Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Rocket: A Video

In Rocket, a stop animation video short made by ChunkiChilli, a rabbit astronaut takes a leap for bunnykind by voyaging into space.

Monday, 25 January 2016

The X-Files Knitting is Out There

I'm an X-Phile. I have the whole nine seasons of The X-Files plus the two movies on DVD, and I've seen them all at least twice each. When I read of the new mini-season that premiered last night, I thought I'd faint for joy. This joy was only somewhat dampened by my viewing of the first episode, which proved to be plagued by some of the worst features of the franchise (i.e., a convoluted alien plot that doesn't make much sense, bloviated monologues from Mulder, contrived conflict between Scully and Mulder), with a gratuitous reanimation of the Cigarette Smoking Man who was last seen burned down to his skull in the series finale. Critics who have previewed the series are assuring their readers that the series does get better, but sadly, such is my love for The X-Files that I'll keep watching regardless of how bad it might be -- a state of affairs that the show producers are probably banking on. Meanwhile, I'd like to pay tribute to my love for the good qualities of the show by doing a special post on some X-Files-themed knitting inspiration. I didn't turn up any actual knitting patterns in my search, probably because such patterns are destroyed by a shadow government conspiracy problematic due to copyright issues, but like Mulder, I kept searching, convinced that the truth X-Files knitting patterns were out there, and unlike him, I actually came up with some tangible results.

The amigurumi above are crocheted by the blogger at Moñacos, cosicas y meriendacenas, but I couldn't resist including them anyway as they are quite well done on the whole. Recreating Mulder's nose appeared to be a challenge, but then it would be.

Honourable mention also goes to the X-Files knitting game devised by Ravelry user Lindsey Knit, as described on her project page for her X-Files Cowl. As Lindsey watched the series and knitted, she put an eyelet in her cowl every time she heard or saw one of the following:

- Dated technology (giant cellphones, big computers, beepers, etc.)
- "I Want to Believe" poster
- A dead body
- Someone draws a gun
- Skinner reprimanding Mulder
- Scully says "Mulder, are you suggesting _________?"
- An autopsy
- An actual alien on screen
- Sunflower seeds
- Reference to Mulder's addiction to pornography
- Quirky Mulder/Scully banter
- "X" in the window
- The Cigarette Smoking Man
- Mulder or Scully tamper with a crime scene or evidence
- Mulder jumps to insane conclusions
- Scully refuses to believe something she just witnessed
- Scully narrowly misses seeing something extraterrestrial

I like the idea of a knitting game as opposed to a drinking game because taking even a modest sip of an alcoholic beverage on those terms could have one in a coma before too long.

These X-Files themed mittens, designed and knitted by Etsy vendor Bad at Math Knits, are terrific, although there are no patterns available.

There's also this Scully and UFO pattern, created by the blogger from Lattes and Llamas, who has generously made the chart available as a free PDF. I love that Scully has her back turned on the UFO and that her body posture says she isn't buying this crap because science.

Pinterest member Archaeopterknits posted this photo of a "knitting idea that didn't work out" to her Knitted board. Even though it wasn't finished, I thought the knitted replica of Mulder's iconic poster was quite well done and might give other X-Files fans an idea of how to knit their own similar tribute projects.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Bergère de France Magazine 181: A Review, part 2

Today we're going to look at the second half of the patterns in Bergère de France Magazine 181, the first half of the review having been posted two days ago. Hold on to your needles, knitters. The first half of this magazine was a bumpy ride and the second half isn't much of an improvement.

Pattern #25, Crochet Beanie. This, I am relieved to say, is a quite presentable and even cute hat.

Pattern #26, Cable Beanie. This hat isn't too bad, but those running stitches in ribbing need to go. I'd have put in some sort of stripe instead.

Pattern #27, Crochet Snood. Nice piece, if it is perhaps slightly too large scale for some women. However, that's easily corrected.

Pattern #28, Fluffy Snood. This would prove a cheering pop of colour as well as a warm, practical accessory on a bleak, cold day.

Patterns #29, Snood; 30, Fluffy Snood; 31, Large Snood, 32, Large Snood. And here we have a snaggle of snoods. These are very basic, but should be quite useful and even attractive if done in a good quality yarn in a beautiful colour.

Patterns #33, Bag with a Man's Face; and 34, Bag with a Woman's Face. These look like they were designed by an eight-year-old. To what adult mind do these look like good representations of male and female human faces? They look more like doodles of cats done up in stupid accessories, and the stitching around the faux leather top and bottom looks crude and unattractive in both samples. I think the faux leather bag kit that Bergère de France is trying to sell looks like a pretty decent product, but Bergère de France isn't doing themselves any favours by sabotaging their product's potential in this way.


Patterns #35, Italy Slipper Socks; 36, Germany Slipper Socks; 37, Spain Slipper Socks; and 38, France Slipper Socks. I'm not liking these. They look crudely put together, and the flag theme isn't a particularly happy choice.

Pattern #39, Throw. This isn't terrible, but it isn't great either. Design really ought to involve some effort on the part of the designer.

Patterns #40, Super-Sized Cushion; and 41, Knitted iPad Mini Case. I'm really not getting why the Bergère de France staff think crude-looking embroidery constitutes an embellishment.

Pattern #42, Flag Hanging Pockets. This is tacky, and I'm not getting the thinking behind teaming up flags from the U.S., Laos, the U.K., and Iceland. Maybe it's meant to subtly express French scorn of their national cuisines....?

Pattern #43, Hello Hanging Pockets. I could see this hanging pocket idea working in a child's bedroom, a play room, a craft room, or a mud room, but even then I would want a better designed, more attractive version than this one.

Pattern #44, Oversized Pouffe. A dead simple garter stitch floor pillow isn't a bad idea, but I shouldn't think anyone would need a pattern for one.

Pattern #45, Shoulder Cape. Very presentable basic capelet. The only criticism I have of it is that it doesn't entirely hide the horror that lies beneath it, and that is probably not a fair expectation.

Pattern #46, Round Neck Sweater. Seriously, Bergère de France? Your staffers were presented with a slightly too plain colour-blocked sweater that needed a little something more on it, and their response was... to sketch a bizarre pursed lip expression on it? The mind. It is so blown. But then maybe that was the point.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Bergère de France Magazine 181: A Review, Part 1

Bergère de France has released its Magazine 181. Actually, they've released Magazine 182 and Magazine 183 as well. Malheureusement, I've let myself get behind on Bergère de France reviews, but I will be catching up in the next few weeks. Since there are 46 patterns in this issue, this post constitutes the first half of the review of Magazine 181. Part two will be released on Wednesday.

Pattern #1, Round Neck Fair Isle Sweater. This is not a fair isle sweater. This is a bar code sweater. However, it's not an unattractive or an unappealing bar code sweater, provided that you don't mind grocery store cashiers absentmindedly scanning it when you're checking out your groceries.

Pattern #2, Roll-Neck Sweater. This is simple but smart and attractive enough.

Pattern #3, Sweater with an Embroidered Collar. Oh, Bergère de France, sometimes you just don't even try, do you? When I saw this sweater in thumbnail I thought I was going to like it, because I assumed the collar had an interesting embroidered design and that the ribbon detail on the back was intarsia. Then I clicked. Turns out that's an actual ribbon, and I don't know why anyone would embroider the name of her sweater's colour on her collar. Is the idea that we will sometimes forget the word "black" and consequently will need to be able to rush frantically to the nearest mirror to painstakingly read the reverse image of the letters? If I were to make anything like this sweater, I'd be making it according to my initial assumptions on its details.

Pattern #4, Roll-Neck Sweater. This is a perfectly nice basic sweater, but unless you're surrounded by very high maintenance colour blind people who demand that you keep them posted as to the colour of your clothing, I see no reason why you'd embroider the name of your sweater's colour on your sweater.

Pattern #5, Cardigan. Frumpy.

Pattern #6, Tasselled Cheich Scarf. I rather like this one, though I think there are much better colourways for it.

Pattern #7, Short Sleeve Sweater. I think the idea here is to distract people from asking how the wearer's new anti-depressant dosage is working out for her.

Pattern #8, Hooded Sweater. I feel like I'm watching this nice hoodie get assaulted, with the green patches representing duct tape and those letters reading as a partially smothered cry for help.

Pattern #9, Hooded Sweater. Adding weird embellishments to a basic item does not a interesting sweater design make.

Pattern #10, Striped Sweater. This looks like something made by a involuntarily committed psychiatric patient during her supervised crafting time. During her unsupervised crafting time, she is making a ladder out of bedsheets.

Pattern #11, Bobble Scarf. The bedsheet ladder took longer than expected, so our crafty psychiatric patient also made herself a scarf to go with her freedom sweater.

Pattern #12, Roll-Neck Striped Sweater. This is the sweater our young pyschiatric patient whipped up to convince the hospital staff that she should be allowed to take two craft therapy classes rather than one craft therapy class and one music therapy class. One of the nurses, who reads this blog, told her that it was rather a nice sweater but that she might consider nixing the music notes and continuing the navy stripes onto the contrast yoke.

Pattern #13, Hooded Sailor Sweater. Omit that tacky pocket and this is a decent piece.

Pattern #14, Hooded Jacket. Not a bad jacket, but the studded heart on the back is too twee.

Pattern #15, Short Sleeve Sweater. This time a designer tried to turn a poorly shaped sweater into a good design by tacking all sort of random crap all over it. And we're also back to the colour designation thing.

Pattern #16, Roll-Edge Heart Sweater. This description refers to French flag heart on this item as "fair isle". I think the writer for the Bergère de France has mistaken the term for "fair isle" for "intarsia". It's not a bad simple design, though I would go with a black or a pale blue or some other than colour than purple for the main colour.

Pattern #17, Roll-Neck Raglan Sweater. The concept of appliqued commercially made patches isn't a bad one at all and this looks rather sporty, though I still think this sweater could have done without the embroidered "REO" on the arm. ETA: I could also do without the embroidered "RED" on the arm. We're not a bunch of five-year-olds, Bergère de France. We know our colours.

Pattern #18, Round Neck Fair Isle Moon Sweater. This isn't bad, though I would neaten up the fit a bit, and be sure not to disgrace myself among other knitters by referring to the finished item as fair isle, regardless of how Bergère de France may have labelled it.

Pattern #19, Short Sleeve Sweater. Is the Bergère de France design team just getting drunk, putting glue on random notions and hurling them across their atelier at the garments they've produced to see wherever they'll stick? Because I can't think of any other reason to attach a non-functional zipper to a sweater in this fashion. The silver cabochons on the sweater at least make some sense and look reasonably attractive, and the knitted item itself is fine.

Pattern #20, Sleeveless Sweater. This is unflattering as is, but shortening the length and adding some waist shaping would turn it into a decent basic piece.

Pattern #21, Poncho. For those nippy days when you want a poncho that's large enough for both you and the horse you rode in on. I do quite like the stripes, and for a poncho, it isn't badly shaped, but good heavens is this piece huge.

Patterns #22, 23 & 24, Man's Zipped Balaclava. The description for this design claims that it is "perfect for beginners and anyone who loves beautiful materials" and that the "purely decorative fastening adds a little touch of extra chic". Oh, Bergère de France, now you're just fucking with us, aren't you? When this magazine issue was being put to bed, your design team toasted each other with champagne and cackled that it would be such fun to see how far the rest of the world trusted the French reputation for chicness and whether anyone actually made and wore this merde.