Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Knits in Wear

I've got some more interesting shots of recent FOs, being worn by the people for whom they were made.

This is Micah, wearing his new blanket while he has a nap in the supermarket queue.

Photo by Pops.
And this is Calum in his Felicity hat.

And in profile.
You can really see the colours here, and the halo from the possum (New Zealand possum, not American). It's Cherry Tree Hill merino and possum, which they don't do any more, in the shade River Run. The small pink person beside him wouldn't put on the hat and scarf that I made for her with Felted Tweed and Kidsilk Haze because, allegedly, it is scratchy. Hmmm.

I ran out of yarn on the edging for the Pinwheel blankie and started meanwhile on a shawl. It's the trial shawl for my goddaughter to decide if she wants a wedding shawl and before I could splurge on some silk yarn, I remembered that I had this Hand Maiden Sea Silk.

I think the colour is Ocean.
The pattern is, of course, the Forest Canopy, which I chose partly because well, because, but also because it doesn't use so much yarn as some shawl patterns and I only have one skein.

The music which alarmed some visitors to my previous post was coming from the Playlist in the sidebar above the jigsaws. I've changed the settings now so that it doesn't come on automatically: you have to click on Play.

I went to the optician today for a routine eye test and discovered that I don't need new glasses. I think this is the first time since I was about 10 years old that my sight has stayed the same for two years, hurrah. I haven't worn them out by knitting and watching films at the same time.

Broadcast News was on television the other night. I hadn't seen it since it came out and I still felt the same way about the characters, which surprised me because I usually find if I see a film twenty years later that as well as feeling different about the film, I often relate to the characters differently too. I still think the Albert Brooks character is too much of a dork although he has a lot of good lines (and now he makes me think of George Costanza too, which he couldn't in 1987), I still identify a bit with the Holly Hunter character while not sharing her presence of mind, and although my critical faculties tend to abandon me when I'm faced with a tall strawberry blond, I still think William Hurt plays the shallow-but-he-knows-it anchorman with depth and subtlety. I don't think the characters would be so honest with one another nowadays, but maybe that's just me. I'd forgotten that Jack Nicholson was in it, playing one of his demonic roles with the specially sharpened eyebrows and it was good to see him. It has a lot of good lines, very sharp script.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

New Patterns

The Woolworth's round the corner from me is closed now. It's the same branch that I used to shuffle round after school in my school uniform (why do teenage girls think it's cool to shuffle?), while my friend stole bars of chocolate. We used to look at the records, as CDs were called then, and the sweets. Guess what she does now? That's right, she's a lawyer.

I went out last week thinking I would probably buy Knitting Goes Large, along with the new Rowan mag, but I came home with the mag and Amber instead. Amber is a collection of Kim Hargreaves patterns. As always, she has some real stunners.

Lindsay, the wise and wonderful Rowan lady in John Lewis, was wearing Bella. Hers is in Vert, I think, and this looks like Blue Velvet. Really cool, and I have it on good authority that can be knitted in four nights.
There's a very nice cardi called Charm.
I was also seized with enthusiasm for Whisper, which is in my beloved Kid Classic. The largest size is just a little bit small for me, so I'm tempted to try a few more stitches or slightly bigger needles - what could possibly go wrong?

As for Rowan 45, I'm not usually mad about the Spring issues of knitting mags, because I don't really do pastels or short sleeves - I'm very allergic to ultraviolet light so I've always tended to cover up - but I'm rather taken with this one. I won't put up a lot of pix because you can find better ones elsewhere, but I like this top, Sandsend, in the amazing shrinking fading Rowan Denim yarn. I made one of these sweaters a long time ago, one from Great Big Knits, and I liked it very much - the yarn has fabulous drape - but I have strongly held beliefs which prevent me knitting something large with the intention of ending up with something small (this is what stops me felting) and I haven't made any more. But this tempts me.

Don't you love this photo? It's everything I like about Rowan styling, and it's why their patterns don't date like others do, because they aren't ineradicably linked in your mind's eye with this year's accessories. Do you think she's just wearing very high platform shoes, or is she actually standing on a stool? Either way, kudos to her for keeping a straight face.

I'm getting on with the border on the White Pinwheel.

At first I was picking up a stitch for each row of the border, but that looked a bit skimpy and I did't think it was going to lie flat, so I ripped it - eeek - and am now picking up a stitch on every second row. I may need to buy another ball of yarn, especially if I'm going to make a hat too.

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Carol O'Connell, Joan: I've started my first one. One of the reasons I have big hands is that most of the women in my father's family are six feet tall: one of my aunts calls me the The Wee One because I'm only five feet six. My growth must have been stunted at some point, most likely by staying up late. If you see a six-foot redhead in Belfast, she's probably a relation of mine, although I didn't get the red hair, alas.

Those of you who have been paying attention will know that one of my Top Five Films is The Right Stuff. You can understand my delight then, when I discovered that on top of Obama's outstanding political qualities, he's also a movie buff.

I came across this on John Naughton's blog; I wish someone was working on an upgrade of the UK software too.

Dear World:

We, the United States of America, a top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and a decision was taken in early November to completely replace the software responsible. The new software became fully functional on January 20, 2009. Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are again operating correctly. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward to resuming full service and hope to continue improvements in the years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding.



Monday, 19 January 2009

Huge Post

I've got lots to catch up on. I'll leave the knitting till last.

What have I been doing during the silence? Well one thing that took up an undue amount of time was playing with Tiltshift. Tiltshift is a program that changes a photograph of something so that it looks like a photograph of a model of the same thing. Why would you want to do that? I'm not sure, but once you start, it gets very addictive. Most of my photographs are of people or knitting, neither of which are very responsive to this, but here's an example that works better than most.

This is a photograph I took last year at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.

Here it is after Tiltshifting.
Go on, try one.

I also got a bit sidetracked by Ada Lovelace Day, and plan to do a post on 24 March. You can too. Ada Lovelace was Byron's legitimate, non-incestuous daughter which would almost be interesting enough in itself given what tragic souls his other daughters were, but she was also an oustanding scientist and is often described as the first computer programmer.

Still on the technical front, when I bought that big Hewlett Packard desktop last year, it came with a keyboard that I've never liked: the keys are wide and flat so that every time I hit the A KEY I TURN THE CAPS LOCK ON, and the space bar is so soggy that I have to keep goingbacktoputspacesbetweenthewords.

So I bought one of these and I love it to pieces (sorry for blurry pic, but I am unable to overcome the problems presented by photographing something illuminated in the dark).

I can now see to type in the dark, which at this time of year is during most of the day as well as at night. The mouse keeps changing colour too, woohoo. This is what it looks like in a (slightly) better photo.

I have made a couple of attempts to find The Knitter, the new British knitting mag, but without success. The place I tried had the latest issues of four other British knitting titles, but not that one. Somebody must reckon there's a lot of money to be made from selling advertising space about knitting.

While I was trying to find a copy of The Knitter, I actually laid hands on a copy of Knitting Goes Large, and although I think I'll get it eventually it didn't really make my heart beat faster.

It has different covers in the UK and the US.

The photos are odd: there is a little introduction saying that the models are size 16-18 (that's US sizes 14-16) which is barely Plus, but the garments seem to be too big for them. The patterns go up to a 48" bust. I wonder if the garments were knitted in real Plus sizes and then they chickened out about using models who fitted them? Or if they photographed them first on size 24 models and lost their nerve when they saw the photos? We have our eye so trained by magazine photography that they maybe thought nobody would buy the book if the models resembled the buyers. I'm really getting tired of the way they write these books, and the way they're reviewed, as if being a size 22 were an embarrassing topic, rivalled only by female incontinence or bad breath.

It's very difficult to find pix from this book online, as if everyone found them too boring to reproduce, or maybe they were embarrassed by photos of fat girls, but until I buy a copy and can take some snaps myself, you'll have to take my word for it that one of the photos, a whole-page shot of a jacket, shows the back of the collar sitting at a very bad angle; so bad that I immediately decided not to knit it. You have to wonder if there was a knitter present when the photography was done.

Having said all that, the patterns aren't all bad and the supporting text is good, and as I say I will probably buy it some time, but I think this was much better done by Big Girl Knits and its successor, and by Dawn French a long time ago: you can still get Big Knits and Great Big Knits for peanuts off eBay or Amazon marketplace, and I knitted sweaters from those when I was a size 12. And they look as if they're having fun in the photos, not apologizing for themselves.

So, to the knitting. This is the secret knitting I was doing before Christmas.
It's the Ruffle and Rib Fingerless Glove pattern, but I added a ruffle at the finger ends as well.

The recipient has much smaller hands than I do (I have huge stranglers' paws) so they will look daintier on her. The yarn is the Old Maiden Aunt sock that I bought when I went to the Japanese pattern class, and at some point I will make a frothy scarf with the leftovers.

I made two more Felicity hats in Mirasol Miski, one in a terracotta shade and another in navy, like the first one. These are for two of my younger relations and I hope they pass the cool test.

I also made one for myself, in the Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere that I bought to make a Drifting Pleats scarf. The colour is softer than the photo, the sweetest duck egg blue, which is my favouritest colour in the whole world.

I wore it when I went out last week looking for The Knitter, during the day. Anyone who knows me will realize how extraordinary this is because I only wear a hat when two conditions are fulfilled: 1) it has to be dark, and 2) everyone present has to sign a confidentiality agreement. I was perfectly happy in it and am looking forward to wearing it again, even amongst strangers.

I plan to knit a black Felicity for someone who won't countenance any other colour, and then another, possibly purple, but meanwhile I am ploughing round and round on another Pinwheel blanket, for the cousin of the baby who got the last one. Cousins do often go in pairs, don't they? I'm a week older than one of my cousins. I wonder if anyone has done research on that.

This Pinwheel is plain natural, in Drops Karisma Superwash. The exchange rate being what it is, this baby couldn't have Lorna's Laces, but this is nice and I found a British supplier, Scandinavian Knitting Design. I'm now on the fourth ball, of six. I'm going to do the sawtooth design which didn't work on the variegated yarn, which should look good in this. The baby has arrived and is a girl, so that should all be all right.

I must say after all these Felicities and Pinwheels, I am yearning to knit something in gossamer yarn with lots of YOs and counting. I might do a sample silk shawl for my god-daughter, who is going to be an October bride, just to give her some ideas and to give me a treat. A Forest Canopy in some hand-dyed 100% silk (she's allergic to everything else), perhaps - what a wonderful excuse to buy some yarn.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year

That sore throat hasn't quite gone yet, but the last couple of days I've been feeling a lot better. Christmas was a bit of a bummer - I actually stopped knitting for five days, that's how bad it was - but we won't dwell on that.

On the first day of the year I went up in this - no, I don't know why either, but it got the year off to an exciting start. If I don't do much else in 2009, at least I did this. If that link doesn't work, try this one.

I finished another Felicity hat, in terracotta Miski.

I did take a photograph of one of the Felicity hats I've made actually on a head but - insert long story here about camera batteries - you'll have to wait a little while to see it.

Meanwhile, a Happy and Healthy New Year to you all, and much knitting.