Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dollhouse perhaps not deserving of being sent to attic after all

Okay - "Man on the Street" was a very good episode, and the first to give me hope for the series as a whole. Many spoilers ahead for those who haven't seen the episode yet.

The ideas the episode explores are grounded in characters and relationships rather than in a bad, philosophy 101-esque allegory - in particular, I think this episode offered some thoughtful exploration of the question of whether or not people ever genuinely connect with/love one another or whether they just love/connect with what they want people to be. Pretty much any of the developing relationships on the show toyed with this issue in one way or another, with the romance between Ballard and Mellie being the most obvious.

Through the assignment in which Echo is engaged at the start of the show, the episode also invites consideration of fantasy, and whether or not there's any such thing as an innocent or victimless fantasy - and thank god the episode didn't offer a preachy answer at the end.

Plot-wise, the reveal of Mellie as a doll (it was obvious she was a doll) was much better than I thought it would be - first, Adelle pretending that Mellie was a normal civilian cast doubt on what seemed to me to be Mellie's obvious status as a doll, which made the reveal of Mellie as a doll more exciting than it otherwise would have been. Additionally, because Mellie had been set up at the start of the episode as the "real girl" that Ballard is missing out on as he pursues Caroline, it's satisfying to see that in reality, she's no more real than Caroline, which calls into question the very categories of fantasy and reality. Whedon did the same trick with the categories of "good" and "evil" in Buffy and Angel, and if Dollhouse also turns out to be a meditation on power, I won't be disappointed.

That an FBI agent would trust, shag, and confide in his pasta-baking neighbor all in one episode we shall overlook and forgive in light of the strength of the episode as a whole.

Finally, in terms of the potential of the series to go somewhere interesting with both plot and characters, it is excellent that we can't know if the "person on the inside" is an actual person, Adelle's creation, or Caroline/the emergent Echo herself. That is quite interesting - much more interesting than Alpha, though it's good to have him/it in the mix, too. The idea that the DollhouseS could have some larger purpose also has potential.

And of course, finally, the fact that this was actually a true ensemble episode helped it along a lot. Hope that trend continues.

For the first time since the series started, I am interested to see what happens next week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If the baby is not really cute, at least its hat will be

I am so pleased with my newborn hat.

So cute. And probably the first thing I've designed that I really like. Good omen?

Stats and (loosely speaking) pattern (and yeah, I am almost certainly not the first person to come up with the idea of putting a leaf on top of a hat):

gauge: 2 x 2 inch square is 15 by 22 in stockinette (15 st wide by 22 st high)

Makes one newborn hat; bottom band circumference 12 1/2 inches (ustretched); 5 inches from bottom of band to top of hat (excluding i-cord and leaf).


1 ball green Mandarin Petit by Sandensgarn
1 ball white Mandarin Petit by Sandensgarn
4 #1 dpn

Cast on 108 stitches with white. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for 8 rounds. Knit 4 rounds. Join green, knit 3 rounds (to avoid ugly "step," use jogless jog at end of first green round). Join white, knit two rounds (to avoid ugly "step," use jogless jog at end of first white round). Join green, work one round in k 1 green, k 1 white. Knit two rounds in white. Knit one round in k 1 white, k 1 green. (I carried the yarn up) Knit in white until piece measures approximately 3 1/2 inches.

Decrease top as follows: *k 15, k 2 tog; repeat from * until end of round. Yeah, I know there are three stitches left over after your final k 2 tog. Feel free to figure out a better starting stitch number if you are anal and want to make a PERFECT baby hat. Otherwise, k 3 remaining stitches in round. That said, look at the decreases. I bet you can't tell where I fudged.

(and no, I didn't hide the fudge decreases with the leaf)

K one round.

*K 14, k 2 tog; repeat from * until the last repetition, at which point you fudge slightly and K 15, K2 tog, and then K remaining stitches in round (I think from now on 3 remain).

K one round.

*K 13, K 2 tog; repeat from * until last repetition, at which point you fudge again: K 14, K2 tog, and then k remaining stitches in round.

K one round.

Continue decreasing as indicated as described above (also continuing with fudge factor on last repeat) until you complete a round in which you only K 2 tog. At this point I think I had five stitches left. Work white in i-cord for 1 round. Join green and work i-cord for approximately 8 rounds. Make 1 stitch using the method of your choice for a total of 6 stitches on the needle. For the excellent double-sided leaf (no purl side! reversible!), Use "Just a Leaf," an excellent Ravelry free pattern by Hink.

Weave in ends (duh).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

mmmm. yarn.

Knitcrit: (fondling recent purchase in the unseasonably warm March New York sunshine) I love the colors of yarn I picked for my new project.

Todd: I love the way you look at yarn. It's like Homer Simpson looking at a cheeseburger.

I've started a little something for my own baby to take the edge off the other projects - It's going to be a newborn baby hat somewhat like the one I knit for a friend's baby a while ago. I'm thinking white with light green stripe near the brim and then green stem and yellow flower on top. If it's a boy, hell, it's my boy, and yellow is a manly color.

The original hat pattern is in a worsted held double, so I did some math to take the gauge way down to fine cotton (7 st/inch) - hopefully it will all work out when I get to the decreases at the top. For proportions I consulted The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd, but I was not convinced that her proportions were right - this just could be wishful, fearful thinking by someone for whom discussions of baby head circumference have recently taken on a whole new meaning, but isn't 16 1/2 inches kind of big for a newborn's head? Right now what I've got on the needles will be about 14 1/2 inches (unstretched) and that seems much more in keeping with what I've found online about newborn head size. I'd hate to be wrong on this for many reasons, but if I am, better to find out sooner rather than later. How big are newborn heads?