holiday, knitting

Holiday recap: The Making of Harry Potter

So now that I’ve been back from holiday for two weeks, I’m finally getting around to telling you about it here on the blog! We had a wonderful time for a week and a bit in England and France, and I have a lot of great things to share with you.

The highlight of our trip, for me, was a pilgrimage to The Making of Harry Potter Рthe actual studio in Leavesden where they shot all of the Harry Potter movies.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Harry Potter beyond most things (though there are a few exceptions). I was beside myself with excitement, I put on my best Gryffindor shirt, and off we went.

The Making of Harry Potter sign

There was so much to see! The Cupboard Under the Stairs…

The Cupboard Under the Stairs

The Great Hall…The Great Hall

Dumbledore’s Office…

Dumbledore's Office

And, as West Ham fans, we made sure to take a picture of the team’s prominent place in the Gryffindor dorm. Thanks, Dean Thomas!

Dean's West Ham gear and bed

There are more things in this place than I could ever share on an infinite number of blog posts. It is huge, and every inch is covered with something that you will amaze you. With a movie like Harry Potter, I supposed that the urge would be to CGI everything you could in order to not physically build it, but that’s just not so. I just kept saying, “I can’t believe this is real!”

Even all of the paintings you see on the walls as they go through the halls – they hired artists to paint all of those specifically for the movies. They are hanging everywhere. There were only a couple that had green screens for some of the movement.

The Great Hall is all solidly built with beautiful detail, and everything is just as you imagine, except there is no magical ceiling (obviously, but unfortunately).

I just oohed an ahhed over everything for about 2 1/2 hours. It was wonderful. Even Mr Snips thoroughly enjoyed the visit (he took all these wonderful pictures you are looking at!).

I made a special effort to get some special pictures of handknits for you. Harry Potter movies have an unusual abundance of wonderful knitterly things, and I must admit I am a softie for a HP-inspired knit.

Here’s Neville’s sweater from the last movie. Even more beautiful in person than it looks on the screen.¬†Neville's sweater and Gryffindor robes

Sidenote: when I saw that tiny costume on the left end, I thought, “There were midgets in Gryffindor?! I certainly missed that!” But then I realized how young they all were when they started, and they really were that small. Kind of blows your mind, huh? Being that young and tiny and wildly successful and famous.

Another reminder of how tiny they were – the beautiful Weasley Christmas sweaters and Hermione’s cardigan from the first film:Weasley sweaters

Though this is not a handknit, it is a beautiful piece of fabric. The Invisibility Cloak has more detail and is more gorgeous than you can imagine. Plus, there’s the bonus of a scarf in the background:

Invisibility CloakIt has a green lining so that they can CGI Harry becoming invisible.

So, like I said, I was amazed that they had real flesh and blood versions of everything. But what blew my mind the most is – THERE IS REALLY A KNIGHT BUS AND A PRIVET DRIVE!

Here’s me having a peak inside. The beds are all there!Me and the Knight Bus

And look at this! They filmed the original Privet Drive on location, but then decided they needed their own on set for the subsequent films. So here they are – numbers 3 and 4 Privet Drive (that’s me knocking on number 4’s door)!#4 Privet Drive

So flipping amazing. I had a great time. This is all I will share for now, but if you have a special request (something from HP you really love that you wonder if it’s there), I’m happy to do a follow-up blog post with some of your deepest HP desires!

I’ll leave you with just one more photo, just because I love the bigger-than-life chess pieces in the first film, and when Ron says, “I’ll be the knight” and does his cute little head bob/attitude thing.

Wizard Chess PiecesBack soon with more holiday highlights. Until then, enjoy some HP!


knitting, socks

Lost in time and space



So… I’m back! Sorry for the long absence. Knitting and I have been having some arguments lately, and then we went on holiday, so not a lot has happened.

Before holiday, I was working dutifully on my Doctor Who socks. I followed the pattern exactly, because the picture on the pattern looked exactly like I wanted mine to be. It said to knit 20 rows of ribbing, or whatever you desire. I assumed 20 rows is what the designer did, or it wouldn’t have been called out in the pattern. So, despite some misgivings, that’s what I did.

Once I got into my colorwork portion (which looked better than I ever could have hoped!), I realized the proportion was all wrong, especially after trying what I had completed on my leg. I reviewed the pattern photo and realized there’s no way they knit 20 rows – maybe 10. I was disgusted with my too-long ribbing.

Doctor Who socks with too-long ribbingSo I stuck some needles in it to mark where 10 rows would be. And decided that to save my beautiful colorwork, I would undo the cast-on edge and pick back each stitch individually. The twisted ribbing was nasty work to get undone. It took me three weeks to undo 720 stitches, because I could only bring myself to do the tedious work sporadically.

Once I got all 10 rows ripped back, I was ecstatic. I had done it! Saved my colorwork and could prepare to go on! So I cast off very carefully. Wove in the ends very well to make sure there was no potential for any stitches to be dropped. And then tried it on. It would not fit over the ball of my foot. Much swearing ensued.

So, I took a picture of it, because I knew I had to rip it out and that my next attempt would not be so beautiful.

the doomed Doctor Who sockI managed to rip it out and get started again prior to holiday. I got to the bottom of the windows and then packed it away on my carry on for some work on the plane. I am now onto the foot of the first sock, and feeling a little bit better. But I am still feeling that this project must be doomed. I hope I make it through the pair…