Thursday, 30 September 2010

Nobody Talks Like That

I couldn't let today go by without noting that Tony Curtis has died. Here, inevitably, is a scene from Some Like It Hot.

And here, I hope somewhat less inevitably, he is offscreen talking about Cary Grant onscreen.

I can remember my brother spending hours in front of the mirror before he went out, trying to get his hair like this. I don't suppose it was really hours but it seemed like that to me. All I had to do then was tie bows on my pigtails.

Tony Curtis
1925 - 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

Mostly Not Knitting

I think another reason I didn't post for a while there was because I lost contact with part of my bloggiverse. I use Sage as my RSS feed and blog reader and the last time Firefox had a big upgrade, Sage didn't upgrade. I struggled with Bloglines for a while as a temporary measure, but then it died. So I switched to Google Reader, but I had lost some more blogs on the way and it never behaved quite as I wanted it to and I always ended up with more tabs open than seemed necessary or desirable, and I couldn't keep track of who I'd read and who I still had to catch up with. It meant that I had to keep signing in, because I have more than one Google identity, which is a bore. Also, Google Reader would really prefer you to read blogs through their viewer, but I prefer to read them in the blogger's own page, so that I get more of the feel, and in case they've added some new photos or patterns or whatever in the sidebar.

So I had the feeling that some of my friends were out there chatting and I couldn't hear them or keep up with the jokes. It was a bit like being suddenly deaf, I suppose. But at the end of last week, Sage sprang into life again and I installed the upgrade. I've spent an inordinate amount of time getting everything back again as I want it but now, the sound's back on, and the lights are on, and the heating, and I'm up-to-date with everyone again. It's good to be back.

I haven't linked to the Big Picture much lately because so many of the collections have illustrated disasters and tragedies, and I thought you could probably find enough sad things on the Internet without any help from me. But this week they have Fall Is in the Air as the theme, which is a lot more bearable.

Two cows traditionally decorated for the 'Desalpe' when the cows are led back to the plain for the autumn after summering on mountain pastures, in Charmey, Switzerland on 25 September 2010 (Reuters / Valentin Chauraud)

There's also a jolly series on Oktoberfest.

If you're really into historical photography and you have some time to spare, there's a set from the Denver Post Plog of America in Color, 1939 -1943 which I keep going back to. I just can't get over the level of detail in these, both visual and historical.

Woman working on a Vengeance dive bomber, Tennessee, November 1943 Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Weather Pixie
Thanks for the comment, Amy, and for your concern. I'm not sure what's happened to the Weather Pixie. She says she'll be back soon, but she's been gone for a while. I think she was on Twitter but she's disappeared from there.

There's a little description of what she does and how she does it here. The brains behind it, Tamsin Bowles, appears to be alive and well according to Google, so maybe it just got to be too much trouble.

I've left the link in my sidebar just in case she comes back. I wouldn't want her to think we'd all gone away.

Rude Words
If, after that, you have any time left at all for internetting, I can recommend this blacklist of words that Google Instant doesn't want you to help you look for. It reminds me of the stoplist for car registration numbers, so that people don't have to drive about in cars that say BUM or TIT, only taken considerably further. It's not for those of a sensitive dispostition and whatever you do, don't do a Google Image search for any words you don't recognize. I won't be held responsible.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Billie and Some Little Things

That was a long silence. I think a lot of it was down to the fact that I've mostly been working on Billie, which is very nice for me but not hugely interesting for a spectator. I just keep accumulating more and more pieces of greyish bluey green knitting.

When I finished the armhole shapings on the second front I realized that I'd misunderstood them and on checking I discovered that I'd misunderstood them on the first front too, in the same way. The armholes are followed by a huge section of hood so I decided to press on and leave them both wrong but not impossibly so, rather than re-do both of them. In addition to that, the sleeve caps don't seem to be very roomy, not as roomy as I would expect a jacket or cardigan to be, so this gives me quite a lot to worry about, although I test-sewed the first sleeve when I finished it and it s-e-e-m-e-d to be OK.

The cuffs on this are ribbed so I borrowed the sleeves from Georgie instead (the two are startlingly alike, apart from the yarn and the tension). The Georgie sleeves are rolled and have a join formed by casting off and picking up again, which I really like the look of. I'm on the second sleeve now, the last bit, so I'm alternating between looking forward to having it finished and dreading the possibility that either the bits won't fit together or that it won't fit me. I'll find out soon enough.

I've been really surprised by how I've kept going with this. I thought I didn't do that sort of knitting, that I needed to be kept amused. Although I did knit five Harry Potter sweaters some years ago, for the nephewlets and niecelet, and when one of them went in the drier (the largest one, of course) and shrank, I knitted another without complaint so I must have more endurance than I thought. The yarn has a lot to do with it, and with that in mind I've bought the latest Kim Hargreaves book, Touching Elegance. It has a lovely sweater called Isadora, made with Kid Classic.

I expect it would seat quite a lot, but that doesn't really matter with that ballon shape. I'm very tempted and there are some other nice things in the book. I'm very taken with Lois.

I finished another Looped Bracelet in the leftovers from the Beachy Blue Swallowtail. This knitted up much faster than the Koigu, within a day, but the result is a bit floppy.

I haven't finished the bunny I had started in my last post. I made one of these a few years ago, before I started the blog: it's Debbie Bliss's Small Rabbit with Sweater. It's a very clear pattern and there's enough going on that I don't get angry with the fiddly bits.

This one had two sweaters.

I always find with this sort of knitting that the first half takes an evening and the second part takes a week, but I've exceeded that this time. The bunny's done, but her sweater is nowhere near finished, and I want to knit her another sweater too so that she has a change. But Billie keeps seducing me away.

A special occasion sweater with two strands of Kidsilk Haze.

I finished the Blue Jeans Pinwheel with the pink border. I didn't block it, but I gave it a gentle wash and dry. I have to confess, I'm thinking of making one of these for me, without the pink.

And I made some wash cloths from the leftovers.

I expect Baby can't have too many wash cloths.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Blue, Blue, Blue and Pink

I blocked the Beachy Blue Swallowtail and I'm fairly happy with it. It's a bit small but it's still a pretty colour and the yarn became very drapey after soaking, which is nice. I sort of wish I had done another repeat of the first pattern but not so much that it's spoiling it for me.

You can see below how the buds pattern flows into the lily of the valley after I upsized the stitch count of the lilies to a 12-stitch pattern. I think it may be because of my cleverness that the third pattern doesn't flow properly and is a tiny bit too tight. Anyway. I still like it and have no plans to give it away.

I might even wear it.

I reached the shoulder of the first front of Billie and expected to cast off, but then discovered that I had a huge chunk of hood to do. It's done now. I had thought the hood was knitted on afterwards by picking up stitches from the back and fronts, but it isn't.

That piece is about 43 inches long. I've started on the right front now. Still love it.

I think I know what pattern I might use with the lovely Mamba colourway that I bought from Fyberspates at Woolfest last year. On this hunch I wound the first skein into ahem, three balls. This is nothing to do with Fyberspates but is entirely down to my poor housekeeping and the luxurious habits of my moths, who insist on the finest Kidsilk Haze and on this occasion, the softest blue-faced leicester wool.

I discovered that the colours look utterly fabulous in sunshine (I wound in the morning) and just sort of ordinarily fabulous later in the day and by electric light. I have done a little swatch but a) I might change my mind and b) I can't find it.

One of my niecelets is starting university this month and I thought she might like to have a friend to take with her.

Can you tell what it is yet?

While all this was going on I watched a very good Japanese film called Departures, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009 and was recommended to me by Valerie of Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. I sort of hesitate to tell you what it's about but the synopsis on IMDB begins, 'A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals...' There's lots of life in too though, and some nice warm human beings.

The cellist and his wife live in the loveliest house too. I realize that might sound shallow but sometimes one of the pleasures of foreign films is simply seeing how other people live, and how this young couple live in the house which his mother left him is an important part of the movie.

I also watched a film which is unashamedly shallow and totally delightful - Priceless or Hors de Prix. Audrey Tatou is in it, again, and it is frothy, frivolous and angst-free. After an hour and a half of beautiful photography, luxury hotels on the Cote d'Azur, gorgeous clothes (Audrey wears more than one Chanel frock) and some fairly ghastly people, we arrive at the conclusion that love is more important than money, which is always good to know.