Thursday, April 28, 2011

Anne Of Green Gables

I finished watching the Anne of Green Gables films with Megan Follows in the title role. What a great series! I already want to watch them again.

For those of you who have not read the books, the series follows Anne Shirley, who is an imaginative orphan. She is adopted my Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert. They live at Green Gables, which is in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island.

Anne is an outspoken child. And she is always imagining. Everything has to be romanticized. Barry's Pond becomes the Lake Of Shining Water. And Anne wishes her name was Cordelia because it sounds so much more distinguished than Anne.

The one thing Anne longs for more than anything else (even more than having black hair rather than red) is to have a bosom friend. She finds that person in Diana Barry.

Anne also creates an enemy in Gilbert Blythe. Well, she sees him as an enemy after he calls her "Carrots", a capitol offense. It takes a good long while for her to forgive him, even though he is always apologizing.

The first two films follow the books pretty well. There are trials and tribulations as Diana, Anne, and Gilbert all grow up. Anne always seems to get herself into muddles, no matter how hard she tries to behave.
Regardless of if you have read the books or not, the films are a lovely way to pass the afternoon. (I should mention that the third film does not relate to the books. I personally like the first two films better, but the third is worth watching)

The filming is gorgeous. A good portion was filmed on Prince Edward Island. And, boy did it make me want to go there. I may just have to plan a trip. (Anyone want to go to Prince Edward Island with me?)

What I wasn't expecting was to see so many lovely knits in the films. Anne has several sweaters. I particularly wish I owned the blue one.

And maybe Marilla's sweater as well. All the sweaters looks so flattering on each wearer.

Even the baby blanket got me. I haven't seen any films with so many beautiful knits. I'm going to venture a guess that all the knits were in fact hand knits. It wouldn't surprise me if some were even made specifically for the film. I only wish there was a pattern book full of Anne of Green Gables knits. But that leads me to my next point.

I watched the films in preparation for a new knit. I won't reveal much more than 1) It is a shawl, and 2) it is inspired by Anne of Green Gables.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scooter Has A New Friend

Scooter has a new doggy friend! Her name is Sassy. They look like they could be relatives. (They even have the same silly eyebrows.) She is half his size. But that is to be expected, she's only 8 months old. It was so cute to see them playing together.

Scooter needs all the exercise he can get. He's gotten a wee bit chunky. It might have something to do with his love of cheese.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Appalachia KAL

I just wanted to let everyone know that there is going to be a KAL (Knit along) for Appalachia. For those who join the KAL, the pattern will be free. You heard me correctly. FREE!
Here's what you have to do:
1) You will need to be a part of Ravelry, if you aren't already.
2) Join the group 11 Hats In 2011!
3) Say you'd like to make the hat on May KAL thread.
4) Cast on the hat May 1st.
The pattern will only be free to those who join the KAL by April 30th, 11:59PM PST. After that, the pattern will be for sale.
I will be sending the pattern out to those who join the KAL on May 1st. Probably around 1PM PST.

I'd love to have as many people as possible be a part of this KAL. The hat is made from a skein of Mini Mochi (Lake Trail) and a skein of Malabrigo Sock (Chocolate Amargo). But any sock weight yarn would do, preferably with a high wool content. The needle sizes needed are 2 (2.75mm) and 3 (3.25mm). I used small circulars, but dpns would be fine too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Move Over 365 Project, Here Is My 730 Project

Today marks the two year anniversary of the day I started writing my diary comic. That's right. For the last two years I have drawn a three panel comic of what I was up to that day. I now have three sketchbooks filled with 730 comics. That's 2,190 panels!

It started off as a project to help me de-stress from school. I could spend days building a cube (or something else that seems rather pointless) for a class. I'd feel like I hadn't accomplished anything. By doing a comic a day, I felt like I had done one creative thing. (My housemate also started a comic, but went about 6 months before he decided it wasn't for him. He still does rad drawings though, which he posts at Skellington's Day Out.)

The rules were simple. Three panels, black and white, and no penciling. I just freehand draw the panels and comics. It takes about 5-10 minutes each day to complete. Also, I made a point to recount only positive things. I wanted to only remember the positive. Or at least, mostly positive. There were the days where the most significant event was a bit sad. The comic also seems to document my different hairstyles.

I've considered putting these comics on the web. They aren't particularly personal, i.e. my parents have read them and it wasn't weird. They are more like a memory. Only two things stand in my way. 1. Having to scan 730 comics. 2. Having to decided on what format/color balance will need to be done to 730 comics. So, for now, you'll have to come over to visit me if you want to read them all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

North And South

Because of all the knitting I do, I watch an awful lot of movies and TV series. I thought I should start writing about some of them, because I know how hard it is to find a good movie or series.
I'm currently stuck on BBC period pieces. Recently, I watched the BBC's North And South, which is based on a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. This four episode series was so good I watched them all in a row. (At the time of this writing, North And South is available to watch for free on netflix)

It centers on Margaret Hale, who left the south of England for the north with her family. They move to Milton, an industrial textile town. There Margaret tries to find her way between the rather frigid upper class and the needy lower class. She makes friends with mill worker Nicholas and his family.

Her father's friend, Mr. Thornton, runs his mill to a higher standard than the rest of the mills in town. After Nicholas' daughter Bessy becomes ill working at Hamper's Mill, she changes mills to work at Marlborough Mill, which is Thornton's Mill. Despite the better working conditions, Nicholas works to organize a strike to improve conditions and wages at all the mills.

We come to find that Mr. Thornton is an honorable man, but it appears to Margaret that he has no kindness in his soul. Can Thornton convince her otherwise?

This series has everything. Great acting, lighting, costumes, and something I wasn't expecting, beautiful music. The series made me wish I could visit England, more than I already do. (I wouldn't be all that disappointed if I happened to bump into Mr. Thornton, either)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Longer Having A Yarn Emergency

When I was in New Zealand, back in September, I bought 10 balls of Tui to make a sweater. After casting on for the sweater, I decided that it wasn't my style, so I cast on for a different one. What I hadn't thought about is that I might not have enough yarn. (Yes, that is a big oversight. And yes, I felt stupid.) Seeing how I can't just fly over to New Zealand at any old time, I asked a favor. One that I wasn't sure would work out. But thanks to a blogging friend, Kiwiyarn Knits, I have enough yarn for my sweater!

She went out of her way to get me one more ball of Tui. And whats more, she sent me some stitch markers that she made. I've never had proper stitch markers. I always have used bits of yarn. There may have been an audible gasp when I ripped open the parcel.

I sent something back, of course. I'd been waiting to post it here because I didn't want to give away the surprise. I spun up a 2oz moonrover mystery batt. I love my moonrover batts, but this one truly could not have gone to a better person.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sneak Peek - Appalachia

I just wanted to give you all a sneak peek of my next design: Appalachia. I plan to release it on May 1st. The pattern will contain information on how to make a regular and slouchy version.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Accidentally Bought Yarn... Again

I didn't mean to, but yesterday, I bought yarn. I was just meeting up with my knitting buddies. That was all. Sure, I may have been aware that there was a sale. But I didn't know how much. Honest. But then I found out that the sale was 20% minimum off of anything in the store. Maybe more if you were lucky. You could get 40% off.

So I strolled through the aisles, imagining what I could design. That was my excuse. I wasn't buying yarn for fun. It was for work. Really. It is quite dangerous to go to a yarn sale with knitting buddies. I think it is safe to say that we are all enablers. "You totally should get that yarn." "It's beautiful." And the one that got me, "What if you get 40% off?"
O-wool 2ply
I did get 40% off. And I'm not sorry.
Tosh Sock - Nebula

You would think that nothing is better than getting 40% at a yarn store. But today was even better. Today I went back to Green Planet Yarn for the project show and tell. You can enter a drawing based on how many projects you have knit out of yarn from Green Planet. I knit four projects.

I won three prizes.

Some might say it is because I was born in the year of the Rabbit.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Today's edition of Hit The Books is about Ikat. It has been a mainstream fabric trend for a few years nows, but after seeing a bunch of bloggers post pictures of the latest Anthropologie chairs, I thought I might write a little bit about it. So lets go and....

It is said that the first ikat weaver was inspired by the reflection of clouds seen in a pool of water. Many cultures have a tradition of ikat fabrics. Places like Uzbekistan, Indonesia, and Guatemala have distinct motifs and colors associated with their ikat cloth. In the case of Anthropologie, there is a mishmash of inspirations, but the chairs lean more towards the Uzbek style of ikat. Uzbek style frequently features bright colors and floral motifs.

Ikat is a resist dye process. There are several ways to create Ikat. All center on creating a resist on the future fabric's warp (lengthwise thread), weft (widthwise thread), or both warp and weft. Typically, the warp and/or weft is stretched out to its eventual finished length. Then a resist is added. The resist, which can be anything from wax to tied thread, is tied around individual portions of the warp/weft. This creates a pattern by prevents dye from touching certain parts of the thread. The warp/weft is then dunked in dye. Depending on how many colors the future design will have determines the number of times the warp/weft has to be re tied and re dyed. Needless to say, it is time consuming.

The concept of double ikat, let alone the ability to create it is amazing. Both the warp and weft have to be stretched to the predetermined finished shape. Then the resist is applied in a way so the design lines up on both the warp and the weft. The reason ikats have a blurry look is because of the level of difficulty that exists in trying to line up the individual threads correctly. Although, in some cases, that blurry look is embraced.

While current ikat fabric resemble a traditional ikat, the process is different. The dye is printed on top, after the fabric has been woven rather than dyed before the weaving process takes place. The characteristic blurry color is always emphasized.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Explosions In The Sky - A Song For Our Fathers

Explosions In The Sky is an instrumental band from Austin, Texas. And currently, I have their album, "How Strange, Innocence" on repeat.

I first found them while working at KDVS. As with all first time DJs, I had a graveyard shift. In my case, it was 2am-4am. It was important to have a stash of music to play in case the next DJ didn't show up. (I only had to use my "emergency music list" once.) Explosions In The Sky was my number 1 go to music. Partially because the songs were long, and partially because it kept me calm.

While all their albums are enjoyable, I particularly like "How Strange, Innocence" because it reminds me of laying in a field watching the clouds go by. The sense of peace the album brings is quite lovely on a stressful day. The album cover is rather appropriate.

A Song For Our Fathers is the first track off of the album. Although this song is a favorite, I highly recommend the entire album. A quick weigh in from my brother, a music major, on why I would like this song so much. He says that they layer independent music lines really well. Or in layman terms, It sounds pretty.

Find Explosions In The Sky on:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chess For The Win

I know I have mentioned this before, but Chess is my favorite game to play. I love the strategy. The concentration. And the winning. Especially the winning.

There are different levels of gloating one can do depending on how glorious the win was. If almost all the pieces are off the board, the win isn't nearly as good as a win where hardly any pieces were taken. (In a recent game, I surprised myself when I won. I didn't realize that my "check" was really a "checkmate". I only lost a bishop in the game.)

I only have one opponent: my Dad. There are rules in place to prevent cheating. Neither of us is allowed to read a strategy book. It would take all the fun out of it. I love the board too. The box is beaten up. One of the rooks was eaten by Scooter and later repaired by my brother (as a Christmas gift to me.) If I were to only receive one item as an inheritance, it would be this board.

Does anyone else have a favorite game, or a favorite memory regarding a game? I'd love to hear it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

China Cross Processed

In summer of 2008 I visited China. It was a cultural exchange program done through the UC system. I visited Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, and Shanghai, which meant I got to see the Great Wall, the terra cotta warriors, among other places.

I only just developed this film a month or so ago. I forgot that I had even taken pictures of the Great Wall with my Holga. (There were only two pictures of China on that entire roll)
One fun fact about the Great Wall is that all the steps are uneven, which was done on purpose. It is really difficult to run up steps when they are all different sizes, which allowed there to be better defense of the wall. Let me tell you, it is a pain to walk up uneven steps. You have to look down, otherwise you end up tripping.

The film was Agfa slide film that I had cross processed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The White Wedding Dress

Now that has been launched, I have started to work on sprucing up the blog a bit. A few things have been moved around, a few thing have been added. The biggest change is that I am going to start posting a bit more regularly on topics not pertaining to me. So without further ado, I present my first feature, Hit The Books.
Note: All images that do not belong to me are properly linked. Just click the image.

The White Wedding Dress

I don't know about everyone else, but I have long wondered why the traditional wedding dress color (in Western Culture) is white. It almost seems sacrilegious wear anything but a white wedding dress. White is suppose to represent purity. It couldn't have always been like that, right?

Of course not. Wedding dresses were often just the best clothes the bride owned. The more fabric the dress contained, the more wealth the bride had. Having a dyed dress also displayed wealth because only the wealthy could afford to pay for it. Before the industrial revolution, clothing was the most valuable thing a person could own.

The shift to white had to do with a royal wedding. Queen Victoria's wedding. While Queen Victoria certainly wasn't the first person to wear white, she had a large sphere of influence. Royals were the rock stars of their time. Soon after etiquette books started to recommended that white was the correct color for a wedding dress.

Although white wasn't originally the color of purity: blue was. Blue is biblically referred to as a pure color. The Israelites were to tie blue tassels on the corners of their clothing to represent their purity for the Lord [Numbers 15, 38-40]. The tradition still sticks. Brides often follow the rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Just look up "something blue" anywhere on the internet and you will get thousands of entries.

The color of your wedding dress could also influence your future. For those who may be superstitious, here is an old poem about wedding dress colors:
“Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey , you will go far away. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be true. Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl. Married in green, ashamed to be seen, Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, you’ll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink.”
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