The yarn fairy arrived!

After a slight delay in customs (grrrrr)…

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(The blog is a bit dead at the moment, we know. Anneli a) just moved house, b) isn’t feeling well, and c) has had to send her phone to the phone hospital, and I’m slogging away at my shawl two rows a night, which makes for very boring blog content. Very boring knitting too, for that matter.)

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Cute, sooo soft and so kind

I’ve been wanting to meet alpacas for some time now. So last Friday my husband and I went to visit Kusipacha Alpacka farm. IMG_1251

Alpacas are amazingly cut animals, amazingly soft and probably the kindest animal I’ve ever met.

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When they lean their ears backwards it means that they are relaxed (unlike horses…)

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Alpacas are kept for their wonderful fiber. They hail from the Andes and have been domestic animals for a long time. Their closest ancestor is the vicuña, which is smaller and lives in the wild of Peru.

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Some amazingly soft yarns spun from alpaca fiber.

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Good fiber is soft, thick, curly like this and becomes like stamps when you cut it. It should also have a nice sheen.

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The darker colors of fawn and brown are usually not as soft as the white (but still very soft).

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This white is not as thick, but the sheen! It’s hard to capture it on a picture, but my mind kept thinking of silk.

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This is how long the alpaca fiber is.

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And finally I purchased some fiber for spinning. Some white and some brown. The fiber from the legs is either thrown away or used to stuff cushions as it’s not so fine. I got to bring some of that for my fiber loving cats.

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The good, the not so good, the nosebleed bad

Writing about Warehouse 13 got me thinking about TV knitting in general. There’s a certain balance you have to find when it comes to TV knitting. I find that it really doesn’t matter THAT much how complex the pattern is – though of course some things, like a row that includes p5togtbl and such nonsense, do not lend themselves to TV knitting at all – some shows are better suited than others for knitting to. Here are some of my personal examples:

 

Good TV knitting shows

Supernatural. This is EXCELLENT knitting telly (except maybe the brunt of season 8, which was so boring I can hardly recall what even happened). It’s exciting and entertaining enough to keep you having fun, but paced so that you can look down without really missing any of the plot. When this show was still on on Fridays, I used to watch it Sunday mornings with a cuppa coffee and have a lovely 45 minute knitting block. Good times.

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Cake Boss. Perfectly fluffy nonsense. Great for lace.

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Twin Peaks. Whilst a tooooootal mindtrip, this show is really quite slow. You have plenty of time to look up in order to catch weird important stuff. (Maybe don’t knit while watching the Red Room scenes, though. You’ll probably mess up.)

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Okay TV knitting shows

Sherlock. Sherlock spends an awful lot of time talking at people. It’s good for when you need to look away.

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Doctor Who. Preferably not a first viewing, but most of the time the plot doesn’t REAAAAALLY make sense when you think about it anyway, so it’s okay if you miss a few moments.

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Warehouse 13. You might miss a few of Pete’s stupid faces or some cool purple flashing, but you shouldn’t get too lost in regards to plot.

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Shows badly tailored for TV knitting

Torchwood. If only because you might miss Ianto’s zingers, which is just tragic.

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The X-Files. Too much unspoken communication.

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How I Met Your Mother. It’s too short. In fact, any 21-minute show is too short for knitting. You’ll spend more time watching than knitting and thus get nothing done. If you want to do it, better line up a marathon.

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Just don’t even try

Lost. I’ve seen this whole series three times in its entirety; I foolishly thought I could knit along to rewatch #4. Nope. Even winding yarn is out of the question.

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You don’t have any self-knitting needles in that warehouse, do you…?

Knitting is a bit sluggish at the moment. A lot sluggish. Am on row 115 (out of 133) and there are now nearly 500 stitches on the needles. A purl row takes over half an hour. Zzzzz.

On the plus side, I have a new tv show to watch while knitting! Well, new to me; not really new at all: SyFy’s Warehouse 13. Since last weekend we’ve watched almost the entire first season here at home. It’s lots of fun, but not ideal tv knitting as you do need to keep watching closely in order not to miss stuff, but with these ENDLESS STOCKINETTE ROWS, that hasn’t been a problem so far.

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Progress. Slow, slow, sloooow progress.

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Under the pear tree

Last Saturday was a particularly fine day. Sparkling blue sky, burning sun and thankfully my dear friend Emilia has a nice shadowy pear tree under which you can enjoy especially fine days. Emilia and I go way back and she’s the proud owner of the blog Ett rött hus på landet. It’s not about knitting yet, but she has expressed her desire to learn and I willingly demonstrated the Glitz at the Ritz as a bait.

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Her little helper Elliot (as helpful as Nishant, if not more so) assists in knitting. Apparently he favors soft things. I suggested a good sturdy project bag for forthcoming knitting.

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Petting bunnies and they’re soooo soft! I had forgotten that about bunnies.

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Apparently it is a tough job to collect all the chickens, or split them up, depends on your point of view… (I suspect one is more fun than the other).

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And a wonderful yellow.

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Before I left Emilia handed me a little bag of second-hand jewelry. Now all mine to tear up and use in good knitty ways.

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Audiobooks, radio plays, and Neverwhere

Sometimes, when knitting complicated patterns (lace), looking up is just not an option. You can either watch something you’ve seen before, or shows with a lot of talking where you don’t have to look up to know what’s going on (like sports or a talk show).

Another option where you don’t have to look up at all are audiobooks. (Also allows you to knit and “read” at the same time, something that’s quite tricky with regular books…)

An alternative to audiobooks are audio plays. BBC radio produce wonderful ones which are free to listen to and download for a limited time after broadcast. An example is the fantastic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere for Radio 4, which we both listened to a while ago.

Things we’re taking away from this radio play:
  • Absolutely fantastic performance from all actors!
  • James McAvoy’s accent. We’re in love.
  • James McAvoy in general. Doesn’t even matter that you can’t see him. (If you don’t like James McAvoy, you’re wrong.)
  • It’s fascinating to only hear the voices of actors you know on sight. Sometimes it takes you a while to connect the voice to the face. Like Jessica, played by Romola Garai, or as Anneli knows her, Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse… which only took her about four episodes to figure out.
  • Train tunnels are disturbingly noisy when you try to listen to what people say.
  • Tove will never not laugh at the London jokes. (She was a bit sad that the “mind the gap” plot was cut. Anneli hasn’t read the book though, so no spoilers.)
Best moment:

Dear imaginary diary… or perhaps “the grrrreat beeeeast of London”.

Verdict:

We give this radio play four out of five DPNs, for being fun and exciting, very well produced, a really good adaptation of the source material, and for James McAvoy and his accent.

(Tove would also like to recommend the six Torchwood radio plays which were also produced for Radio 4. Gareth David-Lloyd in particular is delightful in all of them. Maybe give “House of the Dead” a skip while knitting, though, as you will be bawling your eyes out. Put down the yarn and fetch some tea. Sniff.)

Note: If you missed out on downloading the files while they were available for free, there is a site called Soundcloud, which is all we’re going to say about that. Wink wink.

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But I NEED it

A while ago I found this yarn which I need. NEED. NEED I TELL YOU.

The yarn in question is Trailing Clouds’ Mind the Gap. I need it. (I know I said that already, but it bears repeating.) I NEED a pair of London Underground socks. I’ll call them my tube socks and it’ll be punny, ha ha ha.

After being distraught to find out that her Etsy store is on indefinite hiatus, as well as that no one on Ravelry will trade or sell their skeins, I have now found her new store where yarn goes up on Thursdays. Today is Friday. Some Mind the Gap went up yesterday and is, of course, sold out. Woe.

BRB, setting alarms for Thursday evenings on every device I own.

(This yarn is totally exempt from the yarn diet because a) I’ve lived in London and miss it a little every day and b) sock yarn doesn’t count as stash anyway. Everyone knows this.)

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Glitzy progress

The Ritz in London is famous, perhaps for many things, but the reason I know it is because of their famous afternoon tea. It is an experience I have yet to acquire. Not exactly the kind of spontaneous fun you have when you’re only visiting for a weekend since you have to make reservations at least a couple of months in advance. Someday though!

My husband and I therefore enjoyed our afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason which is equally posh and their shop is AMAZING.

So when Helen Stewart published her new shawl pattern Glitz at the Ritz I though of it as a sign. A beautiful and glittering shawl for glittering occasions. For me.

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