Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Tiny Legwarmers All Done

I got the two pairs of legwarmers finished and sent them off with the headband.

The headband has gone down well.

I finished the last legwarmer quicker than I expected because my upstairs neighbour came down on Monday night with a dvd and a bottle of wine, and then I produced another dvd and perhaps another bottle of wine, and it all went on rather later than planned and I had finished an entire legwarmer. We watched Don Juan de Marco, which I imagine would be incredibly annoying if you took it too seriously but as a piece of fun went down well. It has Johnny Depp in it so it doesn't really matter. It was released the same year as Ed Wood, but isn't anything like as dazzling.

The Everest cowl is moving on. The lace pattern isn't making my heart beat very fast, but it might as I progress. I don't think I'm mad about knitting lace in the round: it's quite like Queen Anne's Lace, but it isn't as thrilling - I know QAL was knitted on circs, and was sort of in the round, but it wasn't a tube. I have mastered doing a purl stitch after a YO, something I always avoided in the past. One of the websites I consulted suggested leaving the yarn at the back and then inserting the needle into the purl stitch before bringing the yarn over, and that worked very well. The yarn is lovely anyway (Hedgehog Fibres pure cashmere lace).

I was rather taken with a couple of the other new Berroco books after being disappointed by the latest Norah Gaughan, so I got them from WEBS because I was too impatient to wait and see if anyone was going to stock them over here. The p&p was $5.40 which is about £3.42: Loop in London charged me £4 for delivery last time I got a Berroco book from them - I don't think Loop is overcharging, or at least not by much, but postage here has got very expensive.

The first is the Vintage Family book, a title which puzzled me until I realized that Vintage is the name of the yarn. I like the Australorp sweater a lot (it's a kind of chicken, to save you looking it up: all the pattern names are chickens, which at least means that they aren't duplicated on Ravelry).

And I like this Tuzo cardi while not being at all convinced that it would suit me. Or is it a shrug?

Maybe I just like it because it's turquoise: that's always a possibility.

The Sulmtaler sweater is given in adult and child sizes
and has these amazingly cool elbow patches.

Must. Have.

I also got the Origami book.
I really like the curvy hem on this, although I would have to lengthen the sleeves.

I've also ordered the new Knitscene because I liked so many things in that. Oooops. But I ordered that from Scottish Fibres so I'm not neglecting local suppliers altogether.

I've been wearing Kaari quite a lot: it's pilling but I'm assuming that's a temporary process while the fluffy stuff comes off and will stop soon. I'm ashamed to say that the pockets are still sewn on with white yarn, but I haven't worn it outside, just arouund the flat.

FilmFlex isn't the same as Netflix, Janet. It's a movies-on-demand service offered by my cable television provider; you order the film though the remote control and you have access to it for 24 hours and you can pause and fast-forward it and so on. I can remember years ago when such a service was being envisaged and it seemed quite extraordinary and magical, but unfortunately the films aren't usually very exciting. There's an awful lot of blockbusters and old, but not old enough, movies. It's a lot more expensive than renting a dvd too, but then on the other hand, you don't have to get off the couch. Not unless you've left the remote control at the other side of the room.

Janet also mentioned Grey Gardens. If you saw the original Grey Gardens documentary or the 2009 drama, you should enjoy this from the Mason-Dixon knitters.

If not, then you'll probably just be bewildered.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


As I was getting up from the sofa this evening, I saw what I thought was a loop of yarn that had fallen on the floor. Expecting to pick up a strand of pale pink cashmerino softness, I was disconcerted to find a wet clammy purl of spaghetti. Eeeuw, as they say.

Lots of vanilla knitting here. Dapper inches on.

Yes, those are my toes holding the bottom edge down. When I have learnt to take photographs with my feet, I shall hold edges down with my hands.

The stripy legwarmer has been returned and the second one begun. It was on pause for a couple of days because I had lost the darker blue required for the middle stripe, but that turned up this morning so it's on the move again.

The first pale pink ballet legwarmer is finished. I didn't buy enough yarn (or, I didn't think to weigh the first one and stop halfway through the ball, take your pick) so I'm waiting for the second one. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

I made a headband out of the leftovers from the first, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that every little girl who needs ballet legwarmers, needs a headband too.

I woke up at three the other morning and realized that I had better do some prioritizing, so I chose a pattern for the Everest cowl and cast on today in the daylight. I kept on coming back to Vent d'est, vent d'ouest on Ravelry, and I expect there are winds from both of those directions on Mount Everest, so I've gone with that. It's a pull-up cowl, more of a wimple, which is what I was looking for after advice from the Spinning Fishwife. The yarn is delicious and I would happily knit on it non-stop, but it's different shades of dark so I'll stick with daylight for the moment.

All this vanilla knitting has meant lots of staring at the idiot's lantern. I think I've seen every episode of The Big Bang Theory now, and lots more West Wing. Then on Sunday afternoon I watched Coco Before Chanel, which I was watching really just so that I could tick it off the list but which I found quite engrossing. It's beautifully photographed, and I think the French do historical films very well, partly because of their attention to detail and partly because they just get on with showing how things were, rather than preaching or disapproving. Little Tatou is in almost every scene and I never got tired of her: she gives a good impression of the realistic and determined person Coco must have been. For me, there could have been more in the way of fabrics and cutting and sewing, but I'm probably in a minority. I think I'll have to get the DVD (I watched it on FilmFlex) and watch the extras to get that, but I wouldn't mind watching it again anyway.

Then I saw The September Issue, so it was quite a fashion-filled forty eight hours. I enjoyed that more than I expected too. Grace Coddington was a treat, and it's good to see some grown-up women, complete with wrinkles, doing high-powered jobs. People always make out fashion is purely frivolous, but it's a serious business which requires creative ability too. I thought The Devil Wears Prada was a very dull film which needed more jokes: this is much better.

Grace Coddington with an enormous cat, from Vogue

And Ian Carmichael died at the weekend, which is jolly hard cheese for all of us.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

So Far, So Good

Jean and Spinning Fishwife were very helpful at lunch on Monday with ideas about the Everest cosy. I took my swatch and we passed it round and rubbed it on our faces: it was only later that I realized this might have looked a bit odd. I don't think the people at the next table left early. A wimple / cowl / smoke ring seems to be in order, which can be worn in a variety of ways, so I've been prowling Ravelry and am down to the final few. I think.

I've had ample opprotunity to test the warmth of my new Jet Kaari this week, as the central heating went phut on Monday morning. Jet is 70% wool and 30% alpaca, and I can testify that it holds up very well. I have been lurking in the room with the fire, but I was pretty comfortable. The only bit of me that was cold was the gaping neck and I was able to fill that with a cosy pashmina, so I was kept warm very satisfactorily by a trio of wool-bearing mammals.

The boiler guy came today and fitted a new pump. I have a horrible suspicion that the old one was full of mouse poop, but we won't think about that. I discovered at the end of last year that that was their favoured route into the kitchen, down the back of the boiler. However, the multi-front mouse deterrent seems to have worked well and there have been no signs for the last week or so. Consumption of bleach and disinfectant should fall dramatically.

I decided that it would be a good idea to send the one completed legwarmer to be tried on before I made the second one, and I got a call tonight to say that it fits perfectly. Cinderella's slipper didn't fit better. So that's good to know. I spoke to the small pink person and asked if her sister liked the Mary Jane hat. 'No, thanks,' she said.

I'm progressing satisfactorily with the Dapper waistcoat: the knitting isn't hugely exciting, but I can't stop looking at the colour. I've realized that it's the same shade as MttR's lovely Ali jacket. Wool Cotton gives a beautiful finish, makes you look like a very good knitter. It's too late to photograph it tonight, but there's not much to see anyway. I'm just about to start the decreases on the first front and have used one ball of yarn.

I don't know how much my readership overlaps with KMKat's, so here's another chance to see something that she posted recently in case you missed it. It's an ad for Pringle of Scotland, drawn by David Shrigley, showing life behind the scenes at Pringle.

Actually, it doesn't rain all the time. That's just on the west coast. The voiceover sounds so like a friend of mine, it makes me giggle every time I hear it. It's really Bridget McCann.

While I've been working on Dapper, I've been catching up on Series Two of The Big Bang Theory. Sometimes Sheldon is just so me.