Thursday, 13 January 2011

Finally, an Eternity

I managed to finish the Eternity Scarf at the third attempt. I thought black would look good against the pale taupe and I had some of the same yarn (Jaeger Matchmaker Merino) in aran weight in a dark charcoal, but when I tried it, it looked too harsh. So I ripped it again, and tried some of the same yarn in a mid-grey. I did three rows of garter stitch, and then a lace cast-off. Phew.

It's very nice, and I like wearing it. I'll try and get a decent model shot: I did some but they're too dark. It's a really useful sort of scarf if you use a walking stick, because you can't accidentally strangle or hobble yourself with the loose ends. Not that that would be an effective marketing angle, but still.

And I now have my three shades of grey Kidsilk Aura. And a little pink.

Now I only have to decide what to do with them.

Once I have finished my stock of Wool Mix, I'll try the Ecover, Judith. I used to use their stuff, but got out of the habit. Eucalan is an absolutely shocking price here (£10.50 for 500mls, compared to about £5 for 1.5 litres of Wool Mix) so although I might get it for soaking, I probably won't be pouring into my washing machine.

I'm sorry 2010 was so awful for you, Joan. I hope 2011 is already setting a shining example in contrast.

I saw The Duchess last week, which was even more disappointing than I expected it to be. If you've read the book, you'll know what a thorough piece of work it is and how much of it covers Georgiana's life in politics. The film concerns itself solely with her romantic life and implies that her political role consisted of turning up at a few meetings. The Duke is obliged to display every vice known to the Wicked Georgian Husband, and (Richard Brinsley) Sheridan and (Charles James) Fox are given those awful cameos of the 'And how are you today, Mr Fox?' type, which I thought Monty Python had banished forever. Sheridan doesn't have a single line which suggests he was a wit or might have been capable of cobbling together a play. I can understand why they didn't want the screenplay to be cluttered with prithees but it had no historical feel at all, and I know that Ralph Fiennes and Kiera Knightley can deliver more than one-note performances because I've seen them do it, but there was no evidence of it here - all very flat. I think television does historical dramas so well, although people like me carp on about the make-up and so on, and films have a hard time keeping up. This film doesn't come close.

My favourite thing in it was Georgiana's hat trimmed with fox tails, to indicate her support for Charles James Fox. I should probably watch it again with the sound off, and concentrate on the costumes and interiors.

There's lots more information about it and other costumes here.

I also watched Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is a doco about Banksy, the street artist, and may or may not be a mockumentary about the man who filmed much of his work. Or did he? Either way, it is a commentary on contemporary art. Or it is a piece of contemporary art. Worth seeing and not as annoying as it sounds.

Natural Disasters
You might remember the two Daisy Hats I sent off to my newest relation and her sister in Australia last October. They're the daughters of my cousin's son, and they live in Brisbane, Queensland in the path of the devastating floods. The area they live in is called Cannon Hill, so I was hoping they are on high ground, and they are. He emailed me today to tell me that they and their house are safe and dry. His office is closed because of power cuts and possible flooding, so he's been able to be at home with the family, but it's obviously an anxious time.

Here's a link to the Denver Post's photo blog of the flooding and here are some pix from the blog. Some of the areas which are affected haven't had rain for ten years, and now this. Most of the pix are from Rockhampton, through which the waters passed on their way to Brisbane, but the last is from Brisbane itself.

Felines find refuge on a fence above the flood water level on January 6, 2011 in Rockhampton, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

Buildings in the city centre are reflected by remaining flood water at dusk on January 6, 2011 in Rockhampton, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

A local resident walks past a flooded building as the Brisbane river burst its banks to cause widespread flooding in Brisbane, Australia, on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. Queensland has been in the grip of its worst flooding for more than two weeks, after tropical downpours across a vast area of the state covered an area the size of France and Germany combined. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. I don't think anyone's looking forward to 2011 very much, and it's already got off to a not very good start, but let's be positive. I hope it is a good one for some of us, especially my lovely readers.

After all the extra work associated with Christmas and New Year, and all the extra play, there's been quite a lot of this going on chez Chronic Knitting.

You'll be astonished to hear that most of the Christmas knitting was handed over as planned. I think it all fitted. I washed the Risers Hat and Cowl in order to soften up the yarn (I was assured by an expert that this would do it, and she was right) and they grew slightly, so I was worried that the hat might be too big but apparently it wasn't.

The Malabrigo infinity scarf and beret turned out very well. I had thought the Amoroso would look good against her dark hair, but she'd just become a blonde. It still looked good.

Sorry she's a bit blurred, but it was Boxing Day and we were all a bit blurred. Both great patterns and I would knit them again happily.

Koolhaas was the only thing that was delayed.

I completed one repeat of the pattern and then decided that we didn't really have enough in common for it to be worth persevering with the relationship, so we had a clean break. I think I would have got on better if the pattern had been written out as well as charted: I usually need both to get me started. Maybe larger needles would have helped although that would have raised the spectre of it being too big. I've done a pattern a bit like this before, when I did Norah Gaughan's Sunflower Tam (from the days before the blog) and I found it very compulsive, but this time I just couldn't bring myself to care.

So I spent almost an entire day looking at hat patterns, especially double-layered ones, without coming up with anything at all and I cast on to do another Marsan Watch Cap somewhat reluctantly. I only did a couple of rows. Then the next morning when I opened up Ravelry I noticed that one of my Friends, one who can always be relied up to spot the coolest and the chicest, had faved a doubled hat pattern that I had completely failed to notice - the Christopher. This was so exactly what I was looking for that I felt my hair stand on end briefly.

The yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl Ten, and the stripes are leftover Vaa from the Marsan Cap, also Malabrigo Worsted.

Curiously, the Vaa looks brighter when it's in stripes contrasting against the Pearl Ten, which is a lovely purplish cocoa.

The first stripe is cleverly placed so that when the hat is plain-side-out, the colour just peeps out.

The giftee was too shy for a model shot, but his son was persuaded.

I love it, and am looking for an excuse to knit another.

I realized afterwards that I had knitted up seven balls of Malabrigo Worsted in not much more than a month, which is about a sweaterful. Hmmm. Something to bear in mind.

The ballet cardi for the little pink person wasn't exactly intended a a Christmas present but I should try and get it done in time for the start of term. It isn't a proper wrap cardi, as all the patterns were not-quite-right, but it's close. It's Debbie Bliss's Molly, from Junior Knits.

It's in Rowan Kid Classic instead of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, in Tea Rose. (Although it's not actually the colour of a tea rose, but never mind.) It's come on quite a bit since then. Everyone says it comes out very big, so I did one less increase on the sleeves and I might not do the fold back on the cuffs.

The Eternity Scarf which might be for me has reached what Mette will think is a very interesting stage.

I have run out of yarn, half-way through the cast-off. I could take it back a row and then cast off but that would leave it a bit narrow. Or I could finish the cast-off with a different yarn, or I could take back the cast-off and do a couple of rows with a different yarn before the cast-off so that it has a border. I wonder if a black stripe would be good, or a charcoal one. Or a brown one. I'm still very pleased with this pattern, on the second time of doing. It's a bit tight on the circ, so it's going to stretch engagingly when it's finished and it has a nice weight and hang (three strands of Jaeger Matchmaker 4 Ply, held together on a 5.5mm needle).

I stumbled a bit in the John Lewis sale. Twice. I mean on two separate days, not just two lots of yarn. The first time I got some Rowan Kidsilk Aura, in Cypress.

It's not quite as blue as it looks here. It'll go well with the Aura in Steel that I bought last year which I still haven't found a purpose for. I might go back and see if they've got some Pumice, which is the palest grey and then I would have three shades of grey. Wow.

And when I went back the next week, I got some Kid Classic in Lipstick.

If the ballet cardi is a success, I'll knit a not-ballet cardi in this shade. If the ballet cardi isn't a success, God knows what I'll do with it, because it sure ain't my colour.

And I surprised myself by buying this ball of Aura in Coral. Although I'm not a pink girl, being an unremittingly grey girl, the salmony coral shades do whisper to me and this one is lovely.

Even if I don't knit anything with it, the sight of it is enough to lift my heart. And it would make rather a nice contrast with all those greys.

I also got this, not in the sale. It's Rowan Cocoon in Bilberry, which is one of those greyish brownish purples which can be hard to make out, but when it's beside purple it is definitely purple.

I want to make an infinity scarf for someone and am making the final decision between two patterns. You can imagine how well that's going. One of them will be interesting to knit, the other not so.

One of the worrying things about the start to 2011, is that Lakeland have decided to stop stocking Wool Mix, the wonderful Australian lavender wash that I've been using for years. I use it for soaking before blocking -one of the best things about it is that you don't need conditioner and you don't need to rinse too emphatically - and in the washing machine for delicates, and often for dark washes, as it doesn't contain brighteners. I can't imagine why they're discontinuing it as all the reviews on the website are five-star, and I'm fairly sure no-one else imports it. Perhaps an Australian reader can enlighten. So I ordered a supply.

I went back later and tried to order more, but it was All Gone. Eeeek.