half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
August, 2007

It just had to be brown yarn, didn’t it.

Dear Large Pile of Silky Wool,

Would you like to be a Tangled Yoke Cardigan, or a sweater of my own design? Please let me know as soon as possible.


Inanimate objects are notoriously bad at correspondence, so while I waited for the Silky Wool’s reply, I decided to grab some needles and swatch.

The ball band suggested 6s, so that’s what I tried first. Right away I could tell that something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. The stockinette wasn’t too bad, but as soon as I tried anything else, well… why don’t I just let you see for yourself. The swatch is helpfully labeled for your convenience.


Yep, all those intricate patterns promptly melted into a sea of nondescript yarn poo. Noooo! The Tangled Yoke Cardigan has that lovely twisty cabley thing that needs to stand out. The sweater in my head (is it healthy to have sweaters in your head?) is all columns of texture. Yarn poo is completely unacceptable in either case.

All wasn’t lost. I decided to swatch on 4s, the smallest needles I have on hand, and see if a tighter gauge would make the stitch patterns pop. I gave up on the aran braid cable too; I think that may be put to better use in the Thing that I plan to make with my Misti Cotton, but that’s a subject for another time.

Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news:


Much, much better. Not at all resembling anything that rhymes with Mecal Fatter.

The bad news:


So what if the last garment I knit on 4s nearly drove me mad? It won’t be like Maddy. It won’t be like Maddy… right? With either sweater, the stitch patterns will be much simpler than Maddy’s lace, it’ll be mostly mindless and go much quicker. Yes. Graaaah. I love the way small-needle knits look. And I don’t even have a problem using small needles. If my feet weren’t so beastly I’d be all over sock-knitting. But a whole sweater? Graaaaaaah. I am not a patient person. Crap, crap, crap, boobs, crap.

As if I wasn’t confused enough, I then received a reply from the Silky Wool.

Dear Cyn,

Remember that pretty sweater you saw on Craftster? The one that was made in Felted Tweed, which means that it would work quite well in Silky Wool? The one that is all stockinette and garter so you wouldn’t have to worry about stitch definition? Maybe you should look into that pattern, huh?

Large Pile of Silky Wool

P.S. Stop saying that I look like poo.

Oh, great. Just great. The pretty sweater is Patti, from some Rowan booklet and now available on their site for cheap. It doesn’t look too pretty there. But here’s the one I saw on Craftster, which proves that it has the potential to be adorable.

What to do, what to do…

I think I will shut the Large Pile of Silky Wool in the yarn bin, as punishment for confusing me like this. It can take some time in there to think about what it has done. I’ll tell the Malabrigo to give it a little poke every now and then.

Oooh! I forgot that I had Malabrigo in there!

… oh noooo. Now I’m going to start angsting over what to do with the Malabrigo.

FO: Bamboozled

This is a first, people. I am making an FO post for an item of my own design, and I already have the pattern written up. This is me, using my whole ass. I’ve become everything I hate!


Pattern: Bamboozled (look at that! that’s a pattern link that I did NOT have to edit in later!)
Yarn: Plymouth Royal Bamboo in Coral, 1 skein
Needles: US size 6

So I’ve already mentioned that making the chart ate my soul, which is what tends to happen when you try to do something that you don’t actually know how to do. I’m still not completely sure it’s a proper chart, but if it’s clear enough for my dumb ass to follow, I’m sure it’ll be adequate.

Yep, I’m learning not to stress over patterns. I do want to keep designing, and if I pull a Maddy on every pattern, freaking out about every detail and possible error, I will go mad, and start talking to trees and feeding vodka to kittens. We don’t want that. A friend of mine had this adorable little kitten, and one time when I was visiting and slept on her couch, the kitten kept JUMPING ON MY FACE. Now imagine what evil that kitten would plot if it had access to vodka.


(If you had a creepy-ass striped cat thing from IKEA just lying around, trying to eat your knitting books, you’d blindfold it with knitted headbands too. Admit it.)

Anyway, once the chart was finished thoroughly devouring my soul, this may have been the quickest, most trouble-free knit ever. I printed out the chart, grabbed a pencil, and just ticked off each row as I knit it. In fact, the only real trouble I had was trying to figure out how the hell I got the chart to print on two pages instead of three, without shrinking the font size to nothing, and I still have no idea how I did it. I had to find another way to do it for the chart pdf in the pattern.

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The yarn held up much better than I thought it would. Great sheen and stitch definition, although it’s a bit splitty. I’d use it again. I’d be hesitant to use it for garments, though, because I can practically hear it cackling at me. “You thought silk stretched out of shape? Silk is an amateur, just wait and see how badly I can stretch! Muhahahahahahaha!”

I am quite suspicious at how trouble-free this knit was. Maybe my knitting is trying to lure me into complacency. I’m on to you, knitting.


I’m unique, just like everybody else!

This entry is brought to you by a large pile of Silky Wool, currently angsting over what it wants to be when it grows up.


I did something shocking and appalling today.

I saw the new Interweave Knits on the magazine rack at the grocery store. I picked it up and flipped to the Tangled Yoke Cardigan that has been taunting me. Looked through the pattern. Totally my kind of pattern. Body knit in one piece, no yucky seaming apart from a little grafting at the underarms. Straightforward construction. Nothing complicated about the cable chart. I don’t have size 0 needles but that can be easily rectified. Looks just as lovely in the magazine as it does in the web pictures.

Then I put the magazine back down and left the store.

Well, okay, first I stopped at the Tim Hortons counter and bought a chocolate milk Iced Cappuccino. Then I left the store. My point is, I did not buy the magazine containing the lovely pattern. I think… I’ve gone off it. I think I was almost hoping it would be knit in eighteen different pieces and then seamed while blindfolded and listening to “Oops, I Did It Again” on an endless loop and then trimmed with bright purple fun fur (not pictured), so that I’d have a good reason not to make it. And I think I know why.

(Apologies to anyone still waiting for a Ravelry invite.)


Everybody wants to make it.

One of the nice things about knitting is that you can create a one-of-a-kind item. Even from a pattern that everybody and their dog is knitting. (If your dog is actually knitting something, please send pics.) You can modify the pattern. You can use an unusual yarn. You can add completely unnecessary ribbons and probably anger the yarn gods in the process. Lots and lots of ways to make a project your own. So what’s the problem?

Well, I don’t want to modify the pattern. I like it exactly the way it is. I wouldn’t be using the recommended yarn, but Silky Wool is probably the most common and obvious sub. My version of this cardigan would look exactly like everyone else’s version of this cardigan.

Trying to be different just for the sake of being different is dumb. I know this. Why does this bug me? So what if mine looks like everyone else’s; it’s still a gorgeous cardigan.

I may well go right back and get that magazine, because I am being an idiot. Or I may use the Giant Pile O’ Silky Wool for an idea that’s still floating around in my head, squeaking “knit me, nowwww, or at least sketch me before you forget me”. I’ve promised myself that I won’t start any new sweaters until I finish my neglected Fake-astanje Cardigan, so I’ve got a long time to decide. Because I am lazy. And will never finish that cardigan. Maybe moths have eaten it by now. Ugh, if moths get into my yarn bin, I am going to have to cut a bitch moth.

In other news, the awesome Webbo has given me a Rockin’ Girl Blogger award. Weeee!

It seems like everyone (and their dog… er… bitch?) has gotten one of these already, so I’m not sure who to pass it on to. Will have to figure that out.

And one more, completely random note: Every time I see a textured stitch pattern that looks all neat and interesting and such, it turns out to be freaking MOSS STITCH. That’s it? Not that it doesn’t appeal to my laziness, but… that’s it? That ridiculously simple stitch pattern can look so intricate? I see a lot of moss stitch in my future.

Leave me alone, Maddy…

As promised, Maddy pattern is up.

I’m so very tired.

A final burst of idiocy: I was trying to find a method to calculate how big to knit the yoke; something more concrete than my usual method of “hold it up in front of the mirror, say ‘okay, what the hell, that looks about right'”. So I came up with a formula that used the body stitch count to calculate the yoke stitch count. Then I realized that the formula to calculate the body stitch count used the yoke stitch count. Um. Oops.

(If you’re curious, the method I ended up going with was “try it on, dammit”.)

Then I proofread the pattern and found a whole bunch of errors. Okay, like, three, but that’s still three too many. Good: they’re not there anymore. Bad: I apparently cannot write up a pattern without errors, so there might be more still in there that I am too tired to catch. I’m sure people will find them and tell me about them, possibly with added profanities.

Perhaps this will improve my mood:


Alas, there is nothing fun and frivolous in there, only useful stuff. Still, new goodies! And the brown yarn will become Monster Hat: The Second Coming. Brain-eating hats definitely qualify as frivolous, right?

Maddy Masochism

Maddy is about 95% written up, and you’d think that now I could relax, right? Check for errors, fix the schematic, maybe set up a pdf version for easy printing, piece of cake. I’m sure you already know that if things were going that smoothly, I wouldn’t be writing about this at all…

Here’s the thing. The pattern is written for my size. 34-36″ bust, 28-30″ waist. It’s not an uncommon size, plenty of people can knit it as-is, but a whoooole lot of people will need a different size. I know about YarnStandards.com’s sizing chart, I know about other sizing charts on people’s blogs, I have no fear of knitting-math, but I don’t quite trust myself to write up other sizes. I just don’t have that knack of knowing where I’ll need to tweak the sizing chart numbers, except for my own size.

So I’ve written up instructions on how to resize it for your measurements. Extensive instructions. Instructions full of math and examples. The standard yoke/waist/bust stuff, plus how to change the neckline size, how to calculate the size of the lace panels at the bottom, how to know if you need bust darts. A whole freaking lesson on how to alter patterns, basically. I’ve been knitting for a year and a half; I’m not even qualified to give that sort of lesson.


(I don’t think I will ever get tired of turning my knits into monsters.)

Part of me is saying “you know, you could follow your own instructions, plug some numbers in, and come up with a bunch of sizes to add to the pattern”. But what if I get them wrong? As soon as there are absolute numbers in a pattern, people tend to follow them without thinking about what they’re doing, you know? Well, I don’t, but I’m a freak and a masochist and just have to know how every pattern works before I make it.

Another part of me is saying “hey, why don’t you code up a little calculator, have people enter their measurements, and it’ll automatically change the numbers in the pattern”. This appeals to my nerdy side, but it’s a lot of work for a pattern that maybe nobody will ever knit.

(I’m a pessimist. Several people have told me that they want to knit Maddy. It’s already in 7 queues on Ravelry and the pattern isn’t even available yet. But I’ve got stuff in my Ravelry queue that I’ll probably never knit, and just because I see a pattern I like doesn’t mean I ever get around to knitting it. So… yeah.)

It’s just that people are going to look at that mess of sizing info and go “meh, too much work, I’ll knit something easier instead”. It really isn’t that much work – and it’s also a useful lesson on how to dissect a pattern. And I like the idea of being able to make it fit your exact measurements, instead of choosing the closest size and hoping it’ll work out.

AAAAAAH! I don’t know what to do. And I want to get this pattern up soon; I promised I would.

It sure will be nice to write up the pattern for Bamboozled after this.


One size fits all, and I even have the chart done already!

Must… stop… blogging…

… and a second post, because I don’t like cluttering up FO posts with unrelated stuff. Three things…

One: Webs charged me $17 for shipping! I knew I was right to be all paranoid about it. I did the math and because the yarn was so cheap, it still comes out as cheaper than I could get it anywhere else, but still, WAH. Apparently there is a cheaper shipping option, but they refuse to use it because they hate me. (I assume that’s the reason; it’s perfectly logical, right?)

Plus, I still haven’t gotten a shipping notice from Fuzzy Mabel for the order I placed over a week ago; I wonder if something’s wrong, I’d better email them and ask. Perhaps this is the universe telling me to STOP BUYING SO MUCH DAMN YARN. The universe is so cruel.

Two: There will soon be a pattern (and a FO post) for the bamboo headband I’ve been yakking about, because it is already finished and blocking. Fastest FO evah; I think it took me two days, maybe three.


I have named it Bamboozled, because I am a massive dork.

Three: I need to stop with the incessant blog posts, for real.

FO: Maddy

Does it fit? Does it fit? Does it fit?



Pattern: IT’S COMING DAMMIT (sigh, I’ll edit in the link when it’s done, which WILL be in the next few days, I swear) IT’S HERE DAMMIT
Size: uh, me-sized? will fit about a 34″-36″ bust
Yarn: Alchemy Silk Purse in Rust Red, 4 skeins (note: these are the older skeins with more yardage)
Needles: US size 4

Apologies in advance for the picspam, I’m damn proud of this thing, and I took a million billion pics of it, and you’re going to humour me and look at them all, dammit. (Or you’re going to close your browser and laugh at me. Sob.)

maddy2.jpg maddyside2.jpg

It’s not perfect. It’s really obvious where the skeins change (alas, they all looked the same colour in the skein, otherwise I would have planned a smoother transition), and I’m not sure how long it’s going to fit as well as it does, given silk’s tendencies to stretch and sag. But damn, did I guess at the right measurements or what? This is probably the closest I’ve ever come to having a knit garment fit exactly right.


The pattern… oh, the pattern. I am the kind of knitter who reads over a pattern, figures out how it works, and promptly ignores the pattern details. I don’t need rows and rows of “k1, p2, k16, yo, slm, yo, k16…” and such, what I need is “knit in pattern to marker, increase just before and after marker”, general stuff, and if I can’t remember how many stitches before the marker to increase, I can look that up.

Unfortunately, that sort of hand-wavy instruction makes for a very confusing pattern, and writing up the pattern is very nonintuitive to me. For example, I kept moving around the point where a round starts/ends, and for a large chunk of the pattern I didn’t even have a round marker there, so I’m going to have to figure out where a normal knitter would want to put the round marker. Otherwise I will have to append “it all makes sense in my head, I swear” to every other line of the pattern, and that’s going from “Half-Assed Patterns” all the way to “This Pattern Is Useless And I Hope The Idiot Who Wrote It Gets Eaten By An Angry Giant Squirrel”.

I’ll make it work. I think.

maddysleevedetail.jpg maddyback.jpg

For anyone who might be thinking of making it (I’m trying to be optimistic and assume that someone, somewhere will like it enough to make one, heh), it’s not a difficult pattern. I suspect it looks harder than it is. The hardest bit is increasing in the lace pattern for the yoke, and it’s not hard so much as head-hurty. I’m going to try to include very clear directions for using extra stitch markers in that section to prevent total loss of sanity. The lace bits at the bottom are rectangular, so they’re super easy, and all the increases at the bottom are done in the stockinette section.


Very strange not to be writing about mods, given that there are none, because the pattern is MINE ALL MINE. Though I do want to say that looking at the pattern for Picovoli was very helpful; it has sort of the same shape I was going for, and similar gauge, so it was a useful “are my stitch counts in the right ballpark?” reassurance.

maddy3.jpg maddyflat.jpg

Designing this was a neat experience (occasional fits of “HELP ME I AM GOING MAD!!!” aside), but I’m kind of relieved it’s all finished.

I’ll be even more relieved if when I successfully write up a legible pattern for it.

Gratuitous Picture Post

Just testing out my WordPress Flickr plugin… heh heh.



*whistles innocently*

b0rking in progress…

Guess what! I’ve done the WordPress switch! And nothing’s broken!

Okay, well, everything is broken. Don’t click on anything, because I can pretty much guarantee it’s broken. But my old posts are imported and (some of) my redirects seem to be working. And all the broken things should be fixed by the end of tonight, unless they’re more broken than I thought they were.

If you’re subscribed to me (I heart you!) and you’re reading this, it means my feed redirects work! I’m sure they don’t, but I’m making a post just to see if they do, heh.

Okay, back to un-b0rking the site. I am treating myself to something delicious and alcoholic after this.

I said after, not during…. sigh.

Who needs sanity when I’ve got yarn?

WordPress! Gaaaaaaah! I am a masochist, people. I decided that I just have to make my site look exactly the same in WordPress as it does in Blogger. Except, WordPress’ template system is a lot more complex than Blogger’s. I mean, a lot. My Blogger template was 1 file, plus 3 or 4 more sidebar files that I patched in with SSI. My WordPress template… well, so far the folder with my template stuff contains 23 files. Aaaaaaaah!

I haven’t switched yet, I’ve just been playing around in a temporary directory. After finding about 5 different ways to break and then fix my WordPress install, I got everything working, and then decided to learn everything about the template system because I hate myself. What exactly was the purpose of reading through the widgets API and then saying “fuck it, I’m not using widgets because then I can’t use conditional tags on the sidebar”?

Oh. Right. Self-hatred.

Then I have to figure out how to not lose all my subscribers when my feed URLs change; I’m going to do a 301 redirect which is supposed to automatically switch over everything, but won’t, because… well, when does this stuff ever work the way it’s supposed to? And all my old blog links will be broken… more 301 redirects, I guess… and lord knows what’s going to happen to my blog stuff on Ravelry. Sob. I don’t want to think about it.

At least I’ll be able to reply to comments. And abuse tags. And now I’ll have a proper site search! And previous/next entry links! Even though it’s making my brain melty, WordPress is pretty darn cool.

Guess what. Maddy is two rows from being bound off.

Guess what else. Maddy has been two rows from being bound off for, like, three days, and I haven’t finished because I’ve been too busy fucking around with WordPress.

Guess what again. I bought more yarn. A whole hour before it even became Sunday, the Day of Unnecessary Yarn Purchases.

Why? Why?! I’ll tell you why. This… thing:

IT HAUNTS ME. I wantssss it, precioussss. (Sorry. That just slipped out.) I’ve been obsessively browsing online for Rowan Felted Tweed, and Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool which seems like a good (cheaper!) sub. But I’ve bought a lot of yarn lately. I’ll wait, I thought, the pattern isn’t going anywhere, and if I wait long enough there will be a really good sale on Felted Tweed or Silky Wool, and then I’ll get it. Good plan, isn’t it?

Except that there is a really good sale on Silky Wool RIGHT NOW, at Webs. So I got the damn yarn. I’m a bit worried that the colour I picked (#43) will be too dark to show cablework, but if so, I have other plans for the yarn. (cackle cackle)

I’m terrified, though, that the shipping costs to Canada will be so astronomical that they’ll negate any savings, and Webs doesn’t calculate costs in the cart so I have no idea what they’ll be. They charge actual shipping plus $1, so I know they won’t screw me, but the USPS might – I keep hearing that international shipping costs have gone way up. I’ve ordered from the US recently, since the shipping hike, and the envelopes have shown postage around $4 or $5, but IF ANYTHING CAN GO WRONG IT WILL AAAAAAAH.

Okay, that’s quite enough of my neuroses.

Hopefully my next entry will either be “yay I’m switching to WordPress now!” or “yay Maddy is done!”. Hopefully it will not be “boo Webs charged me $21 for shipping and I will go cry now!”

(sniffle, sob)