Sunday, October 31, 2010

One, two, three, knock on the wall

Can we talk horror movies for a moment? The first scary movie I remember seeing is the original Halloween. It was the TV version, so no explicit violence or tits, and it still scared the pants off of me. A later unedited viewing revealed that it doesn't actually have much explicit violence, which truly makes it scarier--not knowing exactly what happened means that your imagination runs wild. Plenty of boobs, though.

I caught part of the 2007 remake of Halloween a couple of days ago, again a TV edited viewing experience. It hour or so of my life I can't get back. There were some fun homages to the original film, but all in all it was the same movie with less character development and suspense, more tits, and much much more gore. Le sigh. I don't want to start in on a 'these kids today' kind of rant, but the only thing that kept me engaged at all was a sweater nouveau-Laurie Strode was sporting:

No, not the Queen of Sheba outfit, the navy sweater with the big white flowers. It was appealingly kitschy and cozy looking. I pondered whether it would be worth trying to knit, but the embarrassment of the inspiration source might be too much to bear. When Michael Myers ripped it off during a by-the-numbers chase scene, I gave up and changed the channel.

Short story long, I'm disappointed that practically every 'scary' movie just ends up being kind of gross. Guts =/= suspense. So I was dubious when Netflix recommended El Orfanato (The Orphanage) as a scary movie I would like. A foreign film. "What do you take me for, Netflix??" But I gave it a shot, seeing as how watching a flick with subtitles would boost my hipster cred. And then I sat on the edge of the couch for the next two hours with my mouth hanging half open. It was an actual story, with real characters, and suspense. Perfect Halloween scares, in the sense that they were from tension and apprehension instead of from disgusting/disturbing/torture-porn-esque shit going on. Netflix--I should not doubt thee. Let's never fight again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hat blocking - mostly win, slightly fail

All in all, the hat blocking escapade was a success. The always flattering self portrait:

I call this one...Blue Steel.

Look, it's a good picture of the hat. Please ignore the human part of the photo entirely.


Pattern - Brattleboro Hat, Interweave Knits Fall 2010

Yarn - Malabrigo Merino Worsted, Emerald, from Blog Hub Swap

Modifications - Added an extra repeat of the body rows (+4 rows) so that it would cover my ears. Because if it doesn't cover your ears, what's the freaking point?

Assessment - Booyah

This update comes a little later than expected, because while Operation Block Hat on Pumpkin was a success, Operation Pull Hat Off Pumpkin and Tear Off the Buttons and Eat One was a success for Sammy. Operation Wait For Button to Appear in Bowel Movement was a failure in the sense that when it did appear, it was in about 4 chewed up pieces. Apparently it's gross that I was even considering reusing the button, but it was part of a matched pair! It's one of the 3 R's people, reuse. I was going to wash it.

[Sidebar: We sound like terrible dog parents, but he's recovering from a surgery + broken leg and isn't allowed to even go on walks for more than 5 min a couple times a day. Convalescing dog = bored dog = naughty dog. Two more weeks until the fixator comes off...he's not that bad, I promise. Hey, quit laughing!]

I'm planning on blocking a couple of older hats, if the pumpkin doesn't mysteriously transform into pie before I get around to it.

Ever go to work and give a research presentation, only to later discover that you have a gaping hole in your sweater?

What's that? You say you have the presence of mind to check on such things before you go out in public and you'd never be such a slovenly loser? ....Yeah, me too. Those people are losers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Baldwin Knits

This isn't an incredibly timely Baldwin status report, given that the live 30 Rock episode aired almost two weeks ago. I caught it last night; I enjoyed the novelty of the 'live' sitcom, despite it not actually being as such for me.

Alec B.'s character was trying to quit drinking to support his newly pregnant girlfriend, and took up knitting to distract him from the painful boredom of sobriety. I may have giggled with glee and clapped my hands like a seal when he produced a poncho in the course of about 5 min:

Oh, Jackie D. I think he's pulling it off.

He also managed to go through and learn all the tricks in a magic 'how-to' book at the same time. I think this is more ammunition for my sexy-men-are-knitters campaign.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finished object(s) of the glove kind

My copilots gloves = done! They took a little extra time because someone, not mentioning any names, neglected to mention that the pinkie finger was too short until they were both done. So it had to be torn out and redone, with me trying to remember that a perfect fit is one of the many perks of knitting.

Sleeping Beauty was trying to nap (which is important, don't get me wrong here) but was cognizant enough to slip on the gloves for a photo shoot.

Penguin Murray is essential for a quality napping experience.

Assessment of the knitting quality.


Pattern - Sock-it-to-Me Gloves

Yarn - Alpaca Yarn Co.: Paca-Peds, from Lake Tahoe Yarn Co., Truckee, CA

Assessment - Me likey

Madison's getting pretty chilly, so I'm sure they'll be up for a test run soon.

ETA: My copilot would like to assure everyone that he is in fact much older than 12, and that I am not a child molester. He gets asked if he's old enough to sit in the exit row on flights for work every now and have to be 15 to sit in the exit row. Pros: when he's 50, he'll look like he's 30.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Escapades in hat blocking

I've never blocked a hat before. It never seems to be urgently necessary; I mean, your head kind of serves to stretch and even things out, eh? But it is a bit disheartening to take it off and see it scrunch back into it's shrunken fetus-esque 'natural' shape. Maybe that's just me.

I've been brainstorming on the best way to proceed with hat blocking. I know some people have those decapitated mannequin heads, some of which are faceless and totally creepy. Some do try and replicate human facial features, and are also totally creepy.

Always smiling, watching, judging.

I'm not getting one of those. We don't seem to have any balls in the house...wait, my husband might disagree. (He has a tube of tennis balls...what were you thinking?) No appropriately sized ball, shall we say.

Then something at the market caught my eye:

Mmmmm. Pie pumpkin/potential hat blocker.

That's about the size of my head, right?

Aww, it looks just like me!

Time will tell how this bright idea pans out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A new sheep enters the fold

One of my co-workers and I have been conspiring for about a year now to get him some knitting learnin', so he can knit his special lady friend a cozy hat for an Xmas present. Last year we started far too late, as seems to be the case with all of my intended Xmas knitting projects (one of my friends got her pair of socks last August...sorry).

A work trip to UNLV was just the 4 hours of solid airplane boredom we needed. Check out my protege's practice work:

Only one accidental yarn over! I am totally impressed; the stitches are pretty even. This is only his second practice swatch (the last one being December of last year). I think he's ready for the big leagues, i.e. it's hat time, baby.

I keep telling the men in my life that dudes with knitting knowledge are totally sexy. Listen up guys, well done handknits = panties dropping. Trust me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Confession time

Crap. Damn it, crap, crap balls crap!! Effffffff. I love it. I tried to act all dismissive about it; the fact is, after starting the body of the hat, I did kind of pee my pants just a little bit with excitement (metaphorically speaking, of course). This Malabrigo worsted wool is so....something. Droolingly soft is the only descriptor that comes to mind. I'm not even done and I can't wait to wear it:

You know what? This doesn't even begin to express my excitement level. I've gotta Michael Bay-ify it (thank you AV Club):

You know, Michael Bay? The guy who makes increasingly-less-tolerable over-the-top action movies? My enjoyment pretty much stopped after The Rock, buddy, and that was probably because Sean Connery was there to class up the joint. Most recently we've been blessed with the Transformers movies, which I understand are about close-ups of CGI-robot-shit moving and spinning incomprehensibly. Also, Megan Fox's breasts.

But the man does know how to jazz up a knitting photo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Infinite Cabled Hat

It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said, "Sometimes you just have to crap or get off the toilet." (OK, maybe that wasn't Gandhi.) I've had this hat pattern on my hands for too long, and it's time to release it into the wild and see if someone can wring some joy from it. Without further ado,

Infinite Cabled Hat - click for free PDF

"The Infinite Cabled Hat is a fabulous project for those who are familiar with cabling, and want to make something that looks complex without actually straining the brain too much! Two needle sizes are used to account for the tension change between the brim and the body (where the cables are introduced). The cables put a twist on the conventional roll-brim by ruffling the edges, nicely framing your face. A clever decreasing scheme keeps the cables going all the way to the top."


Monday, October 4, 2010

Adventures in Malabrigo and new stash

I can occasionally be a just a teensy bit contrary. Whoa, I just heard my mother snort in derisive laughter from 350 miles away. Whether consciously or not, I tend to be wary of anything that 'everyone' seems to enjoy. Seriously, have you ever seen any of the Twilight movies? NOTHING HAPPENS IT'S SO BORING. Or read a Nicholas Sparks book? Those things read like MadLibs for masochists. "The widow/widower/young teen girl/little brother has cancer/a boating accident/a tour in Iraq/an incident with a mudslide and tragically dies. And yet people eat this shit up. And Oprah? I'm sorry, don't even get me started. Are people still collecting Precious Moments figurines? Or really, figurines of any kind? I don't get it.

The point, and I promise there is one, is that I've been dubious of the heaps of praise thrown at Malabrigo yarns. Ergo, I've never made it a point to acquire any. As fate would have it, I received some in my parcel from the Blog Hub Swap. I started the brim for a hat a couple of nights ago:

The verdict: while I didn't urinate on myself per say, I do like it. I was extremely dubious when I found that it was un-plied (or single-ply, I've heard people use both descriptions). My last experience with un-plied yarn ended with me swearing that I'd never use it again, at least that particular ridiculously overpriced brand, which shall remain nameless (Tilli Tomas Silk - mmmm oops, did I say that aloud??). My fears were baseless in this case; it holds up well when you work with it on the needles and doesn't make the stitches appear sloppy, even though the yarn thickness does vary some. It is very soft and I'm looking forward to wearing the finished product.

On a semi-related note, I'm really enjoying designs right now that, like the aforementioned hat, make use of a brim or collar that is worked sideways (i.e. the stitches are perpendicular to the main body of work). If that doesn't make sense, the finished hat will be an example.

We were out of syrup and I had a feenin'* for some cheese curds over the weekend--where else could we solve both issues but the Madison Farmer's Market? It's fun to go just to see the spectacle every Saturday morning; vendors have booths that stretch all the way around the capitol building. I was feeling perfectly satisfied by a pumpkin crepe when I ran across a vendor that I haven't seen for almost a year. She's a sheep farmer, and spins yarn for a living. I sort of want to be her. The last time I saw her I asked if I could come by and learn how to spin, she said to stop by the farm sometime, and I have since totally chickened out. I did turn a skein of her yarn into the original Cozy Cabled Hat, however:

She was busy this time, no chit-chat, but I snagged a little bit of awesome:

These babies are going to be turned into some two color mitts for a friend.

*Is this a widely accepted term or rural Indiana vernacular? In case from context it isn't clear, feenin' = an extreme craving.