Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cookie! (Share it, maybe?)

Do you know that song that's all over the place right now, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepson? The chorus is, "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number. Call me, maybe?" It has spawned a meme on the Internet, with everything from people lip-dubbing the song to business cards to things like the photo to the right. There's a whole explanation of the it over at Know Your Meme.

Apparently it's also spawned a few parodies. A Twitter-friend just sent me this yesterday.

Frankly, I like it better than the original song. But then, I'm a huge fan of both parodies and the muppets.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Knitwit, or, Life List no.73: Knit a pair of socks

So. Part of the reason I haven't been to terribly talkative on the blog lately is 'cause I haven't really had much to say. The rest of the reason? My hands have been otherwise engaged.

A few months ago, I found a pattern online for a really cute afghan called the Beekeeper's Quilt. It's from Tiny Owl Knits, and can be found here.  Go take a look, but then come back, okay?

Are you back? OK, good. Isn't that adorable? The individual hexagons (which have been named "hexapuffs" by some of the knitters on Ravelry) are very easy to do.  I took a bunch of sock yarn with me when I went to my parents' place for Easter, and came back 3 or 4 days later with this:

Holy Hexapuffs, Batman!
Yup. Did all that in one long weekend. I'd say there were probably around 25 in that picture, plus a cute little half a puff that you use to fill in the gaps at the edges. Added bonus: after watching me do these all weekend, my Mom wanted to learn how to do 'em. She later bought a copy of the pattern from Tiny Owl Knits, and the last time we talked about this project, she'd added her own special twist to it.  She doesn't like fiddling around with little bits, so she's making one long stuffed zigzag that will fit next to another zigzag, and she'll join them all together when she's done.

All those little hexagons in the picture are just a drop in the bucket, though. I think I need about 600 of 'em to make a decent-sized blanket.  I'll be doing this for a while.

While I was making them that weekend the thought started to percolate that perhaps, just perhaps, I was ready to tackle making a pair of socks. I'd tried a few times before and never got very far--either the join at the start was too loose and I couldn't find a way to tighten it up, or I developed "ladders"--funky gaps between stitches, usually where they met at either end of a double-pointed needle.  Well, the way around the join problem is to knit toe-up. And this pattern for hexagons showed me an easy cast-on that would work for toe-up socks.  So I found a simple toe-up sock pattern on the web (the first one on the page, called Lifestyle Toe Up socks)  bought some self-striping yarn, and off I went.

I took the first sock apart three times (at least) because I couldn't seem to get the ladders to go away. I checked a few places on line for help. Nothing seemed to work. I sent an email out to my Mom and sister, asking for their advice -- they are both very good at sock-making. Apparently my sister and I are on the same wavelength right now, because in the middle of writing this I went to read her blog, and she's just posted about her sock obsession. Anyway, Mom said that I'll stop making ladders the more I practice. Ditter says wear the socks once, wash them, and the ladders will disappear. I found the second piece of advice a little more reassuring. 'Cause frankly, if I make one pair of socks that look weird in places, I won't try making any more.

On my quest to get rid of the problem, I found videos on YouTube for how to knit with two circular needles. It was one person's way of getting rid of ladders, because you could snug the stitches right up against each other. Someone else suggested using the Magic Loop method, which was too much for me at the time. I thought I'd give the 2 circular needles thing a try. I was still getting ladders, but not as large, and there were only two of them. By the time I got to the second sock, I wasn't making them any more. Yay! And here's what I ended up with (on the left):

Stripey feet, FTW.
Gray lacy-ish sock.
Woo-hoo! There was a book sale going on at the site where I bought those needles, and I found some books of toe-up sock patterns while I was looking around. I decided to see if I could do this twice, so I dug around in my stash for some more yarn and made another pair, taken from a pattern in Socks a la Carte 2: Toes Up. They only had the pattern on the leg of the sock. I changed it so that I was working plain stockinette on the bottom of the foot and the pattern on the top of the foot, and then used the pattern the whole way around the leg, after I made the heel. This is what I got (above, on the right).

While I was working on the gray socks, I finally figured out how to use the Magic Loop method. I got myself a very long circular needle, and the socks I'm working on now are being worked that way. I'll post them when I'm done.  In any event, I do believe I can cross off ol' no.73 from the Life List. We'll take another stab at the sweater later on. I wound up taking the whole thing apart because I got mad at it. I have to make some sort of plan of attack for the sleeves before I get there next time, because the book is awfully vague when it comes to the sleeves. Mom agrees. She worked another sweater from the same book, and the instructions just seemed to fall apart when it got to talking about the sleeves. I don't understand it. The author was so detailed up to that point, then she just tailed off. I think perhaps I've gotten spoiled by the instructions at  Those patterns are all very informative and well-written. Maybe it's made me expect too much of other writers.

Well, that's enough yarn-talk for now. Time to get back to knitting.  And yes, I really am working with wool in this heat (it's supposed to come pretty close to 100 degrees here today), with no air-conditioning. I have fans running all over the house, with one aimed directly at me. I think we'll be okay. Sophie's upstairs on the bed, directly under the ceiling fan. While I'm thinking about it, I should probably go up and make sure I've turned that one all the way up. Though if she were uncomfortable, I'm sure I'd be told about it. She is not shy, my Sophie.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


About two weeks ago, the only locally owned and operated movie house/theater in my town reran a showing of the National Theatre (of London)'s broadcast of Frankenstein. It originally aired a year ago, and people liked it so much that they sent it out again. It was directed by Danny Boyle (the man who did Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millioniare -- apparently he started in theater before directing movies). It stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller as the Creature and Doctor Frankenstein.  Here's the first cool thing: both men play both parts. They switch roles nightly. The recording I saw had Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Johnny Lee Miller as the Doctor, but I think I read somewhere that they recorded it the other way 'round too. Now I want to see that one, because I'd like to see what choices each made in playing the other role.

What struck me (and continues to strike me, two weeks later) is how relevant this story still is. It raises questions about whether we should meddle with nature, whether we should do things just because we can, and what responsibilities we have to the things we create. Also, it pointed out to me how we still react with fear to things we don't understand, and how that fear usually turns quite quickly to anger and violence. If the Creature hadn't looked so ghastly, he wouldn't have been treated so cruelly by everyone who laid eyes on him. And if he'd met with more kindness, he wouldn't have acted the way he did.  He said it himself in the play, when he speaks to Dr. Frankenstein of reading Paradise Lost: "I know I should identify with Adam, but it's Satan I feel closer to. Cast out of heaven for being himself." Or something like that. As I said, it's been two weeks, and I have no recording with me to go back to for the exact line.

I am also blown away that the story sprang from the mind of a girl of 19, living in a time and place when most women of her age and station were expected to sit quietly and embroider. Granted, she had an unusual upbringing and was surrounded by extraordinarily unconventional people. But can you just imagine if the rest of the women of that time had been given free rein to learn, to question, to write, to paint, generally to do what they wanted? How many more amazing things would we have to marvel at?

I think I need to go read the book, now. I want to make sure that everything I saw was from Mary Shelley, not just interpreted by a 21st century playwright.

Side note: I really like this trend of beaming live theater and opera worldwide. There are things I'd never get to see if they didn't do this. I would never have realized I do in fact like opera, now that they caption it so that I can read what's being sung.

Added later: I've found a trailer for the performance on YouTube. So you can see at least a little of what I saw.