Archive for July, 2011

Happy Birthday Harry!

July 31, 2011

And even more important, happy birthday to Jo Rowling, with many thanks!

Of course, kidlet and I saw the final film.  I’ll try not to reveal too many spoilers here, in case you haven’t yet seen it.

We had tickets for the day it was released in Israel.  VIP tickets.  Which was quite an experience in and of itself, I could certainly get used to this VIP business.   We were ushered into the VIP lounge a half hour before the film began, where there was a lovely buffet, and a snack bar where everything was free.  Kidlet grabbed a salad, I had two kinds of wonderful quiche.  Then we got some popcorn, drinks, and a tray of nachos with sauce and headed for our seats for the film.  Big, cushy reclining seats with tables.  Only a few rows.  And 3D glasses that actually fit. Very nice.

I thought it was done well… although there were a few things that irked me about the film, there were far more things that I loved.

Neville finally came into his own!

McGonagall – after having been woefully neglected in most of the films – was magnificent, especially when she banished Snape, and when she mobilised the army of armour.

Speaking of  Snape, I always love Alan Rickman, from HP to Galaxy Quest to Robin Hood to Love Actually to…  He did not disappoint here!

Why do I always feel that Ginny isn’t fully appreciated in the films?  Her strength and ability is crucial in the books, but kind of glossed over in the films.  Sad!

The baddies were bad, of course.

As opposed to the baddie wannabes

The dragon was awesome, as was most of  Gringotts.  I have to say, Helena Bonham Carter playing Hermione was absolutely brilliant.  Not to mention unsettling.

And thank you, thank you, thank you filmmakers for keeping in my favourite line of the whole battle.  Molly, obviously.  And if you don’t know which line I mean, you never read the book.

The forest scene was great.

I didn’t really see the need for the 3D, actually.  Except for a very few scenes, like in the bank vault.  And Nagini in 3D was a little unnerving.  But otherwise, meh.

And where was the cloak at the end?!?

Well.  I am definitely going back to see this again.  And again.

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Knits and Knots

July 25, 2011

I have heard people describe knitting (and crocheting as well) as making a series of knots in yarn/string.  Wrong!  Knitting is a series of loops, in which the last thing we want is a knot!    Hence the ability to easily unravel the loops, sometimes a convenience and sometimes a downright hazard.  Although, in actual fact,  we do finish off a knitted work with a sort of knot, which means that perhaps technically a knitted project is one giant complex knot.   But the point is that the artistry lies in the many variations of loops one can make.

Knotting, on the other hand, is a different art, with variations and techniques all its own.  I have little experience with knotting, except for a few years of doing all sorts of macramé during the 70s.    Macramé is only one facet of knotting,  practiced only since around the 13th century.   Knots are used in many fields of work, can be decorative or practical,  there’s an area of mathematics known as knot theory.

J.D. Lenzen is the creator of the YouTube channel “Tying It All Together”, and the producer of over 100 instructional knotting videos. He’s been formally recognized by the International Guild of Knot Tyers  for his contributions to knotting, and is the originator of Fusion Knotting — innovative knots created through the merging of different knot elements or knotting techniques.

His book, Decorative Fusion Knots, was published in November of 2010. Featuring both fusion and historical knots (60 in all), the book shows J.D.’s process of creating knots and art.

Just a few of the many knots from his website (you can check out instructions on how to make them, too):

I’m seeing all kinds of jewelry here.  But maybe that’s just me.

Knotting.

Knitting.

Amazing things to do with fibre.

Of homes and hats and deep fried ice cream

July 24, 2011

Still hunting for a new home.  I’ve called around a lot, seen a couple of places, haven’t been thrilled with anything.  More numbers to call.  Been packing some things in boxes – what I can manage.  Hope I find something soon.  Or decide to settle for not thrilling but available.   *sigh*

During my commute I’ve been juggling my three KAL projects.  The scarf and the socks are both past the halfway mark.  And I’ve cast on for the Ironic Hipster hat,  with the wonderful Yak! Bam! yarn.

I’ve chosen Lizzie for the main colour, with Homer as contrast.  And I’ve learned a brand new technique.  This hat, like so many hats and gloves and other items with cuffs or brims, starts out with a long strip for the brim, then you pick up a whole lotta stitches along one edge and start knitting the main part of the hat.  Well, Lee over on her blog Leethal! do stuff!  has “unvented” a way to do this perpendicular knitting without picking up stitches and without seaming!  She calls it the Sideways Edge Cast On, and it involves clever increases and short rows to knit and hold the stitches that will be needed later along the side edge.  (I’ve also added this link to my techniques page for easy searching.)  Here’s the very beginning of the brim.

See the stitches along the edge?  They’re being held on the needle, but I won’t knit them until after I finish the brim.    (The stitch marker is also Indigodragonfly swag.  Of course.)

Here’s farther along the brim, which remains the same width throughout.

This is seriously cool.  I may go looking for more patterns that pick up edge stitches just so I can use this technique again….  Garter tab cast on for shawls come to mind….  Hm.

We took Sister-in-Law out to lunch for her birthday on the weekend.  She chose a Taiwanese restaurant.  Fun decorations on the food.

After the meal. of course, they must have something to put the sparkler in so we could sing happy birthday.  They brought her the house specialty, ice cream dipped in batter and deep fried.  I was way too full for any dessert, but the others at the table attacked the ice cream with a vengeance and it was soon gone!

They tell me it was yummy.

And now back to perusing the rental ads….

Blogoversary!!!! And Winners!

July 23, 2011

Wouldn’t you know it, just when it’s time to choose my blogoversary winners, my computer starts to act up and keeps turning off in the middle of everything.  Luckily, partner’s computer is working!

I haven’t blogged much in the past couple of weeks, I do apologise.  Life has decided to give me a bit of a slap in the face, and I’ve been dealing.  Haven’t even been knitting much. 

The major cause of stress:  landlords have informed me that they will not be renewing my rental contract, they’ve decided to sell the flat.  Which means that I have about three weeks to move out.  Plus side:  living with crutches on the third floor without an elevator has been killing me.  Minus side:  I have no place to move to, and rent prices have gone through the roof in the past year, which means I’ll have to budget a lot more for living expenses, with no raise in my paycheck.  Plus side:  I’ll get away from stingy landlords who hate to pay for repairs, either doing it themselves or counting on family members to do it for free in their spare time, which can mean a long wait.  And both the electricity and the water heater have chronic issues.  Minus side:  Choices for a new place are extrememly limited, since right now I can only take a ground floor flat or one with an elevator.  Plus side:  I can get a place with A/C, something my current landlords refused to furnish.  Minus side:  I can’t pack anything myself, which means I’ll have to hire the moving company to also do the packing for me.   Which is expensive.  And after ten years in this place, the packrat who is me has accumulated a whole lotta junk.  A friend has been helping me clear out some of it, but time is soooo short. 

So I’ve been making a lot of calls, looking at flats after work, and wracking my brain how I’m going to do all of this, let alone pay for it. 

Doesn’t leave much time for knitting, does it?  I have managed to finish one of the Monkey socks!  Haven’t blocked it yet, though.

 

As for the Strickens, I have reached a decision. They are going nowhere. It has just been a bad match of pattern and yarn. While I love both, they do not go well together. The yarn with very little twist, the splitty-ness, make working cables way too much frustrating work. And the odd striping both hides the pattern and makes it impossible to read the knitting.

I should have listened to my doubts at the beginning. When there was still time to cast on with another yarn for the KAL. I’m at the point where I am just not. enjoying. this project. When I sit down to knit, I reach for anything else. And life is way too short to knit something that I’m not having fun with.

So sadly, this sock is visiting the frog pond. I will use the yarn for another pattern, and I will definitely knit me a pair of Strickens at some point, hopefully soon. The pattern is awesome.

But time to move on to something much more cheerful!    This blog post is also a celebration!   A celebration of two years of my ramblings.  So with no further ado…

D r u m r o l l ,   p l e a s e ! !

(And with thanks to Random.Org,)

A copy of Knitting Rules! will be going to Debbie C.!!

A copy of It Itches!  will be going to Melissa Z.!!

Congratulations!!  I will email you for your mailing addresses this weekend.  Enjoy!!!!  We all need to laugh.

Thanks so much to everyone for reading, for commenting, for joining me on this journey that wanders here and there.   I love sharing my thoughts with you, and love to hear your responses. 

And we move into the third year….

 

Multitasking + Knitting projects = Multiknitting??

July 13, 2011

First, I have to say I’m loving the comments for the contest!  Many thanks to my long-time readers and welcome to the newcomers!   Keep ’em coming!

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that juggling numerous KAL projects is frustrating.  I’ve got three going, and plan to cast on a fourth.   Maybe I should assign each project its day of the week?

The Stricken socks, of course, although very little progress has been made with them.  I’ve just reached the heel on the first sock, which tells me I don’t have much chance of finishing them by the end of the KAL in another two-three weeks.  Part of the problem is the bad match of yarn and pattern.  This yarn, while pretty and soft, has very little twist and is extremely splitty, with colour changes that make reading the pattern hard.   Which would probably work out fine with a straightforward stockinette sock, but with all the cable action going on, it demands total concentration in strong light, so no knitting these on my commute or when I’m the slightest bit tired!

The Monkey socks, on the other hand, are a sheer pleasure!  This is my first experience knitting with Socks That Rock, and oh my.   Despite casting on well after the Strickens, I’ve reached the gusset on the first Monkey.

The Algonquin scarf is almost halfway done.  And I need to cast on for the Ironic Hipster hat.  With the very lovely Yak! Bam! yarn.

One more project has been added as well.  After nieces received their scarves, and grand-nieces their slippers, youngest grand-nephew decided he wanted in on this action too and asked me to knit him a Maccabi Haifa scarf.  (That’s our city’s champion football team – or soccer, if that’s your point of reference.)  His dad and older brother, uncles and cousins are all die-hard fans, so he’s already well indoctrinated.  I headed off to the LYS, where I found gigantic skeins of acrylic in the required green and white.  Which totally confused the poor LYS owner.  (“You’re buying this??  You??  Are you sure??”)  To calm the woman down I also grabbed some skeins of Mondial Ciao sock yarn, in the few solid shades they carry.  So it was really a good deed, right?  Never mind, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m knitting the scarf in the round, which will make it reversible.  (And save a lot of weaving in ends when I do the colourwork.)  I’m planning a  few stripes on the edges, the team name spelled out along one side of  the scarf, and lots of fringe. A mindless knit when my brain isn’t up to the more complex patterns.

( I did ask older grand-nephew if he wanted a scarf too.  He said he had one already – bought from the Maccabi store.  I asked what about a hat?  Has one of those too.  Oh well.  I tried.)

My secret project with the aade long yarn and the Chiaogoo needles has now been given to the recipient, so it’s no longer a secret!  My friend Roberta  received her Unbirthday present tonight at SnB night.  I knitted her the Lazy Katy scarf/shawlette by Birgit Freyer.

The crochet border wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared, although I did make one error.  By the time I figured out that I wasn’t doing one part right, I had finished 20 repeats out of about 50, so I shrugged and kept on doing it the same way all the way through.  No way was I going to go back.   And it worked out anyway.

I’ve already cast on one for me too…

Enough blogging!  I have knitting to do!    😉

Hipsters, Hippos, Hip Hip Hooray

July 8, 2011

Anyone remember the game Hungry, Hungry Hippos?    I know the game, although I never played it as a child – it was released in 1978, which was the year I graduated university the first time.

The object of the game is to cause your hippo to “consume” as many of the twenty white plastic marbles on the playing field as possible.    You have to press a lever on the back of your hippo which causes its mouth to open, extend towards the center of the board, close and retract, hopefully grabbing as many marbles as possible (which are then saved in a little depression so they don’t roll back into play).

There’s no strategy involved, since the board shakes like crazy and everyone is banging at their hippos as fast as they can and the marbles jump every which way.  So the only thing you can do is whale the hell out of your hippo faster than everyone else and count on luck.  Great way to release aggression.  And great marketing strategy, since the levers break or wear out quickly and you have to buy a new game.

Here’s one of the game’s early commercials:

Did you know that the four hippos actually have names?  Lizzie Hippo (purple), Henry Hippo (orange), Homer Hippo (green), and Harry Hippo (yellow).   In some versions of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Henry is replaced by a blue hippo of the same name.   A later edition of the game replaces the purple hippo, Lizzie, with a pink one named Happy.  (Replacing purple with pink?!?!  Booooo!!!  Hiss!!)

So.  What does this have to do with anything?  My Smart Ass Knitters World Domination Club package, of course, that’s what!   (Stay with me here, it will make sense…)

The Indigodragonfly yarn:    Yak!  Bam!   A yak/bamboo blend  (75%/25%) – yes, I said yak –    in the colourway  Hungry, Hungry Hipsters!   And yes, there are four different colours, named for the four hippos/hipsters.   Each club package has two of the four.  I got Lizzie (plum) and Homer (teal).  So shiny!!  And very soft.  (Are you curious about the other two Hipsters?  OK,  Henry is rust and Harry is brown.  And while I like all four colours, I’m glad I got the two I did.  For now.  So far.)

The pattern:  Ironic Hipster is Ironic, a gorgeous slouchy hat designed by Amy Duncan.  Which will be another project for the Summer KAL of Doom in the Club Blitz category.

The swag:  A wonderful felted bowl made by Sandy Luck, from her Funky Felts Xcessories.  Useful for so many things!!

As always, a wonderful package.  And worth waiting for through the mail strike.

 

And now,

this blogoversary business coming up in two weeks.  And a contest.  This year it will be two years since I began these ramblings, so two winners will be drawn, and there will be two prizes.

One prize:  a copy of Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot’s Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

and the second, a copy of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit

Both books guaranteed to cause any knitter – and anyone who spends any time with a knitter – to laugh out loud.  More than once.  And laughter is good.

How to enter?  Different opportunities mean more chances to win!

  1. Follow this blog, and leave a comment telling me you do.
  2. Share this post about the contest (twitter, facebook, etc), and leave a separate comment that you did so.
  3. Blog about the contest, and leave a separate comment with a link.
  4. Finally, leave a comment telling me what was your favourite blog post over the past two years, with a sentence why.    I’d love to hear!!!

On Friday, July 22nd, I’ll use a random generator to choose two winners from the list.

Let the fun begin!!!

In the planning stage…

July 2, 2011

It’s July, which means that my second blogoversary is approaching, which means a new contest of some sort!

I’ll announce something in the next week!

Minion Jewelry

July 1, 2011

In the Indigodragonfly Summer Knitalong of Doom I have completed a brand new project . Using up just a wee bit of my leftover Minion MCN sock, I have created a Minion Membership WIP Pin!

OK, so the toothpicks and beads and pin backing aren’t from Kim, but the yarn is. And that’s all the rules call for.  Not that anyone pays attention to rules in that crowd.  Which is why I love ’em so much.

I entered this in the “sooper sekrit”  category of the KAL.  Although there’s also a “Less Big” category –   can’t get less big than this – or I could even have created a new jewelry category.   (That last would have given me a higher chance of a prize, I suppose, less competition…but I don’t think Kim would have gone for a one-project category.)

It could be argued that the bitty sweater is a WIP, of course, but the pin is a FO depicting a WIP, just to confuse the issue… and confusing the issues is one of my favourite things!

The pattern actually suggests making the itty bitty needles first and knitting the WIP with them.   I said oh no, uh-uh, no way.   So I knitted with regular needles, then made the toothpick needles and slid the stitches over to them.

My mama didn’t raise no fool. 😉

I still have a couple of ideas concerning the rest of the Minion yarn.  As much as I adore Indigodragonfly yarn, all I have in my stash is the club yarns, so I have to make do with that for as many projects as possible.

Minion Accessories.  I has it.