half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
July, 2007

FO: Coachella

A week of procrastination and a bottle of Fray Check later, here it is!

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Pattern: Coachella
Size: XS (hee hee hee)
Yarn: Romni Wools Pure Silk in colour 12551, 3 balls
Needles: US 9 and US 7

Baaaaaaaaa!

That is me, being a pattern-following sheep. And I love it! Not that I’m going to stop modifying every pattern in sight, or stop saying “fuck the pattern, I’m just gonna improvise it”. It’s just a nice break, is all. It’s especially nice when the pattern only requires 400 yards or so of yarn, and a few days of obsessive knitting. And it’s really especially nice when the FO turns out to be pretty damn hot.

Even the phantom backfat has left me alone; no doubt it has found a new target to stalk. Keep an eye on your cameras, folks, your back could be next. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

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Look ma, no backfat!

So yes, there were mods, little ones.

· There was knitting the whole thing a size too small. I highly recommend this, as long as your yarn can stand a bit of stretching. I always have trouble with knits fitting at the bust but being too loose around the waist. Why, I have no idea, because I have neither a giant bust nor a tiny waist. But with this top’s unusual construction, going a size down meant it fit at the waist, fit at the bust, and the neck drape was perfect – tantalizingly low, but not quite “HAY EVERYBODY, SEE MY TITS?” low. Now if you do this, and happen to have hips, you will need…

· Added hip increases. Now, there is an awesome song by Deirdre Flint, called The Boob Fairy. It contains these lines:

Though the hip fairy came two times
And the thigh fairy came three
The boob fairy never came for me

I hear ya, sister. I think I am going to have to take out a restraining order against the hip and thigh fairies, because they won’t leave me alone.

The pattern calls for 3 sets of increases. I did 6 sets. Yes, that’s right, that’s almost 3 inches of extra hip. Because my hips are giant. They are giant hips. You will probably not need 3 extra sets, but maybe 1 or 2. Unless you have giant hips. Like my giant hips. Then go for 3. Because giant hips require DOUBLING THE FREAKING NUMBER OF INCREASES. I’m not bitter.

· I also left out the waist decreases, mostly because it was only a half-inch decrease for the XS size, and since it was already a size too small I figured there was no need to make it smaller. Worked out fine, but I imagine it would be best to leave them in for larger sizes, where it’s more than a half-inch difference.

I’ve noticed that the top wants to slide down enough to show my bra. It was still a little damp when I tried it on, so I’m hoping it will be a bit lighter and less influenced by gravity when it’s completely dry. If not, I’ll probably have to break out the (dun dun DUN) backless-bra-conversion straps. Or pick up stitches along the armholes and make ‘em smaller, but I like the way they look now, so I’ll probably go the torture-bra route.

The yarn is still delicious. I am a silk whore, I think. What can I say, I love shiny things.

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Who knew that a knit top could qualify as club wear?



(Half) Asses and Monsters and Beer, Oh My!

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Monsters are a problem. Sometimes they eat your head, and sometimes they refuse to be written up into a pattern. Right now I would happily let this particular monster gnaw on my brains for awhile if it would just tell me how the hell the decreases on the top of its head work.

I am having waaaay more trouble than I should with mentally dissecting that hat. I’d only been knitting a few months when I made it, so I couldn’t have done anything too wacky. I know how to read my knitting – usually – but this durn hat critter thing seems to melt into an amorphous yarn blob whenever I try to pick out the stitches I used. Graaah. Monsters.

I added my first pattern to Ravelry today – the Vicious Gnauga Backpack, naturally – and it’s all very odd. Pattern source, asked the form, and I filled in “Half-Assed Patterns”. And cackled. If I ever get my shit together on this whole designing thing, I will really have to come up with a better name than Half-Assed Patterns. I mean, it doesn’t exactly fill a prospective knitter with confidence.

Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Which will likely not be for a very long time, if I’m currently being foiled by a little red monster. Not even a complicated design, but a hat with eyes and teeth. How embarrassing.

And if when I conquer the monster hat, next in line to be written up is Maddy. Ask me how I’m going to turn this mess into a pattern…

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The correct answer is: BEER.

Don’t tell me that’s not an answer. It’s totally an answer.



Eat me, Blogger.

I did not just buy more yarn.

Except, I totally did.

I should stay away from online yarn shops on Sundays. For some reason, Sundays are always when I go and order things I don’t need. Anyway, it was on sale. I am at least good about only buying yarn when I am getting a good deal. I got 3 skeins of Euroflax sport weight linen in Cedarwood, which according to the intarnets is either brownish red or reddish brown. I am hoping for brownish red, but I can live with reddish brown. It will become a lacy cardigan of some sort. I’ve heard good things about this yarn, so I am excited, weee! Also a skein of Plymouth Royal Bamboo, in Coral, just to see what knitting with bamboo is like. I’ll make a headband or something with it. As you can see, I’m back to my old colour habits. Oh, well. I’ll knit with any colour yarn as long as it’s red or coral!

Gah. I am becoming a stasher. Ohnoes! At least I have projects in mind, if vague ones.

In other news, I hate Blogger. Well, that’s not news. I have always hated Blogger, for many reasons. But right now it’s the comments thing that’s driving me nuts. As in, I can’t reply to them unless people have their email set to visible, which most people don’t (and I can understand why). Sometimes I go to people’s blogs and reply there, but it’s so clumsy, and anyway I don’t want to clutter people’s blogs with “haaaay thanks for visiting me, now here is a reply that is a total non sequitur to anyone who reads your blog but not mine”.

I love when people comment, and I want to be able to acknowledge those comments. If people took the time to comment, then I want to take the time to reply!

I can’t run WordPress or Movable Type on my current web hosting plan. In fact, I can’t run squat on my current web hosting plan, unless it doesn’t require a database. This has been bugging me for awhile and maybe it’s finally time to suck it up and go through the mess of switching web hosts.

So if anyone reading this is running WordPress, etc. on their own domain, I’d love recommendations for a reliable, inexpensive web host. (I saw several linked on WordPress’s site that have everything I need for 7 bucks a month, which sounds fine to me – but I don’t know anything about those hosts, so I’m hoping someone else does.) SAVE ME FROM THE TYRANNY OF BLOGGER! ALLOW ME TO REPLY TO COMMENTS AND ABUSE TAGS!

(Yeah, that’s another thing, self-hosted Blogger blogs don’t do tags/labels quite right. It saddens me that I can’t abuse tags without making a big mess. I am compensating by tagging my projects on Ravelry with “thisprojectisouttogetme”.)

This entry fails because it contains no pictures. So here is a picture of a giant kitten in a yarn shop:

giant kitten

Sadly, it is not breathing fire or eating demons yet. I’ll work on that.



What do you mean, kittens aren’t made of silk?

I return from Harry Potter exile! (Don’t worry, no spoilers here.) I managed to remain completely unspoiled by avoiding the Intarwebs Of Spoilage as much as possible. I’d like to blame my lack of blogging on that, but the truth is, I’m deeply, deeply lazy. (Sorry, Mae!) This shouldn’t come as a surprise – see the blog name.

Coachella is done…

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… but not done done. Can’t wear it until it’s washed and blocked, and can’t do that until I weave in the ends and snip them, and can’t do that because the blasted ribbon yarn is fraying. There’s always something. So I need to get me some Fray Check or whatever it’s called, and I have no idea where to find it, as there are no real sewing shops around here. It’ll be done. Eventually. And then there will be a proper FO post, and I will complain about having to double the amount of hip increases. Not the pattern’s fault. My giant hips’ fault.

So, that done, I rescued Maddy from the yarn bin. The other day I noticed that three people had it listed as a favourite on Ravelry, even in its pathetic WIP state. It occurred to me that people might actually want to knit this thing, and I really ought to get off my lazy (half) ass and finish it, and get a pattern written up. Aaaah! Pressure!

A few weeks in seclusion did it good, because it no longer looks like hot buttered ass to my eyes. I don’t know whether it underwent some sort of metamorphosis in there, or whether I’m just less of an obsessive perfectionist critical of it, but now it looks an awful lot like a cute lacy top. It’s back on the needles…

… and holy god, I had forgotten what it’s like to knit with Silk Purse. I love the silk ribbon yarn I used for Coachella (fraying aside), but I have to admit it’s not the most softest of silks. Now Silk Purse, on the other hand, is like knitting with kittens, if kittens were made of yarn and not, you know, kitten. You’re a kitty, Silk Purse! Yes you are! Yes you aaaaare!

I know it’s going to stretch.
I know it’s going to pill and fuzz.
I know I will be ready to feed it to a kitten at some point. A giant kitten. With sharp, pointy teeth. A giant, fire-breathing, demon-eating kitten. Wait, I want one of those. To do my bidding. Nobody will mess with me if I have a giant kitten.

I’m sure I had a point here, but now I just want to go looking for a giant kitten.



Revenge of the Backfat

I do not have a perfect body. Far, far from it. I have allowed myself to get out of shape lately, and it doesn’t look very good on me. By all rights I should not be able to wear a top like Coachella. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I tried on my WIP, and not only did it fit, but it fit in a “damn, baby, I’m hot!” sort of way.

Delighted, I hopped off to photograph it for blogginess. The front photographed fine using my camera’s timer, but then I gave the back a try.

Oh dear. We have backfat. We have backfat, and lots of it. But wait! I knew I had checked the back out in the mirror, and it looked fine, and not at all like it was drowning in endless ripples of fatty, fatty backfat. Right? I checked again, and was reassured that the backfat situation was well under control. Sure, I’ve got some. See aforementioned “out of shape” admission. But judging from the photo, you’d think I had enough with which to sculpt a small hippopotamus. Maybe a large hippopotamus. Nah, let’s be realistic, a small one.

I have long sworn that cameras are evil. I’m not photogenic at all – I am beyond un-photogenic – I have posted a few face-showing pics on this blog, I think, and none of them were flattering, and those were the good ones. But usually the camera restricts its evil to my face, and now it has moved on to creating phantom backfat? This won’t do at all.

It was time to turn to drastic measures.

It was time for… the dreaded mirror photoshoot.

My mirror-pics always look mucky and blurry (maybe I should clean my mirror) and I hate to resort to them, but it was the only way I could look at the camera’s display while taking the picture, and thus thwart its evil backfatty plans. And you can’t argue with results, because now I have WIP pics that will (hopefully) not horrify anybody:

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It isn’t all drapey in the front like most of the other ones I’ve seen, but I think I prefer it this way. Seems easier to wear somehow, and also won’t give the world a boobie peep-show, which is probably for the best. (I am sure there are people who will argue with that point, but their argument is probably based around wanting to see my boobies, so I think I can safely disregard it.)

And guess what. Other than leaving out the half-inch of waist shaping – because it’s about 5 inches too small already, and frankly I have no idea how or why it fits at all – I have followed the pattern as written. I never do this! I feel so lazy! I… kind of like it. Oh dear.



Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you…

Coachella: the obsession.

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I’ll just do the in-the-round neck bit, I said, and then I’ll return my 24″ circs to Fifi. And then, well, I may as well start the back-and-forth bit, I can use different needles for that. And now, okay, let’s start the final in-the-round section, just to see if it fits, then I can slip it onto scrap yarn and finally give those needles back to Fifi.

Ahem. Yeah.

But then I went and tried it on too soon. Only a few rows into the body, so the newly-cast-on underarm stitches were straining. And it was small. Very small. I squeezed into it without a problem, but there was stretching and lots of it.

Me: It looks tiny, but this size is supposed to stretch to fit a 32″ bust.
Brain: Do you have a 32″ bust?
Me: Um, well, no, not as such…
Brain: And what size is your bust, hmm?
Me: I don’t know, maybe about 35″?
Brain: Are you aware that 35 is a larger number than 32?
Me: Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip.

I purposely knit it a size too small, because whenever I knit my size, it’s too big. Plus, it’s silk yarn, so it will grow after washing. But will it? It’s not normal yarn, it’s this weirdly constructed tape yarn, so I have no idea how it will behave. I didn’t bother washing my swatch, because my swatches lie like a lying liar anyway.

What I do know, what I have no doubt about, is that if I had knit the S, it would be too big. And now the XS may or may not be too small. Do you even have to ask why I’m convinced that my knitting is out to get me?

So I need to relax, and knit a couple of inches into the body, and then try it on again for a more accurate does-it-fit-or-will-I-stab-myself-in-the-eyes assessment.

I do love the yarn.

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It’s a world of difference from the Alchemy Silk Purse I’m using for Maddy. Not that I’m shitting on Silk Purse. I love Silk Purse, it’s gorgeous and soft and a tactile pleasure to knit with, it’s just not the most… practical… of yarns. This one feels sturdy, and strangely-but-pleasantly crunchy, and still has that gorgeous silk sheen. Assuming it washes and wears decently, I would be all over using it again.

So. More paranoia: my Vicious Gnauga Backpack is up for voting in the Craftster knitted monster challenge. (It’s not going to win. Last I checked, it was being soundly clobbered by at least two other monsters. But I may as well vote-whore anyway.)

The last challenge I entered, I posted about 6 pictures of my entry. When the voting rolled around, the picture used for the poll was the tiniest, blurriest, crappiest picture of all of them. The hell, said I, but I didn’t much care, because it was a crappy entry anyway.

This time, I click on the voting thread, and instead of my backpack, I see this:

Buh? So I then decided that the knitting moderator and/or all of Craftster and/or THE ENTIRE WORLD was on a mission to thwart my attempts to enter knitting challenges by selecting the most inappropriate pictures of my entries. I MUST WREAK REVENGE! REVENGE ON THEM ALL! THEY WILL FEEL THE WRATH OF MY ANGER AND MY MONSTER BACKPACK AND MY RAPIDLY AND SUSPICIOUSLY EXPANDING BOOBIES (yes, I’m still on about that). NO ONE WILL BE SPARED! NO ONE!

And then I regained my sanity, and PM’d the moderator to point out the picture error. Turns out it was a total accident, and she very nicely apologized and fixed it right away.

I AM A GOOBER. The end.



A Tale of Two Boobies

Because I am not particularly well-endowed in the boobage department, I don’t have many garments that scream “HAY TITS!” I mean, my girls are just not conducive to that sort of thing. But one garment that does scream exactly that is my good old soul-eating Lelah.

I wore it today to go bra shopping, as it’s the sort of top that really highlights whether or not a bra is fulfilling its boob-trapping duty. Because of my aforementioned itty bitty titty club membership, I mostly wear sports bras, and have no real bras except for one poor, overworked black strapless. La Senza was having a sale, so off I went.

Since I keep wanting to knit things like Lelah and Coachella, I was on the lookout for strapless bras and halter bras and all those fancy torture device type things. I grabbed a handful of 34Bs and 34As and a few outliers just to be adventurous, a 32B, a 34C, and hit the changerooms.

Of course hardly anything fit. This was not surprising. Bras never fit me properly. What did surprise me was that the one bra that more or less fit was… the 34C. Er. Wait, what?

I got one of the saleswomen to measure me.

Her: Hmm… you’re in-between band sizes.
Me: Of course I am.
Her: You should be… a 32.
Me: I tried a 32 and I couldn’t even get into it.
Her: Yeah, well you’re probably (blah blah something squeeze something I don’t understand). So, 34 then. And let’s see…
*measuring tape around boobs*
Her: Well, you’re measuring as a D…
Me: BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAA! Um, no.
Her: Yeah, okay, I think you should try a 34C.

So there it is. Confirmed. I trudged back to the bins of bras and started acquainting myself with this scary, unfamiliar territory – the C-cup bin.

I used to believe that every woman in the world was a 34B, because that would explain why every store is always sold out of 34Bs. But now I know. Every woman in the world is a 34C. And I loathe all of you. Give me back my bras!

I found the last nude clear-strapped convertible 34C in the store. Not exaggerating. It was buried in a bin instead of hanging on the wall with the others. It was missing a strap and inserts, which a saleswomen kindly stole from a 36B for me. You’ve really got to scavenge for those 34Cs. I also scored a convertible racerback bra and a regular push-up.

All three bras yell “HAY TITS”, and quite loudly too. I may as well enjoy my newfound C-cups, at least until I go to a proper bra shop and they declare me a 36A and scoff at how mucky La Senza’s sizing is.

Now, all of this is tangentially related to knitting because I’m seeking out bras for my deliciously skanky knits and all, but here is some real knitting content:

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Fifi has been started! That pic was from a couple of days ago; it’s now sitting on scrap yarn to see if it’s the right size for splitting off the sleeves, and also so that I could yoink the 24″ circ cord to start Coachella. I am loving the pattern, and of course the delicious Rowan Calmer. It looks crazy complex, but it’s so easy! Assuming that the pattern doesn’t suddenly become unintelligible, I highly recommend it.

Hooray for knits that do not make me want to stab things (ahem, Maddy-silk-thing-whatever, I am talking to you).

And no, Fifi is not supposed to have a ribbon ’round its neck. But I put one there. Because I can.



Silk & Cursing

That’s it. I give up.

I had no intention of knitting Coachella when I looked through the new Knitty. I thought it was cute, and the construction was neat, but it just wasn’t my style. So I acknowledged its cuteness and went back to pondering yarn subs for Zinzin.

But then I saw this Coachella and it was all over. So I give up, and I’m going to make one.

Of course I had no yarn for it. I am not a stasher; I generally buy yarn only if I have a project in mind (though I will make exceptions for such yummies as Mini Maiden). I hadn’t yet decided what sort of tank to make with my new Misti Cotton, and pondered that as a sub. Nice drape, not too heavy, it could work. But the gauge was larger. And since I plan to knit the XS – going on my theory that I should knit one size smaller than the size I actually should be – I can’t do the trick where you knit a size down with a larger gauge and it all evens out. I just didn’t feel like reworking the pattern. For once I am feeling exceptionally lazy and want to just follow a pattern as written. This is terribly out of character for me; I fully expect to get halfway through and start inappropriately adding lace or buttons or neon green fun fur or something.

I’m just kidding. I would never add buttons.

Anyway, I was in Toronto again yesterday, and wanted to stop by Romni to pick up another skein of Misti Cotton, because I think my plan to get a tank top out of two skeins was wildly optimistic. And while there, I found this:

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100% tussah silk, Romni’s house brand, so it wasn’t too pricey. About the same size and gauge as the recommended Berroco Suede (which I had no intention of using, because suede yarn scares me. I know it’s not actually suede. I don’t care), with a similar ribbon-like construction. I know, I know, I have complained about the impracticality of 100% silk yarn and I never learn, do I. But this is the rare garment where I think it will actually be suitable. I reserve the right to change my mind after beginning to knit, and to swear a lot. (By the way, my blog is apparently rated NC-17, no doubt due to my filthy, filthy mouth. I am not particularly surprised.)

On the topic of silk and cursing, I have decided on a name for the silk thing. It will be called Maddy.

Officially, it is named after a doll I had as a child. (What kind of child names their doll Maddy?) The doll even had red hair, so it would match the top nicely, if for some reason I wanted a doll-matching top, which I do not. I have no idea what happened to that doll. But I sure loved it as a kid. (Seriously, Maddy? Why not Madeline? What the hell was wrong with my child-brain? Maddy. Gah.)

Unofficially, it is named that way because three letters of its name accurately describe my state of mind when working on the garment.



XXX HOTT BARELY LEGAL YARN PORN XXX

I happened to be in Toronto today, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to go yarn shopping. I didn’t get much. I’d like to say that’s because of my massive willpower, but no, it’s because of the fact that I’m crap ass broke.

First I went to Romni to exchange my skein of Cotton Fleece left over from Rusted Root. If you’ve ever been there, you’d think it would be easy to find something, anything to get. But they were out of the book I wanted (that Barbara Walker one about knitting top-down sweaters), and I wandered around, fondled yarn, but nothing screamed “buy me”. Let me clarify that, plenty of things screamed “buy me”, but I usually had to scream back “I can’t afford you”.

What finally caught my eye was some Misti Cotton:

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I know nothing about this yarn, so if it sucks, I don’t want to hear about it. It is soooo soft and has a lovely sheen, and I think I can get a little tank top out of two skeins. Weeee!

That’s all I got at Romni, because I knew I wanted a little treat from Lettuce Knit and thus had to conserve my limited funds…

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Mini Maiden! Finally! I’ve been coveting it for a while now. I have no idea what I’m going to make with it – something lacy, for sure, but what? I suspect the colourway is Paris. Dear Fleece Artist/Handmaiden: MARK YOUR DAMN COLOURWAYS. I know no two skeins are exactly alike, but they have consistent general colour schemes, so just frickin’ mark them so that when I like one, I know what it is and can buy it again! Graaaaaah! Graaaaaaaaaaah! Rant rant rant.

This is my attempt to branch out a bit, colour-wise, and knit something that isn’t red, or coral, or a corally sort of peach, or that shade of orange that’s halfway between red and coral, or red with black trim, or coral with red trim. You’ve seen my closet. Well, if you haven’t, here it is again:

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You see? Ridiculous. I am proud to say that I put down the bright coral Misti Cotton in favour of that lovely beige. Which, given the closet pic, is kind of like ordering a diet cola with your cheeseburger, but it’s a start.

Maybe the silk thing will start behaving now that there are equally yummy yarns around to challenge its silky silkiness. (And maybe I should take Webbo’s very good advice and take a break from the silk thing, before I go completely mad, as opposed to my current state of “slightly, but quite tolerably, mad”.)



Silkiest bunch of silk that ever silked…

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This is the top that never ends…
Yes it goes on and on my friends…
Some people started knitting it not knowing what it was
And now continue knitting it forever just because…

It is taking forever plus fifteen minutes, it looks like hot buttered ass and it’s pissing me off. Okay, it looks like shiny, silky ass, which is marginally better, but still. I like the pattern. Well, the non-pattern. The pattern in my head, which I have managed to write up about 3% of. I am just kind of wishing that I made it in some nice, cheap, mercerized cotton. Not only would it probably look better, but if it didn’t, I wouldn’t care, because it was cheap!

I can’t even take a proper picture because the bottom is crammed onto a 24″ circ, but I tried:

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I’m telling myself to do 1 repeat of the lace pattern (8 rows) every day, time permitting. Otherwise I think I would ball it up and throw it in the yarn bin, and stick my fingers in my ears and hum whenever I was forced to remember its existence.

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4 repeats in, at least 4 more to go, at which point I’ll see whether it’s long enough. It won’t be, of course, because the universe hates me. Lousy stinking universe.

But damn if it isn’t kind of pretty, in all its hotbutteredassiness…

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Noooo. I will stand firm. I will not be seduced by its silky silk silkiness. YOU WON’T TAKE ME ALIVE, FOUL YARNY TEMPTRESS.

I am clearly going mad.