"K" is of course for Klaralund. This sweater, from the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Book Two, was one of those patterns that I mulled over for some time, not sure at all that it would work on me, but impressed with its classic simplicity. I have to say, that despite my not being a wispy little thing like the model in the book (nor the photos turning out the way I imagine that I look), it's actually a rather flattering design, and I'm very pleased with the results.
I'm still not quite sure what I think of Silk Garden. It has a curious now-soft-now-scratchy texture, and there is of course the infamous vegetable matter to be dealt with. I was lucky this time in that all of the colors were present in each ball, but in the past I've been frustrated to find that the knots seem to jump quite a distance in the color sequences, usually skipping my favorite one. In this batch, though, the problem was of thick/thinness, in that the wool far too often wasted away to almost nothing.
I usually broke these sections and spit-spliced them -- in Silk Garden's favor, it splices wonderfully. I just don't think that that should excuse the poor quality of the yarn itself.
On the other hand, Noro's famous colors were much in evidence. I've marvelled before that just watching the colors change is fascinating -- I loved the surprise, too, of knitting in the evenings in artificial light and finding out the next day what the colors had done. I meant to not fiddle with the sequences and changes too much, although I did towards the end when the colors almost lined up -- I don't seem to mind the asymmetry, but the just-slightly-skewedness was hard to bear!
But Klaralund, that's what I was talking about. Very long, very wide sleeves do not often work for me, and so I decided to shorten and narrow those famously long and wide sleeves a bit. The sleeve measurements as given in the book are somewhat deceptive, though -- I was sure that 26 1/2 inches would be too long and 16 inches far too wide, assuming also that the weight of the Silk Garden would pull them even farther. I initially worked the sleeves to 11 inches long to the underarm and starting at 13 1/2 inches wide at the cuff, but this proved to be in fact too short, and so with only a twinge of regret -- for one of the sleeves had taken a day of only slightly obssessive knitting to work -- I ripped out both and worked them again, taking off only about 3 inches from the original length, about 25 inches total, and 1 1/2 inches or so (6 sts) from the width at the cuff.
(Check the errata page here for corrections for a number of the patterns in this book, and additional sizes for Klaralund.)
"K" also stood for "Kristin Lavransdatter", which I watched while knitting much of Klaralund. (It's three hours long! good for almost a whole sleeve!) The book is one of those that I should like, having so many of my favorite elements -- the Middle Ages, high language, Norwegians -- but I just can't seem to get the hang of it. The movie hasn't helped much, I confess. The story is, briefly, that Kristin, the rather willful daughter of a farmer/landowner in 14th-century Norway, falls in love with a knight and has a passionate affair with him despite her father's wishes that she marry a neighbor's son. I was rather surprised that the movie lets us know at the very beginning that not only do Kristin and Erlend eventually marry, but that by then their affair has already been consummated, although this does give the story an air of inevitability, if not "happy ending". It might be that now that I am a parent myself I felt much more sympathy for Lavrans, Kristin's father, whose goodness shone through this film for me. The characters I should have liked (I assume, not having read the books) I often didn't -- Kristin's so-called childhood sweetheart pulls one of those "if you loved me, you would" manipulations that irked me no end -- I wanted to smack him. Simon Darre's only fault seems to be that he is not Erlend Nikolaussøn, but then I cannot for the life of me see what is so attractive about Erlend himself. He is dull and stoic and dumps his mistress (who left her husband for him) and takes up with someone else's bethrothed. Not the best catch, frankly. I found the two main characters so flat and uninteresting that I was easily more interested in the parents' relationship, impressed with the subtlety and depth that the actors brought to their roles, and in the crippled sister, wanting to know more of their stories.
So, well, I was so unsatisfied that I had a sudden craving to see "Babettes Gaestebud (Babette's Feast)" afterwards. Alas, not starting with "K," but a wonderful movie nevertheless, filled not only with affection and gentle humor but with much deeper layers of meaning than I ever got from "Kristin Lavransdatter". The story here is that two elderly sisters, the daughters and heirs of the pastor of a stoic religious sect in a remote part of 19th-century Denmark, find themselves taking in as housekeeper a political refugee from Paris, the Babette of the title. After some fourteen years with the sisters, Babette, whose only tie with her former life is a lottery ticket, wins 10,000 francs and decides to spend the money on a celebratory feast the sisters plan to hold in honor of the hundredth anniversary of their father's birth. The film has many delightful moments -- the look on Babette's face when one of her new employers shows her how to make ale-bread is alone worth the price of the movie -- and when you know Babette's backstory, it makes the moment that much better. But it also has some very philosophical things to say, and the characters evolve, unlike Kristin and Erlend, who seem miserable throughout. Martine's erstwhile suitor -- not to give too much away, I hope -- says early on, "I am going away forever, and I shall never, never see you again. For I have learned here that life is hard and cruel, and that in this world there are things that are impossible," but by the end of the film this has become, "I have been with you every day of my life. You must also know that I shall be with you every day that is granted to me from now on. Every evening I shall sit down to dine with you: not with my body, which is of no importance, but with my soul. Because this evening I have learned, my dear, that in this beautiful world of ours, all things are possible."