Sunday, June 17, 2007

BabCom: End Transmission

For the non-B5 people out there - I'm taking a break from blogging for the summer. Public comments are switched off, or at least should be if Blogger is cooperating, as we are not at home to internet muppetry especially of the spam variety! Have a good summer, I intend to chill out and knit!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Flair jacket

Flair was finished on Saturday, and the buttons sewn on yesterday. Modelled today as it's slightly cooler!

Pattern: Flair by Knit and Tonic
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas worsted dyed organic cotton, shade 620 Fern
Yardage: 6 full skeins plus a small amount of a seventh
Needles: main body Denise 4.5mm with 30" cord; Addi 4.5mm 16" needle for sleeves; Denise 4.5mm with shorter cord for collar

I do like how this has turned out. It fits nicely, has plenty of "swing", and the fabric is very soft and fluid. The BSA cotton does tend to shed and pill, as it's so soft though.

Pattern amendments:

- an extra buttonhole
- added several more increases plus some straight rows than the pattern called for before I separated off the sleeve stitches. I quite possibly added a little more than I needed but it doesn't show
- seed stitch band is 8 stitches, not 7, as I had a brain fart with the seven at first (dont ask!). Therefore the bottom band is also a tad deeper to match with the vertical one.
- body length below armholes is slightly longer than the pattern calls for, and this was just with knitting up to the last mandated increases (although I didn't do that last one). I find this a little odd as I was convinced that my row gauage was causing the buttonholes to be too close together at first.
- I made increases (M1) where the pattern called for decreases in the sleeves (thanks Sarah)
- I've only added buttons on the front placket. I didn't fancy my chances making the inner buttons "invisible", and simply added one and a loop at the inner top instead. It seems to hang well enough! The buttons are olive wood and were a good choice I think!

I originally bought 6 skeins of the BSA from kpixie, and only just went into a seventh for the collar alone, which I acquired swiftly from Loop GB. I ought to know by now that it's always wise to buy an extra skein!

As you can see from my ticker above, I'm stashalonging at the moment, basically for large projects (sweater size). To that end I've started Antoinette from Rowan 39, in a few days' worth of knitting I have the back complete and have almost finishedthe second front piece. This is knitted in Rowan Cotton Rope which is a bit awkward to cast on with at times, but knits up nicely into a soft fabric. The shade is Cyclamen, discontinued, obtained for 1.50 a ball at Cucumberpatch!

I also rejoined the Rowan club and this year's gift arrived. Four balls of All Seasons Cotton and 2 patterns, a waistcoat and a wrap. After some reports that the wrap pattern is slightly bizarre, I'm wondering about snagging an extra skein and making Smooch from the ASC book instead.

I'm on the last few days of the 4-week Food Doctor plan, still going well and I will certainly maintain the basic principles of this for the foreseeable future. I'm quite possibly addicted to porridge though!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Flair almost there, and summer secret santa goodies

I skipped posting last week, as I hadn't been doing all that much knitting and Flair hadn't progressed significantly. I was also busy doing things like going to the theatre!

I'm glad to say I'm now on the second sleeve, after that only the collar to pick up and knit. "Only" isn't really the right word, as these seed stitch bands are rather slow to work. I'm sure they would be easier with maybe the continental kniting style, and one day I will try that out. I also found the lower band easier than the ones on the sleeves, as the Addis I'm using on the sleeves are harder on my hands than the Denise needles. The Addis also didn't impress when I was working m1 on the sleeves (I'm doing increases rather than decreases), I had to lift the yarn from the back as the needle tip just refused to cooperate knitting into the back of the picked up loop. Again the Denises were fine with this manoeuvre on the main body.

Here's a progress photo, taken earlier before I finished sleeve number one.

Hopefully this will be done and dusted this week, it's taken longer than it should due to my not knitting that much in the past couple of weeks.

The Food Doctor plan is going well, and there is already evidence of some weight loss! My favourite pair of summer shorts refused to button / zip up when I tried them on in April, and that was one of the reasons I decided to take action. I have been wearing them this weekend :-) I don't have any scales apart from those in the kitchen, and I'm not going to start obsessively weighing myself, but it's encouraging to know that simply changing my diet around has had so many positive benefits even just two weeks in. I feel a lot better and am generally more awake in the mornings now, my next plan is to start going swimming again once a week. I haven't done that (apart from in the sea on hols) for years and years.

Here's some yummy yarn that arrived this week: on the left is the May yarn from the Yarn Yard Merino club, such gorgeous colours, and at right is the last instalment from the Posh yarn lace club.

There was also another lovely package in the mail, my Summer Secret Santa parcel from the swap on Crafty Threads forum. Here's what came out of the box:

What a gorgeous felted bag! Inside the bag:


A pretty dishcloth with a dog motif; a lavender candle and lavender sachet (I love the scent), and some choccy!

And finally:

The most gorgeous skein of Silkwood 4ply in shade Chilli, really rich red, oranges and browns. There is also a pattern for this particular yarn, some fingerless mitts with a ribbon threaded through them, very glam!

I really love my gifts, especially the things made for me. The bag is definitely going on hols with me next month with my knitting in it :-) The main clue was the chocolate - can you see the name in the picture - and also the motif on the cloth I think. My santa was terri - thanks again for such a lovely parcel!

I mentioned that I went to the theatre last weekend, I saw the play "Shining City" at the Bolton Octagon. This is a contemporary play by Conor McPherson, here's a mini review I wrote up last week:

Shining City is billed as a ghost story (the Emerald Isle meets "The Sixth Sense"), but it's less about ghosts and more about scared, emotionally isolated people, all trying to find companionship, comfort, meaning in their lives. There is a central theme of guilt - the two main characters both have reasons to feel a lot of guilt about what they have done in their lives.

George Irving plays John, who comes to see ex-priest turned therapist Ian. John is very choked and distressed at first and eventually manages to explain that he is seeing very vivid incarnations of his dead wife at the home they shared. His wife has recently been killed in a car accident.

As the story unfolds, we find that John is carrying guilt over an extra-marital affair of sorts. He loved his wife but there is also a feeling of isolation there, seemingly brought on because they couldn't have children, and he found it something which seemed to separate them from everyone else they knew.

At the same time, we see Ian going through his own turmoil and increasingly becoming confused and guilt-ridden. He has a baby with a young woman yet he seems to be pushing her away, and eventually he brings a rent boy back to his office (at this point he appears to be working and sleeping at his office). Whether this all points back to why he left the priesthood is not explained.

By the end we find John is pretty much transformed, he was worked through his guilt, isn't seeing his ghostly wife any more, and in the final scene he brings a gift for Ian, a Tiffany lamp. I think this symbolises John having come to terms with his demons, and he's passing the lamp to the therapist whose own life is now a mess - and the ghost follows. There is a great moment right at the end, signalled by the faint tune of an ice cream van, something John heard when he saw the ghost himself, but this time it is Ian who hears it. He shuts the door to the stairs and behind it .....

I really enjoyed this play, it is only around 1 hour 40 minutes long with no interval, and played in 5 scenes each set 2 months apart. George Irving is truly excellent as John, and for this he played the whole thing with an Irish accent which I thought was very believable. He has some very long sequences of dialogue, which flowed so well, he had the manner of speech as well as the accent.

The play also benefits from being staged at a small venue like the Octagon, for this production the seats were set up on 3 sides only with a raised stage. Apparently the raised stage is quite unusual for the Octagon, but worked really well. Once the lights go down you are really in quite an intimate atmosphere with the actors. It runs until the 6th of June, highly recommended!

I went to see this because George irving is one of my favourite actors, it was well worth a trip out on a Saturday afternoon, and I got to meet George very briefly afterwards, along with a few other fans who had travelled there too.