Saturday, 23 October 2010

Knitting Inspectors

Knitting. And Cats.
Doesn't baby knitting always look better with a baby? This is Cora with her Pinwheel Blanket. Isn't she lovely?

She doesn't need a christening shawl after all, because she's going to wear her Daddy's, so it's just as well I didn't knit a vast surprise shawl.

Given the astonishing synchronicity between Mary Lou and myself in the matter of Knitting Inspectors, I thought I'd have a little google. (I use a capital letter when referring to the company, but a lower case when using it as a verb: I hope this passes the grammar inspectors.) It appears that the term is in use in two ways: one, as a perfectly sensible job in a textile factory, and as a whimsical way of describing one's cat. Or very occasionally, dog or rabbit. Dogs don't seem to be so good at it. It got me thinking about those ladies who used to teach us to knit and sew and what a sour bunch they were. I always assumed that they were soured by years of dealing with ghastly little girls, but thinking about it last night I reaized that we weren't that bad. I was a nice little girl, very anxious to please. One of my fellow pupils was told to unpick something and do it again; she waited a suitable length of time and took the original work back. 'See, that's much better, isn't it?' said the teacher. I was quite baffled by this: I think it was a turning point.

On the subject of cats, you have probably seen Spinning Fishwife's post about the IKEA cats ad. There has been a further development, in the form of a parody of the behind-the-scenes.

I couldn't stop watching it. It was posted very quickly so he must have practically made it up on the spot. Brilliant.

Thank you for the compliments on Billie. I've been wearing it and it's been receiving compliments in person too. I thought I was going to knit another Kid Classic cardi next, but when I went into John Lewis this week I was seduced by the Rowan Purelife Autumn book. I had looked at this online and not been grabbed, but when I saw the pix full size I melted. I'm very taken with Wild Saffron, a tunic with a sort of basketweave yoke, and there are a couple of nice shrugs. I keep meaning to knit a shrug.

Meanwhile, I've finished off the latest little Daisy Hats. These are for a new baby and her big sister: I've posted them to Australia. They are the cousins of the little girls who got these Daisy Hats: they're living in Saudi just now, I think. It's hard to keep up.

The larger one started off as a Daisy Hat but I used the Berry Baby Hat pattern for the top, just for a change. I think it worked well.

And this has mysteriously alighted (alit?) upon my needles. I don't quite know how that happened.

It's a Feather Duster in Kidsilk Night - can you see the tiny sparkles? The pattern's by Susan Lawrence, who designed my beloved Forest Canopy shawl. It took me nearly two full pattern repeats to realize that the pattern is the same on every pattern row, apart from a few stitches at each end to set up the next duster; I can be excused slightly on the grounds that there is only one pattern row in every four rows, the rest being stocking stitch. This makes the lace slightly harder to read while you're knitting, but it's what diffuses the pattern and gives it that lovely floaty floomfiness.

She says you don't need markers, bless her, but you can see I'm not taking any chances. I think I might do an extra repeat or two, but then we always think that at the beginning when the rows are short. There are some lovely examples on Ravelry: it's one of those patterns that looks good in all sorts of yarns.

The Flickering Screen
I watched a very beautiful film last night called 3-Iron, a South Korean film.

When it started, my friend said suspiciously, 'This isn't about golf, is it?' The original title means Empty Houses and I think it might have been better to stick with that, as anyone misled by the title would be fairly bewildered.

At the beginning I thought it was going to be rather light-hearted, and then it became much darker, and then it changed again. A young man lets himself into the homes of people who are away, and lives in them for a day or two.

He doesn't steal anything; in fact he sometimes carries out small repairs and in one place he adjusts the bathroom scales so that the occupants think they weigh less. Then, in a house full of photographs of a beautiful young woman (the young man is very beautiful too) he discovers that he isn't alone.

Long steretches of it have no dialogue, and I think one could watch it without subtitles and not miss very much at all as it is full of wonderful images.

I liked it a lot and will watch it again.

Also last night, I watched the first 45 minutes of The Event - from the sublime to the ridiculous. I had recorded the first two episodes but 45 minutes was much as I could stand. It's full of actors - I use the term loosely - who have obviously spent more money on having their teeth whitened than on acting lessons, and ideas that have been lifted from other series. Every now and again there would be a startling shot that would make me think I might stick with it, and then we'd be back to the teeth and the whining. Pity. I was looking forward to a nice gripping serial for the winter but this plainly isn't going to be it.

Last weekend I watched Heartburn, twice. It's a film I have a great weakness for - Meryl, Jack and a clever script. I don't really do all those Magnolias and Beaches sort of films - Biddy Movies I call them - but I do like Heartburn. I think it's the sharpest of Nora Ephron's romcoms; When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail get progressively slushier and less funny. I wonder if she changed or if the studios brought about the change. I've just noticed she has the same birthday as I do (and you, Raveller) although she's not as young as we are. Anyway, I like the snappy dialogue and the 'eighties clothes and the Carly Simon soundtrack, and everyone's in it, including Kevin Spacey whose first flm it was, and Meryl's little girl is played by - Meryl's little girl. I can't find a decent clip from it, so here instead is Cam from Modern Family telling us how he feels about Meryl.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


I finished Billie and I'm very happy with it. Phew. This is what I sat down with.

I like sewing, and there are no horrors associated with sewing with this yarn (sewing with Bamboo Tape scarred me a bit) so I was quite contented. I kept on going through and trying it on as I did each bit (going through to a room with a mirror, that is) in happy anticipation. I grafted the hood first and it didn't look right so I did a three-needle bind-off instead. I think I didn't do the grafting properly, and I like doing three-needle bind-offs, so that was fine.

I then had sleeve panic when I discovered that the sleeve caps were far too long. This isn't Kim Hargreaves' fault; it's mine because I used a slightly larger needle in order to size everything up a bit, and the sleeve caps is the only place where this mattered. So I ripped them back and with some pins and a bit of experimentation I adjusted them in situ. In the end, I did what I often used to do in my sewing days, and took a larger seam on the body (I have narrow shoulders) and sort of cobbled it. A knitting inspector looking at the inside would be horrified, but with any luck no knitting inspectors will ever see it.*

It's looking a little rumpled in the pix because I've been keeping it on the sofa beside me so that I can admire it, but it's carefully tidied away now. The three stitches of garter stitch on the fronts are curling inwards so that you can't see them, but I expect they will be revealed once it's been washed and dried flat. I changed the cuffs, which were ribbed, and used the cuffs from the same designer's Georgie instead. The sleeves came out a little long but they can roll up.

Every time I try it on, it gets a little bit longer, which is fine. The hood is huge, which is also fine, and there is lots of wrapover. I'm wondering about wearing a pin on it, although I'm nervous about putting pins near knitted things. It so often ends in tears.

What next?

I have been contemplating Christmas knitting. Scarves are so fashionable this year, especially those infinity scarf loopy things which are shorter and much quicker to knit than ordinary scarves.

Infinity Scarf by James Perse 100% Cashmere $250

Or perhaps a Citron. Or I could finish that Karius. Or some more Miss Marples. I was planning to do a few and had actually started one with some of the leftover Kid Classic from Billie, and then I started to have doubts. I went through my stash and nothing was the right colour and the right weight. Maybe I would just spend a lot of time producing things that weren't really the right colour or in some other way not what is wanted. Maybe they would rather have shower gel or a good book. I'm not sure if these thoughts are produced by a waft of depression or by a breath of clarity. I'm rather tempted to put my newly discovered ability to knit vast swathes of Kid Classic to my own advantage and make another cardi. Teal is nice, and I have the book.

I have a little time to think about it, because the new Australian baby has arrived and I have to make her and her big sister a pair of Daisy Hats. That's the fourth and fifth Daisy Hats this year alone. Phew again.

* You'll hardly credit this, but I wrote that before Mary Lou had her Knitting Inspector dream. We are a worried lot.