The Horror of Porn

Hello, film buffs.

I have a thing for horror films. A good old slasher movie always brightens up a Sunday afternoon.

I recently watched Wolf Creek, after several years of stalling. Lauded as “the scariest movie of all time” by several mates, I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to it. But when I did, to my dismay, I discovered there was a lot of driving around in the desert and bushwalking, and not a whole lot of slashing up the protagonists.

I left it too long to watch Wolf Creek.

It’s not so much the “good” ones that let me down. A few B-grade horror movies that made it home from our local Blockbuster on a recent long weekend. On most of them, the storylines were so poor that you couldn’t wait for the blood to start, just so you could be relieved of the appalling acting.

And then it hit me.

We’re all voyeurs (aren’t we?). Film allows us explore unfamiliar subject matter that we may be curious about. Things we may not experience in real life. For the more full-on stuff, sometimes we need a little storyline to help us forget our creepy side. And what other genre of film has a primary subject matter that relies on a hollow pretense to make that subject matter feel less out of place, before the creepy music starts?

That’s right.

Porn.

So, the old “I’m the bloodthirsty zombie ghost in your dreams, and I’m coming to get you” is the new “I’m the pool guy but wait, you don’t even have a pool”. Just saying.


Christmas for Hoarders and Sentimentalists

Hello, Shoppers

Let me let you in on a secret. (Anyone who lives with me will tell you it’s no secret, though.)

Secret 1: I am a hoarder. I compulsively keep things with no use and of no value. Just in case. I might need an obscure tool one day. I’ll get to mending that broken item soon. I’ll definitely need to refer to this tatty half a bill come tax time. Also, quite simply, I detest waste.

Secret 2: I am very sentimental. Irrationally, I quarantine gifts as tokens of love, friendship and familiarity, forever to be treasured as a memoir of those moments we shared together. It might be a total piece of crap; but you gave it to me. I will keep it and remember you by it.

Honestly, I have a serious amount of stuff. Just a peek into one box reveals very nice candle (how nice can a candle get?) that a close friend of mine gave me for my thirteenth birthday. I believe the last time I spoke to the bitch, we called each other some choice names. But this candle, itself now 13 years old… I can’t let it go.

(In fact, I seem, generally, to have a lot of trouble burning candles I receive as gifts. Because once you burn them, they’re gone forever and they leave a horrible mess. But I digress.)

By these secrets combined, I am Captain Crap. When you add the emotional overlay of my sentimentality, my compulsion to keep everything becomes catastrophic. Christmas is the hardest. At these times, it’s not just stuff; it’s stuff that is selected painstakingly and dressed all in bows and tinsel and fairy lights, and thrust towards me in because it is “just so you.

The thing is, my family don’t know me at all.

Not only that, but we’re big on the surprise presents in our family, with an unsatisfactory track record on doing good surprise presents. (Since we’re talking about the family so much today, we’ll call them… “The Griswolds”.) The Griswolds tend to just miss the mark: some fabulous designer t-shirt is slightly too small; actually, the debut Matchbox 20 album has been in the CD rack since 1997; those vases are just flat out ugly. Don’t get me wrong – not all the presents deserve a Fail, but the Wins are hard to come by.

So, in my battle against the clutter, started keeping very, very specific wish lists. Who wouldn’t be delighted to receive a list of things that your beloved/friend/bloody sister lusts after, conveniently selected to offer a range of prices and store locations and make Christmas shopping for Louie fuss-free?

Believe it or not, the Griswolds do not like it. They are affronted by the suggestion that they cannot think of a present. They consider it a failing to have to refer to the list.

So, for the past few years I have been putting up with this refusal to play ball. And, true to form, I’ve been lovingly – compulsively – keeping these unwanted gifts. But it can’t go on. I’m running out of storage space.

I am close to issuing a mandate to apply to all gift-giving seasons as of Christmas 2010:

  1. You do not have to get me a gift. Ever. Again.
  2. If you do want to buy me a gift, please refer to the enclosed wish list.
  3. If you deviate from the list, please include the receipt with your gift (see, told you the list was easier).
  4. If you deviate from the list and do not include the receipt, I may choose to (a) regift the item back to you, possibly on the same day; or (b) sell the item on eBay.

Or… I could save the embarrassment, have a cleanout every now and then, and go back to treasuring “it’s the thought that counts”.


A Hiatus

Hello, kiddies!

Ah, it’s been a long week at work. I’ve settled in for a lovely Friday night of quiet knitting; my penance for the week’s sins. After a pondering lasting all evening, I’ve decided I’m at one of those stages in my knitted day/week/month/year. You know that moment. The hiatus. That horrible in-between time.

I’ve finished the knitting on my current project. You know the story – it needs embellishments after it’s blocked, but I lack the motivation tonight to do the actual blocking. Maybe tomorrow morning, when it’s warm and sunny. I could prepare the ribbon for the embellishments – but where are my fabric scissors?

The Evil Yarn. Do not believe its "colourfast" lies!

This lovely deep pink number from the Patons "Fireside" range claims to be colourfast and completely machine washable. It lies!

I’ve always got a background project running, currently it is a lovely crochet number for wintry nights in front of the TV. I thought I was finished, but upon arranging it on the living room floor I discovered it was only a little larger than a generous placemat.

Not to be deterred, I proceeded to block the squares I had completed (maybe the blessed thing will keep my knees warm), only to discover that the colour of one of the darker pink yarns has run into the other colours. Great, now my rug’s got a rash (if you pardon the pun). Frog that and salvage what I can before hibernating. With a sigh, I concede that I do not want to open that pandora’s box when I’m trying to relax.

Not to worry, I’ll start my “next” current project. Dammit. As soon as I find the Addi 3.75mm circulars with the 40″ cord that I don’t yet own, and cast on over 400 stitches. Another sigh. Maybe another night.

I’ll finish my setup on Ravelry and finish compiling my new pattern, so I can share that lovely Nanna-Chic Louie Vest with my fellow Ravellers – some are very persistently requesting details. But woe, there’s a problem with my formulae in the Excel spreadsheet and the large size is somehow smaller than the medium.

Apparently, my work this week was easier than my leisure. Maybe I should chuck it in and go to bed. Or the pub. Yes, the pub…


Choosing a Decrease Method

Hello, Old Spice

Like increase methods, there are a fair few decrease methods to get your head around. My mum new a couple, grandma knew a few, and I’ve picked up a couple from the interwebs also. But finding all that information in one place was gold.

Sample of Knitting Decreases from KnittingHelp.com

Different decrease methods will produce different results in your finished work. Click this image for the complete article, and go to http://www.knittinghelp.com for instructional videos and more.


Choosing An Increase Method

Hello, children

There are so many ways to make your increases. More than I ever realised. I’m not very good at increases and neither are my real life knitting instructors. The Force is not strong with us, there.  Thank god for the interwebs. I’ve found one marvellous site where a fairly comprehensive range of increase methods are noted diagrammatically and with instructional videos, so you can choose exactly which one you need.

But, I found one! A marvellous page which shows a fairly comprehensive range of increase methods diagrammatically, right here.

Sample of Knitting Increases from KnittingHelp.com

Different increase methods will produce different results in your finished work. Click this image for the complete article, and go to http://www.knittinghelp.com for instructional videos and more.


Counting Decreases and Increases

Hello, Knitters

Decreases and increases are the Whether following a pattern or designing your own luscious knitwear, there are a few things that you can do to give your garment a smooth finish. The neckline is a particularly prominent part of any garment, and getting a V-neck right can be tricky.

Counting your Decreases and Increases

I don’t know about you, but I have a certain loathing for the counting of multiple decreases (or increases) on any project, whether it’s a neckline, armhole, sleeve or any number of other areas of a project. The dreaded phrase “repeat decrease 14(16)(18) times” casts a very dark cloud on an otherwise light and gay afternoon of knitting. Sometimes a pattern will not even give you the courtesy of saying “until 12(13)(14) stitches remain”. (My patterns do not do that, I promise!)

Instead of panicking, have some scrap yarn handy. You will need one colour for every set of decreases (increases). Now listen closely…

Every time you make a decrease (increase), pass a piece of scrap yarn between the stitches just after you’ve made the decrease (increase). In the image below, you can see how I’ve used the beautiful hot pink yarn to mark the decreases on my V-neck (for other tips on V-Necks, see here). This technique will form a dotted line up your work, and you’ll be able to see where your decreases (increases) are and how many you’ve done very easily just by counting how many times your scrap yarn disappears and reappears in your work.

You’re welcome!

Counting decreases using contrasting scrap yarn

Here you can see the lovely hot pink yarn weaving in and out of the left side of my work six times, denoting six decreases. In this image I have also just made a seventh decrease, and you can see the yarn poking out from the live stitches.

Acknowledgements

I am very much indebted to the work of Paula Ward, whose instructional Youtube videos have helped me enormously in teaching me some very handy knitting tricks in the V-neck department. I highly recommend you check out her YouTube Channel and, if you’re so inclined, purchase her excellent e-Book on jumper/sweater design.


The Perfect V-Neck: Preventing Holes

Hello, Sportsfans

Whether following a pattern or designing your own luscious knitwear, there are a few things that you can do to give your garment a smooth finish. The neckline is a particularly prominent part of any garment, and getting a V-neck right can be tricky.

Second in my series of tips for V-Neck perfection, I talk about preventing that gaping or sagging that some experience at the base of the V-neck.

That Pesky Middle Stitch

Your pattern will tell you, and any garment design instructional will advise you, to hold one stitch at the centre of your V-neck. (This is so you can pick up the collar later.) You will probably be asked to put on a stitch-holder. If you’re not careful, this stitch will stretch badly. I’ve found an excellent technique to prevent this.

When securing this middle stitch with a stitch marker, pass the marker through a stitch either side of the live middle stitch for additional support. You might wish to go a step further, and secure the stitch with a piece of scrap yarn passed through the live middle stitch and a stitch to either side  (as shown below).

This technique is so simple and effective, and will avoid the gaping hole at the bottom of your lovely V-neck.

Using scrap yarn to hold the live centre stitch while working a V-neck

Here, you can see the the live blue stitch in coloured section at the base of the V-neck. It is being held by that hot pink scrap yarn (I must've had a lot of it lying around that day) which is also passed through the stitches on either side to secure it.

Acknowledgements

I am very much indebted to the work of Paula Ward, whose instructional Youtube videos have helped me enormously in teaching me some very handy knitting tricks in the V-neck department. I highly recommend you check out her YouTube Channel and, if you’re so inclined, purchase her excellent e-Book on jumper/sweater design.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.