Sunday, June 24, 2012

My mind is completely blown.

Went to see Brave today. Wow.

Your average kid's film is pretty trippy, but this one took the ball and ran with it. I can't even tell you what about it so made me doubt the sanity and safety of letting the Scots abroad on the earth without spoilering it completely. Suffice to say, the movie took a right where you expected a left, and once that happened, all bets were off. It felt altogether dangerous, as if a wild animal had been let loose to prowl in the theater, and you were expected to be mature enough to not freak out.

There you go, that was the part that unsettled me most. The film makers trusted the audience. Disney, bless their hearts, tends to spoon-feed movies to you, thinking you have the mentality of an infant, and presents the viewer with stock characters and situations that require little, if any, thought. This movie expected more of you, asked you to think and feel and make up your own mind about the characters and the situations they were in without any censure or help, and it felt absolutely dangerous for an animated movie, right up to the point where they delivered you safely back to your seat when the lights came up.

I'm happy about it, too, if you must know the truth. It's nice to find a movie that completely upends your expectations in the parking lot and sets them on fire, then roasts some fish, veg and a dessert course of fruit and marshmallow over the conflagration. Like a Cohen Brothers movie, but with a lower body count and the addition of little blobby, glowy will-'o-the-whisps. Everything would be better with the addition of will-'o-the-whisps.

The visuals were transcendentally beautiful, too. I saw it in 3D, but that wasn't necessary -- I imagine it's just as effective and shimmery in standard 2D. The rendering of the film struck me a bit dumb. I went, originally, because I'd read an article that said there were 24 animators working just on the lead character's (Princess Merida) hair, and they'd had to write a software program specially to attach it to her head and tie it to her movements. Since she's one of the few kid's film good guys with curly hair (most curly haired people in children's films are the baddies -- Tangled is a prime example, but there are others, and if I could think properly I'd tell you all about that), I had to go support my curly haired imaginary sistah. And see how well they managed to bring the hair to life. They did an excellent job. They probably needed all 24 of those animators (God knows it feels like my hair has multiple personalities some days, and my hair is merely wavy) to get the hair right, but the other animators weren't taking naps, either. The look supported the story, and made it patently obvious, right from the very beginning, that we were dealing with a land just chockablock full of magic and mystery and pretty.

Money well spent. The animators and the movie ticket. If you have time and can reasonably squeeze the change out of your budget, I highly recommend you go see it.

Just be cautious when you find a line of will-'o-the-whisps light your way. Sometimes, they light you straight into trouble.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just to clear my head

I'm going to work with this:

It's a lace weight alpaca/silk blend. Soft and shiny and smooshy as all get out, and it's just the tonic I think I need to get over the knit funk I seem to have fallen into lately.

Just enough for a nice, lacey scarf -- I'm thinking of a pattern that is called daisy lace, but sort of looks more like church windows. The daisies are in the negative space (ie, the holes), and there are ridges of knit arches over them, With daisies in.

I'm quite looking forward to casting on. But I think I'll eat dinner, first. Today I had a lot of other work hey-nonny-nonny to get around to, so I didn't get a chance to write. I'm hoping, sort of, to get an outline out of the way tomorrow (and Friday; that's a mostly unscheduled day for me so I can get it done between the two days.) Once I have my outline, I can go all NaNo-style on it and crank out my first full length novel. At least, that's the plan, and we all know how the best laid plans of mice and men go, alas. Still and all, I'm not averse to trying it that way.

God knows no other way of writing long form has worked well for me. Can't hurt to try a new method! For I am determined to write long form fiction. Short stories are all well and good, but I don't want to be a one trick pony.

And then, as a reward for working on it this week, on Sunday morning, I'm going to take myself to see Brave. Maybe even in 3-D. Ooooooh.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I've got a stack of papers on my desk...

about 45 sheets tall (you'd be amazed at how high a stack of 50 - 20 lb weight sheets of paper can be, or how awkward that sentence was to write) of my latest writing project to review, and a million other things to do, and I shouldn't be on this computer now anyway due to my eyestrain issues, I am. Still kicking. And starting to think that maybe I'll never feel physically better than this, so I should just suck it up and learn to live with it instead of trying to wait for my eyestrain to go away.

I'm going to the optometrist later this week, so don't worry about me. I'll get my contacts rejiggered, and maybe that will help a bit. Although I am currently wearing my old lady-style reading glasses to see the monitor and it helps, so perhaps I should just wear my reading glasses all the time I'm on the computer and stfu about it already, yes?

Anyway, on to the business of this blog: knitting.

Under the heading of new knitting business:

I got the yarn for my new, Marvel's The Avengers Loki scarf, which is tentatively being called the "Pimp Swagger at the Opera" scarf for now. That's a bit wordy, so it will probably change eventually.

I'm also hard at work trying to find screencaps of the scarf from that scene. The problem with that being the only ones available are from images people took on their cell phones in dark theaters, so they aren't of the highest quality. Whatevs, I'll deal, even if it means I have to go see The Avengers every week for however long it runs.

I will make this sacrifice, and all for you. Heheheheheh. I called it a sacrifice, snort!

The yarn is KnitPicks Brava, sport weight. It's softer in the skein than I Love This Yarn!, the Hobby Lobby brand acrylic and my previous favorite. I did a swatch (which is going to one of the coven for some laundry abuse to see how it wears), and the swatch is softer than any other acrylic I've experienced in my limited time as a knitter. Considering the first yarn I actually made a finished project from was mohair and I haven't really gone downmarket in terms of yarn since, saying an acrylic is soft is actually saying something.

I'm not sure precisely what, but it's speaking.

Anywho, I've got a fairly good screencap of the center, patterned portion of the scarf which I need to print out and chart, and the yarn is nice and soft and fairly drapey in my choice of needle (size 9; I'm going for a fabric with miles and miles of drape here), so all I need to do is get that puppy started up. But...

I'm in a knit slump lately. Partially because the knitting aggravates my eyestrain (lots of stitches, moving that close to my nose = visual confusion) and partially because I just finished up my deadline knitting and that always kills whatever love I have of the sport. Deadline knitting, that is. I hate knitting to deadline. Knitting is a pleasure for me, something I do for fun. Giving it deadlines makes it work. Blech.

I have to put my newest acquisitions from the fiber fest into the stashtainer of yarny goodness (they're out of quarantine, thankfully), so maybe I'll dig around, find a yarn the years have made me unfamiliar with and make some plans. I like to plan and plot, I can see that being very enjoyable.

Oooh, now my fingers are itching. Excuse me while I go excavate some yarny goodness....

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Guess what's drying on the floor?

I am so The Knitter. I went from half done on Monday night to all done last night and got this bad boy pinned up this morning. Can I take a moment to say, that's probably the best blocking job I've ever done? The sides are actually, you know, sorta straight. It should be completely dry by late tomorrow, well in time to get it to Nieceling before her flight Monday afternoon.

Here's a detail shot:

And now those colors (along with the lighting/ginormous monitor at the temp gig -- which is no longer, yesterday was my last day of work, alas) have totally inflamed my optic nerves. I'm going to log off this computer before I migraine out, sit in my chair, nibble on something -- organic cheetos, maybe, or popcorn -- and just relax for a while.

I may have to avoid the internets altogether for a few days, just to give my poor eyeballs a rest. I can practically feel a searing pain run along the back of my eyes when I look at that picture. Oh, it hurts, it does!

But that really just gives me an excuse to thaw out and knit a Multnomah with this yarn:

Because blue is an optically soothing color, you know.

At least when it's not a screaming, acid-trip version of blue. Oy. My eyes!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Part the First, completed.

The first half of Nieceling's Euroscarf 2012 is complete.

It's a bit blurry, and I'm sorry about that, but when I took the picture with the flash, it did weird things with the color and stitch definition. Squint and tilt your head and it will look just fine.

She leaves for her European tour in about a week, so I have....five days, no four, to get this thing done and dusted. Considering I worked on the first half for about 10 hours, and most of that consisted of swearing, frogging, running my finger along the lines of the pattern and swearing some more, whereas now I have the darn pattern memorized and can do it in my sleep...yeah. I've got a decent shot at it.

At least, I do if I get off here and go get knitting.

I guess I just wanted to let you know I'm still here and still knitting. Slowly but surely. And contemplating the wonders I will wreak on this world when I'm not doing deadline knitting.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Complete and total yarn 'ho

I could give you a rundown of what the past (oh, my gods, has it only been one) week has been like, but I won't. If you're on Ravelry, you've probably sampled the cheese platter I served up with my whine, so suffice to say I was more than ready for a little fun today.

And fun I had when I went to the yarn orgy...uh, Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival. Ok, yeah, yarn orgy. I just wanted to pile it all up in the middle of the floor and roll on it in hedonistic abandon. Is that really so wrong?

Anyway, here's what I invested in:

Some lovely alpaca that hails all the way from Kentucky -- dyed by a company called Kentucky Blue Fiber Company, in fact. The bits at the end look gray, but I assure you they are a nice dusty lilac. The yarn is actually an alpaca/merino blend, and feels quite sturdy while still maintaining a nice softness. It will be a scarf. Someday.

I also hit the Solsberry Yarns booth, which sells yarns dyed by Robin J. Edmundson. She has an etsy shop, too. I love her colors, and suggest you invest. That way, she makes enough money to afford to come back to Hoosier Hills next year, and I get more yarn. See? Win-win-win.

Actually, the yarn in the bottom picture (rayon in what I'm calling Pez colors) was my first purchase of the day, for a scarf for the Mater Gloriosa. They're her colors. The top one I got on my way out of the festival, when I realized I was sadly lacking in jewel tones. I loves me some jewel tones.

I bought this next skein from SassyBee Fibers. At their booth, they were selling mostly fleeces -- I'm not a spinner or a dyer (because I need another spendy hobby like I need another hole in my head) -- but they had two or three skeins of yarn spun up for sale. I love this color -- Fruit Punch -- and I love the name SassyBee.

This skein from Froebe Fibers is probably my favorite of the new batch. At least for the moment. Shhh, don't tell the other yarns. The color is so cheerful, so spring-time, I just had to get it. There was a different color at the booth I'd been thinking about investing in, but then I realized I've got three other yarns in almost the exact same colorway. Feh. So I went with the pretty "Dandelion Wine". The vendor told me as I fondled her yarn in vulgar fashion that they use only food-grade dyes. I probably won't chew on it, but that does mean I get to enjoy a nice, brisk vinegar scent while knitting, which is bonus. 

Yes, I do like vinegar scent on my yarn. It's why I'm so heavily invested in Malabrigo. That stuff reeks of vinegar. Don't judge me, I'm sure it's perfectly normal in some parts of the world to sniff your yarn as you knit.

Bonus: With each purchase, you got a cute little gift bag.

Looks a bit like a wedding favor, doesn't it?

Ah, now that I've reviewed my successful shopping trip, have put the yarns in isolation (ie, the chest freezer) and completed my other chores, I can take a short nap. I feel quite...replete. As if I've accomplished something -- something more than just draining my yarn budget for the first half of the year.

Oooh, and I only went over budget by $5, too. You should be proud of me, really you should. ;-)