We're having a strangely mild January here, though it's been pretty grey. That's given a weird otherworldliness to life. On a grey day, time can pass quickly without giving a hint that it's slipping through my fingers. It's a bit disorienting not to have the sun to give me a bit of a clue as to the passage of time.
The loss of temporal anchor has also been because of some television travels in time. El Esposo and I have started watching the old HBO series Carnivale on DVD. On nights when he is home early enough, he likes to watch two or more episodes. I loved Carnivale when it was first aired on HBO and was devastated when it was cancelled after only two seasons, so part of me feels a bit apprehensive about going through the DVD's so quickly and reaching the end of such a captivating series without having any closure in the storylines.
For those who haven't seen Carnivale, it's a two track story set in 1934 and 1935. The first track is set in the Oklahoma dustbowl as well as other parts of the southwestern United States, and follows a traveling carnival. It's not a circus; there are no performing animals. It's a freak show, some rides, some games, and a cooch show. The other track is set in southern California and features the story of a Methodist minister whose work with dustbowl migrants causes a powerful change in him. There is all sorts of magic and mysticism and symbolism going on in this show, so many layers. I love being engaged with that part of it, but I also have to admit I'm also a huge fan of the visual lushness of it. The period details are amazing. I'm also enjoying sharing my enthusiasm for this era with El Esposo. As the story moves along, there are opportunities to talk to him about the Great Depression, the Oklahoma dustbowl, migrants in California, Route 66. . . it's rich with living history. And he is always duly impressed when I know the period music.
Knittingwise, I've developed a fairly recent obsession with the designs of Kate Davies. I haven't knit any of her designs yet, though that will soon change. If you look at her designs, there is a very vintage quality to them. The time period of the 1920's up to the 1950's has a design asthetic that has always appealed to me, and Kate's designs seem to be reminiscent of those eras. They can be very simple or very complex, but they always have beautiful lines and lovely muted colors. I'm going to have to learn how to survive steeking in order to knit some of her designs, so let me officially say that 2013 is the year I will learn to knit with steeks.
I think the Kate Davies fixation is a byproduct of watching Carnivale as well as of knitting the scarf for El Esposo. It's knit on size 11 US needles, and I'm using straight needles.
(It's about five times as long now as it was when the photo was taken.) I don't use straight needles that often unless I'm knitting socks or mittens in the round. And I sure as hell don't use knitting needles of such a large gauge very much. In a lot of ways, it feels like I'm knitting with firewood. I have tried a few ways to get comfortable by securing one of the straight needles, but even with a 14 inch long pair of needles, I can't anchor one needle comfortably. I miss my small needles.
I remember reading an article in Knitter's Magazine (probably in the early 1990's) where they interviewed Nicky Epstein and she said she anchors one needle under her arm and works with the other. I believe she said she preferred straight needles for that reason. I think about that article while I'm knitting and it frustrates me to no end to not be able to figure it out. Of course, the same article talks about how Nicky got (and gave up) an audition for the Rockettes even though she was not tall enough to be an end girl. (Currently, Rockettes must be between 5'6" and 5'10.5".) Once I remembered that, it all makes sense. I can't anchor the needle properly because I'm too tall, further exacerbated by the fact that I have unusually long arms for someone my height. Drat!!
I will be returning to my smaller needles soon. . .
On the left is Lorna's Laces Sportmate in the Christmas at Downton limited edition color that was available at Jimmy Beans Wool. There's a knitalong to make gauntlets, with respectable US 3 needles recommended. I'm sure many people noted the sudden hush last Sunday night, as it appeared that most of the United States got off the internet and turned into the season three premiere, which has already aired in some other countries. I didn't start the gauntlets because there was a snafu that delayed my yarn arriving in time, but the lovely ladies at Jimmy Beans Wool flexed their always excellent customer service skills and took care of me, leaving me one happy camper indeed.
Senor Ardilla will also be getting finished soon. The rest of the Misti Alpaca Lace arrived, and it's the same dye lot as the one I originally had. I know it's not a big deal since it's used double and is going to be lining the mittens, but it's still nice. I found this skein at Victory Ranch . . . donde viven alpacas! Not only did they send the skein out ASAP, but they sent a nice handwritten note with it. So, kudos for awesome customer service. I would love to visit them when I go back to New Mexico. I don't have an actual trip planned, but I will be back.
So, I've been traveling in time to the 1920's (Downtown Abbey) and 1930's (Carnivale) on DVD, as well as with Kate Davies knitwear. I've been to England and Scotland with Downton and Kate, and to the southwest with Carnivale, Jimmy Beans Wool, and Victory Ranch. And I've been having a fine time of it. Before I sign off, I'd like to ask people if they have any recommendations relating to any of these places or time periods - I'd like to hear about books, music, movies, tv, knitting patterns, web sites, artists, anything to enhance my armchair travels.