Friday, April 28

Hey guys, it's this thing!

Create your own Music List @ HotFreeLayouts!

Well, there's that. I love music just as much as I love movies, I'd say.

Tonight I'm off to Easthampton, MA for the weekend. Brian just landed a summer internship in Boston (whoo!) so we'll try to celebrate as he writes the final few papers of his college career. Will I be able to squeeze in a trip to Webs? I don't know, but I'll probably try! I just ordered 4 balls of Regia on eBay, though, so I'll focus on stuff that I actually need - 2 more balls of Jo Sharp DK for the vest, etc. This is my first weekend of freedom in a long time - I'm the managing editor of a weekly newspaper at BU, and Fridays and Saturdays are usually spent laying out the paper. The last issue of the school year came out yesterday, so I'm free for a little while - aaahhh, it feels good. What knitting will I bring? Probably just the second Gentleman's Fancy sock, since Forecast is a little bulky.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! See you Monday.

Thursday, April 27

Gentlewoman's Fancy Sock

Well, will you look at that. Brian's sock fits me like a... er... glove! The problem was with, duh, gauge - I was getting 10 stitches per inch instead of 9 (but I think my row gauge was okay). If I'd used size 1's instead of 0's it might have been fine. I've discussed it with Brian and we've agreed to regroup with a new yarn and bigger needles. And in the meantime, I'm getting a rad pair of socks! The yarn (Schaefer Anne, in case you missed it) feels incredible knit up. The pooling really peeved me at first but as I got to knitting the foot, I started to enjoy it.

So here's the yarn I'm using for Hilarie's socks - pretty, huh? Hard to get a decent photo of it - the colors are brighter in person. There's a nice taupe shade, which fades into a deep rosy color, then into a lovely lavender and back to pink. The ball you see above is only a slight fraction of what I have - I wound off about as much as my ball winder could handle. My only worry is that the yarn is REALLY thin, probably closer to lace-weight than fingering. The original pattern calls for Koigu. I might try double-stranding it... hmm.

The dilemma? Do I cast on for the second GF sock, or start on the New England sock? I'm thinking I'll swatch for the New England sock while the needles are free and then dive right in to the second GF. This snugly, wonderful sock needs a mate.

And since I know this is what you all want to see:

I haven't worked on it for a while (I was in SUCH a sock mood, seeing everyone's sockapaloooza posts) but I'll get back to that sleeve presently! I'm still struggling with buttons - I'm still leaning towards brown leather but my mother suggested a lighter button (because the sweater is so busy already and she thought it would blend nicely). Maybe she has a point?

Last night I watched Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, a film that is often compared to Psycho - I believe they both came out the same year, and, well, they're both about disturbed, obsessive men with childhood trauma. I liked Peeping Tom - it's just the right amount of creepy (Carl Boehm, well done!) and noir, and surprisingly it achieves that without being explicit or graphic. And while I love a good graphic film, I really respect what Powell did here (it was 1960, after all).

Monday, April 24

Best laid plans and a new obsession

Thank you, everyone, for your nice words on my spontaneous dyeing project! It's not SO awful, you're right - after all, I am guilty of having a skein of Vesper sock yarn in Algae, which now that I'm looking at it is quite close to what I made, minus the red. Of course I'll post when (if?) I use the stuff, but right now I have another sock project on the horizon. As I mentioned in my button post, I drunkenly promised my friend that I'd knit her some socks, and damn it, I plan to keep that promise. This past Saturday she came over and we laid out some of my sock yarns to see what she liked. She chose a big (huge) hank of Mystical Creation Yarns fingering weight in Amethyst. I got this yarn on the cheap in the fall and haven't touched it yet. I have a POUND of the stuff. A. Pound. We're talking thousands of yards, I think. I'm more than happy to crank out a pair of socks with it - hell, take two pairs! - and she loves the colorway. I then shoved two formidable sock books at her, and she chose the New England socks from Knitting on the Road.

Now, my size 0's are currently tied up in another (sadly, doomed?) sock project, the Gentleman's Fancy socks. They were meant for Brian but it seems like they only just fit me. So... I'm not sure how to proceed. I'm inclined to push on and keep them for myself (since I'm sort of devastated to see one of my favorite stash skeins go) and then just start again for Brian. Maybe in a thicker yarn and up a needle size.

Forecast is going quite well - I made it to the ribbing on the body and the fit of this thing is perfect! I made it about and inch or two into the ribbing before my second skein of yarn ran out. Since I live in terror of my yarn running out, I decided to start on a sleeve before finishing the body ribbing, just to see how much yarn the sleeves will end up using. Fingers crossed, people!

Sorry there are no knitting pictures today - I didn't get much done this weekend. However, I did find time to watch some movies! First off, thanks to Dana and Adrian, I think I've been launched into a full-fledged obsession with Peter Greenaway. I rented A Zed & Two Noughts mostly to compare it to Dead Ringers, and wow. They're both great films but I loved ZOO a whole lot more.
It was so frenetic and morbid and the Vermeer and the way they pronounce "zebra" and oh! The snails! And the score? Just. Wow. Like the other two films I'm going to mention in this post, it's definitely not for everyone. But it's perfect for me.

I also managed to catch The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover - a much more straighforward film than ZOO but a masterpiece nonetheless.
The most obvious thing to mention is the use of color, but I also loved the way it was shot - many long, single-take scenes, following groups and individuals through the restaurant, Le Hollandais. Michael Gambon was mesmerizing and vulgar, and Helen Mirren, well. She's wonderful. I loved the story and all of the coordinated activity in many of the scenes. It's just so sublimely rich to look at. I hope they re-release it on DVD, and soon - it's been out of print for too long.

Needless to say, I expect this Greenaway rampage will continue.

Thursday, April 20

Spontaneous Dyeing Incident

You are not going to believe what I did last night.

I dyed yarn.

Shield your eyes, it's hideous!

After seeing Alison's wonderfully colorful, vibrant, self-striping post, I thought to myself, "Jenna, why haven't you dyed yarn yet? You have over 4 pounds (four cones, three skeins) of natural, undyed yarn tucked away in closets and drawers. You have about 30 packets of KoolAid that you've been collecting for over year in anticipation. What's stopping you?"

I'll say one thing. Spontaneous dyeing? Probably not the best idea.

I made mistakes, and I learned. But at least I got my first time out of the way, and thank GOD I used KoolAid and not acid/procion dye (did I mention that I poked the dyebath with my finger... and then tasted it? More than once?) I do plan to place an order for some professional dyes, and soon (I'm signing up for Dye-O-Rama - you all should too!) but using them will require a lot more preparation and mindfulness.

The flavors I used? Ice Blue Berry Lemonade (the first dyebath I made... my fingers were bright blue until I remembered the baking soda trick), Wild Watermelon Kiwi (a nice option if stores near you don't carry Lemon Lime - mine don't), and Jamaica. I was hoping Jamaica would be... a little less vibrant and more pink than it was. I put in just one packet and the water turned dark red. Good to know for the future, though. Oh, and what I realized when I was winding it into a skein? The stripes aren't going to go blue-green-red... they're going to be blue-green-red-green. This is what happens when you don't think ahead.

So, it's ugly. Really ugly. Clown socks. But I made it. The bottom line here is that I'm not a natural. But I want to learn!

Wednesday, April 19

The hardest button to button?

So, as you can see, I'm already considering buttons for Forecast. The ones above were found at, a site I totally ganked from Cirilia. I've never found a button site that I really liked, but this one is great! I'm leaning towards brown buttons, just to keep it a little subdued but still have them stand out against the yellow. And probably something on the simple side, so it doesn't conflict with the intense texture of the knit. The ones above I picked out, very quickly, after a browse of the site. I'm favoring the middle buttons on the top and bottom rows, but I think the leather button on the bottom left is pretty neat (for a future project, maybe, if not this one.)

Anyway, in terms of progress I'm just started the ribbed part of the body on the smaller needles. I'm using some US4s that I have instead of the US5s called for in the pattern for a couple of reasons - first, the cable on the US5s I have is only 24", a little too short. And second, in the pattern the US5s are listed as 3.5mm, but my US5s are 3.75mm and my 4s are 3.5mm. We'll see how that turns out! It's fitting great so far, either way - I added a bit of length to the body, I went to about 6.25 inches from the armpit instead of 4.5.

What's up next? Well, aside from all the projects I have going already (just a quick glance to the left, if you will), I'll be casting on for Brocade as soon as Forecast is off the needles. I also promised a pair of socks to my dearest friend Hilarie (even if I was drunk, the deal still stands!) so if you are reading this, we'll have to go over the details soon.

Tuesday, April 18

Forecast: Very sunny!

A couple pictures of Forecast, as promised:
Don't you just love that color? I do! Initially I wanted to do this sweater in a bright, bold red, but I think the yellow suits me nicely and I don't wear a lot of it. As you can see, I'm plugging along. I did one extra increase row and a few extra straight rows before separating for the sleeves (chubby arms?) but I think it's going to fit really well. I'm freaking out a bit over how much yarn I have - Beaverslide is entirely out of this color and dyelot, and I'm already through my first skein (even if I'd wanted to order 5 skeins instead of 4, I couldn't have). So, my fingers are crossed, begging the yarn gods not to force me into 3/4 length sleeves!

Here's a bit of detail on the cables and 3-stitch bobbles.

Oh, and here's my Yorkshire Tweed DK in Skip and Rowdy - Skip looks a little washed out in this photo, the blue is brighter in person. The yarn has a nice, robust feel - looking forward to working with it.

We watched The Squid and the Whale on Friday. For all the hype about it, I just don't know. Wes Anderson's involvement definitely showed (Jeff Daniels seemed to be channeling Hackman's performance in The Royal Tenenbaums) and the film had its moments, I won't deny that. But the more I think about it, the more I dislike it. It was just so depressing and troubling, to no real end. A friend said I'd probably like the film (my parents divorced when I was in second grade) but I never had to deal with joint custody, so I couldn't really relate. Brian and I agreed that Frank's character was pretty underdeveloped but William Baldwin was pretty great. Walt basically made me want to scream. So. I don't know, I think I liked it, but I did have some issues with it.

Thursday, April 13

I'm in love...

... with my newest project! I cast on yesterday morning for Forecast and so far, it's been like a dream. I hit gauge spot-on (with size 7 Clover bamboos), the pattern is engaging and easily memorized, and the yarn, well. The yarn is PERFECT. Inspired by Fig and Plum Jessica I went for Beaverslide's wool/mohair worsted weight in Prairie Coneflower, which is a little brighter than in that picture. The yarn is robust and springy - my particular batch has a little more lanolin than is normal for them, but I don't mind at all. I'd say it's pretty comparable to some of the Bartlett yarns. Anyway, it's very well-suited to the pattern. The texture pops quite nicely and my bobbles look the best they ever have (I'm going with 3-stitch bobbles instead of 5-stitch).

I'll post photos tomorrow because it's pretty overcast today. I'm almost done with the increase rows for the yoke!

On the Brocade front: if you voted in the poll, thank you! I ended up ordering Skip and Rowdy and I'm pleased with the choice. I think I'll keep Skip (which is a bit more aqua than some pictures suggest) as the foreground color and use Rowdy in the background. I want to cast on for this really soon, but I'm probably going to use the same needles I'm using for Forecast - all the more reason to push on quickly!

I realize I'm very behind on my Netflix reporting, so here's a quick review:
Contempt was everything I hoped it would be and more. My favorite Godard yet - I particularly loved the apartment scene. The camerawork was very striking and unique. I'm adding the novel to my summer reading list, for sure.

I enjoyed Save the Green Planet!, but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't very memorable - 3 stars. It manages to be hilarious and violent and heartbreaking all at once. Definitely worth a watch if you're into contemporary Asian film.

Bubble was a quirky little film that probably wouldn't have worked without the use of unknown actors. The story was fairly bare-bones and accessible but it threw a few curveballs. I'd say Bubble benefits from being pretty short (73 minutes), and the score compliments the film nicely. Again, worth a watch.

I don't have any decent stills from Le Temps du Loup, but I'll say a few words about it anyway. I love Isabelle Huppert and I really liked Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher - this film had a very similar feel (bleak, bleak, bleak). The premise is that some sort of apocalypse has occured, wiping out a large portion of the population and leaving the rest to fend for themselves. Supplies are scarce and primitive systems of trade and government emerge. Le Temps du Loup is probably too slow-moving for most, but it's a fascinating portrait of human nature and survival. It's probably the most realistic portrayal of post-apocalyptic situation ever shown on film.

(I also watched Dead Ringers, but I'll wait to post about that until I see A Zed & Two Noughts, thanks Dana!)

So, Forecast pictures tomorrow - looks like it's going to be nice and sunny!

Thursday, April 6

Help me if you can, I'm feelin' down

Once again, I fear I must apologize for my absence - but as they say, life intervenes. I've been dealing with some pretty major life decisions, which has drained the life out of me and sapped my energy to knit or blog. Some knitting has been done, of course, and will be covered very shortly! I can't believe I missed flash your stash day! If you don't object, I may do a little belated stash-flashing of my own in the near future.

But friends, now I come to you in a time of great need! You see, I have been desperate to knit the lovely Brocade sweater from Rowan 38 (my first Kaffe Fassett!) but have balked at the price of the Yorkshire Tweed DK, which runs at around $10 per 50gm ball. The sweater calls for 12. I rarely see this yarn on eBay, at least not at a substantial enough discount.

What has changed? I've found the yarn. For 50% off. I've gone into a sort of frenzy, I must order the yarn NOW, must cast on NOW NOW NOW! But I've run into a problem - the colors. Here are the colors I've been considering:

From left to right, they are: Skip, Champion, Gust, Rowdy, Lime Leaf, Frog, and Sprinkle.

Here's the sweater:

The original colors used are Skip and Frog.

My thoughts: I initially went straight for Skip and Champion. I was pleased with my choice, BUT then I remembered the colors I bought for the Union Square Market Pullover... pretty much exactly the same. I need variety! So I moved towards the original colors, or maybe substituting Lime Leaf for Frog... but Lime Leaf is too light! So I moved towards the neutral shades, and then the reds and oranges and purples.... and I've decided that this decision is not one I can make alone. So, a poll, in which I beg you all to vote (and which also looks really weird in Firefox... sorry everyone!):

What color combination should I use for Rowan's Brocade?

Skip and Frog
Skip and Champion
Skip and Rowdy
Skip and Gust
Champion and Sprinkle
Something with Lime Leaf?
Something entirely different! (leave a comment)

view results

I trust you all, and with your help maybe I can have this yarn ordered by tonight. And I promise to make an awesome post for tomorrow!