Tuesday, 18 March 2008

When a crochet hook is a less surprising thing to find in your bed than another person, your life may have gone ever so slightly skewy somewhere.

But to the point: the knitting on the Unpronounceable Shell is finished! All I need to do now is seam the shoulders, whip up a neckband, block, and take some unintentionally artistically out of focus pictures. I've held off casting on for the Drawstring Chemise, though, because my row gauge is so stratospherically off that my usual turning-a-blind-eye technique might not get me very far. As for the lovely Yosemite, in the end I decided to hold out until I can get (read "afford") some different coloured yarn, as I think the brown Provence would be a bit dull, and the red a bit hard to wear in that kind of top. (Do not attempt to probe too deeply into my logic on this one, as it may not stand up all that well.) So anyway, I'm currently without project! Any suggestions? Should I reinstate my beginning-to-curl-around-the-edges intention of making the Surplice Bodice Camisole? Plow ahead with the Drawstring Chemise, studiously ignoring any gauge issues? Or acknowledge the fact that it's snowed three days in a row and knitting summer tops in cotton might not be the brightest idea I've ever had?

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Spring Knitty is finally up (not that I've been obsessively checking or anything), and I challenge anyone to resist the general scrummyness that is Yosemite:
The best bit? It's 100% cotton! Which surely means that it's meant to be, given the vast quantities of Classic Elite Provence I have lying around. Of course, I had sort of already assigned most of it to other projects, but where would the fun in life be if you couldn't renege on your own decisions on a whim?

I probably won't have the internet for the next couple of weeks due to flat-juggling (though I might sneak in an internet cafe update or two, depending on how severe my withdrawal symptoms get), which will hopefully allow plenty of time for my capricious mind to commit itself to something before next time. Bis nachher!

Monday, 10 March 2008

I knew there was a flaw in this democracy business

Skimming through my inbox this afternoon, I was somewhat surprised to find an email which started, "You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to facilitate the issuing of Biometric Visas in Mogilev in order to avoid the prohibative cost to charities of transporting children to Minsk". Now, normally I don't consider a day complete without signing a petition asking the Prime Minister to facilitate the issuing of biometric visas somewhere or other, but, you know, I've been busy, and I didn't immediately twig what it was going on about. Once I'd worked it out (and established a few pesky geographical details, like where Mogilev actually was), I thought I'd have an idle browse through other petitions to the Prime Minister's Office, which I heartily recommend if you've got a spare half hour and no vested interest in whether the British electorate is fit to vote. Just to give you a flavour of the pressing matters Gordon Brown is forced to deal with (and bear in mind that these all had to get at least 200 signatories to make it through):

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to:

  • "impose a maximum weight limit for women wearing stiletto heels"
  • "establish hedges on central reservations of motorways and dual carriageways"
  • "legalise gay incest"
  • "legalise otter clubbing"
  • "alter the earth’s orbit to compensate for global warming"
  • "do something about bonsai kittens"
  • "make cheese available free of charge"
  • "create a subsidy to make cheese cheaper" (obviously a key topical issue, this)
  • "ban gorgonzola" (not to mention a contentious one)
  • "slaughter every single badger within Great Britain and Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories, and any Marine Badgers at large within UK territorial waters. Also, to not rule out strategic military strikes against rogue badger elements harboured by other states. (The curious may ask themselves exactly how a badger gives TB to a cow. The truth is unrepeatable on a governement website, but let me assure you the process is as perverse as it is cruel.)"
  • "force the Daily Express to admit that Diana, Princess of Wales, is dead"
  • "remove the green sweets from Starburst and to reinstate the Opal Fruits brand name"
  • "give free houses (near a beach) to people called Mike"
  • "seriously consider not allowing children, unless they have been suitably sedated, to travel on aeroplanes"
  • "invade France, and thus provide us with a war we can all get behind"

and, of course

  • "stop wasting tax money employing people to review online petition requests"
What I particularly like is the fact that the Prime Minister's Office has to give a reason for rejecting any given petition. Thus the official response to a request to "force terestrial television newsreaders to wear underpants on their heads" was, "it was outside the remit or powers of the Prime Minister and Government", whilst a plea to "ban pretty average European scramz from dragging down the quality of global screamo" was turned down because, "it contained wording that is impossible to understand". And just in case further proof were needed that the good ol' British nation is doomed, the third most popular petition on the entire site - with a whopping 46908 signatures - is a motion to make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister. Not meaning to jump to conclusions or anything, but somehow I doubt he'd have much to say about the issuing of biometric visas in Mogilev...

Progress! It's not much to look at, but this is how far along I am with the Aleita Shell (henceforth to be referred to as the Unpronounceable Shell):
You can't tell from the picture (this seems to be a bit of a recurring theme with my photography), but I've added a row of eyelets at the top, just before dividing for the front, so that when it's finished I'll be able to weave through an underbust ribbon. Work's ground to a halt for now though, as I need to buy a smaller crochet hook for the next step. In the meantime I'm toying with the idea of casting on a modified version of this; modified because I have the shoulders of a quarterback and spaghetti straps make me look like an unconvincing drag queen.

And on that pleasant image I'm off to forage for food. Pip pip!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Finished objects come to those who wait a really, really long time

In a vaguely improbable turn of events, I finally finished Mike's Christmas jumper! As I have yet to get a semi-decent picture of it (for which I choose to blame basement flats rather than my own questionable camera skills), you'll have to make do with this for now. (I rather like that "for now"; it misleadingly implies that at some point I might actually get round to taking another one):

Anyone making haircut-related comments will be asked to leave the room

There are lots of things I'm disproportionately proud of, most of which you can't really see in the photos: the rolled hems, raglan seams and neckline ribbing, the stitches for which took an ice-age to pick up evenly because I sort of forgot that the front had many more stitches than the back. The only thing I'm a bit dubious about is how loose the blocked fabric is - can you see the white shirt glowing fetchingly through the jumper?

As for the boring technical-ly bit:

Pattern: Jesse's Flames from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, size medium

Yarn: 12 balls of Lana Grossa Cool Wool Big (I have my suspicion that a work experience kid with English as a second language comes up with these names) in petrol

Needles: Lang 4.5mm circulars, 80cm long. Have I waxed annoyingly lyrical about these yet? They're by far and away the best circulars I've ever used: the cord's super flexible and the points (which are made of brass) are incredibly light and smooth. Plus they're all metallic-coloured and high-tech looking, which, um, I'm sure aids the knitting process somehow. Lang needles are actually made by Addi, so I suppose they are in fact Addi Turbos in European disguise.

Mods: knit the lower body in 4 x 3 rib in the round; omitted the flames; replaced the contrast colour around the top of the ribbing with a garter stitch band; worked turned hems along the bottom and the cuffs.

If you haven't used up all your incredulity for the day, I actually have something new on the needles! Well, when I say "on the needles" I mean "about to be pulled straight back off the needles in a fit of frustration", because apparently I can't reliably count above about 30. The slightly uncooperative project in question is the Aleita Shell from the Spring 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, which arrived while I was back. Also in the post (because Amazon really shouldn't store your card details so conveniently) were The Knitter's Book of Yarn (some interesting stuff, but not worthy of the hyperbole dished out over at Amazon.com), a couple of cookbooks and, um, Jane Asher's Cakes for Fun. This one was a total mistake, I swear! But you never know when you might need to whip up a cactus cake or an edible pot plant at a moment's notice.