Friday, October 26, 2007

Hurrah, yet another distraction.

Oh God, I got my Ravelry invite last night. This was badly timed. How on Earth am I gonna meet my coursework deadline now? Meep.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Forgot about this yesterday...

Alison at Mother of all Needles tagged me for the 8 random things meme last week, so here you go, a bunch of random stuff you never needed to know about me:

1. I'm far more into film than music. This makes it quite awkward to be a student, as the inevitable question everyone asks when getting to know each other is 'What kind of music are you into?' I hate that question.

2. I feel more at home on the streets of Manhattan than I do in London. I plan to move to New York for a few years after I graduate.

3. I was apparently quite a lovely teenager. This may have been because I had already gone through my phase of having no friends and writing poetry about death. At the age of nine.

4. I've been a member of my university juggling club for nearly a year now. I can spin poi, I've just started to learn devilsticks, but to the huge disappointment of the 5 people who've tried to teach me, I still can't juggle.

5. I developed a taste for books at an early age. No, seriously. I used to eat them.

6. I have a huge weakness for Scottish accents. This works out quite well as I also have something of a weakness for men in kilts.

7. My favourite TV programme ever is Spaced by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson. However, I think I first watched it too young and it made too much of an impression on me. Since falling in love with Tim Bisley at the age of 11, every guy I've dated has been skinny, scruffy and slightly geeky.

8. I don't agree with cosmetic surgery, but I would jump at the chance if they ever figured out how to give humans gills.

Right, I am now making a pledge not to do any knitting whatsoever for the next 3 weeks as I'm so scarily behind with my coursework. Let's see how long that lasts.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Last Wednesday (hmm, that was a while ago, not had a chance to blog in far too long) the uni took us on a fabric shopping trip to London to get samples for our design project. Since I plan to make all my costumes from cheapo fabrics bought from the uni and manipulated in the craft room rather than buying fancy expensive Soho stuff, and since the trip wasn't optional, I moaned most of the way there.

Until I remembered that there's a John Lewis on Oxford Street.

This is a Big Thing for me. We don't have any yarn shops in Bournemouth. Or, more accurately, we have about 7 (which I looked up on and wasted 2 days visiting), all of which sell plastic yarn and plastic needles. Not a single scrap of natural fibres anywhere near me.

So after trying not to drool all the way down the road, I dragged my rather sceptical, non-knitting friend Lucy up to the haberdashery section with me, and after LOTS of oohing ad aahing emerged with 11 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby for another jumper I'm designing.

Yom yom yom.

Once we got into the yarny goodness Lucy didn't seem so sceptical and eventually admitted that she'd quite like to make a scarf. I tried very hard not to bounce excitedly as I forced yarn and needles into her hands and pushed her towards the till. I thought she might be a little put off if she realised just how insane people turn once they catch the yarn bug.

Eventually re-appeared in the real world feeling elated, but also slightly ashamed of spending £50 on yarn (John Lewis not too friendly for a student budget), so to make myself feel better I went into Schuh and bought some new boots. I am the Queen of Logic. They were a huge bargain though, and so pretty, and they fitted my legs perfectly. I know that for a pair of boots with laces and buckles up the wazoo that was a fairly silly reason since I could just adjust them if they didn't fit, but having the display pair hug my calves like a second skin just felt like fate.

I LOVE thse boots. I just went to take the bins out and got a wolf whistle from the builders over the road. Heh.

Spent the coach ride back teaching Lucy how to cast on and do drop stitches (she already knew how to do garter stitch but wanted something a bit faster). I've taught a couple of people to knit before but I always find it weird going slow enough to break down exactly what I'm doing. At first Lucy was having trouble holding the yarn and needles at the same time, and I realised that I picked my yarn so automatically that I actually had no idea what I was doing with my fingers, so I had to teach myself again before I could teach her! She's now itching to add tassels because apparently it isn't a scarf without tassels.

It was my cousin's 30th birthday this weekend so I went home to drive up there with my parents and to show off my new yarn and boots to my Mum on the way. My Mum has this wonderful ability to completely outdo my splurges and stop me feeling guilty by buying far more impulse purchases than me. Our study now contains - along with the yarn winder, niddy-noody, drum carder and THREE spinning wheels - a knitting machine and a loom. It is no wonder my Dad's going grey.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CanDo Dance Company

I wasn't planning on updating my blog again (just setting myself up for more disappointment when I inevitably let it slide again), but I've just come back from seeing the CanDo Company at the Poole Lighthouse theatre and feel I should make a note of my thoughts.

This is definitely not the kind of thing I would go to see if my course leaders hadn't decided it was compulsory. CanDo is, according to its website, 'the leading contemporary dance company of disabled and non- disabled dancers.' Contemporary dance scares me. I like dance for the sake of dancing, purely for the joy of movement and music. I like interpretive dance up to a point, in the sense of telling a story, like classical ballet. Dancing to convey an abstract emotion or idea on the other hand, is another thing entirely. I find it a little pretentious to tell the truth. Then we get onto my main problem - disabled dancers. I've seen a couple of pieces before with disabled dancers or actors and they always seem to me to be a little bit patronising. I'm sure they don't mean to be but I can never shake the feeling that there's someone behind me whispering 'Oh isn't it nice that they can still express themselves this well after going through so much hardship, the poor dears'. There's always been an uncomfortable air of the carnival freak show for me. Having said that, they are award winning so I went with high hopes and perfectly prepared to leave admitting that I was wrong.

Unfortunately it was worse.

The Stepfather by Arthur Pita

The Stepfather was story based, a little confusing due to flashbacks, comedy rewinding (ugh, clich├ęd) and two identical costumes which I initially thought were twins but turned out to be the same person, but basically it's about the joys of hillbilly incest, murder and suicide. Fair enough potential, but really spoiled by uninteresting choreography, ill advised 'comedy moments' (sex scene with crutches springs to mind) and, horror of horrors, dancers out of time. What offended me most though was the divide between the able and disabled dancers. For a company that list disabled before non disabled dancers, I was quite surprised to see only two out of seven, one of whom could dance fine supported on one crutch. The one wheelchair user was not in fact in a wheelchair but was either crawling on the floor, dragging himself along by his arms, or hanging with useless dangling limbs like a puppet. On the scene on the floor, he and the non-disabled dancer - this was where the identical costumes came in - were doing a synchronised routine involving just arm and spine movements. That was working really well until the second dancer started pushing of the ground a little further, then adding a little kick, then spinning round and prancing about as if to show off what he could do on his perfect legs. Near the end when the disabled dancer was playing the hanged man, the wire was lowered just enough so that his feet touched the floor and it looked like he was standing upright while the drowned girl danced round him. I kid you not, I could hear the barker in my head yelling 'Roll up Ladies and Gentleman, look amazed as it stands on its hind legs, almost like a real human being!'

I was fuming so much I nearly left in the interval. I would have done if it hadn't involved pushing past my tutors to leave the theatre. I consoled myself with some nice soothing over-priced icecream instead.

And Who Shall Go To The Ball by Rafael Bonachela

I am glad I stayed for the second half, if only to get the bitter taste out of my mouth (I went into a bit of a rant in the first half, did you notice?). It was far, far better. Rafael Bonachela's choreography was beautiful and dynamic, the actors actually dancing with each other rather than just around each other, with some really stunning dance moves for both the able and disabled dancers, who finally had a proper part in the routine rather than a novelty byline. Unfortunately it was an abstract, conceptual piece and I did not like that one bit. I arrived too late to buy a program so I had no idea it was called And Who Shall Go To The Ball and consequently not a clue what it was about. All it was, to me, was your average monochromatic costumes, very minimal set design and atmospheric 'music' consisting entirely of random drum beats and violin screeches. It seems odd that I liked the dancing but not the piece as a whole. I suppose its like loving the lyrics of a song but hating the melody. So, Rafael's piece was good but I didn't like it, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.

If you do like modern conceptual dance, I would recommend that you see CanDoCo, but don't worry too much about arriving early. Go on, stay in the bar, have another drink. And if you do get there in time for the first act, just shut your eyes and listen to the fantastic Violent Femmes music. It'll make it all better, I promse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chloe adjustments

So I pretty much spent the last few days in bed with a cold. Fantastic. The only person I know who had a cold recently was my old housemate Martin who I met on Thursday night and gave one brief hug to. Bah, stupid physical contact. Of course getting home from work at half 3 in the morning does not help matters much either. Mind you, it was glowstick night yesterday which made it all worthwhile (they do themed promotions every Saturday) - I have a glowstick in my bin now that's still glowing.

I've redone Chloe up to the point where I start the yoke with some neat little shoulder darts, hopefully it should fit better now, but I won't really be able to tell till I get up to the neck again.

It looks better with actual arms in, I promise.

Vaguely busy week at uni for the first time next week. I'm so not prepared for that. I blame Martin.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am finally back online in Bournemouth after being pissed about by Virgin Media for about 2 weeks and my God I have missed it so much. I have access to the internet at uni, but the library is always so busy that I just about have time to check my email before I have to relinquish the computer to someone who's actually trying to do work (pah, who are they trying to kid?) I am gonna attempt to keep up to date on my blog now I'm back on the net, partly because it's a fantastic way to procrastinate from what I'm supposed to be doing (my poor sketchbook is lying abandoned under a pile of books and magazines on my desk) and partly because Alison called me sparkly and full of life, and that made me disproportionately happy. And also because I get to use words like disproportionately, which just don't fit into everyday conversation.

So, yes, 2 week catch up, uni is going slowly, we're on a design project (my last with any luck) at the moment which means largely independent study rather than studio time, so not that great for getting back into the swing of early mornings. I'm in the same house as last year, which is great 'cause I don't have to work to make it feel like home. My new housemates are lovely, though at this stage that opinion is mainly based on the fact that I'm not the only person in the house doing the washing up and taking the bins out. I also just started a job last week working behind the bar of my favourite club - could be a little odd when I go there on a night out, but at least I like the music and the clientele. It's only 2 nights a week on minimum wage, but I get by pretty well on my student loan anyway so that just means an extra £70 a week to spend on whatever I want. I’m thinking new knee high boots, if I ever find a decent shoe shop that sells half sizes.

Knitting wise I'm in a bit of a bad mood recently. I seamed up Rapunzel when I got back and it doesn't fit. I am devastated. Seriously, I think this was designed for rugby players; the shoulder seams are about 3 inches longer than my shoulders. I vow never to knit from another pattern without doing my own maths first. I'm currently debating whether to cut and sew (dead scary) or rip it back and knit it again (annoying as hell).
I got Chloe up to the neckline, but yesterday I decided it was a bit baggy in the chest so I've ripped that back to where I attached the sleeves and I'm gonna put some more decreases in it.
On a more positive note, I finished my roll neck jumper just before the holidays (but forgot to take it home). I realised halfway through knitting it that it wasn't going to fit me, but was hoping it would fit my mum, and Ta Da! It does! Success at last.