Saturday, 24 December 2011

Actual Christmas Knitting

I got the Bronte Hat finished. The Rowan Plaid isn't all wool as I thought, but is still soft and warm and very nice to work with. It knits up in no time at all and is as much fun as I hoped. I put tassels on but I must have done that after I took the photograph.

I came across these photographs recently. It's the Hamish jacket from Rowan's Tadpoles and Tiddlers, by Kim Hargreaves.

I made it a long time ago: I was a fairly experienced two-colour knitter by then, but I found this a real chore. I didn't mind, because of who it was for, but I've never knitted tartan again.

I won't tell you who it is, because he's fifteen now and taller than I am, but the jacket is cute, isn't it?

Now that I'm out of danger as far as starting any more Christmas knitting is concerned, I've cast on for a January birthday present. I think you can probably guess what it is. 

It's two shades of Wollmeise, a purple and Magnolie Medium. The purple is completely wrong in the photo; it's a real  royal purple. I'm looking forward to getting lots of it done over Christmas and I just hope it isn't going to transform before my eyes into a horrible mistake.

I've bought a spiked ferrule for my walking stick. I've wanted one for years because a rubber ferrule on ice is one of the most useless things imaginable, but I thought they were probably illegal. However, it appears that are available and I've bought one, a Swedish one called Ingrid. Now that I am thus armed, the weather has warmed up and Edinburgh is likely to be one of the warmest places in Britain on Christmas Day. You couldn't make it up. I saw the most extraordinary cloud this afternoon, just before sunset, and tried to photograph it with no success: a couple of minutes later, Ian Rankin the crime novelist posted a picture of it to his Twitter feed. I don't seem to be able to copy it to this page, but here's the link Edinburgh 5 mins ago on Twitpic  It looked like the sort of cloud which could easily conceal an alien spaceship, which might explain a few things, but it was distinctly pink which bodes well.

The naughty penguins have been very popular on YouTube and some other people have posted the clip, so this should be visible outside the UK. The title isn't mine.

One of the many good things about this series is the music, which was specially written.

Lastly, here is a real Christmas clip. You might want to adjust your speakers.

It was posted to YouTube by the embarrassed big sister in the front row with the gold halo. I hope her sister's forgiven her. The Baby Jesus sleeps all the way through.

I hope everyone has a happy festive season and doesn't embarrass themselves, or at least not when the camera's rolling.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Some FOs which Aren't Striped

A kind and generous friend gave me a ball of the new stripy Kidsilk Haze from Rowan, in the Twilight colourway. I'm watching the projects on Ravelry and it seems to me that it looks best used in pieces which allow it to be seen in long stretches so that the bands of colours are narrow, i.e. lengthways scarves , long cowls or garments knitted in the round. I've been swatching for a lengthways scarf but then a couple of people did long cowls, and someone else did a Citron. Hmmm. Now Rowan have brought out a pattern book, called Kidsilk Haze Stripe Collection, which shows them to great effect. At first I could only take the more sombre shades to heart but now I'm not so sure.

I like Freya, although I can't imagine when I might ever wear it.

And the poncho, Megan, although the same applies.

(Ponchos have come back after hardly being away, have you noticed? I wonder if I might make one this time. Or would people think I was still wearing it from last time?)

While I'm copying and pasting little pics from websites, I spotted this while I was Xmas shopping.

It's from Marks and Spencer. Sorry it's such a tiny image. They're calling it a Slash Neck Knitted Top and it's 50% polyester so I don't suppose Sarah Lund would be seen dead in it, but it's only £35 so that's some consolation.

Speaking of Sarah Lund, if you're a fan of Scandinavian detectives, you might like this. Lovely sweater. If you click on the YouTube logo you can see it properly: it's widescreen so I can't squidge it in here.

I finished the pink cowl and gave it a soak and didn't exactly block it, but persuded the garter stich edges to lie flat.

I think it might have been better with just a rolled edge, but all I can see in my knitting at the moment is what is wrong with it, so I'm not going to dwell on it.

It feels delicious. I finished the Crispy Crunchy Snow Cowl as well.

I feel  bit happier with this but that's maybe because I haven't thought about it for long enough.

It's 40 inches by nine inches so it's a bit of an effort to get it round my neck twice, but it works perfectly well as a single loop and it'll probably soften up and grow a bit when it''s washed.

In spite of everyone's lack of interest, and a deafening silence when I asked if anyone wanted a hat, I've decided to do some Xmas knitting. I have wanted to knit Capucine ever since I first saw the pattern and burst out laughing. It is such a splendidly Victorian piece, suitable for tramping about moors looking miserable, but done with wit and style. One of my nearest and dearest is reading English at Stirling just now, and we recently discovered a mutual dislike of Dickens, so I think that could be celebrated with this hat. Stirling is a chilly campus, so I wanted an all wool yarn and in purple. I've ordered a ball of Rowan's discontinued Plaid in Bramble. I hope it arrives soon. I might even add a little Kidsilk Haze, which as Mary Lou says, is the bacon of yarn - makes everything better.  Everyone says it's a very quick knit. I hope I have enough yarn for all the tassels - I think the ones with pigtails at the side are cool, aren't they?

This is one for you, Mette. I have been meaning to post this for ages. It's an illusion, a piece of trompe l'oeil, but even although I've been looking at it for weeks, I still can only see it as if it's real. Do click on it to see it full size. It makes lovely desktop wallpaper.

Here it is in action, at Springdance 2011 in the Netherlands.

And thank you, Joan, for a new word - kawaii. I now wonder how I ever lived without it.

I saw The Ides of March recently and while it's o-k-a-y (watching George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti could never be a waste of time), I felt it was made at least five years too late and there was also bit of a plot hole (why didn't Ryan just tell George what he was doing right away?) Rachel Evan Wood was in too, the only female role really and she's good too, even in such experienced company. Marisa Tomei is in it, but not given much to do. So I wouldn't say you should rush out to see it, but if it 's ever on television you could watch it then.

Great news about another series of Southland being made after all, f11holdsteady. Between a new series of Southland and one of Justified, 2012 is looking up. Southland does that thing that you got in The Sopranos, where things are revealed to the audience but not to the characters, which is so much more interesting than the usual cathartic style of drama where everything is revealed and resolved. I always remember that moment when Tony came home from doing a piece of work with Christopher ('Bring two pairs of rubber gloves and a bottle of bleach,') and told Carmela that Janice's boyfriend Richie had done a runner - Carmela, in her best new Jersey accent, said 'Oh, Janice will be devastated,' but we knew better.

Monday, 12 December 2011

And Another One

This is all getting a bit samey. I'm sorry, but until I shake off the addiction, there's not much I can do about it. It's misfired this time, though.

I bought one skein of each colour of madelinetosh Merino Light to make a Different Lines, but after I had done my first Different Lines I was itching to do another Stripe Study instead so I just started, and sent off for another skein of Kelp meanwhile. The brown shade is William Morris. I knitted an extra stripe of Kelp, so it's a very good size.

This being the winter, I mostly knitted it in artificial light, and it was only when I saw a photograph that I really saw the difference in the colours.The first skein is a deep, rich, intense, organic shade of malachite and the second is well, green. I'm torn. I might rip it back and make it a short Study, or I might rip it all and make a Different Lines after all. Or I could decide it's all right really.

I've washed it and hung it to dry, to lengthen it, but I haven't woven in the ends yet because I haven't decided. It's a Christmas present for somebody, but I don't know whom. It feels gorgeous, has that heavenly swing  that  garter-stitch Merino Light has after washing.

My aunt asked for a pink cowl.

She's very elegant, and has a magnet on her fridge which reads, 'My tastes are simple: I only like the best,' so I looked at cashmere at first but then I decided Malabrigo Lace in Damask Rose would be soft and warm, and could be combined with a strand of Kidsilk Haze Spray. Either of these is an absolute pig to knit on its own on these needles, but together they're a joy.

The pattern is the Superior Cowl but I didn't knit the full length. I just knitted until the KSH ran out (not a full ball, just 15 grams) which gave a length of ten inches, which I think is fine. We don't have long necks in our family.

It's certainly simple: let's hope it's the best too. It still needs to be blocked. I'm thinking of knitting her a Stripe Study for her birthday in January, in Wollmeise, shades of purp and pinkle. And yes, I have enough yarn.

Lastly, we have a piece of sheer impulse knitting. I keep seeing thick squishy cowls in my Ravelry Friends' Faves, and I have some Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Chunky which has been burning a hole in my knitting bag. I love Jaeger Matchmaker and scoop it up on eBay from time to time, in interesting shades of grey and sometimes Charcoal. This is shade 302, a very creamy Cream. I don't have a pattern, just cast on 100plus stitches and set off. It's sort of like the lovely Gap-Tastic Cowl, but instead of moss stitch, it's seed stitch (or is the other way round? It depends where you're standing.) because I wanted it to be extra crunchy. It's like knitting crisp snow. I had thought of striping it with charcoal, but I think I'll keep it cream. This is two balls. I don't know who this is for either.

I was thinking of knitting some Christmas present hats, especially after I saw the fiendishly clever Howlcat, but I've asked around and haven't got any takers. This is possibly a good thing.

Moving Pictures
I have quite a lot of pix and clips that I want to show you, but I'll put them up in a day or two. Meanwhile, here are some kittens (and Mum) watching an ice skater on the telly.

There is a sound you can hear on the soundtrack which is either the noise of skates cutting through ice, or the sound of sharp little claws running down a television screen. I hope it's the former. There's a moment where there's an extra bit of light and you can see that they are little golden Bengals.