Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Thinking of Christmas and beyond

People on Ravelry are already starting the "how much to knit for Christmas" conversations. I am not planning on knitting very much for Christmas, but I did get a bit nervous because right after Christmas is New Years and all those lists and goals!

Last January's leftovers still include the following:
  1. Malabrigo scarf
  2. Botticelli
  3. Temperature scarf. This is ongoing and won't be finished till Dec 20, 2015.
  4. Those Kaffe Fassett squares. A finite project, one would think, but you know what happens when my attention is diverted.
  5. I have a number of bits of a blanket that have to be dealt with. I was going along just fine, and then some breeze blew me off course. 
  6. Sunday Best
I've decided that the blanket bits and the Sunday Best will get mashed together somehow. But not much action has taken place. So, really, the list is only five things long, right?

The Kaffe squares are still languishing, though I am keen whenever I think of them. 

Botticelli... This will become my morning bit of knitting when the Temperature Scarf is finished. Boring, just needs a bit of doing a day and it'll get done. Same with the Malabrigo, but I have to do that all in one fell swoop to lessen the fluff-sneeze factor. 

But first I shall finish Action. I'm on the second sleeve, but have only done a quarter of the body. For Christmas, for me? 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The last of the TIFF posts

TIFF is over for another year. I was really pleased with my movies over all this year; hardly a moment's disappointment.

Friday I did two documentaries: Women He's Undressed and the Return of the Atom.

Women's He's Undressed is the story of the Australian designer Orry-Kelly, who came to New York and ultimately Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, and beyond, and who won three Academy Awards for his costume design. The movie also talked about changing attitudes towards homosexuality in Hollywood; Orry-Kelly lived with Archie Leach/Cary Grant in New York and was hurt when Grant did the "get married, pretend to not be gay" schtick.

Of course, lovely fashions throughout!

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in Orry-Kelly dresses

The Return of the Atom was about building a nuclear power plant in Finland, the first to be built in the West since the Chernobyl disaster. I thought there would be more about the aftermath of that event, but really, it was mostly about the building. If you watch the trailer at the link above, you will see lots of time-lapse pictures of cranes and concrete and men working... The movie could have been at least 10 minutes shorter if they'd been more restrained with the time-lapse. This was my least favourite of the festival; I just found it kind of boring!

The next day I got up at the crack of dawn to see a movie I couldn't even remember anything about. I'd had to swap a ticket that someone had given me, and just looked in my screening schedule for something that fit. I'd starred this one sometime before, so figured I must have thought it looked good at some point! 

It was a Northern Irish film called A Patch of Fog. Wow. It concerns a man who is an author, professor, TV personality and shoplifter. He gets caught in the first few minutes of the movie by a security guard with psychological problems of his own. Very engrossing! He's gonna kill him. No, wait, he's gonna kill him. Oh, suicide! The ending is perfect, and not quite what I'd expected. 

Saturday afternoon's movie was Families, a French movie with Mathieu Amalric. It was light and funny and pretty good, in a French-family-farce sort of way. Silly plot involving several generations, Shanghai, French small towns, old wills and so on. Spoiler alert: they all live happily ever after.

Finally, Sunday morning, I saw Heart of a Dog by Laurie Anderson. Again, not what I'd expected, but then, when did Laurie Anderson ever do what one expects? It is a movie about death and life and art and 9/11 in New York. I love her voice, and she narrates the whole thing, so while one is being touched by the stories, one is also being seduced by her voice. A perfect finish to my festival!

And really, next year, I am not going to see 12 movies in eight days!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A mid-festival look at more movies

When last we spoke, I was just going off to see the Dressmaker. Very wonderful and funny and rather dark at the same time. Kate Winslet and Judy Davis were marvellous, and there was this young guy we could have done without, but he was pretty, too.

Hugo Weaving played a small-town policeman with a penchant for silks, so he and Kate get along just fine. It was a very entertaining movie, surprising towards the end, and full of gorgeous fashions and nasty people.

My next movie was Anomalisa, an animated adaptation of a kind of odd stage production. In the original play, the three actors sat on the stage and said their lines, but it was sort of like a radio play in that there wasn't actual action. So the movie had action, by large puppets! And although there is a normal-sized cast of characters, there are still only the three voice actors: a male lead, female lead and the other fellow played everyone else. Said to have the best sex scene at the festival by one in the know... Interesting, and somehow gripping although there are giant muppets on the screen.

Yesterday I saw two movies. In the morning I had lighthearted fun; suspenseful thriller in the afternoon.

My Internship in Canada was hysterically funny and visually beautiful. An independent MP in northern Quebec finds himself with a Haitian intern who reads Jean-Jacques Rousseau; loggers and miners and Algonquin are variously blockading the few roads in his enormous riding; and an important vote in Parliament puts him at the centre of the action. Funny and a delightful look at Canadian politics. The aerial pictures of Quebec are worth the price of admission alone, and the Haitian subplot is also most entertaining!

I wore my Tofino tsumani-warning T-shirt to the Wave. A mountainside is likely to fall into the fjord, and some signs indicate that it will fall very soon. The geologist is a bit too detail-oriented for his colleagues, but guess what -- he's right. Danger, danger! The effects are great, the suspense is very suspenseful. My only quibble is the usual time-stretching that happens in these movies. They have ten minutes to get to higher ground, but a 100-minute movie to make. The director popped up on stage before the film and told us that this movie had been playing in Norway for three weeks and 500,000 people had seen it, out of a national population of 5 million. Wow.

Three more days; five more movies. Will she make it??

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

TIFF 2015 first round-up

I've been seeing some movies. Once again this year I started out with the intention of being moderate and not letting movie-going interfere with the back-to-school family fussing. And once again I find myself seeing two movies in a day, not being home when school gets out, throwing together dinner.


So far I have seen three movies, none of which I have actually paid for! I won free tickets for a show on Sunday of The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. Wonderful, wonderful! We got great music, and the stories of several of the musicians who make up the Silk Road Ensemble, from China, Iran, Syria, Galicia and all points even remotely connected. The thing I like best about the film festivals here is the opportunity to see the directors and stars on the stage after the show for Q&A sessions with the audience. After a bit of chit-chat, the moderator said he'd noticed a cello backstage, and we got a teeny weeny live concert by Yo-Yo Ma to finish the afternoon off. Just stunning, all around. The only standing ovations so far: one for the movie and one for the music.

A friend gave me a ticket to a "suspenseful crime drama" that I thought was not really to my taste, so I swapped the ticket, picking instead Colonia, with Emma Watson. She's so sweet, what could go wrong? Since I hadn't seen a trailer for it, I didn't quite appreciate that a movie set in Pinochet's Chile was going to be just as suspenseful and violent as the other, but it was very good. At times I had to restrain myself from clawing at the arm of the fellow sitting next to me, and I noticed he was leaning forward and clutching his hair as well. I had to leave before the Q&A of this one; just had time to learn that the actors who played the horrible people were really very nice. Acting! (I almost giggled when Emma Watson drops down a trapdoor. She is very good, but sometimes one just sees Hermione.)

Then I dashed off to see another show I'd won tickets for, the Meddler with the great and wonderful Susan Sarandon. This was a very funny and awkward and kind look at someone's mom who doesn't really know what to do with herself after her husband's death. A great antidote to the stress of the morning's movie.

Why we should leave some things to the professionals:

My best picture of Susan Sarandon, JK Simmons, Jason Ritter and director/writer Lorene Scafaria

This afternoon I am off to the Dressmaker, a movie I actually paid full price for. Looks fab; will report in.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The longest reigning monarch

(I stole this from the Daily Mail, but it is originally from Vogue.)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

It's been hot

I haven't shown you the temperature scarf for a while, but I have been diligently recording the highs and lows since last December 21.

June 21st I started spiralling around, knitting the summer on to the winter. 

That must be February, all darkest blue, next to the orange and red of July and August.

Soon it will be September 21, the beginning of fall and, I hope, a return to milder greens. 

First I ran out of the -3ºC to +3º green, and the new skein I bought was brighter. Just recently I had to buy a new orange, 16-20ºC. The new skein was more peachy! With Koigu, it seems, you certainly can't be sure of ever getting the same dye lot again, and you often can't even get the same colour! The next one that looks like it will need replacing is the darker/warmer orange variegated.

News Flash: Two of my scarves are showcased on this blog about the varieties of sky scarves!

In other news, Arthur has gone off to university! We await updates, but he's apparently having too much fun to keep us in the loop.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Finally a Finished Object

I made a cowl.

A friend gave me about 500 grams of enormous alpaca yarn. It's like pencil roving, but held together with a tiny thread wrapped around it all. I used my one 25 mm needle, and my one 19 mm needle. I think that somewhere I have two 15s, but that might have been too tight.

Arthur is off to university in Ottawa, and found himself a nice warm down jacket, but without a hood. I just had to wrap him in alpaca warm snuggliness! 

He can even pull it up over his head, if he forgets his hat. 

Really, he loves it
Now we are off for one more week of family holiday before we take him to his new residence.