The yarn bin is a place of magical transformation. I stuffed a half-finished Maddy in there, looking like hot buttered ass, and a few weeks later it came out looking like a cute top.
Months ago, I stuffed the Fake-astanje Cardigan in the yarn bin. At the time, it was an adorable little sweater, only lacking some sleeves. Now winter looms, and along with frozen toes, frozen asses, and other frozen extremities that it’s best not to speak of, that means sweater-knitting. Time to reclaim that cardigan and give it some damn arms.
Little did I know that it would re-emerge from the yarn bin as a SWEATER OF HATE.
Let me tell you about Sweaters of Hate. They look pretty innocent. That’s part of their plan.
But don’t be fooled, they are objects of pure malevolence. They look like they’re going to fit you, but they don’t. And they don’t refuse to fit in some straightforward way. Of course not. They manage to be simultaneously too small and too big, and wrinkle in places where you know you didn’t put any extra fabric, and shrink in length if you look away for a moment, and then add fat to your upper arms. I don’t know where they get the fat.
They eat rows of knitting, too. I keep adding stitches to that first sleeve, and it doesn’t get any longer. It did at first. Just to lure me into a sense of complacence, I suspect. You think everything is going well, and you keep merrily knitting, and the sleeve doesn’t get any longer! By the time you notice, it’s too late!
This is my first long-sleeved sweater. How bad can sleeves be, I thought. They’re just a long, quick tube. AAAAAAGGGHGHGHGHH. DIE SLEEVES I HATE YOU WHY WON’T YOU KNIT YOURSELF HEEEEELP ME THE SLEEVES ARE EATING MY BRAAAAIINNN
You know what else Sweaters of Hate do? They make you ranty. Not about sleeves. Well, yes, about sleeves, but also about everything.
I belong to a few knitting communities on LiveJournal. I don’t post to them anymore, because they’re not very friendly. They look like they’re friendly, but then you inadvertently say something that might be offensive to 0.0037% of society and you can bet that that 0.0037% will read your post and tell you in no uncertain terms that you are a very bad person. Like jokingly calling the community a “hive mind”, apparently. I didn’t do that. But someone did, and a pack of knitting-community-wolves promptly descended on them, and this is why I don’t post there. But I keep them on my friends list to read, because sometimes there’s some good info, and plenty of decent people among the wolves.
But when the communities are not being unfriendly, they’re being far too friendly, by which I mean rewarding people for being extremely annoying, and if anybody points out that said person is being extremely annoying, this is what happens:
“OMG! I thought this community was supposed to be friendly! I was just trying to share my [insert annoying behaviour/opinion/blog-whoring here]! You’re all meanies! I’m taking my ball and going home!”
“Nooo! Don’t leave! We love you and your annoying behaviour! All those other people are just jellus haterz! Don’t listen to them!”
“Yay, my fishing for compliments worked and I got some attention! Now I’ll stay and continue my annoying behaviour!”
Gah, I have gone completely off on a tangent here, this isn’t even what I meant to write about. I assume the Sweater of Hate is responsible for this fit of ranting. It certainly has nothing to do with me being a cranky bitch.
Anyway. I’m being harsh with that example, because everyone appreciates a little attention, annoying behaviour is subjective, and we’re all guilty of it now and then. But those communities are strange. Attention-whoring seems to be embraced, accidentally saying something controversial means you’re a horrible person, and you must be Nice at all times, except when you’re being a bitch, but that’s okay because you’re actually a Nice Person telling off a Mean Person, and by the way, here’s a link to your blog and you really love to get comments!
Aaaah. That’s what I really wanted to talk about, blog-whoring, but I’ve gone off on a tangent again, and this entry is getting too damn long. Oh, Sweater of Hate, what have you done to me? Maybe it’ll help if I turn it sideways a bit.
Hmm. I don’t think that’s working. Maybe if I add some hippos to it.
I think that’s a little bit better. You know what, I’ll have to talk about blog-whoring another day because I think I’ve already used up my bitch quota for the day. What I will talk about instead is sweaters. OF HATE.
I hate you, sweater.
This is my second attempt at this sweater and I still hate it. I liked it when I sent it to yarn bin exile, so it’s possible that if I shove it back in the yarn bin for awhile, it’ll undergo another metamorphosis. I kind of want to frog the whole black bit and redo it in a different lace pattern. And redo those awful button bands because they look like… er… awful button bands, I guess. How many times am I going to have to frog this sweater?!
I’ve already given up on writing up a pattern for it. (Hm, I should take it off the patterns page.) Which is fine, really, because nobody wants to make a Sweater of Hate.
Yes, it’s going back to the yarn bin, and hopefully will take my rants with it. I think it’s time to take out the bag of Malabrigo. There’s no way something that delicious could ever turn into a Sweater of Hate.
I’m going to make this! How cute is that sweater? Cute. Totally cute. Not at all hateful. YAY!
Once upon a time, there was an Unnecessary Yarn Order. A wee little order, just one skein of Finest Silke. And your Narrator waited and waited for notice that the Yarn was on its way, but no notice came.
Oh woe, thought the Narrator, and promptly contacted the Purveyors of Ye Olde Yarn Crack. But still, no notice came. Your Narrator worried that perhaps her missive had been eaten by a Dragon. On and on, she waited.
And finally, there came a distant message from yon Purveyors of Ye Olde Yarn Crack. Sure enough, Emaile Dragons had intercepted the missive, but all was well. The Yarn was being painted by Magickal Yarn Faeries, and would be on its way shortly.
Day after day, your Narrator waited for the messenger that would bring the Yarn. A fortnight passed, and there was no sign of any Yarn. On the plus side, there was no sign of Dragons either, or Burninated Peasants. So, there was that. Finally, just when your Narrator was about to give up all hope, an envelope arrived.
Your Narrator opened the envelope to find a…
Oops, hang on, that’s a bundle of tissue paper.
Oh, come on, that’s just a tease. Get with the yarn porn already.
Right, that’s better. Okay, where was I?
Ahem. Your Narrator opened the envelope to find a most lovely bundle of Finest Silke, painted in colours of such beauty only achieved by the most talented of Magickal Yarn Faeries.
And waiting for the Silke, in a shocking display of pre-planning and utilization of your Narrator’s Whole Asse, was a pattern for a lace scarf. Er, well, a lace chart of sorts. Lace Charte? I can’t keep this up much longer.
All that was left to do was find a matching cast-on and bind-off to edge the scarf, and your Narrator could start knitting with the Finest Silke, instead of writing insipid fairy-tale blog entries about not knitting with The Finest Silke.
Some scrap Yarn was procured, and the swatching began.
First, your Narrator tried an i-cord cast-on and bind-off. “This
porridge edging is too hot messy”, said the swatch. “Also, your cast on stitches are all loose, because you suck,” continued the swatch. “Shut up, swatch,” replied your Narrator.
Next, a simple long tail cast-on matched with a purl bind-off. “This edging matches perfectly fine, but you’re not going to use it because you’re so obsessive-compulsive that it’ll bug you that the bumpy purl-y bit is smaller on the cast-on than the bind-off,” said the swatch.
“Swatches can’t talk,” said your Narrator.
“And you’re totally telling this story wrong anyway,” continued the swatch, “aren’t you supposed to be talking about cold porridge at this point? And where are all the bears?”
“I have sharp, pointy knitting needles,” your Narrator replied.
“I’ll be good,” promised the swatch.
Finally, your Narrator tried a few rows of garter stitch at each end. “There’s nothing really wrong with this edging,” said the swatch, “so you may as well just use it.”
Your Narrator eyed the swatch critically. “Ehh. I guess it’s okay. But… I don’t think I really like it. I want something better.”
“Haven’t you been listening? This is the part of the story where you’re supposed to say that the edging is just right. Well, the porridge, but you’ve obviously decided to take some creative license on that,” complained the swatch.
“But it isn’t just right,” insisted your Narrator, “I don’t like it.”
“Look,” snapped the swatch, “nobody likes an open-ended story. You need some closure here. Pick an edging, live happily ever after, and for fuck’s sake stop capitalizing random words.”
“Never!” Yelled Your Narrator Jubilantly. “You Will Pry My Random Capitalization From… yeah, okay.”
“So? The edging?”
“Um… well… hey, look over there! Look at that lovely yarn porn!”
The Most Evile swatch was eaten by a Dragon, and your Narrator and the Yarn of Finest Silke lived happily ever after. The end.
I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN.
… hey, so, anyone have a suggestion for a nice matching cast-on and bind-off and/or edging for a lace scarf? Just… no picots. Don’t talk to me about picots.
Ah, the wisdom of Malibu Stacy.
I do not feel like thinking lately. I just want to sit in front of the TV, a glazed look in my zombie eyes, and knit something. Something where I can follow a pattern as written and not have to think. Unfortunately I have reached a point in most of my WIPs where thinking is required.
· The Fake-astanje Cardigan needs sleeves, which means I have to figure out the sleeve decreases. Thinking!
· The monster hat still has to be written up (and knit), and although it’s an easy pattern, I can’t figure out a good way to do the teeth. More thinking!
· The Mini Maiden cardigan thing is currently taunting me via a tiny, unblocked swatch. “Are you sure this is going to work? Does this swatch really look right?” Shut up until I block you, swatch. But that cardigan needs to be transferred from idea to pattern, in any case. Lots of thinking!
· And then there’s Fifi. Oh, Fifi.
Doesn’t it look like it’s almost finished?
Guess what. It isn’t. I’ve done as much mindless work on it as I can, but now I have to think. I want some little slits at the bottom and I have to decide where to place them. I want to add 3/4 length sleeves, with big slits that are cinched together by more Unnecessary Ribbon, and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to work that.
Thinking! So much thinking! Even thinking about the amount of thinking requires too much thinking!
So I have turned to my only WIP that doesn’t require thinking. My good old shove-in-my-purse-when-I-need-a-portable-project, the Knotted Openwork Scarf. It’s been on the needles since winter, because I try not to work on it unless I want something mindless. Well, the time has come. Bring on the mindless!
I rescued it from yarn bin exile yesterday and I swear I’ve doubled its length in one evening of knitting. Enough that I had to scrunch it up to take a picture.
The pattern is here: Knotted Openwork Scarf. Go ahead and click on that. Look at the scarf shown there. Then look at mine again. It’s the same pattern. I swear it is. Can you see it?
No? How about now?
Just a little, maybe? I saw a gorgeous version of this scarf done in Manos, and that’s what prompted me to try it with my useless skein of Araucania Magallanes. Seriously, this yarn is useless. It’s very pretty, but useless. Scratchy, single-ply, thick-and-thin, completely impractical. But somehow it works for this scarf, even though I’ll probably have to soak it in hair conditioner to make it soft enough to wear.
Also, it requires no thinking. It’s a 4-row pattern; rows 1 and 3 are just purling, and row 4 is a repeat of row 2, just shifted over a few stitches.
The only problem is, it seems to knit up so quickly that soon it’ll be finished and I’ll have to… gulp… think again.
I think Malibu Stacy may be on to something. I’ve noticed some little wrinkles under my eyes already. I’m only 25 and my youth has already left me! DAMN YOU, THINKING! DAMN YOU TO CEREBRAL HELL!
It whispers to me. When I close my eyes, I can hear its seductive purr. “I’m so beautiful,” it murmurs, “so soft, so silky. I’ve seen you watching me. I know what you want to do to me.”
“Knit with me,” it urges. “Just do it. Do it now. I know you’ll be gentle.”
I am weak, very weak. I knew it was waiting for me, sitting quietly in the yarn bin, tempting me. No hurry, I thought, trying to ignore it, but I can’t fight it any longer. The Mini Maiden wants to get on the needles, and I am powerless to resist.
Oh, Mini Maiden, what am I going to do with you?
Rhetorical schmetorical, I choose to interpret that question literally and in fact I know exactly what I want to do with it. In an effort to become a Real Designer (snerk), I got myself a proper sketchbook. A nice big one, so that I could work out all the pattern details right next to the sketches, instead of scribbling them on the back of a printout of English Mesh Lace (again). I tracked down my old, neglected sketching pencils. For some reason, they were inside a furry black drawstring bag. (Not that one.) I… don’t know.
I was rewarded with a sketch that is at least 3% nicer than the ones I draw on lined paper with whatever pen[cil] I find lying on my desk. Totally worth it. Uh… right?
Effort is overrated, I think. Still, I like not having LINES going through my sketches. Hooray sketchbook.
I once hand-wound a skein of laceweight yarn from Knitpicks, 440 yds of it, and swore that I would never do it again. Well, mostly I just swore. But the “never again” thing was said too. I guess I technically kept my self-promise, because 547 yds of fingering weight is not the same thing as 440 yds of laceweight.
The yarn whispered some more during this process. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that what it said was, “neener neener, you don’t have a swift and ball winder, because you suuuuck.” But my beloved Mini Maiden would never say something like that.
By the end of it, I had noticed two things.
1. This yarn is really really fucking gorgeous.
2. This yarn is really really not my colour.
I knew about #2 (and for that matter, #1) when I bought it. It was a deliberate attempt to buy yarn that wasn’t so firmly seated on the warm-toned half of the colour wheel that it had made a permanent ass-indent. Variety! Spice of life! And so on.
I can wear those colours, I think. And they are very pretty. Particularly that bright teal-y sort of shade. I must embrace the world outside of my comfortable little corner of red and coral! Yeah. Whatever. I guess I should go and swatch.
P.S. Guess what size needles I’ll be using. Hint: madness may be involved.
P.P.S. I have become obsessed with Artfibers. I WILL purchase a giant heap of their beautiful, beautiful yarn. (When I can afford it. Which isn’t now.) Don’t tell the Mini Maiden. I don’t want it to fly into a jealous rage.