Monday, May 29

Oh my god, I might actually wear this.

My face looks weird here, hooray!

Pattern: Forecast by Stefanie Japel
Yarn: Worsted weight wool/mohair blend in Prairie Coneflower from Beaverslide Dry Goods (4 skeins)
Needles: US7 Clover bamboo circs, US4 Addi Turbos, US7 Brittany birch dpns, US4 Clover bamboo dpns
Modifications: Yarn substitution, 3-stitch bobbles, a few extra increase rows before dividing for the sleeves, lengthened the body and ribbing, a few decreases in the sleeves, started sleeve ribbing at the elbows.

Forecast: back

It's done! Done done done! And it fits - a little tight in the body ribbing (so that it pulls a bit where the buttons are) but that could be fixed with some more agressive blocking, I bet. It doesn't really bother me, though. I'm not letting it. It feels really good on; as I mentioned, the Beaverslide wool bloomed so well after washing (I got a particularly lanolin-y batch, apparently).

Forecast: detail/buttons

I think the buttons suit it nicely... they're just bold enough, but not too busy given all that's going on in the sweater. I had a little trouble with the buttonbands. The instructions seemed weird to me; they said to pick up more stitches per row along the ribbed parts where the gauge was a lot tighter. This made the bottom flare out a bit. I ripped it out and ended up just winging it - it turned out alright, especially after blocking.

and again

I guess I won't be able to wear it until the fall (it got so hot today that we wimped out and turned on the air conditioner). But I WILL wear it, and that's the best. It looks great with dark denim and I have a few skirts that I think I'll pair it with, too. I'm quite satisfied with it! And also quite ready to move on to something new... swatching for Brocade will begin shortly.

Sunday, May 28


So, Forecast is DONE and the buttons are here and I washed it yesterday and pinned it out on the couch to block overnight. Today was to be picture-taking day but the damn thing is still too damp. Argh! I've unpinned it and set it by the window to speed up the process but the pictures will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm quite pleased with the way it softened up after washing - but come on, just dry already! You're killing me!

Sorry for the lack of updates this week - I was busy getting the apartment ready for Brian to move in (which meant a drastic stash relocation - out of this set of drawers and into a huge new bin). All I worked on was Forecast (duh), Hilarie's sock and another project that I haven't blogged about yet - a simple striped raglan in Cascade 220. I'll post pictures of that when it's done, since the unfinished shots are pretty dull.

I hope you're all having a good weekend, and a good long weekend for those in the US! Check back tomorrow for Forecast pictures - I swear I'll put this thing in the dryer if I have to. Or at least put a blow-dryer to it.

Sunday, May 21

A slight ramble

We're having a weird thunderstorm here in MA, and the cats are a little freaked out. They're even saying we might get hail! I've been in two hailstorms in my life, and they were actually a little fun - but I imagine they can be pretty un-fun under different circumstances. At least I have nowhere to be tonight. We bought a new television this weekend (24"! It seems huge compared to my old 14-incher) so I'm parking myself here to watch Dear Wendy, written by my love, Lars von Trier.

In knitting news, I'm nearing the end of my second Forecast sleeve! I finally picked out some buttons, taking my mother's advice and going light instead of the dark leather I was originally considering. Here's a link to them. I hope they show up soon so I can finish this thing! I think I'll cast on for Brocade next... very, very excited.

Amy Adams in Junebug

I watched Junebug sometime last week and I enjoyed it, as I was prepared to. It was a very solid film with a few great performances - Amy Adams, in my opinion, deserved every ounce of praise she got. I'm not sure I found Alessandro Nivola's performance as convicing, however. He was George, a North Carolina-to-Chicago transplant with that alluring drawl and quiet demeanor. I didn't see where his character was coming from - maybe he was just underdeveloped compared to some of the others. Junebug deals with some interesting issues (like an outsider coming into a thoroughly Southern family), although I can't say how accurately certain things are portrayed. Anyway, good movie, easy to watch, definitely worth it.

from Mike Leigh's Naked

Mike Leigh's Naked. Well. I was floored by this one. I'm not sure I've seen anything like David Thewlis' Johnny, the protagonist. I particularly liked his conversation with Brian, the security guard, and the scenes with Jeremy Smart - my, what a character. The dialogue is fast and thickly British but oh oh oh I loved it. I read on IMDB that Thewlis improvised most of the script - I think it's true, since I've read that Leigh often encourages his actors to do so. This will probably, definitely be the next film I buy on DVD.

from Open Hearts

Open Hearts is the third film I've seen done in the Dogme 95 style (the others being The Idiots and The King is Alive). If you're not familiar with it, here's a brief explanation: in 1995, Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and 2 other directors got together and created a manifesto to push the limits of film and "counter certain tendencies" in contemporary cinema. Basically, Dogme films are shot with hand-held cameras without sets, props, sound effects, makeup, lighting... everything is real. Another stipulation is that the director cannot be credited.

Open Hearts violates the 6th point on the "Vow of Chastity," which states that "the film must not contain superficial action (murders, weapons, etc must not occur.)" The film, however, revolves around a car accident that happens early in the film - a man is hit and is paralyzed from the neck down. Obviously this didn't really happen. Also, it has a soundtrack - music that was added after the film was shot. However, even von Trier himself has admitted that no film can adhere to the dogma 100% (each director, I believe, may write a "confessional" after the fact revealing where they may have strayed). If you'd like to read more about Dogme 95, the website is here. I'm looking forward to seeing the other two original Dogme films - Festen and Milfune.

Anyway, back to Open Hearts. It was okay. Nowhere near as inventive as the other Dogme films I've seen, but perhaps it's not fair to hold it up to that standard. On its own, the story is fairly simple and a touch predictable (wife hits girls boyfriend with car and paralyzes him, husband comforts girl... you take it from there). The acting was good, definitely convincing and at times compelling. But somehow it just feels forgettable. Take away the Dogme label and the way it was shot and I'm not sure much would be left.

Sorry to ramble about that!

Thursday, May 18

Comment interface change

One of my biggest problems with Blogger is the fact that I can't reply to all your comments via email - I can either reply here and pray that you see it or post a reply at your blog, setting off a game of comment-tag. Well, I think I've found a solution: I've swtiched to Haloscan for my comments! Now there's a little field for you to enter your email address when you comment (Cirilia, HOW do I not have your email? I need to reply to your last comment at length) and I should be able to respond pretty easily. This morning I had a slightly tedious copy-paste session and transferred all of the old Blogger comments into Haloscan, so we're all set! I really hope it works out.

Wednesday, May 17

What's that in the sky?

Bostonites! Could it be the sun? I'm in a state of disbelief - waking up at 6:30 and having my windows bathed in light? Joy! Instead of running outside to frolic, I scrambled out of bed to blog.
Gentleman's Fancy Socks - done!
As I've said, the socks are done - and covered in cat hair because I've been wearing them around the house a lot. Not much left to say about them... I'd definitely knit them again (and I might have to if Brian is set on this pattern - we could match!)

New England sock progress
Hilarie's sock! Look at that neat-o striping. I love it, and luckily it's not obscuring the pattern at all. I really like using variegated yarn double-stranded; it lets all the different tones come through at once. It's a nice effect - I used some Diakieto double-stranded for my One-skein Wonder last year and it's one of my favorite and most wearable FO's. Anyway, these socks - I like the pattern, the lacy ribbing makes it interesting (even though I'm a little tired of all the double decreases).

progress on Forecast
A little more Forecast progress... oh, the ribbing. I'm almost through the 3rd skein, almost done with the ribbing on the body. Hopefully the next picture will be a modeled one!

from The Draughtsman's Contract
Last week I rented The Draughtsman's Contract, another Peter Greenaway. As with the others, I loved the way it was shot (the composition and framing inside Mr. Neville's grid) and the dialogue was spot on - quick and sharp. The story was pure Greenaway, and I'm not sure if I've really absorbed all of it yet. It definitely warrants a second viewing.

from Bleu
I also watched the first film in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois Couleurs trilogy, Bleu. Kieslowski's The Decalogue is one of my favorite works of film, ever, so I don't know why I've put off seeing this series for so long. I loved Blue, I really did. There's so much to be said for quiet films. Juliet Binoche was wonderful - this was just a pleasure to watch, each and every shot, even though the content was rather sad (she loses her daughter and composer husband in a car crash in the film's opening). I'm looking forward to the next two films in the trilogy.
from Bleu
One of my favorite shots from the film.

Just a reminder - if any of you reading out there have a Netflix account, I'd love to have you as a Netflix friend! That way we can see each other's ratings and queues, get recommendations, etc. It's one of my favorite parts of having a Netflix account. You can leave your email in the comments and I'll send you an invite, or you can send one to me! My email's on my blogger profile page.

Oh, and a life update: my boys turned one year old on Sunday!
birthday Briscoe
birthday Fry
They got a new scratch pad, catnip toy, and spinny mouse-toy-apparatus... sort of like this but without a motor. They went on a big, rolling catnip binge and seem to be pretty content in their new maturity.

Oh, and if you want to see a few preliminary pictures from that wedding we went to in Maryland, check out my Flickr photostream! That's all for now... I'm off to enjoy the sun a bit.

Thursday, May 11

Gloomy weather makes blogging hard

This overcast weather does not want to let up! I finished the Gentleman's Fancy Socks a couple of days ago, but my apartment has been getting very little light so I'm going to wait to take pictures. The socks haven't really left my feet since (ew!), they are SO comfortable and soft and warm. Schaefer Anne is a great, great yarn. It's quite fine, but when knit up at a nice tight gauge in simple stockinette... mmmm. New favorite sock yarn? Perhaps. Speaking of which, I managed to get my hand on some multicolored Sundara sock yarn in Grasshopper!

I can't wait to work with it - the color variations are perfect, just subtle enough for a more complex sock pattern. I even have one in mind!

I've picked up Forecast again, and I'm feeling really great about it! It looks like I'm going to have enough yarn after all - and if I don't, I think it looks pretty cute with 3/4 sleeves. I also started swatching for the New England socks - double stranding the yarn on size 0's gives 10 stitches per inch, and I need 9, so I'll just jump up a needle size.

Last post, Veronique asked how many blogs I read. A lot! I subscribe to 141 feeds through Bloglines. The majority of those are knitting blogs, but there's a bunch of food blogs in there for good measure. I think getting a Bloglines account was the best thing I ever did; I could never remember to check up on all the great blogs out there.

I'll try to snap off a few pictures of the socks and Forecast tomorrow morning before I leave for Brian's graduation (!) I really have no idea where this week went!

Sunday, May 7


Hey everyone! I'm back from the wedding in Maryland (which was SO much fun and so beautiful - the weather, ceremony and company were perfect, even if my bridesmaid's dress fit like a tourniquet) and while I didn't make it to Sheep and Wool, I don't mind at all. I almost finished up the second GF sock on the plane, so expect pictures tomorrow or the next day.

Now I have 114 of your posts to read in Bloglines - what fun! I should go away more often.

Monday, May 1

An exercise in restraint... sort of.

So, I did manage to make it to Webs this weekend (after agreeing to make a stop at the used computer store as well). Sometimes I feel like Webs is more my LYS than any of the stores in Boston. You won't believe what happened this time, though - I made it out the door having only spent $29! I'm usually at LEAST $60 in the hole after a visit. I came dangerously close to buying a pack of bright red Cathay, a pack of steely-blue Debbie Bliss Merino DK, and 4 skeins of bright blue Cascade 220, but somehow I stood firm. I got the two balls of Jo Sharp DK that I needed, and some size 8 bamboo dpns (the metal ones I have are too heavy to knit sleeves comfortably). My only superfluous purchase was these two balls of the famed $6 Regia:
Which on its own wouldn't be that bad, if you disregard the 4 balls that just came in from eBay:
That would be Regia Canadian Color. Three are self-striping and the one on the left is variegated. I can't wait to knit these up!

This coming weekend we're going to a wedding in Potomac, Maryland (B. and I are both in the wedding party, and I'm currently starving myself to fit into my one-size-too-small dress!). The more wool-obsessed among you will note that this weekend is also the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in West Friendship, MD. Oh. my. god. Now I'm frantically scheming, searching for any way I can spend just an hour in fiber paradise. The wedding's not til 3pm on Saturday... our flight leaves at 12:30 Sunday... it's about 30 miles from town to town... hmm. I just can't justify being in the same state as this legendary event and not going. I'll keep you posted.

We watched Terrence Malick's Badlands on Saturday night. Beautiful film, visually - from the scenery and twilight to Sissy Spacek (who was 23 or so when this film was made, I think - but as Holly she doesn't look a day over 15). The story is simple, but the way it's presented sets it apart - we see Kit and Holly's killing spree through her innocent eyes. It was a very, very solid film, one of only four Malick has directed. I saw The Thin Red Line in the theater when it came out, and for all its philosophical musings, I liked it. I'm looking forward to the release of The New World on DVD; I think it promises to be just as stunningly beautiful as this.

Okay, back to rolling in Regia for me!