Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves

Wouldn't it be great if I could wear something that would fill me with the feeling of picking fruit in an orchard on a rainy day? Oh wait.

Leaves and gloves

The Rainy Day Fingerless gloves are finished. I will say it, this project was a delight. It was the perfect blend of a quick project that is entertaining to knit which results in maximum cuteness.

One glove wonder

I made mention of this before, but I do love knitting these "Happy Little Trees". There is something about knitting a picture that is really delightful. Other forms of fair isle can be more abstract (which don't get me wrong, I still really enjoy knitting). But when you knit an actual picture, it's like you get to tell a story through the medium of knitting. A lovely thought.

Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves

The one very small "con" is they are snug. Fair isle knits really don't lend themselves to be very stretchy. So I basically have to shimmy these gloves on. But really, that's no biggie. They don't look to small when they are actually on, and that's what matters.

Hi, meet my new glove

Lastly, here are those stats you have come to know and love:

Pattern: Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves by Ellie Stubenrauch
Source: Knit.1 Fall/Winter 2008 or here
Ravelry link: Here
Yarn: Hodgepodge of Classic Elite Yarn Fresco/Reynolds Soft Sea Wool/Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift/Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (See Ravelry link for more details on which is which.)
Needle size: US 3 dpns
Made for: Me, me, me!
Date started: October 14, 2010
Date completed: October 30, 2010

Just the gloves

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crafting Mama

Phew! What a week. I have been working my fingers to the bone doing a myriad a crafts...knitting, sewing, cake decorating, balloon making, even some pottery. My crafting knows no bounds.

Ok, so the truth of the matter is that I have been playing Crafting Mama for the Nintendo DS. Basically Crafting Mama is a video game that gives the player a bunch of different crafting projects which the player has to complete step by step.

It's a silly game, yet so addicting. I really appreciate how realistic the steps are for the crafts. Like for sewing a kerchief, you need to cut the cloth, trace the pattern, iron the hems, stitch it all up. The geeky details is what makes it fun.

I have to say, it is gratifying for mama to validate my crafting skills. Look, she says I'm a perfect knitter.

100, yo!

For the most part, I'm a natural at any craft I try. But sometimes, when mama has to fix my mistakes, she gets angry.

(Funny, that's the same face I make when I drop a stitch.)

Don't get me wrong, I am not a hardcore "gamer." But I did buy a Nintendo DS because I enjoy puzzle games and such. (Really like the Professor Layton series.) I find these games perfect entertainment for when I travel. So when I saw that there was a crafting game, how could I not buy it?

So there you go. Some geeky e-crafting fun. Beep-bo-beep-bop-bop

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Conversations about Fair Isle

Talking to Erin about Fair Isle knitting last night:

Me: I don't know if I'm knitting fair isle the right way. You know, using the right technique? I'm just kinda winging it.
Erin: Well, are you knitting by holding one color yarn in each hand?
Me: [Scoff] No.
Erin: Oh. Are you keeping in mind yarn dominance?
Me: No. [beat] Nerd.

I love my sister. Even though she's a knitting nerd. But I have to admit, she does know what she's talking about:

Venezia Pullover

It's nice she puts up with her lazy knitter of a sister with such grace and patience.

Am I crazy to cape?

Seeing this...

Inspired me to buy a pattern for this:

Vintage Cape Pattern

Am I being a tad eccentric? (BTW...only the short version is in consideration. I am not completely cuckoo-ca-choo.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Knitting Happy Little Trees

Well, it is official. I am on a Fair Isle kick. See?

Rainy Day Gloves in progress

They are the Rainy Day Fingerless Gloves by Elliphantom Knits. The pattern is available in the Fall/Winter 2008 edition of Knit.1 magazine. (Or you can also download it here for $4.00)

The great thing about this pattern is that I am able to use a lot of my leftover yarn from my Fair Isle Beret. Love it when that happens!

So far I find this project kinda delightful. I like knitting pictures of "happy little trees." Bob Ross would be so proud.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Fair Weather Beret

Why hello, Autumn? I would like to introduce to you my new hat.

The Fair Isle Beret

It's a Fair Isle Beret, if you didn't know. We've been having a lovely time together doing autumnal hat-like things, like riding Adelaide in the park and having afternoon tea.

In the park with my new hat

I am really pleased how it turned out. The colors ended up working really well together and it was addictive to knit. Producing a new pattern row would just spur me on to knit another. I loved seeing all the different color combinations and patterns come together. The thing that was interesting, however, is the fact that you knit the beret flat and then seam it up. I don't love my seaming job, it is definitely a bit flawed. If I did this again, I would probably adjust the pattern to knit it in the round. I see no reason why it couldn't be.

Hi pom pom!

The only thing that gives me pause is I might have erred on the side of making it too big. A little too floppy. But you know that's my own fault. Instead of knitting the body on size 3 needles like the pattern said, I knit it on 4s for two reasons: I didn't have a pair of 3s handy and I was worried it was going to be too small (it was hard to judge the real size from the pattern picture).

Fair Isle from the side

When I told Erin about my size issue, she asked me if I knit a swatch to test gauge. Funny thing, she knows full well that I hate knitting swatches and refuse to do so. (I just want to jump in and start the project!) It is kinda like when the dentist asks if you flossed everyday. You know that they know that you don't, but they are asking anyway just to make a point.

Despite the floppiness, I kinda sorta love it a lot.

Adelaide in the park

Here are the all-important stats:

Pattern: Fair Isle Beret
Source: Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Fall/Winter 2010
Ravelry Link:
Hodgepodge of Classic Elite Yarn Fresco/Reynolds Soft Sea Wool/Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift (See Ravelry link for more details on which is which)
Made for:
Me, of course!
Needle size:
US 2/US 4 straight needles
Date started: October 5, 2010
Date completed:
October 12, 2010

And we are off! In search of some cider, no doubt.

Into the sunset

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Cycling with Dignity" from Pashley bicycles

If I hadn't already bought my Pashley Princess Sovereign before seeing these Pashley bicycle ads, I would have ordered one with haste. Just the tagline alone would have converted me to be a Pashley-ite: "Cycling with Dignity."

(Click to embiggen. Then you can see the details of the word design and illustration. Is that bike-part flora?)

Headline: "A young school teacher given to fits of nostalgia sings the words to a boy band tune out loud. Moments later, inexplicably, she is thrown from her Pashley."

Headline: "For God know what reason, a young designer takes to wearing bright orange lycra cycling shorts. Until she goes back to trousers, her Pashley resists traveling any route but the back streets."

Headline: "A pre-eminent radiologist succumbs to temptation and stops to buy a cheese-burger from a famous global chain. When he returns his Pashley has disappeared. Theft, you can be assured, was not involved."

These ads make me think that their target demographic was girls who love clever ad copy, are obsessed with Liberty of London-esque illustration, think bicycles are people too, and are named Kara.

BTW...The ads are now hanging up in my flat as art.

(These ads are the property of Pashley bicycles and were created in 2007.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fair amount of progress

(I'm totally going to exhaust using the word "fair" in all my post titles for this Fair Isle Beret.)

F-I Beret in progress...

Friday, October 8, 2010

I love your smile

There are so many things that are just right about this video. Bicycles, vintage clothes, cute song, and Audrey Tatou. It begs me to ask the question, "Where can I find a hobo bicycle boyfriend of my very own?"

Happy Weekend!

(Video found via the bicycle blog Riding Pretty.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Brit List - Moving picture edition

[UPDATED with comment suggestions]

I mentioned in my last post my love for period British mini-series. Basically if there are costumes, accents and multiple episodes, I am so in.

A couple of people asked for some of my favs, so I thought I would compile a list. (Don't you love a good list?!) There are two categories. The first is made up of mini-series and TV series. The second is made up of feature-length movies that I also adore. I have included links to the versions that I am referring to.

Mini-series/TV series

Pride and Prejudice - Where it all began. I had no idea how this mini-series would affect the rest of my life. I think being an English major in college would have never happened without Mr. Darcy diving into a lake.

Lark Rise to Candleford - Sunday nights for the past spring and summer have been dedicated to watching this series with my mom and my sister. It is truly a delight. There is even a whole episode devoted to when a new-fangled machine, a bicycle, comes to town.

The Forsyte Saga - Whoa. This mini-series means business. Victorian love and scandal at its best. Plus, it stars one of my faves, Damian Lewis. (Who I saw in real life when I was out and about in London. As always, shorter than I expected.)

Cranford/Return to Cranford - A show about a town run by older women is going to be full of heart. Lot of laughs and tears in this one.

Jane Eyre - Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester. Nuff said.

Wives and Daughters - All kinds of relationships are explored in this great mini-series: child and parent, sisters, lovers, step-families, and more.

Little Dorrit - Oh, Dickens! Even though there are wacky characters with wacky names, you still get so invested in their lives. Little Dorrit is just so good, it is easy to hope her story turns out for the best. This storyline hits every emotional note on the scale.

Sense and Sensibility - Not to be confused with the Emma Thompson version, which I also love. This mini-series was able to take the time and explore the story of the Dashwood sisters.

Bleak House - Another Dickens mini-series. It is darker. But oh, so good.

Jeeves and Wooster - Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are geniuses. Their chemistry makes this series so fun to watch. Oh, the hi-jinx Wooster gets up to. Yet Jeeves always manages to save the day.

Cambridge Spies - Mini-series based on true events: 4 Cambridge students are recruited to be spies for Russia. Fascinating.

Horatio Hornblower - Ioan Gruffudd is Horatio Hornblower. For being such a "boy" movie full of swash-buckling sea adventures, I completely loved it.

North and South - There is something very Darcy-esque about the leading man's character. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Monarch of the Glen - This is the only modern-day one on the list. But it was too good to leave off. Archie MacDonald reluctantly returns to his childhood estate to become Laird. (Hector and Kilwillie are worth it alone!)

Fortunes of War - To be fair, I have not watched this yet. But it looks right up my alley and is in my Netflix queue. I do love me some Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. I am still a little sad that those crazy kids couldn't make it work in real life.

**Edited to add**

Downton Abbey - Please come to the US. Please!

MI-5/Spooks - Modern-day spy show. Pretty excellent.


Bright Star - Love. So. Much. The romance of John Keats and Fanny Brawne is beautifully depicted. Plus, Fanny's outfits are awesome.

The Young Victoria - Victoria and Albert. Sigh. It truly is a love story for the ages. Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend are amazing.

I Capture the Castle - An eccentric family in an run-down castle? Yes, please.

Gosford Park - A weekend at a country estate shows the drama upstairs and downstairs. Great ensemble cast. Where I first discovered my crush for Clive Owen.

The 39 Steps - A spy caper set in the countryside starring the pretty dashing Rupert Penry-Jones.

Howard’s End - Just recently revisited this movie after many years. I think I "get" it a lot more now than when I was a teenager. It is pretty masterful. But really, Emma Thompson can do no wrong in my eyes.

A Room with a View - Remember Daniel Day-Lewis as Cecil? Perfection.

**Edited to add**

The Remains of the Day - Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are Tour de Forces. A touching story about life and sacrifice.

Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain- A young Hugh Grant stars in this one. A pretty fun movie about a community that goes to extremely kooky lengths to keep their reputation in tact.

Miss Potter - The story of Beatrix Potter. Totally enchanting.

Cold Comfort Farm - A pure delight. A young woman finds herself living among her country relatives after her parents died.

The great thing is this list will always be growing. (Thanks BBC!) In fact, I am already looking forward to the new Sherlock series on Masterpiece Mystery starting October 24th. It's a modern take on the sleuth. Eek. So. Excited.

So how about you? Any suggestions? Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In a fair (isle) mood

Lately I have been dreaming in fair isle. I want to knit fair isle sweaters, mittens, and of course hats. I am obsessed! But really is it that surprising? (Lots of colors and patterns...that doesn't seem like Kara at all!)

This recent obsession creates a funny little predicament considering I "technically" have a fair isle project on the needles. Remember Little Birds? Poor little, neglected sweater. Don't know why, but I can't bring myself to work on it. It seems too overwhelming at this point to figure out and finish. What I've decided to do is start my Fair Isle Knitting Revolution small, by knitting a fair isle beret.

I've always loved the idea of a fair isle beret. Every time I see one pop up in a WWII, British mini-series (which seems make up 75% of my Netflix queue), I think to myself, "Kara, it is ridiculous that you don't have one of those berets. Especially since you could easily knit one yourself. Completely ridic!"

So the pattern I picked is from the Fall/Winter 2010 Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine. (BTW...TONS of cute fair isle projects in that one.) When I saw this beret pattern, I immediately saw myself wearing it while riding Adelaide in the countryside. A good sign, I think. Plus, who could resist a pom-pom? Glad to say, not I!

Beret in utero

Who knows, maybe after this, I'll work my way up to mittens, and then, and only then, I'll be ready to take on that Little Birds sweater.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Betty goes to the river

Last Friday, Betty and I hit the Jordan River Parkway.

Betty Foy and the Jordan River

Jordan River Parkway

While the first third of my ride wound through a questionable part of town (within 2 minutes I ran into a disrobing homeless man), the parkway eventually turned into a nice, scenic ride. The weather was even suspiciously summer-like.

Bridge Betty

Betty on a bridge

This parkway follows the Jordan River for about 40 miles. I probably only covered about 15 of them, but that only means there is a lot more to explore next time.