Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Pinwheeling Along

I've finished the first skein of Hawaii (of 3 in total). The radius is 10 inches, so that gives me an area so far of 314 square inches: I'm hoping this information will help me work out where to start the edging.

I've been thinking about a picot bind-off, Judith and I'm tempted by some sort of frill, but on the other hand, I don't want to end up with an insane number of stitches on the last row. But it's fun going through Ravelry looking at them all. Someone did one which is yellow in the middle, and then white, so it looks like a giant fried egg.

I realized tonight that these are the Suffragette colours, which would be fitting if the baby's a girl.

One of the nice things about the Pinwheel pattern, Cinders, is that you can make it any size at all, by varying the yarn and needles, and you can just stop when you like, so a cushion could be very quickly and easily done.

Another photograph arrived from Australia, showing Jessica going home from hospital in her Forest Canopy Shawl.

She suits it, doesn't she? She should have her pink hats by the end of the week.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Was David Crichton a War Hero?

The title of this post is the heading from an email I keep getting from Genes Reunited. A few years ago I added some of my late family members to the site, but then a couple of years later, I decided to take them off. I discovered that you can't delete entries from Genes (or at least I couldn't) but you can change the names. So I changed the names, and now I get emails about people I made up. The bitter twist of fate is that my grandfather was very far from being a war hero, so the question, had they got his name right, would have been pretty hilarious, at least for those of my living relations who know the story. He was a very brave and strongminded man, in his own way, but it was always in his own way rather than anyone else's.

Anyway. I started the Pinwheel again on 4mm needles but I haven't ripped the first one yet just in case I decide to go back to 5mm needles.
I'm quite a bit further on now from when I took this picture. At first I didn't need markers because it's so easy to se where you should do a YO, but now that the spaces between the YOs are getting longer, it's easy to forget while staring at the television screen.

I watched The Music Box, Judith, and thought it was very good. Thanks for the recommendation. One of the things I liked about it was that the heroine wasn't very sympathetic, or at least I didn't think so. Her repeated hostilities towards the prosecution lawyer seemed ill-advised. But she did the right thing in the end, showing that you don't always have to be likeable to be a good person.

Jessica Lange
doesn't seem to make many movies, but I dare say if I lived with Sam Shepard on a ranch in Montana, I wouldn't be very interested in going to Hollywood either.

I also watched Married Life. I don't know if this got a cinema release in the UK, and I don't think it got a UK release on DVD because I watched it on a Region 1 DVD, but it's well worth watching. I got my wires crossed and I thought it was going to be a fairly serious film, perhaps about the end of a marriage, an Ordinary People or a Squid and the Whale - although I was hoping it wouldn't be as painful as Squid, which left me squirming for days. In fact it's a Hitchcockian drama, done as an hommage to Hitch and Douglas Sirk. I liked it better than Far from Heaven, which I found anachronistic, self-important and dull.

It's about a man who wants to leave his wife for his girlfriend but thinks that might be too much for her to bear, so out of kindness he decides to kill her instead. They are Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson: Pierce Brosnan and Rachel McAdams are in it too. There is a delicious moment when you realize that nobody in it is telling the truth to anyone else, ever. After that, it's great fun. Chris Cooper is wonderful (but I probably didn't need to tell you that, because he always is) and everybody else is too. At first I thought Pierce Brosnan was being a bit stodgy but then I decided that was deliberate and it fits perfectly with the film.

Mentioning Patricia Clarkson reminds me, I saw Lars and the Real Girl recently and I liked that a lot too. If you tell somebody what it's about, they start to look at you oddly, so I won't, but what it's really about is acceptance, and letting people work things out at their own rate, an antidote to the culture of 'moving on'. A very moving film, which stayed with me as long as Squid, but much more happily.

Here's a new puzzle. Even I could do this one.

Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

More Baby Knitting Than I Had Anticipated

I've done a litle pink hat for the new baby. It's the Daisy hat from Itty Bitty Hats.
I think this is the fifth one of these I've made. The new baby's cousin has one: she's almost exactly one year older and she lived in the U.S. until recently. Now she lives in Dubai - very well travelled, my hats.

I also ran up this little number, in All Seasons Cotton. I keep wanting to knit warm hats, but for the moment this baby will need sun hats more than cosy ones. I'm very tempted to knit Miss Dashwood, maybe in Summer Tweed, but I think that for the brim not to flop, it would need to be knitted very tightly, and I don't fancy cotton yarn and small needles.

The friend that I knitted Mavis for was interested to hear about the handspun baby shawl because she has a new relation due in January, and we had a long talk at cross-purposes which ended with my saying, 'Oh you mean a baby blanket, not a baby shawl.' There was a short pause at the end of the line, and a sharp intake of breath. I can't really blame her.

The mother-to-be is apparently incapable of washing wool properly, so I proposed Lorna's Laces, as it's superwash. I also proposed the worsted weight, as I couldn't face knitting something this size in sock yarn, but it occurred to me later that it would be warmer in worsted, so I've stopped feeling guilty about that.
It took us a long time to choose the shade, especially since it wasn't to be too blue or too pink. The finalists were Child's Play, which is a sort of pastel rainbow; Daffodil, which is yes, yellow, but with lots of green and a bit of blue too; and Hawaii. Those of you who carry a Lorna's Laces shade card in your head will recognize this instantly as Hawaii. I've wanted to use this for something for ages because jade green and purple is one of my favourite combinations. It has a lot of white in too, which makes it very fresh and more babyish.

It's the Pinwheel Baby Blanket, of course. I started it last night on 5mm needles, and I can't decide whether to go down to a 4.5mm. I don't have a set of 4.5mm dpns, or I probably would have done it by now.

I bought the yarn on eBay, as I couldn't find a UK stockist who had this colour in this weight. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I cast on for the only Christmas present that I'm planning to knit this year. I'll show you when there's a bit more of it.

Nancym, I'm sorry I didn't answer you sooner about the Forest Canopy - I did 19 repeats this time. It's ended up being the same size as one that I did in heavier yarn and 15 repeats. An earlier one that I made in sock yarn was 15 repeats, and it was only just big enough - it's a scarf more than a shawl - but the nylon in the sock yarn probably means that it doesn't stretch so much in the blocking. Good luck!

Monday, 13 October 2008

This Just In

I've just received this photo. Her dad says she's just as beautiful as her mum.

New Baby

The Australian baby has arrived, a couple of weeks early. She's a girl, and she's called Jessica. The parcel I sent should arrive before she gets home from hospital, I think. I had told my aunt, the great-granny, about the hat and it turns out that she told the mum, so that's the surprise blown, not that it matters. Never tell a 90-year-old a secret is the moral of that, I suppose, even if she's a very sharp-witted 90-year-old.

I'm not sure how much wear she's going to get out of a football hat and scarf, so I ordered a ball of pink Handknit DK from Jannette for a daisy hat. That will arrive tomorrow, because Jannette has some sort of supernatural power over the Post Office and everything she sends arrives at once. I couldn't resist getting something else at the same time: she has this unreleased shade of Kidsilk Haze, called Daffodil.
Isn't it beautiful? I got two balls, and no, I don't know what I'm going to with it. You can get it here.

I knitted Jessica a washcloth yesterday, the one with baby feet on it, but it's white and I can't get a decent photo. I'll try again later if the sun comes out.

The crocussy yarn, Knitting Linguist and Cinders, is this. It was a Yarn Yard club yarn, but it's available now from time to time. The link I posted before stopped working when it sold out. I'm sure if you nagged her nicely, Natalie would conjure some up for you. She does hand-dyed fibre as well as yarn, so I think you owe it to yourself to keep a regular eye on the site.

Apparently this has been watched 83,697 times.

I think I must have been responsible for the 97.

In the last post, some pictures would embiggen and some wouldn't, although they were all uploaded the same way, but the mysterious technical issues I was having seem to have cleared up now. I'm composing this in Firefox and it all seems to be OK. Famous last words.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Forest the Fifth

I thought this would be a little bit bigger. Still, I'm happy with it and I'm still taking little peeks at the colours because I like them so much. 

You're right, Knitting Linguist, it's the colours of irises, the yellow ones and the purpley blue ones. 

I used the wires again and this time I remembered to use them for the points, but in the end I took them out of the points and did those by hand. I find it easier to stretch and re-stretch the individual points one at a time.

After blocking, it's 68 inches wide by 34.
I've cast this on. It's the Flutter Scarf by Mim Felton, who also designed Icarus. I've had my eye on it for a while: I particularly like the bell shape at the ends. It has a provisional cast on and then you knit out to each end. 
I cast on late last night and then spent an hour trying to knit an unfamiliar chart with fine black yarn in a bad light. Not very clever, but I seem to have got away with it. I'm not sure that this is the best time of year  to start knitting with fine black yarn. I really must do something about getting a better light by my seat.
It's Kidsilk Night of course, in Starry Night, the sootiest black. It's already 14 inches wide.

Joan, I've reserved My Life Without Me, and Judith, I've got The Music Box and I'm going to watch it tomorrow.

If you haven't had enough above, here's some more.

Click to Mix and Solve
I couldn't do it and just clicked on Auto Solve, but perhaps you have more patience than I do.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A Slight Hechnical Titch

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I'm having some problems with Blogger. I usually use Firefox as my browser, although I use Internet Explorer for some things, like my online grocery order, because they run more smoothly in that. However, Blogger won't let me post through either of these just now: I click and click but the cursor doesn't come up.

Google have recently launched a browser called Chrome which I installed in a spirit of Oooooh, Something New and Shiny, and it transpires that it does let me post in Blogger. However, it has arbitrarily changed the font and won't let me change it back, and although it shows the little hand on photos, you can click and click but they never get bigger, sigh.

I have a suspicion that the problem lies in Java, but I have no idea really. I'll ask some of my techy friends but I don't think any of them is an expert on browser comparison, sadly.

I expect most of you already read Mason-Dixon Knitting, but just in case you don't, here is a chance to see Kay and Ann in action. 

Love it.

I've finished the Forest Canopy Shawl (number five, Fishwife!) and I hope to block it tomorrow. I would block it tonight but then I'd have to sleep with it, and I might get damp.

POST SCRIPT: The font has changed back again. Oooooh.

Monday, 6 October 2008


Wow, that was a long silence. Sorry. I had quite a wobbly week, and then I had a worse than usual paroxysm of indecision over knitting, if you can imagine such a thing. It was about baby hats. 

But first of all, let's have a drumroll for the Icarus. 
I used wires to block the long edge and I'm very happy with the result. My shawls are usually quite wavy along the top, if not positively A-shaped and this one isn't at all. The top took three wires. 
Why didn't I use wires for the pointed edges? Well, I forgot. I think I got sidetracked by the pleasures of pinning out pointy bits, which are many. 

I love the way it feels after blocking; it's just a cloud.
 I think it was a mistake to use the variegated yarn for the pattern, but I don't really care: I know it's there. I would be quite happy to knit this again anyway. It wasn't as difficult as I expected, or as I think the final result looks, because each change of pattern sits quite neatly on top of the previous row.

The beads hardly show but I like them like that. This is unusual for me because I don't usually do understated - it has often been said of my earrings that you can see them from the other side of the room, but this time I'm happy with it. In the photos the twinkles in the edging rows of Kidsilk Night show up better than the beads, but the beads show more in reality.
I'm pretty sure that my next project will be in the Kidsilk Night, but as usual I take no responsibility for any decisions which may subsequently be revoked in these pages.

Here's some proper pictures of the baby shawl, unpinned. 

I must do something about my shawl-photographing skills.  

It will look a lot better when it has a baby in it: 
it's a pity you can't feel the yarn, but do click to embiggen and get a flavour of its creamy softness. Again, thanks to Heike for creating such deliciousness. It's half merino from Australia, and half bfl from Northumberland: the baby is an Australian / Northumbrian mix too. 

I posted it today, so we can still reasonably hope that it will arrive before Baby does.

And here's the Newcastle United FC hat and scarf. I just did the scarf in stocking stitch so it's curling like mad, in spite of intensive blocking, but it's not as if Baby is going to wear it for any longer than a photo shoot. I'm not mad about Baby Cashmerino to knit with, but it does make a beautiful fabric,the sort that makes you look like a better knitter.
Yes, Gretchen, a girl baby could wear the Newcastle hat, but I sort of feel that she should be able to make her own choice about that, or at least that her mother can make it meanwhile on her behalf. 

Jetlady726, here's a foto of the hat with the top undone.
 There's a pattern for an umbilical hat in Stitch'n'Bitch, but I made this one up asI went along: I started the decreases as usual and when it looked about right I stopped decreasing and carried on with the same number of stitches for another while; decreased and then continued again; decreased to 5 stitches and knitted i-cord for a while; cut off the yarn and threaded it back through the stitches, pulled it tight and drew it back down through the cord on a blunt needle. I think the only important thing is to make it a bit longer than you think it needs to be.

I then got totally paralysed about what other hat I was going to make to fill up the parcel. I don't have enough of the merino / bfl left for a hat, or I would have done that. In the end, everything seemd too boyish or too girlish, although they probably weren't. I have now settled on sending the parcel off as is, and knitting a further hat or hats when I know whether baby is a Bruce or a Sheila. If I had had some pink Rowan Handknit DK cotton, I would have made a Daisy Hat regardless, but I don't so I haven't. 

Meanwhile of course, I had to keep my hands busy. I was expecting to pick up the Kidsilk Haze, but instead I got sidetracked into another Forest Canopy Shawl. There was a complicated reason for doing this, but it relates to a blog post that has been taken down, so I will save you the long story. The yarn is a sock yarn from The Yarn Yard: I think it might be this one.  I made a scarf from this for a friend, but I still had most of two skeins and some of a matching yarn intended for heel-and-toes. 

The colours are those of a spring window box full of pansies, or a lawn covered with crocuses. The final rows will be the colour of lobelia flowers. The second skein is a bit lighter than the first, but it doesn't matter. As it happens, somebody on Ravelry has done exactly the same shawl, except that she used 5mm needles and I've used 4mm. I've done 19 repeats and I'm on the border. I love this yarn and we know I love this pattern, so I've been a very happy piglet. I've already bought a chambray shirt to go with it and I can't wait to see it blocked. I hope it's huge. 

I resurrected the little pink bolero by unpicking the sleeve / body seam and will have another go at sewing it together before she outgrows it. 

I was going to do a jokey piece about how the osprey chicks set off from the north in the middle of August, but instead of nobly setting off for Africa, they hung about in the south of England for weeks, stuffing themselves with fish on a river in Kent. They did finally head away from the British Isles last week, only for Deshar, the male, to head off too far west where there was no land from him to rest on, and disappear  for ever somewhere over the North Atlantic, after flying for 104 hours non-stop. Poor thing. His sister has been more fortunate and is now in Morocco, southeast of Fez. Wherever that is. 

Another totally brilliant LOLCAT. 


I watched In Bruges some time during all of this; I thought it was very good. It's one of those films that if you're expecting a comedy, it's surprisingly sad, but if you're expecting a drama, it's surprisingly funny. A bit like life really.