Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'll make up for yesterday's brief, drive-by post with a bit more substance today.

1) Francis Revisited ~ off the needles, onto me
Pattern: Francis Revisited, by Beth Silverstein (free!)
Yarn: Cascade EcoWool, "Latte," 2 skeins
Needles: US 9 and 6 bamboo circs

Notes: Super easy and unbelievably quick to knit. I actually used less yarn than the pattern recommended -- 2 skeins for a custom size somewhere between xl and xxl. I did not make it as long as the pattern said, and it actually might have been nice to do another inch or two on the body. The bell sleeves are cute and comfy in real life, but don't photograph terribly well.

The cowl is written the same way for the whole gamut of sizes; if you knit a larger sweater, you may want to add a few more rows and a few more extra stitches. It would be great to use a yarn with a little alpaca or silk for more drape, but it's hard to beat Eco Wool for affordability. The yarn really softened up when washed and blocked; it's no merino, but it's good stuff nonetheless.

2) cable owls ~ still love 'em, this time in squishy "squirrel heather" merino...
Pattern: Owl Tuque, by Barbara Prime
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Bulky, "squirrel heather," 1/2 skein
Needles: US 7 & 8 16" bamboo circs + US 7 Brittany Birch DPNs
Size: 6 months

Notes: Amazingly cute and exceedingly fun to knit. I gave this to a fellow knitter's little guy on Sunday, and it fit great. I love that Barbara Prime worked seed stitch into the hat. Switching to larger needles for the owl section is a very clever move, especially since those cables really do pull in.

This isn't a free pattern -- it's a $2.75 download on Ravelry -- but it's worth every penny. $2 from each pattern sale goes to the Montreal Ecomuseum.

3) Stephen Fry in America
Awesome! I loved Stephen Fry in Jeeves & Wooster and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (plus he was the only palatable part of V for Vendetta); this 6-part TV series wherein he visits all 50 states does not disappoint. Originally aired in 2008, it's being shown again on HDnet. Two things especially noteworthy: 1) winters in the upper Midwest are apparently a bit too chilly for this Briton, and 2) he actually goes ice-fishing in Minnesota.

4) One Fast Move or I'm Gone
Ben Gibbard & Jay Farrar teamed up to write songs inspired by Jack Kerouac's Big Sur for a new documentary. A little bit of Son Volt-style alt country, Gibbard's wonderful voice, inspiration from Kerouac, what more could you want? Especially if you went through a teenage Beat poetry phase, as I did. You can stream the new album here, from the sidebar of this review. More info here.

Gibbard and Farrar are playing a show at the new Lincoln Hall on Oct. 26. I'm so there! Apparently the makeshift band for this limited tour includes members of Son Volt, Death Cab, and Mountain Goats.

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