Thursday, 30 July 2009

Clanking and Cursing

I was at the doctor on Monday - nothing exciting, just a repeat prescription - and the place was deserted. They'd taken away all the magazines and leaflets and children's toys as a swine flu prevention measure, and they're trying to encourage people to stay away. I always thought the receptionists did a pretty good job of encouraging patients to stay away anyway, but now it's official. They want me to renew by post for the next few months but they also want me to go in for a swine flu jab and a regular flu jab, presumably at different times, so I shall have to remember to take in a book, or some knitting.

I spoke to my aunt in the evening and she was at her doctor's that day too, in Bristol, and there everything was as usual, people sneezing over magazines and children licking the toys, so that's interesting.

There is a major repair job starting on one of the chimneys in the building where I live, and they started building the scaffolding for it yesterday. It's the chimney behind my bedroom wall and in my flat the fireplace is long gone. I was trying to have a rest, with all this clanging and banging and drilling going on about four feet from my head, and I actually managed to get to sleep at one point, to be wakened by someone outside the window saying the same two words, three times and with differing emphasis, two words which I couldn't possibly repeat in a family blog. He must have read about this piece of research, which established that swearing increases pain tolerance, although it also contains the warning that, 'If they want to use this pain-lessening effect to their advantage they need to do less casual swearing.' It didn't cover the effects of swearing while knitting lace, which I always find quite effective.

I've been a bit feeble and sore throaty today - but not hot enough for swine flu - so I've been resting again and there was a bit more this afternoon, although it was less colourful, just the one word said once, very precisely. I expect there'll be a quite a lot more of it over the coming weeks: it's a bit like having your very own radio play going on outside the window.

Anhinga has just been more of the same, and the second sleeve looks much like first, so here's a nice little video for you to watch instead. Guaranteed no swearing.

Thanks, Lindsay.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Anhinga Flaps Forwards

I've finished the back of Anhinga, and most of an arm. It is lovely yarn to work with, and I don't notice that it's a tape. I've knitted with ribbon before and had to keep an eye on it (come to think of it, where is that unfinished jacket...?) but this just races through the fingers. I'm following the pattern, not making any alterations or allowances for the change of yarn: my calculations never result in a concrete enough difference for me to want to take any chances. And although the construction is so novel, it's also simple enough that if I have to undo anything and re-knit it, there won't be too much gnashing of teeth.

Smashing Puffin has been very patient and helpful with my eternal questions about tension (knitting tension, aka gauge, not the other sort). She says the rolled edges almost disappear after washing.

An anhinga is a bit like a cormorant apparently, Gretchen, but it isn't one: it's a Darter. Their feathers aren't oiled so they sometimes have to dry them in the sun, hence their elegant posture. Here is another extraordinary photograph. Do click.

Photo by Matt Edmonds. Anhinga drying its feathers at Sawgrass Park in St. Petersburg, FL, 2007

I went to get my hair cut on Friday and that entailed a little railway journey so I got some rows done on Karius on the train but it's still not really worth photographing.

This is where I go to get my hair cut. It was lashing down with rain on the day.

My finger has healed up so I think I'll do some more silk lace soon - don't know though, Anhinga is very seductive. It might depend on what I'm watching. There was a heavenly Cosi fan tutte on t' telly on Saturday and I hardly took my eyes from the screen. It's the Glyndebourne production by Nicholas Hytner, filmed in 2006. His name is Topi Lehtipuu.

is my favourite opera, except when I'm watching Don Giovanni.

As I've mentioned before, I'm going to a wedding in October. I've already been to two weddings this year, but this one is a bit special - no, it's not mine. It's three months away, which is a dangerous amount of time because you think you have ages, but it can slip away, espcially if you change your mind about what you're going to make / wear. I could end up with three tops and no bottoms, and I can't go to a wedding without a bottom. I need to sit down and establish what my options are, what patterns I have in my head, what yarns I have at my disposal, and seriously, what shoes I'm going to wear. I won't be wearing a hat, so that's something.

I have disabused myself of the idea that I might make myself a stainless steel jacket out of Habu yarn, but I am still torn between Habu Shosenshi paper, House of Hemp Illusions and a floaty piece in Kidsilk Haze.

Or maybe a nice shawl.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Anhinga Takes Off

I've been going round and round and round on the off-blog project. It progresses by about a millimetre for each row (more after blocking, but not much) and at the moment a row is about 700 stitches. I opted to do the version which is 10 rows longer and have been very busy avoiding doing the sum 10 x 700 in my head.

Last night, just after I'd finished a row, I noticed that I had a small, deep, fresh cut on my left index finger. It's about a quarter of an inch long and was obviously done with something very sharp, but I have no idea what. I hadn't even been in the kitchen, and there was no drink taken. It's in exactly the same place as the bad cut I once gave myself with a bread knife, but I use a different sort of bread knife nowadays. A mystery. Anyway, until it's healed, I won't be working with very fine silk yarn which could a) open it up and b) cause me to bleed all over my knitting, so the inevitable has happened. I have cast on for Anhinga.

The preparations have been feverish. I have been following Smashing Puffin's progress avidly, and she has been very helpful, not to say patient, with my badgering questions about Rowan Bamboo Tape.

There has been a lot of this.

I'm not a very good swatcher. I try, but the results tend to be inconclusive. I also spent a lot of time dreaming about it on Friday night, but that didn't yield any practical help - I dreamt about a lot of things on Friday night so don't feel too sorry for me being reduced to dreaming about knitting.

I also looked up what an Anhinga is. I hadn't noticed that the other patterns in the booklet are all birds so I was bit surprised to learn that it is one of these.
Photo by Tom Davis
I can see why though.

All of this asking and swatching and googling hasn't actually made any difference to what I've cast on, except that I'm not making it a size bigger, which I might otherwise have done.

This is the back, and the colour is Gale, 713.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Back to Knitting

I reached the half way point with Karius and have started to decrease - I'm just using the Baktus pattern, See, but in stocking stitch. Oh and I did the increases by knitting front and back, not a YO. I'm looking for beads for the points and must have a look at what I've already got first. It's not really worth photographing just now.

I did get beads for the hemp top but I haven't started swatching that yet.

I didn't allow myself to knit anything else at all until I got to the half-way point with the Baktus, because I suspected that if I put it down, its eternal growingness might put me off picking it up again, but now that I'm on the downward side I know it'll get finished and I allowed myself to go back to the off-blog project. Here's a tiny peek.

I've been following Anhinga avidly on Ravelry. This led me to Smashing Puffin's blog, which further reminded me that Kemp's are selling Rowan Bamboo Tape at a fairly silly price too (as well as Jet, I mean). You can guess the rest. I'm going to wait and see how Ravellers get on with the front panel of Anhinga before I cast on - well, that's the plan, but I dare say I might just cast on a little sleeve...

I tried to watch the BBC2 docu about the French Revolution but I ended up skipping great chunks of it because it made me so cross. Those stupid reconstructions are so distracting, everyone with perfect teeth and either languid Oxbridge tones or Cockney accents. And the way they kept running some unidentified old silent movie about the Revolution in the background as if it were archive film - I don't actually know that it was silent but it looked old enough to be, certainly old enough to be lacking in academic rigour. The lucid moments provided by Simon Schama and others were scattered very thinly, like silver sixpences in a very large and stodgy Christmas pudding.

Rather less intellectually impressively , I watched Armageddon again on Saturday night. I do like that movie: lots of hommages to The Right Stuff, a script stuffed full of good one-liners, and actors who can deliver them. There's some surprising casting, like Billy Bob Thornton as a NASA suit, but it all works so well.

The exhibition for Rowan's 30th anniversary last year stopped off in Fife but I din't get to see it: however, I have belatedly discovered that Twist Fibre Craft, who hosted it, put up a slide show. It's well worth a linger.

Lots of favourites there.

New Rowan Mag
There's a new Rowan mag out, number 46. You can see pics on Jannette's site. Lovely Rowany stuff, lots of cables and gloomy girls.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Not Knitting

I posted a clip recently of Nick Lowe singing I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll, because I'm going to see him this week. Actually, I didn't set out to see him, he just happens to be playing with Ry Cooder, who is my guitar god.

This is him in 1982 (not 1981). Bobby King on backing vocals in the red shirt. A wonderfully hammy pop song, just what the chap in Noel Coward's Private Lives meant when he talked about the potency of cheap music. I saw him on that tour, and all the other times he played in London.

I wish the BBC would release more of the Old Grey Whistle Test stuff.

Ry and Nick have played together before, on John Hiatt's Bring the Family and in a band called Little Village.

I saw John Hiatt perform with Ry once. (Yes, I've reached the stage where I can remember the line-up of bands I saw 20 years ago, but not what I had for lunch yesterday.)

Will I be taking my knitting? I don't think so.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Knitting on Television

I was watching an old Law and Order the other night (now there's a novelty) and the baddie's wife was explaining something to Jack McCoy - the baddie was played by Michael McKean and I kept expecting him to break into some piece of stupidity (Spinal Tap) or outrageous ad libbing (Best in Show) but he was disappointingly normal. Good, but normal. And his wife was playing his wife.

Anyway, his wife was explaining when she knew something was wrong and she said it was on such and such a night... 'I was knitting. I do that when I'm bored.' Sharp intake of breath on my sofa.

She then thoroughy incriminated him (because she was the real baddie, having conned him into doing it) and at the end she said, '... and in all that time, I never dropped a stitch.'

I think Jack McCoy should have suspected her immediately. I mean, who knits when they're bored?

Monday, 6 July 2009


I was going to post this earlier, but the Internet went away. It was away for about five hours. I wanted to bid for something on eBay, but I couldn't. Very tiresome. My neighbours' Internets had gone away too. I tried to get eBay on my mobile, but it was so long since I last did that, that I and it had both forgotten how to do it.

Anyway, yes, Natalie and Fiona were right: it is a stocking stitch Baktus, known as a Karius. The edges are meant to roll and some people put decorations on the points, such as beads. I am going to do that with this one. I am in that state where I want to knit everyone a Baktus or a Karius for Christmas, with ribs and stripes and all the possible variations, but I expect that will pass.

The clue was the set of scales I finally bought, because you have to keep checking the weight of the remaining yarn until you're half way through and then you start decreasing.

Reversible Knitting again

I mentioned Reversible Knitting recently: a helpful commenter on Jean's blog pointed out that if you go to Melanie Falick's blog and scroll down, you will find a link in the sidebar to the book.

When you click on it, it pops open a slide-show of some spreads from the book. Jaw-dropping.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Can you see what it is yet?

This is one of the Fyberspates yarns I got at Woolfest. I was going to make a Baktus, but I got diverted. The garter stitch didn't really do the yarn any favours and the delicious little slivers of pink and green kept disappearing. It's on a 3.5mm needle. You can see that I haven't mastered the flash on my new camera yet.

No, it's not a thong.

And it's not a piece of bunting.

Here's a clue.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Summer Sales

You know that Norah Gaughan pattern collection I just bought?

The one with Anhinga in it?

Well, from Saturday Loop is having a sale and it will be 20% off.

Goes off to kick furniture.