Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Shuffle, a book & Sunny's FO

1. Toada em Realejo - Cristina Branco
2. Songwriter - Willie Nelson
3. Long Time - Lightnin' Hopkins
4. Un Gelato al Limone - Paolo Conte
5. Pledging My Time - Greg Brown (from A Nod to Bob)
6. Home of the Blues - Johnny Cash
7. Cowboy Ramsey - Don Walser
8. People - Joan Armatrading
9. Palavras Proibidas - Cristina Branco
10. Woman of Heart & Mind (live) - Joni MItchell
Funny, with almost a thousand songs to choose from Shuffle picked two by Cristina Branco. She is a great contemporary fado singer.

Finished listening to Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. A rich combination of beauty, politics, love & vengence. Maybe a bit too long.

Sunny with her very first FO. A baby hat in Blue Sky 100% cotton, completed last night in class.

I am thinking of these as my Spring Fever socks. This one came off the needles Thursday morning. I am already nearly finished with the leg of the second one.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sock Progress

Amazing how much progress I can make in a day when I am not working. I am not a particularly fast knitter but I spend quite a bit of time knitting when I should be doing other things. I really enjoy the Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. It has just the right amount of twist and the dye jobs are all very beautiful.

Thanks for all the comments on my sock surgery. Suzann, thanks for the reminder about knitting a few rows of ribbing when starting a picot edge. I had never tried one until the two pairs of socks following the pattern in Jo Sharp's Knit 1. Knitting the hem seemed so satisfyingly clever but next time I will wait, wash the socks & then sew the hem. Robin, the yarn I used was Jo Sharp's Silk Georgette. I know the care instructions say to hand wash but I would never wear my socks if I had to hand wash them. I put them all in the washer on cold & then hang them to dry. They do just fine.

I recently re-read The Knitter's Almanac just because Elizabeth Zimmermann is so inspiring in her attitude towards knitting. She gives me courage to experiment and try new things.

Many thanks to Debbie who told me about this album. Rosalie Sorrels sings one of the songs. I heard her perform in about 1971 at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was shocked to discover she does not have a Wikipedia entry. She sang with and influenced many folk singers.

Speaking of singers, I watched The Last Waltz, the film of The Band's last concert. Even though Martin Scorcese directed it, I was disappointed in it as a film. Perhaps if I had seen it when it first came out - 1978 - it would have seemed more exciting. I did enjoy the music, especially Muddy Waters.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sock Surgery

This picot edge shrank in the wash just enough to make it very difficult to get over my heel.

I couldn't take it out and resew it more loosely because the hem was knitted together as I made it.

Inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann, I fearlessly attacked my sock.

I cut the yarn and began to unknit.

Without much difficulty, I had enough yarn to remake the top.

Using EZ's Casting On, Casting Off method from the back of Knitter's Almanac, I finished off the edge. (This is the most accurate picture of the sock's color.)

It was very tidy & neat.

Now I have some simple roll top socks.

Since I am not working yet, I made good progress on the Retro Rib Socks. For those of you who don't like to purl, you might want to skip this pattern. It actually has more purling than knitting.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

FOs & a Beginning

Kate finished this top using some luxurious yarn from Artyarns in San Francisco. If it fits her, she is going to keep it. If not, she will send it to her daughter. I hope it fits.

Teri-Kay finished these fingerless mitts. She used Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk.

I finished my Snap Cardigan, a Blue Sky pattern, using Blue Sky 100% cotton. I washed the snap tape & the sweater before sewing on the tape. The sweater grew at least one size. Next time I wash it, I am going to dry it on Hot. It is very comfortable and soft. Notice the amazing coincidence of my only pair of Crocs matching the sweater as if planned.

The Fleece Artist Ruby socks are finished. They are my favorites. I plan to wear them on Tuesday for Knit Night at The Yarn Lounge.

My next socks are the Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark in Favorite Socks. I can't remember the name of the Fleece Artist colorway but it is an excellent green.

Can you tell I finished my temp job on Tuesday? I have been knitting nonstop since then. I've turned down one job so far. It involved a commute to Petersburg (45 minutes). I didn't want to add that much time to leaving the dogs for the day. Also I didn't want to spend the money on gas & the extra wear on my car.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Irish Hiking Scarf

No, I did not knit this at the speed of light. It has been sitting on the needles, nearly finished, for months. When I became a participant in a Secret Project, I thought of this scarf for my contribution. I completed it yesterday using Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in the Night colorway. The yarn is 85% wool, 10% cashmere & 5% silk. It looks rugged but has a soft hand - perfect for a cabled scarf. The pattern is available free at Hello Yarn.

Last night I watched Dead Man with Johnny Depp, directed by Jim Jarmusch. It was funny & mystical & very, very beautiful. You may have gathered by now that I enjoy films by independent directors. Jarmusch is a favorite. I have seen Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train and Night on Earth, some more than once. Night on Earth is a particular favorite. It depicts taxi rides in four different cities - Los Angeles, Paris, Rome & Helsinki - and has a soundtrack by Tom Waits.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday iPod Shuffle

1. Via Con Me - Paolo Conte
2. I've Got The Blues - Lyle Lovett
3. Lake Marie - John Prine
4. Birmingham - Randy Newman
5. Mean Eyed Cat - Johnny Cash
6. California Dreamin' - Queen Latifah
7. Diddie Wah Diddie - Blind Blake
8. Count Me Out - The Del McCoury Band
9. Hold Up - Serge Gainsbourg (he's back!)
10. A Prision Perpetua - Chavela Vargas

Watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind this week. I wasn't sure what to expect because Jim Carrey can be so obnoxious (although I loved Dumb & Dumber). He was actually quite good and Kate Winslett was wonderful, as usual. The movie was funny, touching and interesting. I gave it 4 stars.

Then I was terribly disappointed by The Importance of Being Earnest. How could a film based on an Oscar Wilde play with Judi Dench, Rupert Everett & Colin Firth go so terribly wrong? I blame the writer/director Oliver Parker.

The Snap Cardigan is drying. Just have to sew in the snap tape. It will debut at Yarn Church on Sunday.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Yarn Church FOs

Kate finished the sweater she knit for her sister. It is the Knitting Pure & Simple top down v neck cardigan. She used Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed.

Linda finished her very first hat. She used Farmhouse Lumpy Bumpy yarn. She is going to knit a matching scarf.

Remember Teri-Kay's hair shirt?

She decided to perk it up a bit and added purple buttons and a purple ruffle. It is much better suited to her personality!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hot off the needles

Can you tell I am loving these socks?

A detail shot without flash to show the stitches and heel flap. A slight modification to the usual -
Row 1: (RS) Sl1, K1, P2, *Sl, K1* Repeat *..* to last 4 sts, P2, K2
Row 2: Sl1, P across

I am a lifelong reader and have managed to train myself to read and knit (if the pattern doesn't require much attention) at the same time. The only way I have found to do this is to sit at a table with my book in front of me. It is a very unsatisfactory way to read in the Winter because it deprives me of one of the pleasures of Whippet ownership. Whippets prefer to sleep as close to another warm body as possible. When I sit on my sofa, Moose and Peach cuddle up next to me or drape themselve over me or find a valley between my legs. Since dogs have a higher body temperature than humans, it is a very cozy way to pass the time. Before I got my nano I tried to listen to books on tape but it meant disturbing the dogs when I got up to change to the next tape. With my nano I can listen for hours without leaving my sofa. I had never read anything by Salman Rushdie and thought it was time to try. Audible has a very unsatisfactory selection of his work but I found one unabridged novel that sounded interesting. Shalimar the Clown is full of love, revenge & politics, set in France (during WW2), Kashmir and Los Angeles. I am not a serious critic and don't demand perfection in the books I read. I am about halfway through the book and am finding it an interesting story with some very good writing. The reader is excellent. I listened and knit until nearly midnight last night and did not fall asleep. High praise indeed.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Friday, Another Shuffle

(See #7)

1. Heartland Truckstop - Beth Orton
2. Metal Firecracker (live) - Lucinda Williams
3. I've Got Love If You Want It - Slim Harpo
4. Cry, Cry, Cry - Johnny Cash
5. I've Been Loving You Too Long - Otis Redding
6. Tramp - Otis Redding
7. Transito - Lila Downs
8. Coconut Island - Junior Brown
9. (We're Not) The Jet Set - John Prine & Iris DeMent
10. Blue - Joni Mitchell

And continuing with my watching of quirky independent films, I enjoyed Festival in Cannes directed by Henry Jaglom with the ever fabulous Anouk Aimee plus Greta Scacchi, Ron Silver, Maxmillian Schell and others.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ruby Sock Update

I resorted to using Firefox instead of Safari so I could post this picture. This is still the first sock. It seems so slow but I think it is because I spent so much time on the Snap Cardigan. Also, I switched to 0s when I began the heel. The temp job I have had since November is ending next week. Maybe I will have a few days before my next job starts to knit the second sock. I don't want to wish for too much time between jobs - it's been nice having a regular income.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bad Blogger

I was planning to do an update on the Ruby Red socks but Blogger won't let me upload any images.

All the parts of the Snap Cardigan are finished. I will sew it up and knit the collar this weekend. Then it will be picture time.

Friday, March 09, 2007

iPod Challenge, Alan Rickman & More

1. Annie's Lover - Taj Mahal
2. You're Still Standin' There - Steve Earle
3. Safe in Your Arms - Beth Orton
4. CCKMP - Steve Earle
5. That's No Way to Say Goodbye - Leonard Cohen
6. Keep Your Hands Off Her - Taj Mahal
7. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Lila Downs
8. The Last Time - The Blind Boys of Alabama
9. Soledad - Yo Yo Ma
10. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (live version) - Lucinda Williams

Many thanks to Benne who told me about Maria Muldaur's album of Dylan love songs. It is now on my nano.

I loved Alan Rickman's Col. Brandon in Sense & Sensibility. Everyone was right, Emma Thompson was too old for Elinor. She is such a marvelous actress, though, that it didn't really bother me. Even Hugh Grant was tolerable. Having to play a shy, serious & extremely polite gentleman must have kept his mannerisms under control.

I also treated myself and watched Truffaut's Day for Night for the first time in years. What a tender and funny tribute to actors and crew.

Last night I saw Hal Hartley's No Such Thing. People either really like his movies or really dislike them. I happen to like them. This one had a monster, an ingenue, Icelandic scenery, Helen Mirren and Julie Christie.

Tonight I am going to watch The Winter Guest which was co-written and directed by Alan Rickman. It features Emma Thompson and her mother, Phyllida Law, playing mother and daughter.

All this movie watching has meant progress on my Snap Cardigan. I have finished the back, both fronts and am nearly finished with the first sleeve.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ruby Red (socks, not slippers)

The Fleece Artist merino wool socks are proceeding. The Ruby Red color is a bit richer than my picture. I cast on 68 sts as recommended on the ball band for women's large but am thinking that the feet may be too loose. Trying to decide whether to decrease when I get to the heel, switch to 0s (I'm knitting on 1s) or just enjoy a pair of roomy socks. The stitch pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlotte Schurch. I don't follow her extremely thorough and helpful sockmaking directions, but am inspired by the stitch swatches. The Baby Cable I used on the orange socks came from the book as well.

Woven Stitch
Rnds 1 & 2 - K2, P2
Rnds 3 & 4 - Knit
Rnds 5 & 6 - P2, K2
Rnds 7 & 8 - Knit

I am also making progress on the orchid Snap Front Cardigan. The weather has been beautiful the past couple of days and I want to wear my lively cotton sweater. Watched the 1981 BBC version of Sense & Sensibility last night and made headway with the stockinette slog. The more recent version starring Emma Thompson is in my Netflix queue. It will be interesting to compare them. I am also looking forward to Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon.

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Friday iPod on Saturday

Made the list yesterday but for some reason couldn't post from work.

1. Smile - Jane Birkin
2. You Drive Me Crazy - Greg Brown
3. Makin' Whoopee - Dr. John Feat & Rickie Lee Jones
4. Corrina, Corrina - Bob Dylan
5. Heartland Truckstop - Beth Orton
6. I Know One - John Prine & Emmylou Harris
7. Essence - Lucinda Williams
8. Number 16 - Jimmie Dale Gilmore
9. September Song - Jimmy Durante
10. Two Little Feet - Greg Brown

Does anyone know of a really good album of covers of Dylan's love songs? He has written some truly beautiful & moving ones and I would love to find them collected somewhere. Lay Lady Lay is probably my favorite.

I remember well watching the Ed Sullivan Show when Jimmy Durante would perform. I was puzzled at the appeal of the old (to me), homely man singing love songs. I rediscovered him on the soundtrack of Sleepless in Seattle and now love to listen to my album - The Best of. It is precisely because of his age and homeliness that the yearning in his singing has such an appeal.