Let Me See You Shimmer
A reader (yeah!) asked me about the "Blue Shimmer" cardigan kit I have in my knitting stash. Last year, I purchased the kit at Stitches Midwest from Kimmet Croft Fibers. This is the yarn company that is recommended in Wendy Keele's Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition. At the time, I wanted to learn more about doing two-color knitting, and a sweater featuring a color pattern around the collar seemed a good place to start.
Sea of Blues
Back then, the knitting blog world was awash in traditional knitting. It seemed everyone was doing their first Fair Isle or Norwegian sweater. These days, even venerable traditionalists have moved onto more fashionable fare, but "Blue Shimmer" is still on my To-Do list.
During the past year, I've completed a few small projects to practice two-color knitting. My biggest problem has been getting a consistent gauge between the two-color sections and the single-color sections. Row gauge has also been a problem for me. In fact, when I purchased the cardigan kit, I also purchased a matching hat kit, for the practice. As I worked on the hat, I was able to get the stitch gauge pretty close to what's recommended in the pattern, but the row gauge was way off. I didn't realize this until I'd knitting several inches of fabric, enough that the hat would completely cover my ears, but the pattern still called for several more rows.
The good thing about a Bohus design is that it is pretty abstract. The last few rows on my hat are improvisations, and I like that about it. Once the weather dips to the low 10s, this hat will accompany me everywhere. And the cardigan? It's slated to move from my stash into the knitting basket after Christmas.
In other knitting news, I finally finished a baby blanket for my sister Mary who lives in DC. Mary's baby Lindsey came five weeks early, so all other projects were put on hold so we could focus on the little one. This baby blanket is knit in Patons "Look at Me" baby sport yarn, and hopefully the colors won't clash too much with Mary's pretty lavender-and-sage nursery. This blanket was the world's easiest pattern. It is all garter stitch with a simple eyelet at the beginning of each row. I'll probably get kicked off of the Knitting Blog Ring for admitting this, but even though I put all other projects aside so I could focus solely on this project, and even though it is nuttin' but knit stitches, it took me two full weeks to complete. Does anyone out there teach a speed knitting course?
Moving on to Books
My sister Wendy mentioned she's looking for a book about battles. Arts and Letters Daily recently had a link to an article about WWI that sent me hunting for some new reads. The article is called "Our First View of the End of the War", and it reviews several books about The Great War. One book looked particularly striking, and I've requested it through Interlibrary Loan (another great reason for working at a college). The book is 14-18: Understanding the Great War .
And on to Movies
Randy recently purchased an MVP pass to Hollywood Video. This means we can check out as many movies as we like for $10 bucks a month, and believe-you-me we've taken advantage. The last two weeks, we've done little else but watch movies.
Over the weekend, we caught Eternal Sunshine in the Spotless Mind. I loved the way the characters were so off beat and really pretty unlikeable. The story winds backwards, which I thought worked great. At the beginning of the movie, you see two characters who's relationship is really strained. Randy kept saying, "Red flag, man. Dump that girl, she's trouble!" Then, as the movie goes on, it's clear their relationship had it's good parts, too. It's interesting to see a relationship portrayed as an ongoing challenge with both characters driven crazy by the very traits that originally drew them together. The movie's ending definitely is not your typical "and they all lived happily ever after"--another plus, in my book. (Disclosure: this one is Rated R.)
A second film we both loved was Spirited Away, a Japanese anime film. I'm pretty sure this film was nominated for an Oscar. The story is about a young girl who becomes trapped in a magical world ruled by a witch. The setting is unlike anything I've seen before--it's one of the few films I could really say was "otherworldly". (Though perhaps if I were more familiar with Japanese folklore, the ghosts and creatures in the story may have been more familiar.) In order to save her parents, the girl finds a job working in a bath house in the spirit world. The bath house customers are river spirits, radish spirits, and mask-wearing monsters, and it takes all of the girl's wits and honesty to escape. The animation was stunning--really beautiful. It may be a little scary for younger kids, but otherwise a great family film.