Thursday, 30 July 2009

A trip, a strange car, and some knitting

I returned from my family visit with most of my sanity intact, and some knitting. Hurrah! Pass the champagne!

I find family visits very stressful, as criticism and bickering (or complete silence) are the preferred way of communication, but I think I did quite well this time round. Not *everything* I do was completely wrong! Having my own copy of the Dysfunctional Family Bingo as a lifeline also helped (my own card was based on this one).

I did eat delicious delicious food (although I found myself missing veggies by the end of the 4 day trip), and got lots of knitting done (not counting all the travelling, the 5 hr car trips will do that). And saw strange cars.


On the knitting front, I finished most of Demeter. It needs to be checked for size, though. Demeter's construction, bottom-up with a provisional cast-on, allows for knitting extra if it's too short. I normally knit my tops too short, so I think I may do this from now on with all of them, provided the body is stockinette (see the TECHKnitter's explanation on why only stockinette).
Demeter detail

The 5 hour car journey was mainly devoted to knitting socks. I had done the ribbing on the plane, and I managed to do 10 pattern repeats on the car: 2 that I had to rip, and the 8 needed for the leg. We reached our final destination as I was getting to the start of the heel.
Bluerose socks WIP

This sock is going incredibly fast, and the yarn, cotton sock yarn from YarnAddict, is a dream: one of the softest yarns I've worked with. I'm really enjoying knitting them.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

FO: Alex's (finally) socks

Alex's socks

Last Thursday, I finally managed to finish another pair of Socks for Alex, the so-called Finally Socks (I'm sure there was a reason for this name). My plan was to finish them for this week, but the knitting gods conspired for me this one time, and finished them ahead of time. Just barely so: they were drying overnight in the sockblockers, and I had to take them (with full sockblocker assembly) into work so they could finish drying. I got some interesting looks!

The socks are made using the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula (rav), 2.5 mm needles and Zitron Trekking Pro Natura in grey.
The rib pattern is a k3,p1,k1 tbl, p1, over 72 stitches. I started it around the same time as I was working on Bottom's Up, and was loving the tbls, so I decided to incorporate them in the pattern.

I had to knit the cuff of the first sock twice, because it was way too tight the first time (for the cuff pattern, I just turned the middle k in the k3 into a purl). I fixed the problem by knitting 5 rounds of the rib on 2.5mm (as the rest of the body),5 rounds in 2.75mm needles and using a very stretchy bind off, as learnt from making Ishbel (rav) (p2tog, slip stitch back to left needle). This combination of patterns and needles worked very well, giving Alex no problems getting them over the heel, but still staying up.

The k tbl is almost hidden: if you look at the sock, you can mainly see a k4, p1 pattern, but there is a p1, k1 tbl there, I swear! I like that it kind of gives "hidden" stretch. It forms a much tighter rib when it's relatively unstretched, but there is extra hidden there!
Alex's Socks detail

Friday, 17 July 2009

N is for Nails

This is less of a pretty post, but N is for Nails, because they are something important to me, even if a bit embarrassing. I have bitten them since I am very small, and even when I'm not biting them, I keep obsessing about them, looking at them and prodding them. Most of the time I don't even realise I'm doing it.

N is for nails

I've tried to stop many times, but only sheer will power does anything (nothing else helps, not the nasty-tasting nail polish, nor getting spanked as a child by my parents; only me helps, only I can do it). Often my mood or tiredness don't leave me a lot of room for will (I have certainly noticed that I bite them more when I'm anxious!), so I never manage to be more than a small number of months "clean".
As well as sheer will, keeping them short and always having a nailclipper handy helps. The moment *something* happens to one of them, my brain turns them into fair game!

I manage at times. Often I will manage to get them nice enough for a creamy light nail polish, which also helps on stopping me from biting them. And sometimes, some glorious times, I get them good enough for bright red nail polish.!
Fetching action shot

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Duxford Air Show

This Sunday, I went to an Air Show. *insert 5 minutes of excited squeeing and bouncing here*
Not a normal Air Show, but a Historical Air Show. Spitfires! Mustangs! Yaks! B-25s! A Lancaster! It was amazing. I'm probably getting a bit too excited here, but really, it was good aero pr0n.

As well as pretty aircraft, there were a bunch of vendors, including aero books. A lot of them were of the pretty-picture variety, but some of them were crunchy, and I love those. I couldn't really afford the 50s 7 volume full aircraft design set, which made me infinitely sad, but I shall save up my pennies and buy it (or something similar) when there is something celebratory work-related.
I did buy, for a pound, a Jane's. I did kind of scream "Jane's'" and dived into to the box of them. Even for a pound, Jane's are still enormous fuckers, but this one is fairly small; It is a compilation Jane's from the 70s, with aircraft from 1902 to 1916, and I really like early aeroplanes, they have a special elegance about them (and their pilots), and it's amazing to see how fast it was all evolving at the time.
There was a small stand with frames of pictures of aircraft with bits of metal from those aircraft (all from non-fatal accidents), which was awesome, and several aircraft paintings. We didn't buy any, but took their cards for the future.

But really, you came here for the pictures, and not for excited and mostly incoherent ramblings about pretty planes, so here I leave you with a small selection of them.

SDC10737s       SDC10769s

Hehe, more than one Spitfire
SDC10851s       SDC10908s

If you have seen the Aviator, you will remember how Howard Hughes hires a meteorologist to find out when there will be clouds. Clouds make an amazing difference. (Do watch Hell's Angels if you have the change; the movie is alright, but the flying scenes are great)

SDC10933s       SDC10923s

SDC10879s       SDC10958s

After my attempts at pictures, I should refer to you actual professional photographers.
I was clearly an amateur there (both in terms of photography and preparation), but I enjoyed with my full enthusiasm.

Now excuse me while I go bounce some more. I did get a nasty sunburn, and it was a long journey to Duxford, but now that is gone, and I can bounce pain-free again on the memories.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Not that book, but those ones

I have been looking for a particular book, The Mote in God's Eye, for quite a while. None of the Bristol bookshops had it, and Amazon had it only for delivery in 1 or 2 weeks (it was only available in the continent somewhere). However, while those weeks happened, the book went out of stock. I can't have my book. But look what I got instead!

The Best of Interweave Knits

I want to make (at least) the Icarus Shawl, Union Square Market Pullover, Simply Marilyn and Burma Rings.

Cute Stuff, by Aranzi Aronzo

Someone had it at my S'n'B, and was making felt monkeys, and I thought I must have it. It is also, as advertised, full of cute stuff.

The Noonday Demon, by Andrew Solomon

Less happy, but I've heard very good things about this book. Hopefully it will help me shake the leftovers out.

Now, does anybody know where I can find The Mote in God's Eye? I will check out London bookstores next time I'm around, but I don't have a lot of hope, suddenly.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Monkeys, Mongooses and Marmosets, Oh My!

I was in a small London zoo a couple of weeks ago, and saw animals. The cutest animals also happened to start with M, so I squeed and took pictures and behaved like I was 20 years younger, while Alex put up with me :)

There were Monkeys!

Monkey       Monkey

I wanna be a mongoose!

Or the fighting mongooses. That's a cool team name.

And marmosets. 'Tis another monkey!

Not an M!
Not an M