half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
June, 2007

Bistromathic Gauge Swatches


I’ve been rereading my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books lately (and relistening to the radio series, and getting the Krikkit song stuck in my head for days, driving me mad, and OH GOD I AM A NERD). I have also been cursing my knitting.

The Fake-astanje Cardigan has been relegated to the yarn bin because it’s freaking June and I will knit summery things or die trying, dammit. Also because I don’t feel like knitting sleeves. The silk thing is pissing me off because it’s not perfect, and also because it doesn’t have a name yet. I don’t understand why inanimate objects won’t take some initiative and name themselves.

But never mind.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy presents the concept of a recipriversexcluson, which is a number that is defined as being anything but itself. Got it?

I’m not going to say that there is no purpose in gauge swatches. There is, but not the purpose one would expect. I’ve decided that my swatched gauge measurement is a recipriversexcluson. So it does give me some information, which is that whatever I think my gauge is, is exactly what it isn’t.



(No, I do not have a 27″ bust. This yarn grows a LOT after washing/blocking.)

I know that my gauge changes a bit between knitting flat and in the round, and I’m pretty sure I factored that in when I did all my fancy gauge math, so I can only assume that I am being foiled by Bistromathics. Which is very strange, given that I am not in a restaurant, and neither is the little notebook in which I wrote down my gauge info.

Another safe assumption would be that I should quit rereading my Hitchhiker’s books.

The silk thing is frustrating me, it really is. Apart from two of the skeins of yarn being completely different colours (can you tell in the pictures? If you can, I don’t want to hear about it LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU), and the total impracticality of 100% silk yarn (but it’s so purty), and the fact that I had to tink back in one little section three times because I used the wrong increase, then went back and did the right increase, then realized that the right increase was actually the wrong increase and I’d had it right in the first place, I… forget what I was going to say.

No, wait. The gauge stuff. Which is now erring on the side of “too big”, and so help me, I am going to have to cut a bitch if this thing is too big. Because that is the issue that plagues every damn knit garment I attempt, and I thought I finally had a good solid theory on sizing, which is “make it way too small, and it will somehow fit in the end”. I can only hope that I overestimated how much the yarn will grow, and… it will somehow fit in the end. Oy.


It is nice to be past the stockinette and well into the interesting bit, though.

The long stockinette nightmare is (almost) over!

I really do barf on stockinette a lot in this blog. It’s just that it’s… not very interesting. Hullo, I’m Captain Obvious, nice to meet you.

But anyway…


I’ve gotten a little farther since that picture was taken, and just started the waist decreases. And when those are done, it means I get to start the interesting bit! You can sort of see it in the sketch:


The darker bits are the lace panels. Three of them; I don’t think I’m going to put one in the back. Or maybe I will. I do change my mind often about these things. The important thing is that they’re not stockinette. Well, there are stockinette triangles in there, but that’s all right. A little bit of stockinette is a pleasant break, a lot of stockinette is mind-numbingly, eye-stabbingly boring.

I need a name for this damn top. Everybody makes up cute names for their original designs, and I am not good with the cute names. The Silk Thing That Cost Too Damn Much And Will Probably Stretch Out Of Shape After Two Wears But Fuck It, I Don’t Care is much too long, and not very catchy, and not at all cute.

On a “screw you, stockinette” note, I’m all ready for my next project.


That’s Fifi, by French Girl. I nominated it for the next Sexy Knitters Club KAL and it looks like it’s going to get picked, so hurrah, I’ll have other people to knit it with. Look at all those delicious cables and ribby things and other bits that are definitely not plain stockinette. Weeee!

Patterny Goodness

Whew. Pattern for the Vicious Gnauga Backpack is finally written up, and here it is.

I decided to add an entire pattern section, thinking that maybe it will nudge me to write up more patterns. Right now only the backpack is there, but I’m going to move over the Instant Gratification Scarf pattern, and hopefully write up that damn monster hat pattern soon. Look at me, I’m a designer! Except, I’m totally not.

I have a new pattern brewing in my head, but it requires a skein of Handmaiden Mini Maiden, which I do not have. I am hoping one will magically appear if I close my eyes for awhile and then open them and look around, but so far nothing has happened. I suppose I’ll actually have to purchase one. The universe is so cruel.


I made the cardigan bottom stop curling. Without redoing the button bands.

Don’t ask how I did it.

I need a drink.

I’ll get you, stockinette, and your little (curling) dog too.

I’ve gone back to the wool cardigan. In June. I know.


I went with modified (of course) Little Arrowhead Lace for the black section. It worked out pretty well, except that the bottom isn’t scalloping like I thought it would. I think it would scallop if it wasn’t busy CURLING LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. (Do motherfuckers curl? I don’t know. But I needed a very strong word because it is PISSING ME OFF. FEAR THE WRATH OF MY ALL-CAPS SEMI-PROFANITIES.) I knew it was going to curl, it’s stockinette-based lace and there are a couple rows of plain stockinette at the bottom, I just didn’t think it was going to curl this much. It’s similar to the fishtail lace I used for Lelah and that doesn’t curl much.

I could rip, but I’m not going to, mostly because I went and knitted on the (button-less) button bands, so I’d have to rip those too. And I also wove in all the ends, and I don’t feel like doing that again either. Maybe blocking will fix it. Maybe I’ll add beads at the bottom to weigh it down. I mean, to make it look pretty. Shhhh.

(And no, the button bands are not uneven, even though one looks thinner in the picture. I know this because I looked at the picture, went OH CRAP WHAT DID I DO NOW, double checked the button bands, and was reassured that it was just a weird picture angle or something. Because they are the same size. I maintain that my sucking is restricted to sewing. Well, sewing and estimating how much stockinette-based lace will curl.)

So that’s the Fake-astanje Cardigan status. It just needs sleeves now. I don’t actually know how to knit long sleeves, but whatever, I’ll figure it out.

I’m still working on the as-yet-nameless silk thing, but right now I’m on the plain stockinette section. And the only thing more boring than knitting round after round of stockinette is blogging about it.

FO: Vicious Gnauga Backpack

It’s done!


Pattern: my own, I am sloooowly writing it up here’s the pattern link, finally
Yarn: 2 balls Bernat Softee Chunky in Black, 4 balls Phentex Fashion Nine in Black, small amount of Patons Classic Wool in Winter White
Needles: size 11, size 6

The monster is the Vicious Gnauga from Kingdom of Loathing.

Isn’t it cute? And mean-looking? And fuzzy and cute? Clearly it had to be made into a knitted backpack. It’s only logical.


I had plenty more sewing mishaps while finishing it, of course. I CANNOT SEW FOR CRAP. I really can’t. I used to be able to, but I guess I’ve forgotten how. Plus, you try to sew things to thick furry fabric where you can’t see what you’re doing because the fur eats up your stitches. You’ll probably do better than me, but that doesn’t take much.

I sewed the straps on crooked, I sewed the pocket on (crooked) and in the process accidentally stitched the straps down to the middle of the bag. I know, right?

The stupid, stupid pocket that is now not sewed to the straps:

The stupid, stupid straps that are now not sewed to the pocket, and the relatively non-stupid drawstring:
IMG_4129.JPG IMG_4132.JPG

And yeah, slowly writing up the pattern. I finished this on Friday evening, I had the whole weekend to write up the pattern before I blogged the FO, and I didn’t. I put the “half” in “half-assed”. (I also put the “ass” in “half-assed”, thanks to both my sewing “skills” and my ample posterior.) But it will be written up, and posted, and if you decide to make one I really hope you are better at sewing than I am. Which, again, won’t take much.

What’s in the bag?

Why, it’s a whole crapload of Rowan Calmer! Yum.

Now that yarn is for a project that will require no sewing whatsoever. Hurrah!

Painful Monster Dental Surgery

Two things.

One: how in the hell do I reply to comments when Blogger apparently turned off everyone’s damn email display when it switched to “new” Blogger, and hardly anybody has turned it back on? Oh Blogger, how I loathe you.

I really need to switch webhosts so that I can install WordPress or something, but… effort.



Just have to sew in the little pocket (for keys and stuff), and finish and sew on the straps. Those straps are the most mind-numbingly boring things I have ever knitted. The pocket is the second most mind-numbingly boring thing. This is a Monster-Bag-Of-Masochism that I’m making here.

But never mind that. Let me tell you about the fun I had sewing on the face. I mean, the “fun”.

I started by grabbing a tooth, centering it perfectly, and merrily starting to sew. I was almost finished when I noticed… that I was sewing on a top tooth, and it’s the bottom teeth that should be centered. Um. Shit. Okay, rip that out, let’s start again. Off-center teeth for the top. Sew on one, sew on another.

Admired my work… and the teeth were crooked. Oh, goody. So I thought that I could rip out the left-side tooth and shift it slightly, and all would be well. I started ripping… and then noticed I was ripping out the right-side tooth.

… I am too stupid to live.

At this point I decided they were both crooked and ripped the damn things out. You know how sometimes you’re frustrated trying to get something to work, and you try and try and FAIL and eventually you just give up and throw it at a potted plant or something? Well, this was the knitted-monster-tooth equivalent of that.

Started over. This time I pinned all the teeth into place to make sure I actually put them where they were supposed to go.

The pins distorted the teeth and generally annoyed me so I ripped them out too.

Obviously I eventually got them sewed on, and they’re still crooked, but I don’t care. I moved on to the eyes, and it was more of the same.

Attached one eye, attached the other, held up the bag, noticed they were crooked. Okay, fine, at least this would be easier to fix than the teeth. Moved an eye down. Still too high. Moved it down again. Still a bit too high. Starting to wish I was high. Moved it down some more. Now too low. Are you kidding me, eye?

You can probably tell from the picture that they’re still wonky. I have decided not to care about this either. Apathy is the solution to all project mishaps.

I am really liking how the bag is turning out, wonky face aside, but let me tell you… if I ever make another one of these, I am making sure I’m drunk during the entire process. I think it will help.

And by the way, I will probably write up a pattern for this and post it. Because I know everyone will be lining up to make one after reading about how much “fun” I’m having with it.

Help, there’s a monster on my back!




That’s twisted cord, and it’s like… you take a bunch of yarn, and twist the crap out of it, and then fold it over and it twists around itself and STAYS THAT WAY. I don’t know how it stays that way. I assume leprechauns are involved somehow. And it takes no time at all to do. I know you all probably know about this already, but I didn’t, and it’s so very exciting.

See, I needed a drawstring for the monster backpack. Did I mention that the monster is going to be a backpack? I like functional monsters better than decorative ones. Anyway, drawstring, and I loathe I-cord so I googled for I-cord alternatives, thinking that I could do a crochet chain or something. And I found twisted cord. THIS IS LIKE ANGELS SINGING FROM THE HEAVENS, PEOPLE. I don’t know if you understand how much I hate I-cord. I should get one of those little machines where you turn a handle and it knits I-cord for you, and perhaps I will someday, but for now I don’t have to.

Here’s the body of the monster backpack. It doesn’t have a monster face yet, so I substituted a travel Hungry Hungry Hippos game in the photo, because they’re pretty much the same thing.


It’s for the Craftster June knitting challenge, which I’m really just using as an excuse to knit a monster. It’s not going to win anything, so that’s why I’m blabbing about it here instead of keeping it a SEEEECRET. It still needs a face, and straps, and a little pocket inside to hold keys and stuff. Maybe some legs too, so that it can do spirited monster dances when it thinks nobody is looking.

I told you I had a legitimate reason to purchase Fun Fur, dammit.

I am not a designer.

I has a bucket yoke!


Now the Silk Something (which really needs a name) is stuffed in a ziploc* in my yarn bin, while I decide whether to add short rows for the bust. I would think that my Itty Bitty Titties don’t need bust darts, but since everything I make seems to wrinkle up in the back, I’m wondering if boobie stretch is causing that.

* By “stuffed in a ziploc”, I mean “placed gently in a ziploc with the greatest of care, because otherwise the yarn gods will smite me for mistreating Fucking Expensive Silk”.

So I’ve tried to write up bits and pieces of a pattern for it, and for the Fake-astanje Cardigan, and for the Monster Hat, and I have run into a problem. And that problem is…

… I never remember what the hell I did, and I rarely write down what the hell I did, and a big chunk of what I do consists of “knit until it looks about right, then stop”. This approach to designing does not translate well to written patterns. I actually wrote up the following in my draft of the Fake-astanje Cardigan pattern:

Repeat rows 19 and 20 until body is slightly too small and sleeves just barely meet under arms if you stretch them a bit. (Now these are some sketchy directions. But if you go any further it’ll be too big.)

Would you want to follow a pattern that essentially says “knit until the garment totally doesn’t fit you, but almost does”?

I have to start writing things up as I knit them. I’ve already forgotten most of what I did on the Silk Something. Luckily I took a few notes. Unluckily, they are mostly nonsensical numbers scribbled on the back of a printout of instructions for English Mesh Lace. Even more unluckily, I also scribbled notes for the Fake-astanje Cardigan on that printout, and I’m not sure which notes belong to what project.

Now I have to go knit a monster out of Fun Fur. This time I will write down what I do, in case anybody wants to knit a monster out of Fun Fur. By the way, if you want to knit a monster out of Fun Fur, it may help to be certifiably insane. I am apprehensive about this endeavour…


Mystery swatch revealed!

Remember this?


Well, now there’s this.


I finally forced myself to stop overthinking every little detail and just cast on already. It’s my first design – not counting silly drop-stitch scarves and improvised hats and other little things that don’t require any sort of planning, or frankenpatterns made by sticking elements of three different patterns together – and I’m using delicious 100% silk, and if it doesn’t turn out right I’m going to throw a fit. Luckily, I will almost certainly blog said fit, and you can point and laugh. Hooray!