Monday, June 27, 2011

Old writing.

On my 21st birthday, my mum gave me a box of pictures, report cards, certificates and miscellaneous items that she had kept over the years.  It included this, which judging by my hand-writing was written when I was about five.

Please note that while I didn't have the fine motor skills to write in a straight line, my vocabulary included the word 'scavenging'.

At the start of the Summer I had plans to start writing again.  (This was brought about by the internet's failure to provide me with scary stories.  I decided to write one myself, but anything I start ends up being about people.)  For the Leaving Cert my discussion essays weren't powerful pieces of persuasion - "But that's only my opinion I mean I can see how you might disagree oh god I'm so sorry I made you a cake." - so I didn't really have any option but to write short stories.  I enjoyed writing stories though.  I can't come up with plots, but I like creating atmosphere and characters, which is probably why I want to write horror.  Having come across this gem, though, I think it's pretty clear I'm not going to top that.

And that's beautiful.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
- John Muir

Sunday, June 26, 2011

FO: Another brainmonster

Another brainmonster!  Based on this, but my own pattern.  The teeth are crocheted because I was a little lazy.  I meant for the eyes to look askew, but I'm not sure how well that worked out.  I also want to make myself something out of Wendy Merino now, is great yarn.

I'm nearly finished my sister's jumper - today I got it seamed up and the ends woven in, so once she tries it on and shows me the fit I can do the neck ribbing.  I'm not sure what to bring in to work tomorrow, but all going well I'll be busy, so it might be a non-issue!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Twenty-one today!

Gosh I'm old.
Gosh I'm young.

Monday, June 13, 2011

FO and Pattern: Snug cupcake hat

A friend commissioned a cupcake hat with earflaps.  All of the cupcake patterns I found were for beret-type hats, which wouldn't suit earflaps, so I put this together.  I think if you want a more cupcakely hat it's best to leave out the earflaps, but for completeness I've included them here.

The pattern is for one size, but should fit most adults.  (I'm about average height and build, so probably have an average sized head, but left some wiggle room because I have giant hair and don't know the person the hat is for.)

Uses bulky yarn in two colours (Cup, or sponge, and icing)*
6mm DPNs
1 stitch marker
Yarn needle

Gauge: 10 x 10 st in stockinette stitch is 2.75’ wide by 2.25’

Ears (make 2)

CO 7st in cup colour (CC)

Row 1: k all st
Row 2: k1, p1, k1, p to 3 st before end, k1, p1, k1
Row 3: k3, kfb, k to 4 st before end, kfb, k3

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until you have 15 stitches.
Work 8 rows st st, continuing edge ribbing. (End after RS row)

From either earflap: CO 20 st for back of hat
Join other earflap and work across: K1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1
CO 34 st for front of hat
Work across first earflap as above.
PM and join to work in the round.


(If not making earflaps, just CO 84st)

Work p1k1 rib for until hat measures 2.5’ from beginning.

To change colour from cup colour (CC) to icing colour (IC):
Continue working rib pattern for CC, while working IC in st st

I take really awkward photos.
Row 1: Work *2st CC, 3st IC, 2st CC* rep from * to end

Row 2: Work *1st CC, 5 st IC, 1st CC* rep from * to end
Row 3: K all sts IC

K 12 rows

Next row: *k5, k2tog* rep from * to end (72 st)
Next row: k all sts
Next row: *k4, k2tog* rep from * to end (60 st)
Next row: k all sts
Next row: *k3, k2tog* rep from * to end (48 st)
Next row: k all sts
Next row: *k2, k2tog* rep from * to end (36 st)
Next row: k all sts
Next row: *k1, k2tog* rep from * to end (24 st)
Next row: k all sts
Next row: k2tog 12 times (12 st)
Next row: k2tog 6 times (6 st)

Break yarn, and use tapestry needle to pull through remaining st.

Button (worked in the round):

CO 6st in CC
Row 1: k all st
Row 2: kfbf into each stitch
Row 3: k all st
Row 4: k3tog 6 times
Row 5: k all st

Break yarn and pull through live st. Pull ends together and weave into the top of the hat.

Tassels (make 2):

Cut 5 lengths of each colour, a little more than twice as long as you want your tassels to be.
Hold all strands in a bundle and twist tightly right along the length.
Fold the strands end to end and let go – the tassel should wrap around itself.
Tie loose end in a knot.
Pull through the bottom of earflap (a crochet hook is a help here) – front to back, then pull the free end through the loop.

Weave in all ends and you’re done!

You're free to make and sell this hat, but please don't claim it as your own pattern.  I know it's nothing impressive, but it is mine.

* I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Roasted Coffee and Strawberry Smoothie.

P.S. If anyone makes this I'd love to see how it turns out!

wip: Sister's jumper

I finished a commissioned hat of my own design on Friday, took photos on Saturday, wrote the pattern up just now, and was all set to post when I realised the photos were rushed and wonky-looking.  So I'll try to take better ones to go with the pattern.

In the meantime, this is the jumper I'm making for my sister.

My garden has daisies and we nearly had sun!
The patern is the same one I made for my first jumper, the Allegoro Scoop-neck Pullover.  The yarn is Louisa Harding Ianthe, which is a mix of cotton and merino.  It feels at once cool and snuggly.  Cotton is some sort of magical fibre.

I've reached the slightly unfortunate stage where the pattern is no longer nothing but mindless stockinette stitch, and the piece is getting a bit big to fit into my knitting penguin.  I'm not sure whether I'll bring it into work tomorrow or not.  I have nothing else small to work on though, so I probably will, my hands like to have something to do, so it will probably make me less annoying to be around.  (I finished a ball of wool half-way through a day of nothing much in work last week.  It was quite distressing.)

My knitting penguin, here seen wearing the start of the cupcake hat.
In other news, I am just about back on solid foods!  It's a pretty exciting time for me.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gay mutant minority persecution: Action films with ambition.


I saw X-Men: First Class last night.  I actually attempted to start this post then, but it turned into talking about how awful the film was.  To get it out of my system, the following things were wrong with it:

  • Its understanding of genetics and evolution.
  • The plot.
  • The acting.
  • Everything else.

I realise "Everything else" is a pretty broad category, so here are some examples.

  • James McAvoy's hair greying (to show the passage of time, I initially thought), then being brown again, then having a definite grey streak, then being brown again...
  • Conservation of energy being a superpower, and then not existing.
  • hiuojnqwiqfrnfiqo DON'T MOVE SOMEONE WHO JUST GOT SHOT IN THE BACK.  DON'T TAKE THE BULLET OUT WITH YOUR SUPERPOWERS.  STOP LIFTING HIM AND PUTTING HIM DOWN AGAIN.  CHILDREN LEARN THIS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL, DON'T MOVE SOMEONE'S WHO'S INJURED JUST WAIT FOR A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.  GOD.  (This one I do consider to be a "Think of the children" flaw, it will put the wrong ideas about saving someone's life into their little heads.)
  • How do you grow up in upstate New York and end up with a British accent?
  • For a telepath, Xavier sure has no idea how people work.
Now that that's out of the way:  X-Men follows a pretty standard superhero film plot.  There are individuals with superpowers, and there's a group for whom we're meant to root, and then there are a group of super-powered people who use their powers for evil, and we don't like them.  And then the goodies win the day!  The problem arises when X-Men tries to Make A Point about persecution.  The most obvious parallels are between being a mutant and being queer ("How long have you known you were.. um..."  "That's your real name, isn't it, Raven?"  "You didn't ask, so I didn't tell."), so I'll probably mostly use that.

I think using your superheroes to teach kids acceptance is a great idea.  The blue furry guy who has adventures just wants to be loved and have friends, just like you!  And so does the kid who gets a funny feeling in his tummy over boys rather than girls!  The evil mutants make things a bit blurrier though.  The Good Mutants just want to fit in and get along with Normal People ("You're not one of those gays."); the Bad Mutants are a threat to our way of life.  In the first film, Magneto turning that politician into a mutant looks a lot like a vocally anti-gay spokesperson turning out to be gay, but in this case he was turned gay mutant by the Bad Gays Mutants.  Problematic.

My general discomfort with the Bad Mutants is that the group is comprised of the ones who don't feel they should have to hide and conform.  At the end of the new film, Magneto is joined by the villains of the film (one of whom looks like Satan and is named for a demon), Mystique (who wants not to have to hide her true form) and Angel (who was a stripper before being found, so, y'know).  None of the 'good guys' go with him, which could have shown the issue to at least be a little fuzzy.  Also, the good guys are the human-looking ones, who won't make Normal People uncomfortable or anything, I mean it's not like they're bigoted, it's just, you know, it's not normal, is it?  Throughout the films, when humans are trying to pass anti-mutant laws, we're expected to root for humans and the Good Mutants, and against the Bad Mutants who react badly to being persecuted.  Lots of the plans aren't even particularly harmful.  (Like turning all the world leaders into mutants.  Aside from the lack of consent, what was so wrong with that?)  First Class clumsily makes much of the fact that Magneto's experiences in the concentration camp shape his view of humans, but a WWII film painting a group of Jewish resistance fighters as the wrong kind of Jew would be in incredibly poor taste.

It is certainly sweet of the films to try, and I don't think it's tactless in any meaningful way,  but to be successful in what they're doing they should ideally shed some genre tropes, or accept being nonsense action films.

For the sake of balance, the positives of the films:  James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence were there.  Unfortunately, everything else.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FOs: Hoodie and Amy Gloves

I had all four wisdom teeth removed on Friday, and these photos were taken on Monday, which is why it looks like I suddenly gained a lot of weight in my face.  (The swelling on the left side has gone down more than the right, so I'm still a bit swollen and lopsided.  I also have to rinse with warm salt-water every time I eat.  I don't like eating enough to make myself do that too often.  On the upside, I have progressed to eating soup with a soup spoon, rather than a tea-spoon!)

I'm told it's a perfect fit on the recipient.  Not so good on me but very snuggly.

Puffy face.

I dyed my hair purplish post-exams, but it's already starting to fade.  I might get it done properly next time I get my hair cut - my hair is quite dark, so if I do it myself I have to go for something dark enough to show up, and it'd be nice to go for something brighter.  Maybe red!

This is the ribbed border of the hood.  The ribbed pattern is one I hadn't come across before (p1k1 on the purl side, k the knit side).  It's simple, but a little different, and I like it.

I've mentioned the hoodie and it's details in other posts, but I'm a fan of giving credit where it's due!  The pattern is most Skully, but I used Under the Hoodie, both from the first Stitch 'n' Bitch book to work out how to make the hood.  The pocket is the result of my own foostering.  James C. Brett chunky acrylic yarn on 6.5mm needles, yup yup.

I finally finished my Amy gloves!  I didn't have much to do for my first week in the lab, but I did have my own desk, so I spent a lot of free time knitting while I read papers for my mod project proposal.

 I've already chronicled my misfortunes with these gloves, but there was one yet to come after I left off last time.  While read-knitting, I didn't pay proper attention and got most of the way through a second left glove.  It was a better fit than the first one though, so I finished it, frogged the first one and re-knit it as a right glove while watching films with a giant puffy face.
Here is the pattern...

Here is the colour.

The pattern is does it every bother you that your life doesn't make [any] sense?, and the yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto.  I have a lot left over, though not enough to make a pair for my mum who's very taken with them.

I need to improve at accessorising, if only because I can't wear anything I've made for myself until the weather gets colder.