Friday, January 31, 2014

FO Friday - 1/31/2014

It's so nice to finish things.  I guess that makes me a project knitter, even though I love the process of knitting.  I like feeling the yarn in my hands, looking at the colors and executing the stitches.  I love everything about knitting...but I have to see it through to fruition.  Maybe, that just makes me a little anal...

...or maybe more than a little.

I present the December 2013 Socks:

I used Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs Goth Sock yarn. The base is Laudanum Lache - it's an MCN (merino, cashmere and nylon blend for you Muggles). The color is Emerald City Snow.  I have several skeins of their stripey sock yarns and they are perfect for plain, vanilla socks. I've been on a plain, vanilla kick lately.  Part of it is because I have several (and by several, I mean several tens ) skeins of multi-colored sock yarn - and patterns just get lost in the color changes.  I'm also on this kick of trying to become stashless.  

Don't laugh.  

Another reason is that knitting plain, vanilla socks is very comforting.  It's good to have at least one project of comfort knitting on the go at all times.

So..ok...go on with your weekends.

MK out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday - 1/29/2014

Currently, I've got five projects going. Even though I've been pretty good lately about keeping only three projects going at a time, the startitis bug got me and now I'm a little crazed. In order to actually get anything completed, I have to concentrate on one or two projects at a time.  I'm not always very good at practicing this principle but...

First, I am still working on Phiaro:

This pattern is knit in the round in stockinette.  I followed the suggestions of a few Ravelers who purled the stitches that are going to be dropped at the end; so, it looks like ribbing.  I also knit through the back loops of the first and last stitches of the knitted groups.  See that big section of purled stitches on the left?  After they are dropped they will be cut right down the middle to become the fringe.  

It's a simple pattern, yet it yields a dramatic result.  My only complaint is the yarn, while very soft, is still a little ropey (Hey! It's not merino) and it's slippery and splitty, but the colorway is pretty and it is keeping me distracted from the challenges.

It's the end of January, and the January 2014 Socks are just getting going:

In honor of Downtown Abbey Season 4 starting earlier this month, I picked this stripey color-way of Goth Socks called Nana's Tea Party.  It reminds me of a vintage English tea party - with pretty flowers gracing the table.  There's even a little bit of purply, violet in there for Mary Crowley's nana - The Dowanger Countess of Grantham.  I am using my trusty-dusty plain, vanilla sock pattern with a picot top and short-row heels.  

So...What's on your needles?

MK out.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Movie Monday - 1/27/2014

I didn't get to watch any of the Oscar hopefuls on my list in the past week...As usual, lots going on at Chez Merry Karma.  That didn't stop me from watching some rentals and Netflix streamers though.

The Place Beyond the Pines is a bit of a thriller starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendez and Bradley Cooper. A cop and a bad boy come in contact and the outcome of their meeting reaches into the next generation.  Rose Byrne and Ray Liotta also star.  It was very good.

A six year kid has ring-side seats in her parents' bitter divorce and custody battle in What Maisie Knew.  Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan star as the embittered parents.  The movie is a modern day adaptation of the novel by Henry James. (The book was published in 1897, People! I am now going to have to read the book.)  The parents are so self-absorbed that they don't realize what is going on in their child's life.  Joanna Vanderham and Alexander Skarsgard also star as the ex-couple's new mates.  Maisie is very well played by Onata Aprile.  I really liked this movie

Sad Emily's husband is released from prison and her depression worsens in Side Effects - a psychological thriller pitting big pharma against psychiatrists and patients.  When she murders her husband in a sleep walking haze - a documented side effect of the new, wonderful drug her psychiatrist prescribed - the film examines who is at fault in this situation.  The truth will surprise you.  Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta Jones star.  It was pretty good.

MK out.

Friday, January 24, 2014

FO Friday - 1/24/2014

I finished this scarf last week:

I made this quick project using Yarn Bee Effortless Super Bulky and size 15 needles. It's a simple 1x1 rib. Since it's been chilly this winter, I thought the oldest son could use something to help him keep warm.

That's all I have this week.  I've been frantically trying to finish my December 2013 socks and move on to the other four projects I have going.  I caught the startitis bug earlier this month...

MK out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Movie Monday - 1/20/2014

It's now been four days since I figured out that I have 8 movies to watch before the Oscars, and I've only seen one.  I've been going like the Eveready bunny, and I don't feel like I have anything to show for it...

...except watching one movie.

12 Years a Slave is the adaptation of the memoir of Solomon Northup.  He was a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  I knew that the movie was graphic in its portrayal of the cruelty inflicted upon people during those times and parts of it were very hard to watch.  I won't get on my soapbox, but I will say that I disagree with whomever said that the cruelty needed to be shown graphically in this film to bring the point home.  I'm pretty tired of Hollywood (and many artists, in general) hiding behind the "it's an expression of art" excuse to give themselves license to be overly violent or profane, but that's just me...and I digress...

The acting in this movie is very, very good.  Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon.  Lupita Nyong'o plays Patsey, whose beauty is noticed by the cruel master of the plantation (played by Michael Fassbender).  Also starring are Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard - just to name a few.  The story is another example of the long history of man's inhumanity to man.  Will we ever learn?  It is a heartbreaking story based on fact, but it is a good movie and it deserves all the nominations it has gotten in this award season.  

In lighter news, I took this test and apparently, I should live in Portland, Oregan:  What city should you actually live in?

Oh k-a-a-a-y...

I've been to Portland three times in my whole life, and all have been since 2009.  I like the city.  I like the public transportation, the food (including the food trucks), the art and the quirkiness.  

Recently, I noticed that Portlandia was a suggestion in my Netflix queue. I didn't know anything about it before, but it's a tee vee show that celebrates the quirkiness of Portland. Last night, I watched the first episode.  It's hysterical!!! 

Am I the only person on this planet who had not heard of this show before just recently?

MK out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Oscar Nominations Were Announced!!!

For the first time in several years, I totally forgot when the nominations were going to be announced and I slept through it.

I know, right?!?

Usually, I watch it on tee vee as it is happening.  

(I hope this situation doesn't mean that the world is in big trouble...)

I was happy to see that three of the movies (Blue JasmineGravity and Philomena) I've already seen were nominated for at least one of the top five awards.  They deserved it.

Sad to say, but I have EIGHT films to see between now and March 2nd.

MK out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Movie Monday - 1/13/2014

I had heard good things about Savages; so, I've been wanting to see it for the longest.  I finally did.  I could sum it up in one word - disturbing. Maybe I am getting old, but I really don't like watching people or animals (in this case, people only) being hurt.  The story centers around two guys who grow the best weed in the world and the girlfriend that they share.  A Mexican drug cartel wants to partner with them and a dirty DEA agent is there to help.  Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Salma Hayek, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Travolta and Benicio del Toro all star in this film full of drugs, sex, violence, twists and double-crosses.  It was alright.

Behind the Candelabra is the HBO Movie adaptation of the book about the last ten years of Liberace's life by his then former lover Scott Thorson.  Michael Douglas played Liberace - very well, I might add.  Matt Damon played Scott Thorson.  Rob Lowe, Scott Bakula, Debbie Reynolds and Dan Aykroyd also starred in this film.  The acting was very good and it was an interesting story to tell.  I liked it.

Gerard Depardieu stars in My Afternoons with Margueritte, a French movie with English subtitles.  It is a sweet little story about a man who cannot read, but bonds with a refined older lady he meets in the park.  They soon start spending time together regularly.  It was really good.

Until next time...

MK out.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Start Something Sunday

Yes, I have three things on the needles (OTN)...but I am almost ready to bind off one of the projects, and I've been trying hard to work on the other, I went ahead and started a new one...yesterday.  Oh, come on...It was last night, and only hours away from Sunday:

Go ahead...sue me.

I am making a Phiaro Scarf.  Once upon a time, I had bought two skeins of Blue Heron Rayon Metallic, thinking I was going to make a cardi out of it.  Who was I kidding?  I did make a Magic Shawl using one skein, but then I had a whole other skein sitting in my stash.  After much pattern research, I found the Phiaro and have been itching to start it.  It's been almost two years...

It was time.

MK out.

Friday, January 10, 2014

FO Friday - 1/10/2014

Lordy, Lordy...there are some projects that I finished by the end of the year and y'all haven't seen them yet.

I finished Stripie Scarf in November, but couldn't flash it on the blog because it was a gift:

I used two different colorways of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light - Clementine and Oceana.  I love the Oceana, and still have one and a half skeins of it in TML to go...I've been perusing patterns; so, stay tuned...

The Kid requested another (updated) Gryffindor hat and scarf set:

I used Berroco Comfort.  It's not wool, but it's wash and wear.  How many college-age guys do you know who will hand wash, or at least lay flat to dry? It would be lucky if they even washed....Since the scarf is knitted in a tube, it should keep him pretty warm up at school.  He might stand out a little though.

Finally, I made Jeck for the November 2013 socks:

I used Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Alki Reflection.  I must say, I really like this yarn.  It was so squishy in the hands.  I also loved this colorway.  It reminded me of a vintage Christmas montage of colors.

That's the list.

MK out.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Movie Monday - 1/6/2014

Here are the most recent movies I've seen:

Inside Llewyn Davis, starring Oscar Isaac as Llewyn, is the Coen Brothers latest offering.  The movie is set in New York City in 1961 and follows a week in the life of Llewyn, a struggling folk singer.  He's good, but apparently not great.  He's kind of a mopey guy and I thought it was kind of a mopey movie.  Also starring in this film are Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver and John Goodman.  It was alright.

I was a little girl when I saw Mary Poppins in the theater.  I remember that I loved it. Saving Mr. Banks is based on the back-story of how the filming of Mary Poppins came to be. Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the author of the popular novels chronicling the adventures of the magical nanny.  Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Kathy Baker, Rachel Griffiths, and Colin Ferrell also star in this movie.  It was very good.

Jasmine and Ginger are very opposite sisters in Blue Jasmine.  Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a wealthy New York socialite, comes into hard times when her marriage and lifestyle fall apart.  She is taken in by Ginger (Sally Hawkins), her financially struggling adopted sister.  Through flashbacks, we find out about Jasmine's previous life as she tries to put together a new one.  Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay and Bobby Cannavale also star in this latest Woody Allen offering.  The acting was really, really good - especially Blanchett, as she portrayed a woman struggling to keep it together.  Overall, it was alright.

The Way, Way Back is a coming of age story of a 14 year old boy - Duncan (Liam James).  He is spending the summer with his mother (Toni Collette) and her jerk of a boyfriend (Steve Carell) at his beach house.  The adults carry on as if they were on a vacation by themselves, leaving Duncan to his own devices.  He finds solace working at the local water park and is befriended by the manager, Owen (Sam Rockwell).  Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph also star in this sweet movie.  It was good.

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies of all time - even though the darn flying monkeys used to scare the bejeezus out of me - and continue to creep me out to this day.  Oz, The Great and Powerful was based on the L. Frank Baum novels. It tells how Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco), a small time magician in Kansas, flees a jealous husband in a hot air balloon and ends up in the Land of Oz.  Theodora (Mila Kunis) - a witch - finds him and believes Oz to be the prophesied wizard who will restore order in the land by destroying the Wicked Witch who killed the King of Oz.  Her sister Glinda (Michelle Williams) is believed by all to be the Wicked Witch, but the other sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), is the real culprit.  Zach Braff also stars in this fanciful prequel to the beloved 1939 film.  I really liked it.

Matthew McConaughey stars in Mud, about a fugitive trying to reunite with his long-time love Juniper (Reece Witherspoon).  It seems that he has spent his live trying to save her from herself, and the most recent adventure ended in murder.  He is hiding out on a small island on the Mississippi River.  Two young boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), come across his hiding place.  Soon, Mud has them getting parts for him to fix an old boat so he can get away.  Ellis has problems of his own - his parents are divorcing and he is in love with a girl that doesn't seem to know that he is alive.  MM did a mighty fine acting job.  Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Michael Shannon and Joe Don Baker also star in this movie. It was really good.

MK out.