Wednesday, 29 June 2011

In the Interests of Fairness

Greenpeace used a variation on the Darth Vader ad to attack Volvo over their refusal to sign up for a couple of anti-global-warming laws. 

I'm sorry I can't get the YouTube videos to fit into the blog column. The only way I could improve it would be to change the proportions of the template, and I'm worried that if I do that something terrible might happen and I might have to re-arrange all the posts back to the beginning, so bear with me. As they work their way down the page, they fit better.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Yet More Stripes

I've reached the last chunk of the watery stripes. From here it's just knitting, without any counting or wrapping and turning. You're right, Annie, there is a twang of seaside and beach huts about it. (I just frightened myself by going to my last post and seeing that photograph of Rafe Spall unexpectedly.) I think the greyish tinge of the blue makes me think of the Atlantic, as it rolls up on the beaches of the Outer Hebrides and the coast of Massachusetts, and the sand in the Outer Hebrides really is very pale, almost white. My Dad used to stand on the beach at Bornish at sunset and say that on a clear day you could see straight up the St Lawrence Seaway. Not entirely true, but it brought home the connection between the places. His ashes were scattered at Loch Bornish.

At this stage, one row takes about one gram of yarn. I was worried about having enough of the pale colour but it's going to be okay. I used 26 grams of the second skein of Well Water, about a fifth of a skein. Madelinetosh Merino Light doesn't have a weight on the label, just a yardage of 440 yards but they seem to weigh around 120 grams, give or take a few grams.

The shawl is a bit small just now, but that's probably because it's scrunched up on a shortish circ and I expect it to grow and bloom once it's washed. I can't wait.

I gave the Green Stripe Study to its new owner on Sunday, so it will be going to California on its holidays soon. I didn't think she'd need a warm wrap in San Francisco, but I suspect Yosemite can be chilly even in July.

While I'm on this very straightforward stretch of these stripes, I'm going to allow myself to start Veera's Different Lines pattern, which is an even cleverer arrangement of short rows. My head is a little clearer. May the muttering commence.

Meanwhile, I just caught up with this lovely ad. I expect everyone else has seen it already, but just in case.

And here's the behind-the-scenes.

It brings back what a great piece of music that is. It was tongue-in-cheek, but it rises to the occasion too. I first heard it in a cinema in Tottenham Court Road when it came out in 19- ahem, a few years ago.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Stripes So Far

The latest Stripe Study is coming along. The colours are Well Water and Chambray, in Madelinetosh Merino Light. The yarn is finer and limper than the Wollmeise I used for the first one, but I'm still using 4mm needles. I swatched it and it firms up with washing.

 The Chambray is paler and less shaded than I expected, and it has a greenish cast. It's more like an infinitely pale celadon than a very pale blue. Never mind. It's still very good with the Well Water. I was going for a sort of weathered, watery look, sort of distressed New England. I wanted the blue of the Atlantic, and the white of weathered clapboard (yes, I can hear your eyes rolling).

The colours aren't quite right here. When it's finished I'll spend some time calibrating things so that I get a proper picture. I wonder if I will suddenly get very sick of this pattern if I knit too many. It has been a godsend, as I've been a iller than usual the last few weeks and haven't really been able to do anything more taxing, not even the little denim baby trousers that I want to finish. I did have a go at them, but I ended up with two identical legs instead of mirror-image legs, so I've put them aside for the moment.

I upgraded my iPod Touch this week. My inner Presbyterian is horrified, but my inner hedonist is delighted. This one has a camera but I don't think it's any truer with blues than my camera-which-is-only-a-camera, but we'll see. I toyed with the idea of getting an iPad but could think of no reason to justify the expense and rather a lot of reasons for not, so I did this instead.

At the weekend I watched all six episodes of The Shadow Line on iPlayer. I was completely baffled by what I thought was the last episode, but then I discovered there's a seventh on Thursday night. It's very good, and has more outstanding actors to the square inch than just about anything else I've seen recently. Rafe Spall is in it, playing nasty, and every time he appears I want to turn the television off and check that the front door is locked.

Stephen Rea is in too: I would have watched it sooner if I'd realized he was in it, because he doesn't do much television. He was the betrayed husband in The End of the Affair, but you will probably remember him as the surprised lover in The Crying Game. Everybody else in it is pretty fab too. Worth catching.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Mini Movies

The second shade of Madeline Tosh Merino Light that I need for the latest Stripe Study arrived today, so here are some films for you to watch while I am obsessively knitting garter stitch.

This is a temporary installation in Stockholm. Mette wrote recently about trompe l'oeil and I always find it curiously exhilarating.

This shows you a bit about how they did it.

It makes me want to jump on the next flight to Stockholm.

I went to see Loudon Wainwright III when he played Glasgow recently. It was a very relaxed evening: everyone plainly knew the songs inside out and had seen him perform more than once. He started with a playlist but he soon gave up and played mostly requests. He forgot the words to this one but the audience was able to get him back on track.

Lastly, this is quite a short clip. It's a bit dull at the beginning, but it gets better. Stay with it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mostly Mouses

I finished the green Stripe Study last week. I think I'm pleased with it, although since it's for someone else I won't know until I've seen it on her. I only did eleven stripes instead of twelve because I thought that Felted Tweed and 5mm needles would make it a lot bigger than sock yarn on 4mm needles, but there doesn't seem to be much difference and I think it would have been fine with twelve.

I gave it a soak and dried it flat. It grew much more sideways than it did lengthways, but I don't know if this is because of the Felted Tweed or because of the garter stitch.

On both of my Stripe Studies, the spine has a pronounced curve: I must do my M1Ls more tightly than my M1Rs.

I made a swatch with some of the ripped-out Summer Tweed and decided that although knots were the way to go, the yarn doesn't work with this pattern so it'll have to be something else.

 I was going to say that I fell off the yarn wagon again, but I don't think I could convincingly say that I have been on it for a while: suffice to say that I got come lovely Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Well Water, from a Ravelry destash. I suspect that well water is actually a murky greenish black, but the yarn is a lovely dark watery blue and is destined for another Stripe Study.

This yarn is not a lot of fun to wind into a ball as it kinks and knots and eludes you, but it is lovely to knit with so it's all right in the end. It took me an eternity to choose the other colour, and it is now on its way across the seas. I didn't want to start a project that would only have to be interrupted when the parcel arrives, but fortunately one of my friends got a new kitten and I decided that a catnip mouse was required.

One thing led to another...

 And another...

And before I knew it, there was a family...

This is the Embellished Catnip Mouse Toy, and the ears are knitted in, so clever. I only knit bobbles for people that I love very much, and cats. There are eyes in the pattern as well but I preferred this streamlined look. These ones are waiting to be stuffed and sewn up, apart from the tiny grey one which is made from Wollmeise in Maus Jung (har har) on 2mm needles. All the rest are knitted on 3mm.

You can knit one up in no time and within minutes it can be torn apart by its tiny owner.