Friday, March 30, 2007

Weddings and Hats!

My dear friend P is getting married in a couple of weeks and this has prompted a flurry of creative activity and ideas. I like to use these special events to create something memorable and unique for the occasion. Besides, the idea of paying good money for something you only wear once seems to be a flagrant waste of funds which could be channelled towards increasing one's stash (because you're worth it! Read this!).

One of the first things I made in my young knitting career was for my good friend Jon's wedding last May. It was based on this in the first Rowan magazine I bought.

But this is what I ended up creating:

Let me first explain that it was a cold, windly May afternoon and the photo captures a strong gust of wind almost blowing off my satin pashmina - hence the gormless, dorky expression. I did look the picture of composed elegance (see left) for most of the lovely ceremony - honest!
For P's wedding, I'm thinking of making a plum red beret based on Knitandtonic's Le Slouch jazzed up with some beads and sequins, perhaps with an eyelet row at the bottom of the ribbing to thread some ribbon or velvet for a flapper look. Hmmm,.... might have to check out the Bead Shop on Beak street as yesterday's hunt at Liberty's was slightly disappointing.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rooneys on Snow!

Nothing clears your head better than a mountain holiday. It must be the combination of fresh air and the demented act of hurling yourself down steep slopes that makes you feel so darn good to be alive. We were fortunate enough to have 4 days of heavenly snow followed by 2 final days of glorious sunshine. I'm also happy to report that Gruff's caught the snowboarding bug and got the hang of the whole turning thing really quickly. By day 5, he was looney enough to be doing little jumps with me.... It's one of the things I love about snowboarding, you just have to throw caution to the wind and go for it. You feel exhilarated, thrilled and you get wrapped up for days in those delicious feelings. Maybe it's the purity of the white snow or the sugar-coated green conifers that gives you that high. I always come back from these holidays feeling changed, transformed, empowered and elevated with a mysterious & quiet force.

Did almost have a VERY bad injury though, was tightening up my bindings and dislocated my thumb! Yes, it snapped back in a truely hideous manner but cool as anything, taking it all in my stride despite the unspeakable pain - I just popped my thumb back and wriggled it about. I was that determined to board that not even a broken thumb was going to stop me. It was blue for a couple of days but contrary to my worries, I could still knit which meant that it wasn't a debilitating injury. Phew, I say!

Friday, March 16, 2007

The naming of colors

Today's post is prompted by some magnificent collisions of colour that I witnessed on the tube this morning. A bright fruschia wrap casually drapped on a lady was lodged next to a brilliant turquoise on another fellow commuter. One rarely sees such vibrant splashes of colour in the dull, grey expanse of city workers in the morning rush. There was an inspired combination of maroon on beige, vermillion and grey and orange on brown (damn, where's my bloody camera when you need one!)

I then remembered a young temp at a previous firm who was amassing booze money over the summer holidays for his next term at Cambridge. Young boffin had a habit of sending emails in Latin (??!!) and endeared himself to no one by constantly correcting their grammar and punctuation which only served to make us feel like naughty schoolchildren. (How cheeky, honestly young people these days have no tact!). But young boffin was clearly quite intelligent and would someday join the legion of crusty academics coccooned off another planet. He told me that he wanted to do a Phd on Modern Languages and went on to explain his idea for his dissertation which would examine how different cultures with their different languages develope their own terms of reference to describe colour. Of course, whilst boffin was going off in a mini-lecture, I drifted off hardly listening much like most of my time at college.

But today, I was struck by how young boffin had an interesting point. The word 'blue' doesn't just describe a visual shade of pigment but also a state of being low. Black is synonymous with evil, white with purity and good, green with envy... and I remember one of my most heated arguements with Gruff was over colour. I insisted something was blue and he was convinced it was green... i kid you not, this debate went on for hours and even spilled over into the next day.

Me: 'It's so blue, it can't be anything else!'

Gruff: 'That's not blue, it's definitely green!'

Me: 'You must be blind then because it's blue'

Gruff: 'It's green, anyone can see that...!' (you get the picture and yes, perhaps Gruff & I should get out a bit more)

I also remember my grandfather's funeral when an aunt who was already disliked by the whole clan had the gumption to wear red - a colour symbolising celebration and joy. More howls of weeping and consternation followed and said aunt became further ostracised. Funny how colour can evoke such strong passions.

Don't know about you, but I'm off to study the colour wheel now!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My fluffy contribution to high couture

Those of you at K's & P's will know that I was busy knitting some fluffy mohair hats for my friend Sara's final year project. She did knitwear for her MA in Fashion at Saint Martin's. Much to everyone's dismay, she wasn't selected for the cat-walk show despite having worked so hard these last 9 stressful months. Anyway, I saw the ones that were selected and they were pretty insipid and unimaginative. Ludicrously sculptured outfits that a Guardian journalist called the 'Zoolander' look. Whilst I'm not into bling myself, I thought Sara's idea of studding knitwear was ingenious and a bold way of updating the dowdy image that knitwear generally has.

These terrible photos were taken at her exhibition recently and what they fail to capture is the hours of painstaking, finger-aching work that went into placing each and every stud in those intricate patterns resembling intarsia.
Sara got a pretty good spot in the exhibition compared to some poor students who were stuck in a grotty corner but it was sad to see these beautiful garments just hanging limply when they deserved to be displayed in all their gorgeous dimensions.
Don't those fluffy hats look sweet? (Ahem!) Some of them got studded too which made them look pretty gangsta. Now THAT's something you don't usually find in the woolly world of knitwear.
p.s. speaking of 'gangsta' and opposites, I saw Pete Docherty this morning on my way to work and he looked like a right old pasty, weedy, indie-boy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

15% off - Bah!

One bloody week - my stupid, dumbass attempt to be pious and refrain from indulgent, sinful, yarn buying lasted 7 days. All because it was 15% off and I was weak.

I've managed to go into Liberty's and not buy any yarn for the last few weeks before our K's & P's at Leon. But it must have been the free wine coupled with the combined efforts of Flibbertygibbet & Caroline sitting on my shoulder and whispering encouragement that pushed me over the edge. Once the beast was unleashed, I splurged and gave my card a good spanking. So to atone, I hereby confess that yesterday at Liberty's I, Knitterrooney bought;

- some tiny sock dpns
- the Rowan Studio 1 book (which was the Delilah that emasculated me) because I then had to buy
- 5 balls of Kidsilk Haze and 2 balls of Felted Tweed for 2 of the patterns.

and once those were in my basket, I found myself picking up 4 balls of RYC Cashsoft Baby Alapaca for some cabley socks I have in mind. In my defence, I did actually put some yarn back in order to limit the financial freefall, the damage could have been a LOT worse.

I feel quite relieved & relaxed now - I was getting hot and flustered, my heart was palpitating wildly, my palms were getting damp and I could feel the beads of sweat forming on my forehead as I stood in Liberty's battling my yarn demon. Okay, so in this instance I succumbed to my darker desires but if there are lessons to be learnt from this whole debacle - it is that you must embrace the inner you and not embark on flighting worthless battles,... I feel humbled and enlightened by the experience (although my stash has got heavier - heh heh!) and next year, I'll stay clear of any knitting related abstinences which has proved impossible and just vow to be nicer to pensioners, let them have my hard-fought seat on the tube or something similarly challenging. Hee hee ...

(I'm chuffed to bits now just thinking about the knitting goodness to come! I'm so glad I listened to Fibbertygibbert and Caroline's wise words of support. Oh, how I've suffered this past week!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lent and Cats

The Big Blanket project which I blogged about here was initially going to be this - i loved the geometric squares and all the countless colour permutations. What dampened my enthusaism somewhat was the prospect of sewing up all those darn squares of which there would be many. And THEN, I saw this and the happy, cheery colours convinced me that it'd be a lot simpler and stress-free as no sewing up is involved. The only small, snag in my grand masterplan is that I can't actually crotchet. Yes, yet another one of my loony ideas - i think I live in denial that I have a proper, grown-up job and that I need sleep to function properly in life. At yesterday's K's and P's, I discovered that there is a whole rippled crotchet blanket craze going on in blogsphere. It is really comforting to know that there are others out there who are similarly obsessed and preoccupied with the project. It also bodes well that it's a guaranteed stashbuster project which ties in nicely with me giving up yarn buying for Lent. My last purchase yesterday was for this project which got delivered here at work a few hours ago. Hoorah! I was just sitting here at my desk, lost in thought about my knitting and yarn fixation and then by magic it materialised before my very eyes. (Great, speedy service online shop! - I'm very impressed). If I wasn't caught up in my woolly thoughts almost all of the time, I'd be half inclined to believe I possess special yarn-summoning powers. (Hah! Jedis eat your heart out). Gruff has learnt to recognise the glazed, thoughtful expression that comes over when I'm listening to him talking about work, music, sockets. He knows that in secret I'm dreaming about yarn, patterns, books, projects and that I could happily spend hours unravelling these delightful thoughts. When he confronts me in exasperation - 'you're thinking about your knitting!' I just have to sheepishly concur. I think Gruff should start a victim's support group perhaps called 'Partners of Yarn Addicts Anonymous' - they could all sit around drinking tea and sharing biscuits whilst wiping away the odd tear saying sadly to each other; 'She used to be normal - what's happened to us? The floor is strewn with needles and I found some bags of yarn stashed in the car boot/under the bed/in the garage.' They'll then all discuss these alarming tendencies and come to the conclusion that their partners are slowly turning into cats. Meow.