Monday, December 21, 2009

Tiny clothes, translated

You've heard that phrase, I'm sure--"When you're holding hammer, everything looks like a nail?" Well, when you're holding a pair of knitting needles, everything starts looking like a sweater. I think Pedro Almodovar's best work to date is Volver, mostly because of Penelope Cruz's absolutely mouthwatering...cardigans. The Matrix could just as aptly have been called The Latex, but the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar was certainly rocking some edgy deconstructed knitwear looks in there, too. And when we were watching The Road, I kept thinking I'd have an easier time of things than most in a post-apocalyptic cannibalistic society, because I could knit garments that would keep a person warm even in a nuclear winter.

So of course, during Fantastic Mr. Fox, what really held my attention was the meticulous set dressing and the puppet-sized costumery. Particularly the cute reverse-stockinette, broken-rib, long-sleeved shawl-collar cardigan Felicity Fox is wearing over her pajamas when the Fox family is driven underground. Someone else on Ravelry was asking about it, and I'd obsessed about it pretty much continuously since I saw the movie (making little sketches and even swatching with some merino-silk DK I didn't have a project in mind for yet). I felt like the pattern was practically written in my mind already, so I decided it was worth a quick detour from my other projects to finish it and post for the (at least) one other person who just hadda, hadda have it. I'm getting the Fastest Knitter In Town to rip out a prototype for me so I don't get hopelessly behind on the stuff that's hanging fire in the meantime. Pics coming soon! In the meantime, enjoy imagining what this charming garment will look like on the human variety of fox...

And it sure is a good thing FKIT can help me out on this right now. I just found out a dear friend back in CA is pregnant with twins (hooray for her and her own fantastic Mr.!), so I've got a whole passel of baby knitting on the docket, too! Ysolda Teague's Otto is my go-to for baby gifts, and I happen to have enough Baby Cashmerino in the stash to make a pair of 'em. On the other hand, I haven't made a blanket for a while, so I'm thinking maybe it's time to use that Serenity pattern I downloaded ages ago...who knows? Maybe both! Because you know I have so much free time...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy endings

Now, I am not one of those people who hated the Sopranos finale for being all postmodern and unresolved, and my favorite movie ending of all time is the one in The Italian Job. (The 1969 Michael Caine original, of course. Watch it, you'll die laughing when the credits roll.) All the same, I'm starting to realize that if things have to end, I'd rather they end happily. Call me old-fashioned, but I love it when the guy gets the girl. (And when the girl gets the girl, too--I heart Ellen and Portia! No on Prop 8!)

I also love it when I finally find my glasses/car keys/laptop charger after hunting all over the house, or when I get to the end of my workout and the sauna at the gym is NOT out of order anymore. Or the other day when it was cold and raining, and I was bummed about having to take the bus home, but then I found a soaking wet dollar bill on the sidewalk by the bus bench. Even little tiny happy endings like that can make my entire day.

My latest happy ending is Beverly. That was the project I frogged all the way from the hem to past the underarms when I realized it was all too small, and wrong, and just...bad. So discouraging. I put it aside for a while, then took a deep breath and started over a couple of weeks ago. Today, I put the very last finishing touches on it--and there were a LOT of finishing touches, let me tell you! Beverly is equal parts simple (top-down, seamless construction, all stockinette) and super-fancy (details like satin ribbon facing on the fronts, tiny hook-and-eye closures, tulip-hem sleeves, and beaded embroidery and appliques). Ravelry details are here. Between the silky alpaca yarn and the vintage-y style, it's like an instant heirloom.

The only little teensy thing I don't love about how this turned out: I wish I'd used more contrasty beads for the embroidery. These are too matchy-matchy, and they get kinda lost in the trim. But that's not enough to ruin it for me--not even close. I'm officially ending the Beverly saga with "and she lived happily ever after"!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Introducing Agatha!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I went the entire day without knitting. On the other hand, I think I was eating or drinking (or both) for 18 straight hours, so the day wasn't a total loss. I co-hosted a big group dinner with a friend--I provided the turkey, she provided the house. A good time was had by all, mostly because there were three kinds of pie and the turkey, thank goodness, did not come out all dry. My thank-you note to my co-hostess will come in the form of the sample sweater I made for the Agatha ready for download from Knit Picks!

I've also created an addendum for working this design in lace weight yarn. That's what I used for the very first version of the Agatha design. I do love how it turned out, but, whew, that's a LOT of tiny little stitches on tiny little needles. I can't imagine doing that again, especially after having made two more with sport and light worsted weight yarns. Those seemed to fly off the needles after the lace weight version. BUT, if you have 1700-2400 yards of merino lace singles (or comparable yarn with which you can get 30 sts/48 rows to 4" in stockinette on US size 3 needles!) lying around, and you're a glutton for punishment, hey, have at it with my blessing! The addendum will be free for the first 100 Ravelers who download it, and then just $1.00 after that. (You will still need to get the original version from Knit Picks to get the instructions, charts, etc., but that won't break the bank.)