You are currently browsing the archives for May, 2006
…. in more ways than one.
In the coming months (starting today!), I’m moving house, state and job and to add to the fun, will be taking a long road trip across the US southwest and going home to India to see family and friends. I’m not sure how regularly I’ll be able to post here, but am carrying my laptop, camera, needles and yarn (what more does a person need, really!) so do keep checking back. You might see more photos of monuments, national parks, moving boxes and my mum’s cooking than knitting, because apart from my hometown, which is in the hills, most places I’ll be visiting in India are going to be bloody hot all through August.
But in simpler knitting terms, here’s a new project: Koigu socks in a cloverleaf pattern. I can’t sing enough praises of this yarn!
Thank you so much for all the compliments on the Clapotis, everyone!
Daku descended on our place this past weekend and created a lot of havoc, amidst much imbibation (and consumption of some freshly made Ragi Dosas and other good stuff). A good time was had by all.
I also went to see Eugene Ionescu’s "Bald Soprano", a delightful and searing look at the absurdity of bourgeois sociality and conventions, the meaning
lessness and, well, theatrics of polite conversation and communication. I don’t know why the production made such a big deal of saying they had an ethnically diverse cast, and then had them all try very hard to mimic English accents. It seemed to me that it would have been fine, especially in an Ionescu play that mocks bourgeois pretensions, to have a suburban London Mrs. Smith speak in a southern American or Jamaican accent. (Spud, if you’re reading this, there was a character in the play (the fire chief) and the guy who played it was our former colleague Frank’s twin. I think that really upped the absurdity levels for me.)
Not much knitting got done over the weekend (one of the Mrs. Smiths in the play was pretending to knit and I weirded out my companions by telling them she was using Balene needles and acrylic yarn and that it was garter stitch. "How can you tell!!!")
I was, however, faced with this:
Sadly, a moth got at the cap I had knit for Daku many years ago. So I thought I’d fix it, and he picked some colours out of my stash. A few frogging efforts later, here’s what the cap looked like:
On his head. Nice, no? Not colours I would have picked out, but they work well. I like the slightly staggered nonagon.
Clapotis, done. Finally. It actually turned out to be quite long and wide, nearly a foot wide and nearly 6 ft long.
I am so glad I stuck with it, because the final result is totally worth the mind-numbing knitting.
Here it’s blocked, and out on a limb (okay, a hanger) out of the window to catch some of the sunlight. I could have gone downstairs to photograph it on the stoop stairs but as always, too lazy.
Many thanks to Laura for dyeing this gorgeous skein. Seriously, the best part about knitting this wrap was discovering the many different and beautiful shades that went into it. Suddenly, a particular hue of deep maroon or crimson would show up on the needle and I’d say to myself: ooooh, I want some worsted in *that*!
EDIT: It’s a fingering merino of 1750 yards, but I doubled it and knit it on size 7 bamboos. I don’t know how much I used, but I have a few hundred yards left over, I think.
This is a gift for a dear friend whom I’ll be seeing shortly, as part of a long road trip. But more on that later.
Re. my triangle shawl, thanks for the sympathy and suggestions! I did decide to keep going with my laceweight shawl after all, and exchanged the Louet Gems for a Barbara Walker treasury and some Koigu! Hopefully another pair of lacy socks will emerge from that bargain.
I’m in a dilemma. I have finished the first chart of my shaped triangle shawl at row 108. Now I’m not sure if this is only due to its unblocked state, but it seems to be running a little smaller than it ought to at this stage, about 32 inches total at the shoulders, slightly stretched.
My mil had requested a really wide shawl and I figured 82 inches wide would be good; now I’m not sure it will get that wide after blocking. I have about 80 rows left.
After some handwringing about making yet another shawl that didn’t quite work*, I went to Purlsoho and bought five skeins of Louet Gems Superwash Merino sportweight and the Leaf Lace shawl pattern, thinking a slightly thicker yarn and simpler repeat pattern would mean I’d still have a shawl to give her when I arrive in Calcutta in July. And what the heck, I’d keep this one for myself. So I knit up the first chart and blocked it. This yarn is very springy, tightly spun and not really lacey-feeling, if you know what I mean. I’m not sure I like it for this pattern, even though machine-washable means more durable, plus the thicker yarn means warmer.
So since last night I’ve been going back and forth:
1) Should I continue with the shaped triangle, maybe increasing a few pattern repeats of a later chart? Alison, since you made this shawl, what do you think?
2) Will I be able to do this on a long road trip without poking myself in the eye with my needle?
3) Or should I continue with this Leaf Lace, perhaps with a larger needle to give it more drape? Why do I just *feel* it’s not right even when all indications are good?
4) My MiL said she likes thin, light yarn, but I am unsure if she knows exactly how thin this laceweight really is. But will the Gems turn out too thick?
5) Should I return the rest of the Louet Gems and feel like an idiot? What will I buy with the store credit?!
Any and all suggestions welcome, except the one that I shouldn’t make a black shawl for the MiL. That one’s too late, unfortunately.
* The first black shawl I made for her was from Brooks Farm 50/50 mohair-wool. I took it to Cal in the middle of the hot summer and you wouldn’t believe the way the fibres shed!! The floor soon resembled a barber’s floor and it was awful, little black wisps flying all over with the ceiling fan with me scurrying behind them to catch them before they got in everyone’s teeth and eyes. Back into the bag the shawl went (thankfully it was a simple Yo effort) and I swore off mohair.
What good is a blog if not as a diversion from grading?
Warning: lots of music links, and no knitting. The italicized links are direct links to music files.
One of the greatest Hindi film music composers and one of my favourites, Naushad Ali passed away last week. I have been reminiscing and talking about his songs to a lot of my friends since then and a lot of his songs are playing about in my head (and on my music system).
Naushad was my father’s favourite too (for all his inability to string a single sentence of Hindi together, my father is a big Hindi film and film music buff) and I still remember us buying the cassette album of Mother India, and then Gunga Jumna and listening to them together. These two are the albums that make the best use of Gangetic folk music traditions and are among his best ever, especially Dukh bhare din, O Gadiwale and Holi Ayi re Kanhayi from Mother India and the wonderful, wonderful Nain Lad Jaihen from Gunga Jumna. Which others to choose? There’s Dhoondo re Sajna and the less known O Chhaliya re Chhaliya from Gunga Jumna too.
Naushad was very successful in adapting these folk tunes of eastern UP to larger, orchestral compositions. One of the things I love about his songs are the interludes between stanzas, or even between lines: small pieces that link up different lines, sometimes helping the singer up to the note where the stanza’s about to begin and sometimes as counterpoints to the main tunes, often sung by a chorus.
But he was also known as the "classical" composer, someone who adapted Hindustani classical ragas to film songs. Here the examples are numerous: many of the songs from Kohinoor, Baiju Bawra (although not a raga based one, my favourite is Jhoole mein pawan ke) and Dil Diya Dard Liya, Mughal-e-Azam (Latabai’s sublime Mohe Panghat Pe in raga Piloo)… He also made extensive use of the piano and what, for the lack of a better word, I’m going to call a western-style chorus (am sure it has a technical name but don’t know what it is). Of the gazillion Hindi songs heroes have sung at the piano, one of the best ever is from Naushad’s masterpiece album, Mere Mehboob: Ae Husn Zara Jaag. (So what if it was the awfully wooden Rajendra Kumar mouthing the words?)
Of course, I haven’t even talked about the decade of the 1940s, when he actually began composing: Andaz (I am no fan of Mukesh, but this one has two great songs by him); Awaz de Kahan Hai from Anmol Ghadi, and many many more. But I think my favourites really begin with the 1950s, probably with Uran Khatola and Aan. (Check out Lata’s Aaj mere man me sakhi, it is so beautiful.)
For me, Hindi film music pretty much died out by 1975. The 1950s decade is glorious, and although there are many composers jostling for genius status, Naushad had a very distinctive style and signature. His were some of the earliest songs I remember listening to obsessively, and I still love most of them, know all the soundtracks by heart. Even though the songs remain and will not really change with his death, it still feels sad to learn about his passing.
Not much progress to show here because I’m in grading and submission hell. I whiled the month of April away and now a couple of deadlines are biting me where it hurts, plus I realised last night that the deadline for turning in final grades is not next Monday but this Friday. So I have 40 bluebooks and 15 graduate final papers to read and grade by Wednesday night, because Thursday I have to go to a conference out of state.
How did I ever get myself into this mess? Point being that not much knitting is going to get done in the next week or so. Nor over the summer, really, but I’ll keep that one for later..
More to the point, why did I start this project? Someone out there has knit *nine* of these Clapotis scarves and I cannot bring myself to finish even one. It’s the sheer monotony of it, which the dropped stitches don’t alleviate for me. But I have to finish it by month’s end to give it as a gift. Funny how stockinette socks never seem this monotonous.
Well, today I have three hours of exam proctoring to get through and a long train ride on Thursday. Hopefully I can get some done then.
I have a couple of important paper deadlines to meet. So naturally, I faffed away the day at home, reading barely two pages of a book I have to review. The time was most productively spent making meeting another important deadline:
We have an iPod case, cosy,cozy, whathaveyou. Well, a prototype, at least. Made of Cascade Fixation cotton/elastic, to fit snugly around the iPod.
It was made expressly at Sepoy’s request, for the new iPod he’s soon going to get (presumably after he gets out of dissertation hell?).
Not quite electric blue, as he’d wanted, but close.
Pattern adapted from Grumperina’s.
What do you do when you have little visible progress to show? You buy yarn instead so you can photograph it. Heh heh. Both the Clapotis and the shawl are coming along nicely but nothing significantly different from last time. So I thought I’d distract you with this gorgeous pair I snagged today:
Louet Gems Merino Sock Yarn. I’m in a sock-yarn buying spree, but no worries, I have plans for them which shall be revealed at the right time. Aren’t they beauties? The colour is pretty accurate on my monitor.
I also bought a pair of size 3 Bryspun circulars for my Triangle shawl, because the Bates metal ones were somehow very clunky. I love the Bates needles cause they’re cheap, smooth and have sharp tips, and the joins aren’t bad either. But for some reason my wrists were beginning to hurt as I held them and the slippery lace tightly. So I bought these Bryspuns, which are lighter, more flexible and somehow faster. Yes I know, I’m probably imagining it. The joins aren’t that great but better than the bamboos.
This shawl is moving quickly now. I am hoping to have it done by the end of the month but perhaps that’s too ambitious.