Wednesday, March 22


Since the two projects I'd been most actively working on were with tiny size 1 and 0 dpns, I decided it was time to revisit an old love: Lady Eleanor.
I feel slightly ashamed - I've been seeing many beautiful, finished Eleanors all over the place lately, and I started knitting mine last November! I'm back on it, though, and moving at full speed. She's been a great companion during this hopelessly sedentary period (thanks, everyone, for your well-wishes - I am much more mobile now!) The pattern is quite simple once you get the hang of it, but still engaging. As you can see, I'm using Noro; Silk Garden #234 to be precise. I'm onto the 6th skein (out of 10) right now. These pictures show her folded up - I had trouble getting a good shot of her full length.
As others have commented, there's something quite appealing about the wrong side of entrelac. I like it even better than the wrong side, I think. I feel pretty good about my colorway choice for this knit. I was wary of, as Fig and Plum Jessica put it, the "court jester effect," and while the colors are a little much in some sections I like the piece overall. I've even been cutting out some color sections as I go, setting them aside for later on.

The other project that has captured my attention is the Gentleman's Fancy Socks, for Brian:
See the spiraling? Sigh. I think I'm through with variegated sock yarns. So pretty and irresistable in the skein, so frustrating when knit up. I have at least four more variegated sock yarns in my stash (with another two on the way), and from now on I'm going to have to try my darndest to resist their charm! Steer me towards the Lorna's Laces "nearly solids," please. Anyway, a closeup:

I've watched a ton of movies since my last post (my cable company gave me a free HBO preview of the weekend!) but it was mostly fluff. From Netflix, though, I watched F for Fake, by Orson Welles, which was fantastic! I really wish I could have capped it, but for some reason my laptop likes to spit out anything from the Criterion Collection. The film was very interesting and amusing, and certainly unlike any other film I've seen in style. I think it's been classified as a "documentary essay" on fakery. Welles, apparently, planned to do a number of other documentary essay films - it's quite a shame that he never had a chance.

Last night I watched Videodrome, by David Cronenberg. Cronenberg is very hit-or-miss with me. A lot of the time I appreciate what he's trying to do, but it ends up falling flat. I did really like Existenz, Naked Lunch and The Fly, but wow, Spider was just awful, and don't get me started on A History of Violence (critics be damned!) Anyway, Videodrome. It started out really promising, and I was into it... but the conclusion lost me, I guess. I was entertained, and yet I can't say that I really liked the movie. Deborah Harry was awesome, at least:
I'm not giving up on Cronenberg yet - I still really want to see Dead Ringers and a few others. I'll withold judgement until then.

Wednesday, March 15

Bad blogger! Bad!

Wow, everyone. I apologize for disappearing! But you see, this is my life right now:
I've been flat on my back for the past few days with severe back and left leg pain. After a somewhat worthless visit to my school's health clinic, I finally made it to an orthopedist in Brookline today. Well, folks, mama's got a herniated disc! What you see in front of you is a lovely mix of neurontin, flexeril, and naproxen, which will hopefully let me return to my regularly scheduled life. I hope you haven't given up on me in my absence - once all these drugs kick in and I'm not constantly in pain, I'll be able to put my mind to it better. Also, a recommendation to anyone in the Boston area: if you're ever having back problems, Dr. Saechin Kim is seriously excellent.

I apologize for the lack of photos, but... I can't bend over to pick anything up! I'm making good progress on the Gentleman's Fancy Socks - the pattern is basically all 2x2 ribbing, but somehow it's not entirely boring! The calf shaping helps, and so does the 8-row repeat (something to work towards, you know?) The colors, however, are spiraling, which is a little disappointing but I'll live. My Beaverslide order got held up a bit but it's finally on it's way here, so I'll probably cast on for Forecast the moment it gets here! I'm excited to start a new sweater project. I feel like this one is going to banish all the knitting malaise I've been feeling lately. It's sad, because of this back thing I'm really unmotivated to do ANYTHING, even knit! I can't wait until this is over.

Even if my knitting life has been unproductive, I've been watching a ton of movies! Let's see. The first was Une Vraie Jeune Fille, directed by Catherine Breillat:
This is Breillat's first film, I believe, and her style hasn't changed very much (although it has developed). This is an utterly Breillat film, but it's no Fat Girl (although I saw some similarities in their endings). The plot is much more superficial. It was okay to watch, but not what I'd recommend to a Breillat initiate.

Last Saturday I dragged poor Brian to a midnight showing of Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes. I was really excited to see this - I've been watching clips of it for months, and I really liked Haute Tension (in French, not dubbed!). His films have a great energy and they're inventive, at least where gore is concerned.
This remake is a great tribute to Wes Craven's original, which I also happen to like a lot:
The story is mostly consistent and many of the plot elements that I liked from the first were included in the second. A lot of people are harping on Aja's added element of nuclear testing and mutation, saying it's a "message movie" (nukes are bad! wow, what a message) but come on, Hills is total, balls out, bloody horror film. And I loved it! Brian, however, did not.

The last movie of note that I've watched is Australian John Hillcoat's The Proposition, written by Nick Cave. I would post still after still from this if I could - it's like watching a painting in motion. Doesn't this look like a painting?
The story is pretty much a Western, set in 1880's Australia (if you've seen Rabbit-Proof Fence, it's around that time I think). The scenery is starkly beautiful. There's no clear-cut hero or villain - the film does a good job of staying objective and showing many different sides of the situation. I found the story rather compelling, and I think the film gave an interesting view of that period in Australia's history. Guy Pearce was the leading man, but in my opinion Ray Winstone stole the show as the heavily burdened Captain Stanley (married, in the film, to the lovely Emily Watson):
This film is violent, yes, unflinchingly so, but it's true to the time it portrays and doesn't linger on the violence. It just fits. The score is haunting and inventive (at points). It's going to be a while until this is released in the US, unfortunately. I feel really lucky that I got my hands on it. Just one more still:

As I've said, I'll be back in full force very soon. Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, March 9

Thursday Catblogging

I know I promised more knitting content in my next post, but this just couldn't wait. Please accept this poor-quality, soundless cell phone video offering of hot cat-on-cat action:

(I won't even pretend that this rivals Domesticat's epic post. But Briscoe and Fry deserve their time on the internet, too.)

Wednesday, March 8

It's hard to blog with a cat on your lap

A small orange-ish cat decided to take a nap on me for most of the afternoon, so it was a little hard for me to update today. I wasn't in the mood to take pictures, but: Northern Lights mitten #1 is complete, and I'm almost past the cuff on #2. I haven't done any more work on Brian's convertible mittens, but now I have this handy (and oh-so-intelligible) diagram:
Can you tell we had a little trouble communicating which measurements I need?

In the meantime, since I have ::gasp:: NO SOCKS on the needles, I casted on for the Gentleman's Fancy Socks in a lovely gray-blue shade of Schaefer Anne. I can't wait for you to see it, I love this color so much that I'm almost sad to see it go. Actually I'm very sad. These socks are knit on US0's, and the mittens are on US1's, so my fingers are aching for a larger-gauge project. Tomorrow I'm going to go out for some bamboo/birch US8 dpns to knit the sleeves on my striped raglan (pictures to come). I bought metal dpns but they are waaaaay too heavy to use, flopping around everywhere - what was I thinking?

On the movie front, yesterday I watched both Night Watch (Nochnooi Dozor) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor). Night Watch is out in the US now and Day Watch will probably get here in the next couple years. Anyway. Hmmm. I'm still processing my thoughts on these. I think my enjoyment of the films was hindered somewhat by shoddy subtitling, but I don't think a perfect translation would have made me like them more. The first film was rather confusing and a lot of plot elements were unexplained (to which fans of the series would say, "Read the books!"). While the plot of the second film was more complex, I understood it better and enjoyed it a lot more. The special effects were pretty cool at times (in fact I'd say they're what attracted me to the movies in the first place after seeing the trailer for Night Watch) but they couldn't carry the films. There's a lot going on, visually, but for some reason I had a really hard time choosing stills to post. Anyway, here's a few (from Day Watch) that are interesting to look at, but probably not representative of the film as a whole:

I guess I'm a little disappointed, since I thought I'd be really into these movies (and spent so much time and effort trying to track them down). But Day Watch is definitely growing on me, the more I think about it. If you're thinking about seeing Night Watch in the theater, I've heard that a) it's cut a little bit from the Russian version, and b) apparently the subtitles that Fox chose aren't really accurate translations, in some parts. Just fyi.

I might not get a movie in tonight (Project Runway finale!) but if I do, it'll be either Contempt or F for Fake. More knitting content next time, promise!

Monday, March 6

Cuff City

It's mitten season here, all of a sudden. I've never knit a mitten or glove in my life, only two pairs of wristwarmers (thumbholes, no fingerholes). And yet:
On the right, Brian's cabled convertible gloves in Dale Sisik (now with progress bar!). On the left, Northern Lights mittens from Knitpicks in Palette. As I've said, I'm pretty much winging it for Brian's gloves. The cable is looking mighty fine:
But I'm a little nervous about the size (honey, could you measure your hand for me when you get home?) and the finger construction.

Ew, mitten guts!!!
The Northern Lights mittens have been great fun so far - I adore the corrugated ribbing - and I've been spit-splicing the colors together. The main pattern is only starting to emerge, so these pictures are a little ehhh, but future ones will be oooh! As you can see above, my tension has been okay, even if a little bit tight. Palette is a very pleasant yarn to work with and I'd be happy to use it for colorwork in the future (although some more subtle, heathery colors would be nice). I'm thinking, though, that I should have chosen a different color for the secondary background color (the brownish one, Fawn). In the pictures it looks like a much darker brown, not a tan, and I like that better. I'm not going to sweat it, though, since I'll probably have nearly enough yarn left over to make another whole pair.

Also, I just want to say "Hi!" to anyone who's reading. If you stopped by once and came back, thank you! If you left a comment, thank you 10x more! Also, I've added a little button to the right, under my profile, where you can subscribe to my blog feed via Bloglines. I'm sure most of you have accounts already, but if you don't I highly recommend getting one! This way you don't have to run around from blog to blog - everything is in one place.

We went to see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada on Friday in Kendall Square (after a tasty dinner at Emma's).
This film has so much going for it. The story is beautiful and complicated. The actors are cast perfectly. Tommy Lee Jones, well, this is the best I've ever seen him. January Jones was a pleasant surprise. The landscapes are breathtaking. Did I mention the story? Jones will tear your heart into pieces with his performance. His dedication and love for his friend, Melquiades, a drifting Mexican cowboy, is unexpectedly moving. The Three Burials was worlds better than all the films I've seen (in the theater) of late. Except Paradise Now - the two are pretty much on par. If it's playing anywhere near you, I promise that it will grip you in ways you don't see coming

This film could kick the crap out of Crash any day.

Thursday, March 2

Future knits and a couple quick raves

A few of the many projects floating around in my head. Starting from the top left, we have Raspy from Rowan's Denim People, the Norwegian Stockings from Folk Socks, Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage socks (ready to go on these - lovely shade of Schaefer Anne!) , Steph Japel's Forecast from Knitty, Kaffe Fassett's Brocade from Rowan 38 (super-excited about this one, I'm going to save up for the Yorkshire Tweed DK), Northern Lights mittens from Knitpicks, Eunny's Deep-V Argyle Vest, Retro Rib socks from Interweave, and the Union Square Market Pullover from Interweave.

I started on the Northern Lights mittens today. Still on the cuff (I love corrugated ribbing) so I'll get some pictures up once I'm into the colorwork. I'm still working on Brian's gloves, pretty much flying blind, but he doesn't care if they're not perfect.

On to the raves: I cannot say enough good things about Beaverslide Dry Goods. I placed an order yesterday for some of their worsted weight wool/mohair in Indian Paintbrush, which looked, to me, like a bright red. Once I saw the color elsewhere on their site, I realized it was more of a bright... pink! I emailed them right away to switch up my order, deciding instead to go with Prairie Coneflower yellow. Leanne was so lovely and understanding! They only had two skeins of Prairie Coneflower left, so she offered an alternative (Barley Heather) at the same price, even though the replacement color cost $1.50 more per skein. I opted to wait until Monday for the new batch of Coneflower, but I was touched by her offer. What a wonderful experience. I'm really itching to work with their yarn! And I expect to return to them many times in the future - their colors are, I think, quite uniquely perfect.

Rave the second: Last night I watched Three... Extremes, a collection of three short "horror" films directed by some of Asia's most prolific and innovative filmmakers. I'm already a (huge) fan of two of the directors, Japan's Takashi Miike and Korea's Chan-Wook Park, so it was pretty much a given that I'd love this film. And I did! I loved each segment for different reasons.
Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" was a very straightforward, no-fuss story, but it's realism worked very well and made it even more creepy.
Chan-wook's "Cut" fits in with the director's body of work, focusing on vengeance. While Miike's film is the most visually-driven of the bunch, there are images from "Cut" that I won't soon forget - this woman at the piano, for example, and the whole look and feel of the room.
If you've seen any of Takashi Miike's most popular films, you know his style - very over-the-top, limit-pushing, graphic stuff. There are subtleties in his films, of course (and I love him for that) but many people don't see it. Anyway. "Box" convinced me that Miike is capable of anything. To me, "Box" is unlike anything I've seen from him before, yet it fits in perfectly with the rest of his work. What struck me the most was how quiet the film was. Dialogue was minimal, visuals were absolutely stunning. My friend Dana called it "atmospheric and creepy," which is more than fitting. I would post hundreds of stills if I could; instead I just recommend that you track this film down and watch it.

Wednesday, March 1

I do more than knit socks, I swear.

Friday Harbor socks from Knitting on the Road, in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (Pheasant)

I know how this looks, but I assure you I do more than knit socks. These, however, were a labor of love. I loved the pattern, I loved the yarn. It was a match made in heaven. But after casting on three times with progressively larger needles and STILL not being able to fit the cuff over my heel, I had to make some modifications. With US 2 needles added another lace repeat in the cuff, which translated to extra ribbing around the leg. Perfect! Okay, the cuff is a little bit loose. But it fits! Over my foot! There was minimal pooling with the yarn, which made me happy, but I'm not really looking forward to working with it again (there's another skein languishing in the stash) since it's rather inelastic.

Also, I promise you that I don't just go around buying yarn all the time - I actually DO knit with it from time to time. My stash, however, has grown considerably since we last spoke:

Clockwise from top left: handpainted Jaggerspun Zephyr in Monarch, MaineStream 2-ply wool in Portabello, Maine BearSox sock yarn in Maine Moose and Pacifica, MaineStream sport-weight wool in Viking Gold, and small loop mohair in Waterfall.

I've been waiting for this order from FurrYarns to come in since I ordered it in September - five months ago. I think it was worth the wait! The colors are a little different than I expected, but I'm not complaining - everything is gorgeous.

Henry's Attic Peruvian Tweed, color #107, and Prime Alpaca in Mist Gray

I love this alpaca. The skeins are honking huge, over 600 yards. Also, if you've heard of Joseph Galler Yarns - this stuff from Henry's Attic is the same exact thing that they're selling for a whole lot less. Anyway, I think it's pretty clear I need to lay off the yarn-buying for a little while. We'll overlook the order I placed with Beaverslide Dry Goods this morning...

For some reason my laptop doesn't want to read DVDs today, so I couldn't take any stills from Mysterious Skin (which I watched last night). I hope this problem will somehow fix itself and won't get in the way of my future blogging. Anyway, here's a still I scooped up from elsewhere:

I think this film is going to stick with me for a long time. I've become accustomed to seeing a lot of things in films, and they don't really bother me. In fact I really enjoy films that challenge me that way. But there was one scene here (if you've seen it I bet you know the one) that I particularly had trouble handling - I seriously had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Not that it was more graphic than anything else - it wasn't - I think it was more the connection I felt with the character involved. So props to Gregg Araki and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for that.

Last night I also watched Almodovar's All About My Mother (I love it when IFC plays something that's in my queue anyway). I enjoyed this one a lot. I've had a soft spot for Almodovar ever since we watched Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios in middle school Spanish class, so I was looking forward to finally seeing this film. I found it much more engaging than La Mala EducatiĆ³n, but Habla Con Ella is still my favorite.

I'll have something new to show next time, I hope. I've casted on for Brian's cabled convertible mittens - I'm sort of winging it, drawing from two different patterns and one of Jenna Wilson's celtic cables. My spring break starts on Friday, so next week should be productive!