I found myself, about a month ago now, at the checkout in the enormous Asda in Dumbarton. Lying on the belt moving slowly but inexorably towards the chirpy checkout girl was:
* a bar of cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate the size of a billiard table;
* a cut-price dvd of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly;
* a packet of hair-dye;
* a packet of tampons (assorted sizes).
My companion, A, ran his eye over the selection and remarked that, given the evidence of the pms cliché purchases before him, I was remarkably well-tempered.
I only got round to watching the film a few days ago and it stinks. It’s just *terrible*. Keira Knightly is utterly utterly wrong for Elizabeth Bennet. She appears to be aspiring to a look which is the bastard child of heroin chic and Kate Moss, whilst attempting to audition for a low-budget vampire flick advertising a particularly low-quality brand of over-applied and much smudged black eyeliner. Acting is a concept which is entirely alien to her. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
Feeling besmirched by this experience I had to undertake the only possible cleansing ritual. I closed the curtains, put on the gas fire, snuggled under my favourite blanket on the sofa and watched the BBC P&P from beginning to end in one glorious life-enhancing five-hour session. Unfortunately the bar of F&N had not survived the depredations of the children but apart from the lack of chocolate all was perfect.
I’ve seen P&P so many times now I could practically recite all the parts. This time I concentrated on the costumes, and formed an overwhelming desire to possess a form-fitting, empire-line-necked, long-sleeved, bust-skimming warm outer garment such as is worn to delicious effect by the splendid heavingly-bosomed Jennifer Ehle as Eliza. See, for example, the brown garment in the second and third pictures on this page. The neckline is higher than other similar garments (ideally it would be more like that of the dress on this page) but otherwise you get the general idea.
I confided this perhaps rather unusual longing to F over coffee the following morning. I knew she’d understand. It transpired that among all her other accomplishments (I knew she designed and made hats and shoes) she also studied costume design, pattern-making etc etc and had, on several occasions, made copies of historical garments for herself. The most awe-inspiring of which must be the copy of the coat worn by the French nobleman as he escaped the terror and the guillotine.
One thing led to another and we wound up discussing haberdashery in general and John Lewis’ in particular. And how I’d had a very long-standing credit of £19 on my store card. And how I could go and treat myself to a bit of ribbon and a button or two without actually, you know, spending anything.
This is why I am now knitting furiously. Because of course there was a pattern book on the table of the knitting section in John Lewis. It was, of course, open at the page displaying a cropped empire-line-necked fitted top. With a ribbon round the waist. And lots of buttons. (Bottom left here, if you’re interested). The inevitable happened, even though they didn’t stock the recommended yarn (Castello) or even have any information about it. I substituted Noro Kochoran and am hoping tension and yardage are comparable. Shade #47, a beautiful mix of pinks and greens and mustards. And pink ribbon and buttons.
See how gorgeous that Noro yarn is? entirely edible.
But the furious knitting isn’t of the cardigan in question. No, such is the scale of my WIP (work in progress) backlog and concomitant shame about it, I am rattling through a couple of things before allowing myself to start on the empire-lined goodness. First up is this scarf, now finished.
The yarn, a single ball of (I eventually discovered after having lost the label) Colinette Giotto, was purchased on an impulse when I visited Tall Girl a few months back. It’s knitted up into a beautiful scarf – amethyst, aquamarine, eau de nil and petrol blues – and I had to track down the yarn for the people who, seeing it in progress, wanted to make their own.
Now that’s finished I’m on to b r o o k l y n t w e e d ‘s Red Light Special hat (which is so popular it even has its own tag on flickr). I first saw the hat on R’s head on Holy Island in March this year and he pointed me to the pattern, and the superb blog on which it resides.
I’m using up 4ply from my stash for this one so at least I don’t have yarn-expense-guilt, but I did buy two sets of circular needles for it so it’s not entirely cost-free. The green bit is the lining which will be folded under and knitted in at the appropriate point in proceedings, the outer part of the hat is turquoise with orange and pink fair isle.
It will be very useful when finished if I continue to hold out against turning the central heating on. I’m wearing a hat indoors at the moment.