Eurovision 2013

So exciting! I’m not at a party this weekend so me and Mrs. RowleyPolyBird are sitting at home liveblogging instead! I know next to nothing about this year’s contest except that it’s being held in Malmö, Sweden, Bonnie Tyler is representing the UK, and there’s a lesbian kiss in the Finnish entry.

I’m ready with some knitting and a bottle of my Swedish beverage of choice (Kopparberg strawberry and lime, thanks), and I’m surrounded by Ikea furniture. Allons-y!

20:03 Right, totally into the Big Gay Butterfly in the title sequence. Speedy as well, that’s a big distance he just crossed… Quite liking the opening song and the flag bearers. Someone in Sweden was watching the Opening Ceremony for London 2012, apparently. I assume the choral piece is an original composition? Would be a bit self-defeating if not!

20:09 Graham Norton says the host is actually funny. Her dress is a bit… vivid. (I’ve just popped the lid on the cider, let’s get this party started!)

20:11 British broadcasters?! Yet another thing that Britain invented but suck at.

20:13 “May the best song win”…. Or, y’know, whatever…

20:16 Vive la France! I quite like this, I’d actually listen to it.

20:19 Lithuania, not a fan, but the lyrics are very resonant; “love” and “pain” are words I commonly use about my shoes, as it happens.

20:23 OK, Moldova, I am not sure that any interpretation of the Mayan calendar allows it to predict your breakup… I like her hair, though, it’s all very La Roux. Also, kudos to the designer using her dress as a blank canvas, it’s very striking.

20:26 FINLAND! I’ve been looking forward to this. “At the end of the song, there are two girls kissing, and if two girls kissing offends you, you need to grow up”. Well put, Mr. Norton! This is the best kind of trashy-pop and is totally going on Mrs. RPB’s next mixtape! What is that on her knee, though? A leg-warmer-garter?

20:29 Was that the whole kiss? I could do better than that.

20:30 Ah. Me encanta la España. I really like this song, as well. I don’t remember the last time I listened to Eurovision and really liked the music!

20:34 OK, Belgium, this song appears to be based on the last few series of Doctor Who, “love kills, over and over”. Do the robot, Europe! I don’t think this is the winner.

20:39 So far Estonia take the prize for Most Pointless Stylistic Shift with that Wizard of Oz shift into technicolour.

20:42 The giant disco ball was long overdue! Belarus‘ song reminds Mrs. RPB of Kiss Kiss by Holly Valance. I get that.

20:46 Malta have a ukulele! That’s a dilemma. Do I vote for the lesbian kiss, or the ukulele?!

20:52 The entry from Russia is so perfect for Eurovision (key change and all!) that I can’t help but see past the very optimistic lyrics and just view it as cynical.

20:56 I really don’t like Germany‘s entry. I didn’t much like last year’s Swedish winner at the time either (though it grew on me), so I suppose it’s not surprising.

20:59 Armenia could have done with some input from a native English-speaker. And a poet. And a composer. I wondered aloud if there was a wind machine on the singer’s hair, but Mrs. RPB thinks it’s the entire crowd sighing in disappointment at having to listen to this nonsense.

21:03 The comedy manages to both be actually funny and make me want to visit Sweden. Good job! “Gay p….., er, Eurovision fans”.

21:07 Oh dear, Netherlands, this is a bit grim. In my most emo days I think I still would have written this song off as depressing.

21:10 “Small children and pets should probably be removed from the room” says Graham Norton. Go on Romania! Haven’t we seen that dress on at least one contestant every year?

21:12 I can see that he is a very talented singer but… really?! And what’s with the ceiling decoration?

21:15 Woot, UK! Although within the first couple of lines I dislike the song. Damn. Mrs. RPB is praying for a “total eclipse of my senses”.

21:20 Well, Sweden will not win again, because of You, Robin Stjernberg.

21:22 Hungary have rounded up all their hipsters for this entry. I quite like it, though. I’d listen to this on the bus. My friend Boy Sam, who blogs for ESC Nation wants this to win. It probably wont.

21:29 Not going to write home about Denmark. Seems to be a favourite to win, not sure why.

21:31 All right, Iceland, I’m impressed. I like an awful lot of the music this year, is this definitely Eurovision? (The cat objects to the key change, and has left the sofa.)

21:36 Azerbaijan have borrowed David Blaine for the occasion! Although he now seems to be doing the Dawn French / Darcy Bussell routine from the Vicar of Dibley. (The cat has now left the room, because this song has two key changes…)

21:38 I love Greece! It’s like Madness on ouzo. (Side note, whilst the pronunciation is unfamiliar I’m surprised how many words have changed very little or not at all since Classical Greek, especially the nautical terms it seems.) I wouldn’t listen to this, but I’d dance to it gleefully!

21:42 HODOR! I wondered where he had got to! Thanks, Ukraine. Bran’s changed a bit, though. The song is boring.

21:47 I do like the idea of world peace. I really do, but all the songs about it are so boring. Sorry, Italy.

21:51 That’s more like it! Norway‘s singer is sporting an old Abba costume she found in a Swedish museum. What does this mean, though, “I have the future on my tongue”? The Edward Lear award for Nonsense Verse goes to Norway. It would go to Armenia, but I didn’t care enough when I was listening to them.

21:55 It’s all gone a bit Disney for Georgia. By no means unpleasant, I quite like it, but I can’t imagine it winning. Don’t place bets on my advice, though, I didn’t think Sweden had a chance last year…

Just realised that Mrs. RPB is following this and reposting some of the comments on Facebook. “It’s easier than talking to you.” Charming!

22:01 “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Here ends all comment on Ireland‘s entry. Graham Norton says that could win. I think he may be biased.

22:08 Having watched the voting recap, I think I want Finland to win for all the wrong reasons. But France was probably my favourite song. Winning preferences (in some kind of order): Finland, France, Hungary, Greece, Norway, Malta, Iceland, Denmark.

22:22 Lines closed. The dull part begins. Bonnie Tyler sounds like she could do with laying off the fags.

22:26 I like the self-deprecating interval act; the host really is very funny. Must go to Sweden some time. Nice touch with the Lutheran gay wedding! It’s a shame Sweden weren’t any good, I’d like to see them host again.

22:36 I hear the strains of the inevitable Abba tribute… This seems to be the comedian who did the tour of Stockholm earlier (which I thoroughly enjoyed); is there nothing this woman can’t do?

22:46 Surprised Finland aren’t doing better. I thought the UK might get behind them.

23:10 Hungary got 12 points at last, only took 26 countries! Really amazed that Finland have only got 7 so far, I expected that to do well.

23:20 Denmark. Fair enough. Graham Norton is very surprised Ireland did so badly, but I think I’m actually relieved; Europe showing some common sense! I’m disappointed still that Finland didn’t make it to the top half of the leader board, but perhaps it’s not so surprising. Making any kind of political statement is always a risk.

Thanks for your patience, if you’ve kept with me so far, good night!

Om Nom Hat

My girlfriend is a gamer and a nerd. She loves interesting knitted hats, and when she saw an Om Nom hat for sale on Etsy, she wanted one immediately.

I don’t crochet, so I set out to recreate one in knitting.

This is a pattern based on Hannah by Blake Ehrenreich, but you could use any hat pattern, as long as it is worked from brim to crown, and you start the antenna with 8 stitches.

The reason for choosing Hannah as the base was two-fold. Firstly, I made a lovely, pink Hannah from Manos del Uruguay a few years ago and the Girl envies it! Secondly, because of the deep brim and the purl ridge that marks the beginning of the crown, I knew it would be very easy to place Om Nom’s teeth. I didn’t want them hanging over the edge of the hat.

Om Nom

When I made Hannah in the past, the back opening around the pony tail curled inwards, so I worked 2 stitches on each end in garter stitch to prevent that.

Garter stitch around the pony tail
opening prevents curling

Click here to see my project on Ravelry.

Yarn: A worsted or aran in Om Nom green (15 stitches and 20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on 6mm needles). When I finally found the right colour, it didn’t come in worsted or aran, so I used Hayfield Baby DK ‘In the Limelight’ held double, and it turned out well. It’s very soft.
Notions: White felt, black marker, a small amount of toy stuffing.
Antenna pattern:

starting on the final round of Hannah as written (or working the last round of decreases on your hat pattern of choice):

Rnd 40: (K2tog) 6 times—8 sts.
Rnd 41 – 48: knit around

Divide sts so that the four at the front of the hat are on one needle, and hold the back four on a separate needle. You will work the four front stitches flat for the next few rows.

Row 1: slip 1, p to end
Row 2: slip 1, k to end

Work these two rows until you’ve worked 5 rows (i.e. ending on row 1).

Knit across these 4 sts*. Using a new needle, pick up 5 sts from the slipped sts on the end of the rows, and knit 2 of the held sts. Using a third needle, knit 2 of the held sts and pick up 5 along the other slipped edge.

*If it matters to the pattern – e.g. if you’re making Hannah, these should be at the front of the hat

You should now have 18 stitches on three needles.
Work around these 18 stitches for about 2cm.

At this point, stuff the top of the antenna firmly.

Next round: knit 2 together around (9 sts)
Next round: knit 1, knit 2 together around (6 sts)

To finish: cut the yarn leaving a tail. Thread the end of the tail onto a sewing needle and pull the yarn through the last 6 sts.

The face
I used white felt and black marker pen.

  1. Draw around a jam-jar twice on the back of the white felt (with a pencil!) to create two overlapping circles.
  2. Trace these circles with a black marker to the point where they bisect so that you have a goggle shape. Add pupils.
  3. Make 4 triangles of white felt with a black outline for the teeth and place them along the purl ridge above the ribs.
  4. Sew the features in place and wear with pride.