Friday, 23 October 2015

The desire to hibernate

An art deco cup on top of 1930s film magazines
I don't know if it's the weather, or the nights drawing in, but I'm feeling rather less outgoing than usual right now – I just want to hide at home and cook and make things. Having had sore ears hasn't helped. I've definitely not been in the mood to go places or do anything exciting (ie bloggable). Unfortunately by the time I've got in from work and have done all the things that have to be done any enthusiasm for intricate projects has drained away and all I'm really good for is watching telly*. At least when you're a knitter telly time can still be productive.

 After ponking around making Halloween cards last weekend, I thought I should talk about how my latest knit is progressing, because that's rather more important. I don't want to show you photos as I'm making it for a fellow blogger and it's only fair that she should get to show it to you first, but it is coming along beautifully. It's not a vintage pattern, but it's a fair isle tank top so could easily pass for one.

I don't often knit for other people as I'm very slow, though this is in DK wool (twice as thick as I usually use) and doesn't have sleeves, so it should come together much more quickly than my usual projects. The yarn is a Debbie Bliss one, and it's a pure wool with that slight 'stickiness' (really a matter of friction) that makes it ideal for colourwork. It's thicker than would have been commonly used before the late 1950s, but has the perfect drape and handle, and all in all it feels right. Most mass-produced repro knitwear nowadays is done in synthetic fibres in too fine a gauge – it never looks accurate, to my eyes. Synthetics drape differently and take colours differently to wool, they're somehow cooler and brighter, probably because the base fibre is pure white whereas natural fibres are usually cream at their palest. If you look at vintage knitting magazines, you really do notice a shift in the colours used when the 1960s really kick in, there's a vibrancy (or possibly garishness!) that synthetic fibres bring that wasn't there before.

I'm still yo-yoing about my following project. I'm planning to make myself something but really can't make up my mind. One minute I plan to knit something 60s because so much of my wardrobe is 60s, and another I remember that a lot of 60s patterns are deathly dull and none of my separates are very 60s anyhow. It's going to be pale grey and in 4ply because I have ten balls of grey 4ply, but beyond that I have no idea what it'll be. My current favourite potential pattern is 'It Cannot Fail To Please' from A Stitch in Time volume 1, but by the time I cast on that idea might very well be failing to please and I may have changed my mind again.

While I may not know what I want to knit, I do know what I want to wear it with: a straight, calf-length pink and grey tartan skirt. It came from a charity shop (looking back at my blog, that was back in 2010) and has been one of the backbone pieces of my wardrobe each winter since. It can look 1910s-30s or 1950s depending on the styling. The things I usually wear with it are getting very worn out, and while I'm going to have a go at repairing them, the skirt really does need new friends.
Two young tabby cats
Blurry, because they NEVER STOP MOVING.
In case you're wondering how the urchins are getting on, owing to their talent for Making Stinks and their habit of hiding away, Ziggy and Pippin are not allowed in the bedroom where most of my wool is kept. Once they get under the bed they're invisible. They need socialisation, so, no time in the bedroom and no access to wool for them. The socialisation is starting to pay off; I was ill off work yesterday with my ears, and Ziggy actually allowed me to stroke him. He's such a timid creature, bless him, though he always has epic resting bitchface in photos. There is nothing they won't play with. We're planning a Christmas tree covered in unbreakable baubles this year – my precious family glass ones will NOT be coming out! – and on top of the aforementioned repairs, I'm hoping to get round to recycling some other old clothes that are too knackered for the charity shop into decorations and (probably) cat toys. I can do that in front of the telly, right?


*On which note, Jekyll and Hyde starts on ITV on the 25th of October, while for its Unmade Movies series BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a dramatisation of Orson Welles' screenplay for Heart of Darkness at 2:30pm on the 24th, and a dramatisation of Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman's screenplay The Blind Man (completed by Mark Gatiss) at 2:30 on the 31st.

15 comments :

  1. Oh, oh, oh, I'm so excited! I can't wait to see it. As soon as the wool arrived I knew I'd made the right choice, it's so much more beautiful than synthetic wool and I loved that farmyard smell it's got.
    The 'It Can't Fail To Please' jumper is gorgeous and would look lovely in pale grey. Good to see the kitties are doing well too!

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    1. Heh, I wasn't sure whether to name you or let you reveal all later.

      It's coming along really beautifully.

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  2. Looking forward to seeing your knit, it sounds lovely. Being a knitter is rather dangerous with tv, I just fool myself that i'm being productive when I usually only end up doing a couple of rows! x

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    1. Productive is productive - I always tell myself that everything begins and ends with a single stitch, so every stitch should count as much.

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  3. Those little urchins are absolutely gorgeous, so good to get an update.
    Sorry about your ears. Hope they're better soon.
    I get into a thorough old grump at this time I year, I hate the cold, dark nights and mornings and can't bear Xmas. The only thing keeping me sane is the thought of a flight to India! xxx

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    1. I love Christmas. Thadingyut, Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas... it's boring January and February that do me in, when there's still no light and no fun things either.

      Mmm, flight to India. Sounds wonderful!

      By crickey can those cats make stinks, though...

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  4. Sorry to hear that you are feeling under the weather, but spending more time with your gorgeous kitties must make you feel a little better! Thank you for the heads up on Jekyll and hide, I've been waiting an age to find out when its coming on and no doubt would have missed it, I just hope it is as good as it looks!

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    1. Yes, the kits are lovely. It's funny, our old cat was like a very bizarre little person who lived in our house, whereas these two are definitely animals. Hopefully their personalities will start coming out soon.

      I hate missing things on telly, which is why I like to mention them.

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  5. I have a few 60's knitting magazines called, The Workbasket that are full of things I admire, but will never make. If you'd like them, send me an email with your info, and I will post them to you. If nothing else you can laugh at the hairstyles on the models(it was a Midwestern magazine, and the hair really reflects that). I do like the project you selected to go with your pink skirt-I could never attempt anything like that.

    Oh yes, keep the ornaments away from the kittens. Our late dog was terrified of the (artificial) tree, and kept well away from it. Cats on the other hand...

    Hope you're feeling better soon.

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  6. I just love versatile garments like your skirt that are able to be a decade chameleon, blending in wonderfully with looks from different eras. I really try to keep an eye out for such when shopping, especially with it comes to wardrobe basics.

    Sending tons of healing hugs and well wishes your way,
    ♥ Jessica

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  7. Sorry to hear that you have been ill. Earache is an absolute nightmare, I used to suffer from it a lot as a child. A hot compress to your ear works wonders. I love the photo of you kittens. They are absolutely gorgeous. I think that they will love their festive cat toy (tree). Years ago, my Mum's old and sedate cat used to go nuts climbing the tree every year. We lost many glass baubles that were my Grandfather's and lots our American family shipped over before WWII. Hope you are feeling better soon. Xx

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  8. I can't wait to see the finished garment! I have to force myself to start doing more exercise, get more sleep and generally give myself extra tlc at this time of year, else it's easy for me to get the grumps and hibernate. How do such cute kitties manage to be so stinky?! Xxx

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  9. Glad the kittens are starting to come around :)

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  10. The current knitting project sounds interesting and It Cannot Fail To Please always pleases me. I have plenty of '60's patterns if there is anything you are particularly looking for. Your kittens look like so much fun!

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  11. I'm feeling hibernatey too. I go through periods where I only want to talk to Matthew and everyone else drains me; I'm as far along the introvert scale as it gets. I can quite happily manage an evening out but 8 hours a day of workmates is doing me in! Funny as September to December are normally my fave times to be out and about.

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