to be said, and everybody looked unhealthy by our standards. It was photographed in that sort of colour where the blacks look like navy blue and nothing looks clean so it gets round the fact that it's set in a period we're used to seeing in black and white. And the people - I thought they must have tracked down a village full of real people who were still living on a post-War diet, but I checked and they're all actors with long careers. It was the make-up and lighting. I think that all the actresses should have got some sort of extra payment as compensation for looking so awful - maybe they did. There is a young woman in it and she was allowed to look a bit fresher and lovelier but she didn't look completely out of place.

The film cleverly doesn't offer a final view on Marie Besnard's guilt but lets you come to your own conclusion. Extraordinarily, all of this took place in Loudun, where the devils were supposedly found three-and-a-half centuries earlier, and the atmosphere of small-town gossip seems to have survived and is captured brilliantly.

I'm not sure how available it is. It isn't on U.S. or U.K. Amazon: it's on French Amazon in a Region 2 version. (The extras include 'Le Making Of'.) My dvd player will play any region dvd, but yours might not. Amazon, as usual, doesn't mention whether it has subtitles (I love you, Amazon, but why don't you show whether dvds have subtitles?) but this must be the one that BBC4 showed, which did, so it must. I think. It would probably be worth keeping an eye on eBay, but there isn't one on sale, anywhere, at present. I wish I hadn't erased my recordings and I hope it's shown again.

I was well enough to get to the Post Office yesterday so I posted the Swallowtail Shawl to Nellie, who is in Canada and probably won't need a warm scarf for a few months yet. Last night at midnight, our humidity was 93.8% and it's back up to 87% tonight, after dropping during the day, but at least it's not so hot now. I'm not good at hot.

And to end on a cheerful note, here's another knitter's LOLCAT.



Cazzab said...

I'm glad your back's better. Immobility can be really miserable.

The Adamas shawl was one of the very first things I ever knitted. It was a bit out of my league at the time, but the pattern was so well written I was able to produce something that resembled a shawl. Consequently, my version is rather ropey, but I still love it and I'm looking forward wearing it strategically draped to hide the snags.

Judith said...

I confess to a KSH stash but sorry it has no meadow in it.
Thanks for the review about the Poisoner I had already found it on Amazon Fr and am debating if it is worth it but you have grabbed ny attention and I kick myself for missing it. The other interesting TV I have watched lately is the repeats of Secret Army and Kessler on the History Channel as intriging for their insights into WW2 as the reflections of life in the 70's.

Vivienne said...

One of the reasons why I much prefer watching films on DVD to going to the cinema is that nobody threatens to throw me out for talking, and I can use the pause button while I go and consult my costume library.

I have a little peeve with the current Rowan magazine at the moment - not with the quality of the designs, but the description of the 'Nostalgia' section as evoking 1940s glamour. With batwing sleeves. Because you'd really spend all those extra coupons on rationed knitting wool to produce a totally impractical garment, that looked 10 years out of date, because batwing sleeves were fashionable in the 1930s. And besides, the 1940s were possibly the least glamorous decade of the twentieth century, all patching and mending and contriving. One of the diarists in Simon Garfield's 'Our Hidden Lives' (the immediately post-war one of the trilogy) expresses it very well when she describes putting her toe through the thin patch on the sheet at night, and reflecting "I am so sick of making do".

I must look out for 'The Poisoner'.

beverlyanne said...

EEK! Running out of yarn during the cast-off is horrifying. If it were me I'd probably just do the best I could with as close a yarn as possible. But that's why I'm probably not as good a knitter as you.

Anonymous said...

So with you on the non-period look of too many films set in the past. Though it must be hard to cast the young women, in particular; most of the starlets considered attractive today verge on the anorectic and would be considered homely in any period before 1990. Their body language is usually wrong, too. I've found costumes and sets to be much more accurate in recent productions than in historical films made in the '30s and '40s, however. Grateful for slight improvements.
/s/ Gretchen

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, no! I hope someone comes up with enough yarn for you to finish that cast-off. I had the exact same thing happen with KidSilk Haze when I knit Icarus -- thank goodness the yarn store had a ball of the same dye lot left...

grannypurple said...

I have most of a ball of meadow KSH, & would be happy to send same. Unfortunately, no ball band with dyelot, (or if I have, it's in a basket with all the other ball bands & I'm lazy...) Let me know if you want it, & where to send.