Monday, 26 November 2012

Safely Back

The stripy cowl came whizzing home much faster than it went, in six days as opposed to over three weeks. Very mysterious. It has been impeccably joined. Thank you a million times, Jocelyn.

I'm not entirely happy about how I put the colours together. An artist friend told me that this is part of the creative process and that there's always a stage at which you think it's all wrong, wrong, wrong, but I think she's being kind and I could have done a better job of it. Ho hum.

I was going to wash it and dry it flat to get out the crease at the join, but the cotton makes it quite heavy and I thought it would take ages to dry, so I didn't.

You can see the jogless join here or, I hope, not see it. Actually you can here, but it's not so obvious in real life and a little more steaming and finagling would have concealed it.

I was also thinking of knitting a matching hat but I realized that with the cotton (it's Rowan Wool Cotton) it might not be as warm as is needed at this time of year, so I didn't do that either. I will knit a warm hat for her, but it needn't delay this.

I've also had a very generous offer from someone closer to home, should any further grafting be required in the future. Aren't knitters nice?

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the second Doctor Who Scarf, although if there's enough time I hope to make both of them a bit longer.

I have also sneaked in a Marsan cap in scarlet Sublime Chunky Tweed, the yarn I'm using for the scarves, which is for someone who works outdoors. It's a perfect red, not a blue-red and not an orange-red, just red.   It looks a bit orange in this photograph but that's the flash.

Kaffe Fassett
Our appointment with Kaffe is this week. I found myself wondering about what I'm going to wear. I expect there will be a lot of fabulous intarsia pieces casually showing up and seating themselves in the audience (like a David Bowie concert where the fans show up in lots of gold eyeshadow). I don't think I've ever made any of his patterns, although I would probably list them as an influence. I did make a beanie hat from one of his sock yarns, but I don't wear hats indoors, or in daylight for that matter. I could break my neck knitting something out of that ball of Kidsilk Stripe that I have, but I will probably stick to the second Doctor Who scarf, the end of which is in sight.

I watched a wonderful Swedish film recently, Everlasting Moments. I bought it off eBay ages ago and hadn't got around to watching it. Based on a true story, it's about a poor young woman called Maria Larsson who wins a camera as a lottery prize.

The film covers most of her life, from before World War I, and her marriage to an intermittently drunk and intermittently violent husband, with the camera and her photographs cropping up when her situation permits. It's shot in a subdued but not dingy light, and the actors look like real people, not actors. If I knew more about Swedish cinema I would have recognized some of them but I'm glad I didn't as it made it more realistic.

It also has some very good knitting. I think my friend got rather tired of my shouting Shawl! or Child's cardigan! at intervals, but it was hard not to.

This long, waisted jacket appears frequently.

One of the things I liked about the film was that when it portrayed something shocking, it didn't then proceed to point out to you that you should be shocked: too many films do that nowadays. There's a lot of information available about it online, much of it better expressed than I can here, and I would strongly recommend it if you're interested in photography, the unrecorded lives of women or good films.

It made me think of Mette's recent blog post, with the photograph of Mette Sofie Larsdatter. Do have a look.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Kaffe Fassett

I finished knitting the stripy cowl a while ago and did my best to have a go at grafting it but my poor old befuddled brain couldn't get a grip on it at all. In fact, I just made a mess which I then had to unpick. Sometimes it's best to give up before you've started. However, an enormously kind knitting-and-blogging friend offered to help me out - I shan't give her away here, or you'll all be sending your unfinished garments to her - and I wrapped it up with the spare ball of yarn and sent it off, enclosing a little something to sweeten the task. When I was filling in the Customs slip (because yes, I send my garments overseas for finishing) I wrote 'Woollen scarf' and thought, 'I won't mention the chocolate on here, and then it'll be a surprise for her when she opens it.' Only after I'd posted it did I think that perhaps Customs might think I was concealing it from them. (I told you I was befuddled.)

Three weeks later it still hadn't arrived. Airmail to the U.S. usually takes about a week, sometimes even five days, and I've never known it to take more than two weeks, except when there was some sort of complication going on, like terrorists or Christmas. So I had pretty well written it off: I decided that the sniffer dogs had opened it and eaten the chocolate.

While I was facing that ghastly possibility I considered whether I would be prepared to knit it again but decided I couldn't really face it: it would just have to be written off. So imagine my joy when I received an email saying that it had arrived, intact, and on Hallowe'en - perhaps the Universe, which I understand sometimes takes an interest in these things, had decided to deliver it on the most chocolatey night of the year. Thank you, Universe.

Kaffe Fassett
I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter these days but don't actually follow many knitters so it was pure chance I picked up this gem, tweeted by Sophie Hannah, the novelist, to fellow novelist Ian Rankin:
Isn't that brilliant? My mother loved malapropisms and she would have treasured that one.

It's topical too, because Kaffe is making an appearance in Edinburgh shortly, organized by John Lewis. It's on 29 November, which is a Thursday, at 6.00 p.m. He'll be talking about his new book, his autobiography, Dreaming in Colour.

His talk is being held in the Café Camino which is the café at St Mary's Cathedral, just across the road and down from the back entrance to JL, in Little King Street. Tickets are £10 each and you can buy them in the Haberdashery at JL, or by phone on 0131 556 9121 extension 4809.

He'll sign his books too, either the new one or old ones that you bring along (looks at shelf, wonders how many she can carry...). I'm looking forward to it. Just don't expect Yasser Arafat to be there. For so many reasons.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

All Saints' Day

I've probably nearly finished the first Doctor Who scarf. I'm not going to cast off now; I'm going to knit the other one and then see if I want to add to this one. I should be finished them both, but I haven't been knitting much.

It's longer than it looks in these photographs.

It's about three yards long but the garter stitch will stretch a lot and I dare say by the time a  boy has tied it around a lamp post and swung on it, it will be nearer four. I expect I will do fringes at the ends.

I bought an Addi 8mm circ, quite a short one again, and I'm using it with the KnitPro which doesn't seem so pointy now. I've got so many needles already that it hadn't occurred to me to buy an interchangeable set, plus I have a suspicion that the cord I needed would always be the one I couldn't find, but perhaps I should be more adventurous.

I won't be attempting to match the stripes in the second one, Joan. It's probably better if the boys can tell them apart easily, although they're cousins not brothers so the rivalry may not be too intense, and anyway it would do my head in.

My thoughts of knitting Cerulean have been supplanted by thoughts of knitting Boxy. The designer has hit on a way of giving the sweater a boxy shape without imposing it on the wearer as well; it's genius. It must be because of what she's done over the shoulders. Of course it's miles of stocking stitch on smallish needles but as long as it's lovely yarn, who cares? I've been looking for something like this since I decided that the collar of Slow Line was a swatch, and I still have those skeins of two shades of blue madeleinetosh Merino Light.

And I also fell in love with something Norwegian that I can't spell or pronounce which I shall call my Beatnik Sweater. I usually think garter switch sweaters are a bad idea for my current figure type because it stretches over all the wrong places and emphasises them, but the very open gauge on this pattern seems to avoid that. It looks particularly lovely in neutrals, I think, although I don't wear them very often apart from my beloved grey.

kmkat has beaten me to the new Henri film again, but here it is in case you missed it. He takes a very sombre view of Hallowe'en.

And if you need something to cheer you up after that, I can recommend this from the girls, and one boy, of Portland State University Department of Social Work,  via Feminist Ryan Gosling.

Very uplifting.