Friday, September 9, 2011

I Send to You this Cadmium Yellow

This was so enjoyable to knit! The fancy herringbone stitch, from Barbara G. Walker's indispensable Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, is easy and quick. It makes for a squishy fabric that looks lovely on both sides, perfect for an effortless cowl or scarf. I used an economical and surprisingly dreamy cotton, dyed with tumeric powder. 


-350yds worsted weight yarn.
I used Universal Yarns Cotton Supreme, white, dyed with about 2tbsp tumeric powder.
-US #8 (5mm) needles.
-Waste yarn for provisional cast on.

4.75sts/1” in stitch pattern.

Finished size:
14" x 35"

Psso2: pass the slipped stitch over 2sts. Slip all stitches purl-wise.
With preferred provisional method, cast on 67sts.
You can find instructions for my favorite provisional method here.
Purl one row. 

Fancy Herringbone Stitch (multiple of 3 + 1, repeat in brackets):

R1 (RS): Slip 1, k3, {yo, slip 1, k2, psso2} to last 3sts, k3.
R2 (WS): Slip 1, k2, p1, {yo, slip 1, p2, psso2} to last 3sts, k3.

Repeat R1-2 until cowl measures 35” or desired length. Work R1 once more.
Next row: k3, purl to last 3sts, k3.

Remove waste yarn from provisional cast on, placing live stitches on a second needle. Graft ends together with a 3-needle bind off or kitchener stitch. You can find my directions for kitchenering a provisional cast-on here. Make sure you do this a bit tight, to match the tension of the fancy herringbone stitch. If you prefer, omit the provisional cast on, begin and bind off in the usual way, and seam.

Copyright 2011 The Idle Witch
This is a free pattern for all to enjoy, but please let me know if you would like to use it in a class or sell items made using this pattern.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vintage Horror Style - The Legend of Hell House

Welcome to September! Or, as I like to call it, Almost-October. The mercury may disagree for now, but the leaves are crisping, the nights are getting longer, and the light is slanting towards Autumn. The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner, when the worlds inside and outside my head briefly coincide. Since it's still too hot for me to get out my Fall clothes, I'm biding my time with some vintage horror inspiration.

Legend of Hell House (1973) is not a scary movie by today's standards, but it does have top notch performances, an immured corpse, possession, kinky ghost sex, and a lovably ridiculous dénouement.  Pleasantly light on special effects, much of the exposition is done by banging chargers and repressed British snark, with the occasional wacky camera angle thrown in for kicks. It's based on a novel by Richard Matheson. What more could you want?

   A physicist, who brings along his wife, and two mediums are sent by a wealthy old man to Hell House, "the only place where survival has yet to be refuted". Survival after death, that is.

Pamela Franklin plays Florence Tanner. While the book focused on the characters equally, the movie really belongs to Florence - and her fabulous outfits.

I love her romantic, slightly bohemian blouses and dresses, her pounds of silver jewelry, and her odd, shaggy hair. Who knew Spiritualists were so groovy? 

Florence goes ghost-hunting

The eerily luminous Gayle Hunnicutt plays Ann Barrett, who always remembers to pack her silk scarves when visiting a haunted house. Really, one wouldn't want to catch a chill.


She develops a bad habit of sleepwalking in her kimono, molesting the statuary.
That'll teach her to drink and read textbooks on psycho-sexual phenomenon before bed.

What do you mean, the ghost drank all the vodka?

I may have to knit something like the sweater Ann wears toward the end, but with a lower cowl neck. This is further proof that horror movies have undermined my reason. Is it mohair? Angora? Something destined to put fluff up my nose.
For now, I think I'll dig out my big silver rings and paisley neckerchiefs. I don't want to be unprepared for poltergeists!