Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A bit of gratification

I finished the Kitschy sunset sweater and I'll post it on Etsy as soon as there's a bit of light so that I can take at least one decent picture. It took me only three days to make with all that ripping.
The weather is plainly awful, cat is hibernating under my pillow and I would do the same but I need to do something so I'm reading and knitting, at least it's warm inside. Social life suffers, of course.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another bit of unrestrained creativity

On Saturday I was dyeing. I made some nice yarns, some weird yarns and fucked up three skeins of cashmere. Luckily, this ugly pale brown (I have no idea how it happened, the result should have been burgundy and blue. And no, you don't want to see cashmere in the colour of diluted excrements) can be overdyed to something passable.
The sock yarns came out nicely. Furore (three skeins - should you have a three-legged grandma, for example) is just totally lovable, for the second time in my life I got pink right, the other one (it'll be a surprise and a great knitting joke, I suppose, just you wait) needs retouching, some spots remained a bit pale.
I started two sweaters. The one is fast knitting and have hitherto I got it wrong around five times. It's a long haired mohair so it doesn't rip easily but anyway, I'm tough. The yarn is the first where I managed to get decent pink. I named it Kitschy sunset, it has the right colours. Obviously, if a painter did sunset in bbright orange and surgical appliance pink, it would be damn kitsch and apparent lack of good taste. Nature however makes sunsets even in those screaming colours and they are beautiful. Not tasteful, though:D and the sweater will be beautiful too. Maybe even tasteful. I just got it too wide at the armpits and since I have only a limited supply of this yarn,it would have to be short.... but since there's a general lack of midgets in the general population, I'm just ripping. The other sweater will be in white boucle yarn and purple and black handpainted for accents. I have even less of the white yarn so I'll have to invent some design feature that won't look like shortage of material. Thinking of it, not having enough yarn is a great thing. It makes me to think, combine, invent things I wouldn't normally invent.... I have another boucle yarn in chartreuse green. 300 grams only. And four skeins of me-dyed mohairy yarn in burgundy and bright blue, pink or whatever which will go together nicely. And so on, just you wait and see. I plan to start two or three more sweaters today or sometime soon.
The weather turned awful. The days are cold and dark and totally suck for photography. I used the five minutes of sunshine - didn't manage to take pics of the surprise yarn, that's why it remains a surprise for you readers (should there be more than Jane:P) so I sit home and knit. And reknit, for that matter.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

starting things

I actually finished two sweaters today. Okay, I need to weave in the ends and in case of the blue one buy two metres of red satin ribbon for the second sleeve, I somewhat miscalculated it.
The first one will go to Etsy as soon as I get decent pictures which will be a damn challenge in this lousy weather and it's a late contribution to the September Challenge on etsyFAST. I noticed that it's vaguely Japan-inspired in the bold combination of green and pink (I would have said that it is a lousy combination before I tried it) and in the asymmetry. I hope someone will like it.
The blue one is made of Noro Mizuho, linen blend which drapes beautifully. I have an urge to name it something like Maintenon, it has a rococo touch to it. It's the ribbon, there will be another one in the second sleeve but I didn't buy ehough. And it's for me, only me.
Just now I'm winding a ball of one of my own creations to start a sweater. I'll start more, sometimes one just needs to grab something and knit idiotically for a hour or two or so. The camel/angora/alpaca sweater, for example, offers lots of idiotic knitting yet but first I need to start the sleeves which means calculating the gauge... and anyway.
I keep files for everything I make so I sorted out yarns a bit and made around five new folders for five future things - there'll be a damn lot of idiotic knitting, trust me. And don't forget to check my store for Christmas gifts.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Amoebas attack!

Burning the worm didn't work.
I just got sicker and sicker. Diet of dry toast and tea didn't work so today morning I decided that if I was to be sick, let's be sick of something tastier and helped myself to a great heap of scrambled eggs. Mom said that maybe drowning them in cholesterole could work pretty well.
There is a tropical bird, I guess it's mynah. It's smart, can learn to talk better than parrots and lives only on fruits. And people tend to keep them in aquariums because the fruit just goes through the birds. Fast.
Well.... you get the point, I hope. I don't want to be disgusting. I decided that in this state I jsut cannot go to Florence (sniff), that I need a doctor and some antibiotics or who knows what and meantime I'll keep my mortal remains close to some sort of latrine. Dad arrived today with a bottle of Tullamore Dew (disinfection), medicinal carbon (to make my poo blacker. Maybe it could neutralize the sulphuric acid that my guts mix with my breakfast) and lots of mags (for the bathroom, although it wasn't meant so).
The worst thing is that I feel quite fine. And hungry. But everything goes straight away out accompanied by cramps and strange sounds. Parents want to go to rome tomorrow but I guess I'll have to put them on the train, give them instructions and pray with the all-pervading fervour of an atheist that they do not get too lost or anything.
But, my knitting goes nicely. When one lies in bed with two options, Elias Wessen's Svenska... uhm, they don't have the runes on this keyboard. A book on Swedish historical grammar - or knitting, knitting goes fast. I finished one square and started another just a while ago and surprise, I used not more than 150g of yarn for around one third of a sweater. Tiny gauges have strong points, there will be another camel sweater, then.
And the kitschy sunset was another theatrum naturae which we could watch every day.

Burn the worm!

Burning the worm is a popular medical practice in my part of europe (sorta central-eastern). It means using strong liquor as intestinal pesticide. Or, in human words, booze to fight diarrhoea.
After the last entry I didn't puke. It was just a figure of speech, I only felt pretty sick. I just have an awful diarrhoea. Yesterday we set out for supply expedition and since last time I got amoebas* my dad cured me by a huge dose of Fernet Branca so I thought the traditional healing practices might work. It usually does work, in fact. My great-grandma and her two sisters lived until around 90 and they claimed that it was the spoonful of homemade plum brandy every morning that was responsible for it. Finns have some similar thing, there's actually a saying, something like If sauna, booze or tar do not help, then it's incurable. We have only booze here.
Anyway, it didn't help.
*Then, as well as today, it was in a four star hotel. I never get amoebas when I stay in weird places or drink water from weird places. In case of drinking water form streams I get only a 24-hour puking virus.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Allergy to holiday

Rome sucks. Too monumental. Too cinquecento - I like the previous phase of Renaissance more. Too crowded.
As you see, the weather was the most sucky one can have for photography. Grey sky, indefinable grey light...
Mom sucks. She makes this wasted face whenever she has to cross the street. I've explained her like a million times that the Central European habit of waiting until the cars give way to her - a pedestrian, just doesn't work unless the plan is waiting for a day or two days or three months. No way, she will shriek when I cross the street with poker face, she shrieks even when it's a totally empty street. And, she started complaining. That I walk too fast, that I don't tell her where to go..... well, I slowed down and she was three metres behind. I slowed down more, she kept three metres behind. Then she started cursing that I'm intolerant and intolerable. Sigh.
And, I'm sick. I guess it's nervous stomach, the main thing is that I'm sick when I eat. I will add pics and more comments later, now excuse me, I have to puke.
Jane: (1) size is not a problem (2) we could haggle.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

No news again

I guess I have a touch of sunstroke - as usual when I spent half a day in sun. And I'm a bit sunburnt. Vanity, nothing but a vanity. if I didn't feel an urge not to have legs as if made of cheese, I wouldn't be sick now.
I knitted a bit [pic later, of course] and the combination of camel, alpaca and angora is incredible. I guess I'll keep it for myself.
Nothing is happening, we seem to have run out of conversation themes.
Heading for Rome tomorrow [no interesting pics to be expected].

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What a show!

A storm came. From the northwest and I had never seen a storm over the sea before. The sky turned green and it looked like the end of the world.

A few rants

Today the weather wasn't exactly the thing for lying at the pool and sunbathing so we ventured to Anzio. yesterday I spotted a church on the hill and mom read something about the British cemetery here so we had something to explore.
The Italian cemeteries are lavish. People apparently take the dead as a part of the family and wherever you go, there will be fresh flowwers (and plastic flowers and potted flowers and in case of dead children some plush animals) and people bringing flowers or coming to check how Granny is (or what the hell). Due to some commplicated family circumstances we have no family graves.* We thus sometimes just vent our sentiment.
There was the British cemetery next door Mom wanted to see. I expected something like the Florentine Cimitero dei Inglesi from the 19th century where the British expats lured by climate and what the hell they liked in Florence rest (now the cemetery is just in the middle of the road and it's cute. I lived like three blocks away) but it was just a plain war cemetery.
The Czechs are a weird nation. We have no heroes and if they happen by some accident, we try to find a way how to ridicule them or we get rid of them. As for wars, there are no decent, if not heroic, victories for a few hundred years. There are even no proper heroic losses since 1620 and even this one is ridiculed as not being lost by proper Czechs but by some German mercenaries. Considering the WWII, the British fought like devils. There were pretty many Czechoslovak guys in the Royal Air Force, for example and when they came back to the country after the war, the government did their best to get rid of them. Literally, sending them to holiday camps in uranium mines and the like. The Finns, for example, bravely lost and it seems to me that with almost anyone, when we keep talking for a while, we end up cursing Russians** and talking about Winter War. The Czechso happily lived in the German Protectorate.... It's a historical fact that the German police had to ask for some extra personnel from Berlin to sort out all the denunciations that flowed in after the occupation. Yuck, do you understand why I'm not particularly attached to my country?
Well, the British cemetery is a war cemetery. Someone takes care that it is well kept. And maybe if kids were taken to places like that and asked to count that if there are x rows by y graves, and let's say that everybody had five relatives, how many people were pissed off? and maybe there would be less nazis and other idiots.
*My grandma let her mother be burned and the ashes thrown away because it was cheaper and easier than setting a nice grave, for example. My mom's side... well, everybody argued with everybody and there are recorded cases of for example brother and sister living next door and not talking to each other for fifty years because his chicken ate her lettuce or vice versa so I really do not know many of those relatives, nor their graves although they have them somewhere. So, complicated circumstances be read Due to general idiocy.
**The Czechoslovaks had some issues with them, you know. In 1968, google it.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A casa..... quasi.

I'm in Anzio, some 50km off Rome.
The Florentine racist talk about the damn southerners was partially true. The people talk way too much, it's considerably messier than up north.... but it's Italy.
The first thing that happened was a police guy at the passport control. At the control booth. Another policeman was standing there and they were chatting regardless that there was only one desk for EU nationals and a nice long queue. It was a warm welcome.
My mom is always nervous. There's a lot of traffic and the drivers do not give way to pedestrians just like up North (well, the Czech drivers are awful and vile, compared with them, Italy is a pedestrian's paradies), you just have to walk in the street. Mommy is usually freaked out, making scared sounds when I just go my way. She is annoyed when the waiter asks whether everything is okay because it's none of his business how we feel. And I'm pissed off because she's ruining my holiday mood.
As for the future sweater, I haven't knitted a stitch and I'll have to, I said that I can make a sweater in ten days and Mom just grinned that I can use up two balls maximum. And, I shunned the blue and gray angora and decided to combine the camel, another angora and yellow alpaca with green and scarlet (dyed that on Wednesday morning).
Otherwise the usual stuff. Something fails when I'm abroad, this time it's the internet connection. I maile dthe provider and I hope they do something soon, after all I pay dear money for it. People are mailing me about the volunteers' stuff and I cannot answer on the spot as when I was hooked on the line all day long so I just hope everything works out without me.
Off to get drunk.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Holiday knitting

There are around two and half weeks ahead in Italy. With quite a time for chatting and sitting and knitting. But, no bulky stuff.
I was thinking (yes, I can do that) about it. Lots of knitting - if I can make a sweater in a few days, then it has to be something like two sweaters. Or rather five - lots of sitting and chatting. And lazying on the beach. And all sorts of stuff that leave the hands free.
I decided that tiny gauges do the job. Tiny yarn and tiny gauge. I was messing around with the stash anyway and I discovered several things: I'm running of handpainted yarns.
I fell for odd Noro way too much so that I have plenty of yarn but no handpaints. And many of the yarns are hard to combine. As you might have noticed, I'm into colourwork, not complicated laces and cables and whatever else the knitting world offers. I like idiotic knitting in lovely yarns which I prefer to dye myself and should I get the blends Noro has, I would love to dye those to my lovely colours.*
I have hardly any tiny yarns for tiny gauge but I have 2.25 and2.5 circulars.
I had 400g of the camel coloured yarn, which is a blend of wool and camel hair, then 300g of the handpainted angora and I noticed long ago that they match in an unbelievable way. They even were in the same bag. I made the first part of the wee sample and it missed something. Contrast. I fished out some more handpainted angora and now the query comes: is the blue and grey (there's almost no white on the yarn but there are a few scarlet blobs every now and then and I find the yarn totally stunning) okay or is it too contrasting? The yellow stripe on the needle is alpaca. Since I guessed that deeper, richer colours will be better, I fished it out from under the bed and I'll dye it, I'll add some greens and reds and who knows whats, I'll only keep the camel yarn in solid colour.
I have a new pattern for that sweater, too. It will be a variation of my usual cut with wide sleeves and boatneck... but with a totally new element. Just you wait.
The next thing will be this and this, nobody is buying it anyway. Good enough for tiny gauge as well, maybe I'll make it to a dress or something like that and if I am ironical, then it'll be Morning glory from the front and Freesia from behind.
Leave the comments on my yarn choice in comments, thanks.


I've already been to the North. Thus, on Thursday I'm flying off to Rome and then back via Firenze.
We planned to have some sort of family holiday with my parents* and there was lots of arguing about when and where and why and whatever, Dad has his extremely important car races and he had a minor car crash and needed to get his car fixed - he refused to go in the BMW because it kills his back and it's a M3, the back seat is good enough if you are not over 150 cm and 45 kilos, otherwise you are sorta squeezed in. And fixing the Audi will take some time.
I guess parents had some sort of argument, Mom called (or rather skyped, halleluja, she learned how to use the skype chat) that I go now and get two tickets to Rome for Thursday. I did so Thursday 0700 we fly off. Dad will join us a week later.
The thing is, as I already mentioned, my Mom strongly dislikes my knitting. I have a huge stash of which a good part is lovely and expensive yarn. And she is no idiot and I don't feel like explaining. Or anything. So the stash needs to go in hiding. Just accidentally, some absolutely stunning Noro arrived in today's mail:D but it's only four skeins so I can throw them in a drawer or somewhere. The other 20 kilos might pose a bit of a problem, though.
So... I spread something under my mattress. I'll be sleeping on silk and cashmere for two days, folks. Or I'll maybe use it as a permanent storage:D but I"ll have to keep the layer even.
And I have to clean the windows.

*No worries about my mental health. I'm quite normal and not too emotionally attached to my parents. We are not together very much so we just go for holidays, all of us, from time to time.