Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas is coming...

Still Christmas knitting... well, I did finish the front of the Molly Ringwald, but endless photos of that one project in progress would be dull.

Meanwhile, I was tagged via Life in the Dome - 8 things about Christmas. As usual, I am very bad at passing on such tags, but, ah, let's see...

1. Chris Isaak's Christmas CD is my idea of the best ever Christmas CD. Plus, I love the photos of him spending Christmas on the beach with his band and his little white dog, Rodney.
2. Having said that, I still get all sentimental about Wham!'s 'Last Christmas.' So sue me.
3. I love real Christmas trees, although I do feel guilt about cutting them down. I have a moral crisis every time.
4. I've spent Christmas in England and Austria, too, borrowing families for the occasion. I loved the oranges in our stockings in Chelmsford and I loved standing around the tree in Baden singing carols... well, I kind of 'ummm...la...ummm'ed because my German isn't that good!
5. I fell in love once on Christmas Eve... it didn't last beyond New Year's. Sigh...
6. One of my other favourite Christmas Eves was spent with South Africans - far from home like myself - in a small flat in Oxford, making mulled wine, listening to them play guitar, and eating... ah... can't say. The hens are just outside the door there...
7. When I was seven, I swear I saw Santa having a nap on our sofa at 6am Christmas morning.
8. I admit it - I love presents on Christmas Day!

And this weekend I fully intend to decorate the house. It's been a long week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doing the Molly Ringwald

It just sounds like it should be some kind of retro 80s dance. But work on my Molly Ringwald, in between Christmas projects, has progressed to the stage where there's actually something other than ribbing going on.Yes, I'm almost finished the neckline of the front! I was happily knitting away as everyone settled down for our big meeting yesterday. I got three rows done and fielded a variety of questions about what I was knitting, how people who knit never seem stressed out, and how people used to knit (I just resisted sending them all cute patterns after the meeting to reignite their interest). I love putting knitting in new environments to see what people do! And I think my knitting stirred more discussion than any of the agenda topics.

Then I came home and found my Pride and Prejudice sock club had arrived! I just got the one month back when the Australian dollar made everything in the US uniquely affordable and now I kind of wish I'd splashed out just a bit more. Jane and Bingley are gorgeous (they're my favourite couple - as much as I love Lizzie and Darcy, you just know in the long term...). A beautiful yarn base and she got the colours just right. Oh well, I have her Cinema Sock Club to look forward to yet! And one of my months for that is Pretty in Pink. Can you credit that I never saw the film? I've just got the DVD. I'm a teen of the 80s, but I missed some of the definintive films. I think it's because at the time I was trying to recreate Sarah Brightman's days in Hot Gossip and was singing late into the night with my girlfriends about diesel trains and Rum Tum Tuggers. Oh well, at least I didn't miss Dirty Dancing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

B-a-a-d Sheep At Work

Still working on Christmas knitting, but you can see my B-a-a-d Sheep doing their job marking an... ummm... gusset of some sort. This little item is destined for the other hemisphere. It's almost done now. While working away at Christmas knitting, I've been discovering amazing toy patterns. Alan Dart now sells his patterns online here, there's the Mochimochi Shop (check out these sofas too), and I'm a big fan now of Ysolda's designs (she also created the Vivian cardigan from the Twist Collective that I fully intend to knit, the Coraline sweater and is going to work on a pattern to celebrate Susanna Clarke's Ladies of Grace Adieu, which I simply can't wait to see).

I discovered that all going well, I'll be heading over to the UK for a conference next year! Would it be bad to plan a knitting crawl around that conference?

Lola had a bout of broodiness the other night. The problem is, she got broody in the big hen house, so when it came time for bed, I had to lift her out and put her in the little hen house. Lola went a bit ballistic. She literally climbed the walls, a frantic and desperate ball of feathers. So I pulled her out. She gave me the evil eye and returned to her nest. Hmmm... I couldn't leave Fifi alone in the little hen house, so I let Mimi go inside as she always seems to wish to. Then I tried to convince Coco to stay with Lola. Lola snapped at Coco. Coco looked at me: "Do I really have to stay in here?" No, okay... Coco goes into the little hen house, which is now filled to the brim with fluffy chicken. I had to check they hadn't engulfed Fifi. Lola meanwhile looked entirely self-satisfied.

Of course, in the morning, she came out, all broodiness gone. I think she did it on purpose.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Hot, But I'm Thinking Socks and Mittens

My Yarn Cafe yarn arrived! You should be able to tell the Dalmation colourway from the Tiger Cub! I wasn't going to order it, but the colours kept popping into my head. You know how that is? And then one morning I woke up: "I could make matching Dalmation mittens and socks and matching Tiger Cub scarf and socks... or any of those combinations really!" So, despite the heat, I'm thinking... mittens, socks, scarves... lions, tigers, bears...

The really fiendish thing? I was pushed over the edge last time because the Tiger Cub colourway I was loving was on the postcard with my Kiwi and Passionfruit yarn. Well, the next favourite colourway for which I've been just inches from clicking 'buy'? On the postcard with this order. It's like she knows...

Pigs Flying Before the Storm

My custom ordered flying pigs, "socks rule" knitting gadgets arrived today from Karastix. Aren't they wonderful? With additional stitchmarkers! They'll be used a lot.

It's into Christmas knitting time, so I can't show anything (although, there is something peaking into the above photo just because I thought I should have some photographic evidence). It's also coming towards the end of marking time, which I'm going to be very relieved to see the end of. My head is spinning with numbers and percentages.

We're hoping for rain later today - they do say there'll be a storm. Yes, I'm blogging about the weather...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cubist Socks

Via Princess Pea, I found this art quizz. It was a little different, so why not? Turns out it unearthed my teenage passion for cubism, one I thought quite latent, particularly since I went a little nutty at the Pitti Palace. Apparently not, though. I'm still more attracted to cubism than anything else, which means...

Huh - I'm extroverted, progressive and intelligent. Who knew? Here's what it said in full.

"People that chose Cubist paintings as their favorite art form tend to be very individualized people. They are more extroverted and less afraid of speaking their opinions then other people. They tend to be progressive and are very forward thinking. As the cubist painting is like looking into a shattered mirror where you can see different angles of the images, the people that prefer these paintings like looking at all angles of a problem. These people are intelligent and they are the transformers of our generation. They look beyond what is seen into what things could become. They are ready to leave the ideas of the past behind and look at what the future has to offer."

I'm quite happy with that, even if it totally contradicts much of what my teachers said in high school. And then it occurred to me. My favourite sock patterns are Cubist!!! This is why I like Cookie A.'s patterns so much. Socks like Trystero. I love a day when you discover something about yourself.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Soggy Day

Just the one mystery sock

Okay, so I wasn't quite right about Knotions. The new issue is up just as soon as technical difficulties are fixed. I was looking at the last issue. Ahem. But I have rounded the heel of three socks in the past few days. The Mystery Sock is finished... okay, just one is finished, but it's a start. I'm knitting the toe of the blueberry sock and the fern sock is progressing quite nicely. I just need a tad more knitting time and a tad less marking time and I'll be fine.

"What's this wet stuff?"

But it's raining! Actual, proper rain! This hasn't occurred in ages. Rain has not deterred the hens from being out and about, although, as you can see from Coco's expression, they aren't completely sold on the concept.

Yesterday I spent an hour chasing Mimi out of the vegetable patch. No matter how often I picked her up, patiently explained that the vegetable patch was no place for chickens and that if I found her back there again, I'd turn her into stock, she'd ruffle her feathers, turn, and run straight back in among the beans and potatoes. It'll be a miracle if I have any broad beans left.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election excitement

So, all over the world, I think we're jumping up and down, waiting to see what happens in the States and bugging everyone we know over there to go and vote. I think this is pretty hilarious and wonderful. I also think the latest blog post at the Panopticon is. Particularly notable - Dolores and the hens and Dolores and Sam West!!! Sam West is one of my favourite actors.

The new Knotions is also up. I can't wait for the Winter issue which has those amazing socks, but the Oak Leaf socks are pretty neat as a starter!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cookie A.'s new book and tigers

Why won't these hens play with me?

You've dropped this TV remote a few times, haven't you?
How do I click it to get
Big Cat Diaries on?

My adopted tiger, Malu Pothi, arrived yesterday. I adopted her from the WWF and yes, I got the deluxe adoption kit because I did want the plush tiger! Having just ordered some Tiger Cub colourway from The Yarn Club, I felt it appropriate to support the real tigers out there. And the WWF has the best logo - you just know they're doing good work out there.

Plus, Big Cat Diaries (no tigers, but cheetahs and leopards and lions!) has come back to TV. In repeats, but I'll take repeats!

In the biggest news though, Cookie A.'s sock book is available for pre-order at Amazon! My inner Gollum is happily smacking fish. Yes, that is disturbing. But I love Cookie A. sock patterns! I mean, seriously... the woman behind the utterly fantastic Monkeys!!! She has a book coming out!!! I may not be able to focus all day!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I think I'm in love

This is one of the most amazing tops I've ever seen. It's from Kristeen Griffin-Grimes' French Girl Knits: Innovative Techniques, Romantic Details, and Feminine Designs. Doesn't she have a fantastic name, too? From what I've been able to detect, I have to wait till January, but, oh... I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love! In fact, I'm coming over all Gollum and reciting 'my precious' every time I look at it.

Or perhaps I've simply been drinking too much coffee lately? And indulging in too many Halloween Buffy marathons?

I love that so many knitwear designers are being really inspired by vintage looks though. Let's face it, some of us don't quite fit into all the actual vintage clothing out there. It's nice to be able to recreate it.

I'm also striving, between piles of marking and far too many meetings, to unofficially take part in NaNoWriMo. I enjoy writing. I no longer worry about ever being published, although I do still send off my manuscripts, a hint of a malicious gleam in my eye as I think of the inevitable slush pile and how I'm defiantly adding to it. One day, maybe, I'll get out of that slush pile. In the meantime, I'll just keep writing. Only, at the moment, my heroines become obsessed with knitting socks. I just wrote an entire scene featuring sock knitting. Sock knitting and a werewolf.

No, I'm not writing the great Australian novel. I'm writing for fun. I discovered long ago that writng about reality isn't fun. Besides, despite my best intentions, heroines would inevitably discover their fathers were rock stars and their mothers were the daughters of English Dukes... okay, I was thirteen at that time, what do you want from me? I was also eternally frustrated by advice in Little Women and Anne of Greengables suggesting I should write honestly about my life instead of writing sensationalist romances. When I grew up, I discovered with delight that Louisa May Alcott didn't take her own advice. Wizard!

It's rainy today. My favourite weather. But the new hens are a little puzzled. Mimi is hiding under the hen house. They haven't been out in proper rain yet. There just hasn't been much about in their young lives.