Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finished Object: Cabled Socks

Pattern: Cabled Socks by Lynne
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
Color: Manzanita

The photo on the left is a more accurate depiction of the color. These are the most beautiful socks that I currently own.

Book: "The Plague of Doves"

In 1911, a white family living near a North Dakota Indian reservation is murdered. The white community lynches 3 young Indian men and nearly hangs to death a fourth. These events have repercussions lasting through the end of the century.

My rating: **** (out of 5 stars)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

DVD: "Wall-E"

I didn't dislike this movie, but didn't enjoy it as much as the critics did. Although one can't argue with its message (anti-materialism and pro-environment), the robots just didn't have enough personality for me (which may be an unfair criticism given that they're, well, robots).

My rating: *** (out of 5)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Finished Object: Lifted Twill Helmet Hat

I"m very pleased with how this hat turned out.

Pattern: from Winter 2008 Interweave Knits

Yarn: Sheep Shop Yarn Sheep Number Two, #F72 lavender and #F31 green

Friday, December 19, 2008

Knitting Sweatshop - Production Report

I had not planned to do any knitting for Christmas gifts, partly due to my ambivalence about celebrating Christmas as an atheist and partly due to my dislike of knitting on a schedule. However, a few days ago, I did decide to knit small gifts for my family in California. The late decision meant that in order to meet the goal of having the gifts arrive by December 25, I had to be very disciplined and could not afford to encounter any significant knitting problems. Needless to say, that's not what happened.

The fingerless gloves for my daughter-in-law Evelyne went smoothly. I had knitted this pattern, Fetching, about 5 or 6 times before, so there were no surprises. I then moved on to a hat for my granddaughter. The pattern I chose was Lifted Twill Helmet from the winter issue of Interweave Knits. Granted, I didn't do a gauge swatch. When the hat was nearly finished, with just the earflaps remaining to be done, it was clear that there was no way this hat would fit a 9-year-old child. It was way too small. I knew that re-sizing it would be time consuming, so I switched the recipient to my one and a half year old niece. If it doesn't fit her now, it will eventually. For granddaughter Essi, I bought new yarn and made an old reliable - three color Fair Isle hat.

I then moved on to the fingerless gloves for my son. My gauge moved down to 6 stitches per inch, so it was going to be a time eater. Plus, since these gloves have short fingers, I had to struggle with the finger gussets - another time eater. Wednesday I took the project to knit night and while doing the tubular bindoff I accidently Kitchener stitched a finger closed. I finally got the gloves done yesterday. Now all that was left was mittens for grandson Niepa. Fortunately, I was again using an old reliable pattern, so they were finished today. I'll try to get the gifts in the mail tomorrow if the post office is open Saturday morning. There's a slim possiblilty that they'll arrive in California by Christmas.

In spite of this knitting being done under near sweatshop conditions, no 12-year old Cambodians were involved in the production of these items.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Cross Country Ski Outing of the Season

Today I skied at Ogemaw Hills near West Branch with 3 other Genesee Wanderers Bike Club members. There had been lots of snow recently and the trails were freshly groomed. With temperatures in the mid to high twenties, the skiing was fantastic!

Monday, December 8, 2008

DVD: "Tropic Thunder"

I had modest expectations for this movie, but found it hilarious. It spoofs "Apocalypse Now," "Forest Gump," Hollywood egos, celebrity adoptions, and so much more. Not for the easily offended - lots of vulgar jokes and over the top depictions of fake movie violence.

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Book: "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" (translated from the French)

Renee Michel, concierge at a well-to-do apartment building in Paris, hides her considerable knowledge and sophistication from the tenants due to childhood fears. Meanwhile, Paloma, a 12-year old tenant, alienated from her family, plans to commit suicide and burn down the apartment building on her 13th birthday. When the two get to know each other better through a new Japanese filmmaker tenant, their lives both change for the better.

My rating: *** (out of 5)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the Needles: Clapotis Scarf

Yarn: Mountain Colors Merino Ribbon
Size 6 needles

I made a narrower scarf than the pattern calls for because I'm not tall enough to pull off the larger size scarf. I may give this to someone. It's a drop stitch scarf and it's lots of fun to deliberately drop a stitch to create the ladder.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Last Day in the Bay Area

Michael and I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and saw the Martin Puryear show. On the way back to the car we stopped at Beard Papa for cream puffs. In the evening we celebrated Essi's ninth birthday. Here's a picture of her wearing the sweater I knit for her birthday. Her brother Niepa is holding her new book.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Movie: "I've Loved You So Long" (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime)

I saw this movie with my daughter-in-law, Evelyne.

Kristen Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein give fantastic performances. At the beginning of the movie Lea picks up her sister Juliette, whom she hasn't seen for 15 years at the airport. During the rest of the movie, the reason for this absence is gradually revealed.

My rating: ***** (out of 5)