Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

live event on Planet Purl

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Hi knitters,

I’m excited (and a little nervous) about being live on Planet Purl Tuesday July 24 at 8 pm USA East Coast time. That’s Wednesday July 25, 12 noon NZ time. If the time doesn’t suit, you can watch it  afterwards, on the website.

I’ll be talking from my home in NZ, about Knitting Everyday Finery and anything else I might be asked. I’d love it if some of you could join in the fun.

Maybe I’ll get my new sweater finished and wear it!  It’s inspired by Sarah Lund of the Danish series The Killing. Am I the last person in the world to know about Lund and her sweaters? David and I rented both series 1 & 2, (30 episodes total), and I managed to knit through them all, even with subtitles. It is riveting! I’m calling my new sweater Series 2: Sweater 1, because it’s inspired by this one

which yes, I know, is red fabulous, but I had some beautiful green tweed yarn which I’ve kept for a few years, waiting for the right project. The pattern on the yoke is, I believe, made with reverse St st, giving it an appropriate hint of scar tissue, but I’ve made my own cable pattern.

Sarah wears the red sweater but briefly, before reverting to her familiar body-skimming styles from the Faeroe Islands. Here she is in the sweaters, wearing her “don’t even think about messing with me” facial expressions and body language. I love a no-nonsense top-down raglan pullover.


You have to love Sarah: she lives in jeans, boots and a sweater, has a cute, age-appropriate boyfriend with great hair, and she can make a psychopath nervous without the use of a gun.

There is an American version of this series, and we watched it also, but I have to say, the costume designer just didn’t understand the charm of the hand knit.

See you soon!



Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Hi Everyone,

A departure from knitting this week for another love, my garden.

A couple of months ago when clearing out my veggie garden for fall planting, I  was in a ripping mood. I wanted to clear the beds completely and start anew. One plant that made itself a candidate for the big pull was this swan plant, aka milk weed. I’d planted it during the summer to help keep insects away, and it grew much larger than expected (you’re right, I didn’t do my homework). You can see it here, in the centre of the photo, sticking out of the edge of  the veggie patch.


Towards the end of summer I noticed a couple of monarch butterflies doing a daily dance around my garden. Quite beautiful they were, as much in their movements as in their colouring. I was happy to see them whenever I walked to my front door but thought nothing more of them, until I came to pull out the swan plant. On it was a very large, brightly-striped caterpillar.

After making some enquiries I realized that this was the offspring of the monarchs and I couldn’t bear to destroy its home. I was told that if I waited a few weeks it would go through its life cycle and leave the plant.

I’m still waiting, because now, the plant is populated by many caterpillars and many cocoons. It seems that I have a thriving monarch breeding ground and the plant will have to stay.

[It should be noted that monarchs are not native to New Zealand. They found their plucky little way here some time in the 19th century].

Can you see a cocoon in the centre right of this photo?

As yet I haven’t seen a butterfly emerge from one of the cocoons, but I’m watching and hoping.

Looking like a butterfly herself (or at the very least a plant a monarch might like to nest on) is the beautiful Iranian actress Laila Hatami in this gorgeous green gown, worn at Cannes this year.

David and I recently watched her in the wonderful A Separation, a domestic drama set in Iran. Its themes will touch anyone who is human: elder care, Alzheimers, kids, financial worries, marital strife and the challenge of juggling all these balls at once. It’s beautifully acted, photographed, and masterfully directed. I was fascinated by this window into daily life in Iran, with characters that could be me or my friends. I’ve not provided a link to this movie because most sites tell too much about the plot. We saw it without knowing anything about it (the best way, don’t you think?), just that it was the best-reviewed movie of 2011.

Laila is now on my fashion watch list, along with Tilda and Cate. I love women who take fashion risks and don’t feel the need to sell sex. Less is more. Check out her shoes! I love platforms.





catching up

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Hello! I’ve been buried under a pile of knitting projects for most of this year and not able to show off to you because I must wait for them to be unveiled. More on this in coming weeks, hopefully.

I do manage to squeeze in the very necessary Small Project from time to time, especially while I’m watching DVDs.

My latest SP was this cowl. With a circular needle, some scrumptious yarn and a good stitch dictionary, you can make one like it or one of your own design.

Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns is my favourite. You can’t go wrong with Barbara.

For Polly’s Cowl I used the Scroll Pattern on page 220.

I made it while watching a superb, inspiring documentary, A Bigger Picture, featuring the brilliant David Hockney who moved from Los Angeles where he’d spent many years, back to his native Yorkshire to paint. And what paintings they are. The English countryside as you’ve never seen or imagined it. If you love colour, you’ll love this film. I’ve now watched it twice and I’m going to buy it so that I can watch it every time I’m lacking inspiration!

You have to love a man who makes a whole book’s worth of paintings of his own precious dachsies:

Back to my cowl and the practicalities of adapting stitch patterns.

Most are written for flat rather than circular knitting, so if you’re going to work them in the round, you need to do a bit of translating.

1. When deciding how many stitches to cast on, leave off the extra edge stitches at the beginning and end of each row.  For example, “multiple of 10 plus 2″ changes into  “multiple of 10″.  Your repeat  will be what’s in parentheses only.

2. Pay attention to the alternate (wrong side) rows. In some patterns they are simply purled. These you would knit in the round. But if the alternate rows are patterned, you must translate. For example:

In  “Scroll”  Row 2 is written thus:

P2 tog, p7, yo, p1.

Because you’re working from the opposite direction, and still on the right side of the fabric, it will turn into this:

K1, yo, k7, k2 tog. It’s backwards.

note: P2 tog-b on the wrong side becomes ssk on the right side.

You’ll need to make a swatch to determine how many stitches to cast on for your cowl, so you might as well use the opportunity to work the pattern back and forth for one repeat to get familiar with the way it works. This will make the translating easier.

For Polly’s Cowl I used a 9 mm [US13] 60 cm circular needle, 2 strands of aran weight yarn, and cast on 70 sts. I wanted it to be generous. If you want a more fitting cowl, you will need a 40cm needle.

Remember I was yak-king about men who love knitting a while back?

Here’s Ryan again, in a Fair Isle beanie he designed and knit himself. Gorgeous, eh? ( boy and beanie)

I’m still not sure why knitting is still considered by some to be fuddy duddy. Polly and Ryan above would seem to indicate otherwise? Sadly, there are many here in NZ who mistakenly think this and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds, it seems, although it’s always worth trying.

It’s not so in the USA, at least in my experience, although I tend to mix with the choir. I don’t know if it’s the case in the UK, Australia, or other countries?

Here, I meet knitters who say their work mates (usually women) laugh at them because they knit. Wow. What an archaic attitude.

Don’t they realize that while they think they’re terribly modern, paying for horrid acrylic scarves, we’re knitting beautiful  things with lovely soft yarns in gorgeous colours and having fun into the bargain?

We knitters can not only make it ourselves, we also get to have fun while doing it. Lucky us. Spread the word!