Monday, November 30, 2009

making progress

thing are gradually getting back to normal over here - the new floors are down, the new bedroom furniture is built, and some progress is being made in reorganising & returning all our bits & pieces to their regular habitat (although there's still a surprising amount of things crammed into the spare room). & we even have all our doors back on (they had to come off when the new floor went in, and the RSA spent a lot of time & energy cutting bits off the bottom of doors to get them to fit over the new floor). & although there's still some things to be done, i no longer feel like i'm living in the middle of a building site, and can get down to some serious knitting at last (for most of the past week, my brains's been good for nothing but 2x2 ribbed socks).
& since i've fallen behind a little on the adeline test knitting, that's my focus for the moment - i've made it up to the armpits and split for the fronts & back, and have just finished one of the fronts. & now that it's no longer bunched up on one circular (i've put the parts that i'm not working at the moment on some waste yarn) i can really spread it out & see what's what.

adeline body
(cat for scale)


& seriously, this thing is huge - i may be knitting a ranch house *. i mean, i knew it was big when i was working on it - it is, after all, a knee-length knitted coat - but i didn't quite realise how much i had knitted until it was all laid out before me. & when i look at the pattern & how far i have to go, it seems like nothing compared to how far i've already come - i think i should be putting the finishing touches on this by the end of the week. & just in time - it's starting to get pretty chilly here, and i think i might just end up living in this all winter.

* "Jose brought up the blueprints for a new ranch house... I have this strange feeling that the blueprints and the knitting instructions got switched. I may be knitting a ranch house." - Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn, "Breakfast at Tiffany's")

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a fugue state

i'm sorry for the blog silence - things have been pretty chaotic around here, and i haven't really had much time to myself. we're in the midst of a great big DIY mess - most of the laminate flooring in the flat is being replaced, as well as most of the bedroom furniture, not to mention tearing down old wallpaper, skimming walls & ceilings, and repainting....
in the past couple of weeks, i've spent more time that i care to recall doing things like pulling up laminate flooring & carting it to the dump, taking apart old furniture & getting rid of it, and building new things from ikea (which i'm now fairly certain is actually swedish for "satan", such is the diabolical nature of their near-indecipherable so-called "instructions"). in the past few days, i've made more trips up & down our two flights of narrow, winding stairs than i normally would in a month (carrying heavy things up & down & up & down). and i've managed to cram just about everything we own into the small spare room, to clear the way for the new laminate flooring to be put in. i'd take pictures, but it's just too depressing.
i'm utterly exhausted, & wouldn't be at all surprised if i suddenly succumbed to a fugue state - the idea of completely forgetting all the chaos & heading off for parts unknown seems incredibly tempting.
alas, i think i'm doomed to stay here & suffer the clutter & disorder - thankfully, the new flooring is being put in this week, and the rest of the new furniture is arriving on saturday, so everything should be more or less back to normal by sunday evening.
and happily, i've got something lovely & new to distract me...

fugue tam


i'm extremely excited to be working in collaboration with the amazingly talented kate davies, who has created this fantastic new design especially for old maiden aunt yarns - fugue, which will be available in kit form, in a variety of colourway combinations, with an option of either tam or mitts.

fugue mitt


kate's designs are utterly lovely, full of incredible thought, planning, & attention to the minutest of details, and i'm thrilled that she's created such a gorgeous design using my yarn. the base is a new one for me, a 4ply pure welsh wool from bowmont braf. this yarn is beautiful - soft & squishy, fluffy & light, yet wonderfully warm & durable when knitted up into the dense fabric of this design.
the pattern & yarn is off to the test knitters & tech editors, and i'm just waiting for my batch of base yarn to arrive (this year's clip of the bowmont braf wool is currently off at the mill being spun & should be with me within the next couple of weeks) - with any luck, the first batch of kits should be available in the web shop by mid-december. the kit will include kate's pattern and enough of the luscious bowmont braf to knit either a tam or mitts, and will be packaged in a lovely little "old maiden aunt" project bag (a new product for me as well, which will also be available in the web shop soon!).
if you'd like to be added to an email list to be notified when the kits start to become available for purchase, please drop me an email. until then, i'll be working away at home, trying to restore my wee flat to some kind of normality...

fugue kit


i'll see you later!!


(all photos belong to kate davies & are used with her permission)

Monday, November 09, 2009

chilly days...

... call for cozy things.

yum!
porridge with raisins, brown sugar, & homemade applesauce - yum


coziness
a comfy chair & a warm blanket


entertainment
some excellent entertainment


adeline cardigan
& some seemingly endless knitting


snoring pup!
(snoring pup optional)


how are you planning on keeping warm this winter?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

france thinks i'm a tory

or, to be more precise, the french minister pierre lellouche thinks that the tories are "autistic". in an interview published this morning in the guardian, he says of the party's approach to the EU; "they have one line & they just repeat that one line - it is a very bizarre sense of autism". later on today, he clarified: "In French, the term autistic has been totally trivialised through overuse. President Sarkozy is called autistic every day. I understand that in English that this word could shock. That was a glitch. It was a misunderstanding." oh, ok then.
now, i don't normally get into the political (or the deeply personal) on this blog - it's usually chats about knitting & other topics of the light & fluffy variety.

finn closeup
(look, a puppy!!)


however, as an autistic person (i have asperger's, an autistic spectrum disorder), this language usage has made me pretty uncomfortable (& i'm fairly certain it isn't just due to an extreme aversion to having any association, however slight, with the tories!). i've been thinking about it all day, and i'm still not 100% sure how to articulate what bothers me about it.
i suppose the major problem is the use of "autistic" as an insult. some of us have moved on from using terms associated with other disabilities as insults - "lame" & "retarded" spring immediately to mind. i'm not sure if these are mainly north-americanisms, but wherever you are, i'm sure you can think of more/others - i was horrified, when i first moved to the uk 10 years ago, to hear someone use the term "mong" in casual conversation (short for mongoloid, a word of truly sketchy origin & usage). there was also an accompanying face. luckily i haven't heard that one in years, so maybe it's fallen out of use as well (fingers crossed...).
but is that just because they're being replaced with new insults, taken from words used for other, newer minority/disenfranchised groups? things like autism, ADHD, OCD and other neurological disorders are relatively new discoveries (previously, it's probably likely that someone like me would have simply fallen under the now-defunct umbrella of "retarded", "mentally handicapped", or simply "crazy"). apparently, the word "autistic" has become popular in recent years in colloquial french to refer to anyone who is stubborn/doesn't listen, & is used every day in the political world and media (according to the times online article linked to above). nice. so, is "autistic" the new "retarded"? i'm not sure what to think about that.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

reassurances

please take reassurance in this fact:

test knit supervisor


the test knitting is being properly supervised at all stages.

Monday, November 02, 2009

preparations

sometimes, i think i like the preparations for a new project even more than i like knitting it. printing out the pattern, choosing the yarn, carefully selecting needle sizes, and winding all the yarn into sturdy, squat yarn cakes.

adeline preparations


but then, seeing the project taking shape is pretty fun too - especially when it's as beautiful as this one is (check out the amazing cabled section!).

adeline sleeve


i've been chosen to be a test knitter for the gorgeous adeline coat (ravelry project page link, but lucy has a beautiful photo of hers on flickr), a new design from lucy sweetland designs (a black pepper). i'm pretty excited about this project - it's a stunning design, and i'm quite honoured to be trusted with the test knitting, and to be among the first to make it. it's a great combination of the simple & the intricate, and despite some initial gauge issues, i'm almost done the first sleeve already, even though i only cast on for it on saturday.
i've got a "deadline" (not officially demanded, but politely requested) of 3-4 weeks, which seems manageable, so expect to see a lot more about this project over the next while, as everything else will be taking a back seat! it's no hardship, though - this project is making me very happy.