half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
January, 2008

FO: Serpentina

I’m very suspicious.

IMG_5242_sharp.jpg

The Incense scarf is done, and it turned out just the way I wanted, and I didn’t have to change anything in my original pattern notes, and this never happens. Why is my knitting suddenly well-behaved? I don’t know what to make of this.

IMG_5292.JPG

I guess I should just shut up and be happy.

Pattern: Serpentina (look how good I’m getting at writing up patterns before I blog them!)
Yarn: Elann Incense in Brick, 4 balls
Needles: US 7

It really did turn out just the way I wanted and I’m happy with it. And I’d recommend the pattern to anyone feeling some scarf lust – it’s a totally headache-free pattern. I know. But it seriously is! The lace rib is easy and just interesting enough that you won’t die of boredom, and as soon as you start to suffer from Repetitive Stitch Syndrome there’s that little bit of stockinette to break things up. I like this pattern a lot. Wow. This is weird. I am totally, completely, 100% satisfied with a pattern. Either I’m getting better at designing, or I’ve just lowered my standards. (Pick option A! PICK OPTION A!)

It’s not reversible, but the wrong side looks fairly nice anyway.

IMG_5244.JPG

It is a Very Long Scarf. You know that guideline that the ideal scarf length should be about your height? Um. I am… not so much obeying that guideline. Unless I’m nine feet tall. But I’m not.

IMG_5219_cropped.jpg

Can’t sleep, scarf’ll eat me.

Yeah, so that was a bit unexpected, but I like long scarves. I’ve made a few scarves with yarn yardage in the 200-300 range, and find that they often come out a bit short. So I bought 4 balls of Incense – 456 yards – and decided to feed them all to the scarf and see what happened. This pattern? Not so much a yarn-eating pattern, because those 4 balls got me 110 inches of scarf.

And I mean exactly 4 balls. This is what I had left over:

IMG_5325.JPG

Not so much “left over” as “clipped off after weaving in the ends”. That’s all there is. I spit-spliced balls together (yup, Incense does spit-splice, w00t!). I had a foot or so of yarn that I snipped off because of a knot, and I had to splice in that measly foot of yarn at the end just to finish the bind-off row. Yeesh. That yarn messed with my head towards the end.

Oh look, there’s lots of yarn left, maybe I can even do another repeat after this one.
Okay, not so much yarn left, I guess I’ll just do this last repeat.
Huh, that yarn is running a bit low, good thing I’m almost done.
Ooh, I’m really going to use up all of this yarn, aren’t I.
OH CRAP OH CRAP I’M GOING TO RUN OUT OF YARN CRAP CRAP CRAP.

FYI: Knitting faster does not stop you from running out of yarn.

I don’t know, it seemed logical at the time.

But I made it (with inches to spare!) and got me a nice Very Long Scarf. Don’t knock Very Long Scarves. You can wrap ‘em around your neck seven billion times.

IMG_5184_cropped.jpg

Or do neat crazy loopy things!

IMG_5312_cropped.jpg

Yes, I love me some nine foot scarves.

(There has to be some sort of phallus-related scarf-length joke here, but I’m not going to make it. See how classy I am?)

Now let’s talk yarn, shall we? I know people want to hear about the Incense – in fact, I know that I have already lured several people into buying some Incense – muhahahahaha! If I’m going to Yarn Lust Hell, I’m taking you down with me!

I reported a potential knot situation earlier, and I’m happy to say that it wasn’t a problem. The two knots that I spied turned out to be the only two knots in all four balls. The first ball had a few weird rough spots in the yarn – I don’t know how else to describe them – but only one of those spots was bad enough to have to cut the yarn. The rest I could just roll between my fingers and they pretty much went away. Given the price of the yarn (cheap!), I’ll put up with two knots and a rough spot.

IMG_5301.JPG

Knitting with it was lovely – it feels like wool, nice and sproingy, the silk and bamboo don’t kill the elasticity at all. It definitely has that silk sheen, and great stitch definition, and nothing weird happened to it after a wash and block. It’s quite soft. Not Malabrigo soft, or alpaca soft, but softer than Cascade 220 or Patons Merino.

Oh – there is one thing – it’s kind of bleedy. I soaked it in cold water and a little Eucalan, and the water went quite pink. So if you plan to mix colours, test for colourfastness first. (Is that a word? That’s a word, right?)

I would definitely use it again – in fact, next time I have some spare cash I’ll probably buy a sweater’s worth of it. I hope Elann keeps it around for a while. I hope it doesn’t sell out before I have a chance to get my sweater’s worth. Don’t buy my yarn, people. I’ll get you if you buy my yarn. I’ll send fun fur to your house.

IMG_5225_sharp.jpg

I’m still rather wary of this problem-free knit. Maybe I should get started on Cursebreaker while this good knitting behaviour lasts. Surely nothing can go wrong! I’m on a knitting roll!

Huh… I hear something that sounds suspiciously like six skeins of Cascade 220 laughing at me.



FO: Goldilocks’ Revenge

Goldilocks is back, and this time she’s pissed.

She returns in the form of one skein of Handmaiden Lady Godiva. A picky, picky, picky skein. This pattern is too hot. This pattern is too cold. This pattern is too big. This pattern is too small. OH MY GOD. And there are no bears in sight to shut her up.

First, there was the experimental Horrible Yellow Acrylic stitch. I kind of knew that this one was doomed from the start, but I gave it a try anyway.

IMG_4870.JPG

Yep. Doomed. Stitch pattern devoured by the variegation. Luckily, it looks a lot better in some solid Elann Incense…

IMG_5154.JPG

(5.5 feet down, 1.5 feet to go, and then you get the pattern!)

But we’re talking about Missie Picky Bitch Lady Godiva now. Next up was the White Night scarf attempt. It wasn’t horrible.

IMG_4875.JPG

But it wasn’t right, sez Lady Goldilocks. And it really wasn’t. The result didn’t make me think “yummy scarf that I will want to show off”. It smacked of “must get this yarn knitted up and out of the way”. I think the pattern will suit my Rowan Chunky Print much better.

So I thought maybe plain stockinette was the answer, given the variegation. But stockinette is so boring. Maybe some ridges of something-or-other to break up the monotony.

IMG_4884.JPG

I like it, said I.
I don’t, whined GoldieGodiva.

Sigh.

Okay, then, maybe something a little more complex. Maybe some seed stitch. Seed stitch looks good in variegated yarn. And maybe some slip-stitch ridges just to add some visual interest.

IMG_4930.JPG

It’s pooling all funny, whined Lady Bitchwhine-a, and this time I had to agree. It wasn’t pooling, exactly, but the colours were grouping themselves strangely and unattractively. If I made it any thinner, I’d barely have a scarf. If I made it thicker, the scarf wouldn’t be long enough with my single skein. Back to the frog pond. And now I was getting desperate.

And that was when I found the Morning Surf Scarf.

You know what? I don’t like seafoam stitch. I don’t like the way it looks and I don’t like knitting it. But for some reason, I liked this particular incarnation of it. There are some beautiful FOs on Ravelry and I think something about the rows of stockinette in between the elongated stitches makes it look better. I don’t know. But it was worth a try. And I tried it. AND IT WORKED.

IMG_5129.JPG

Pattern: Morning Surf Scarf
Yarn: Handmaiden Lady Godiva, 1 skein (I think the colourway is Forest, but I’m not sure)
Needles: US 7

Yeeees. Me likey, and Goldilocks ain’t complaining. This pattern is just right. The yarn is adequately shown off. The colours did a neat diagonal stripey thing. The stitch pattern and the variegation co-exist nicely.

I cast on 26 stitches, and it was looking a little short at bind-off, but after a wash and a block it turned out nice and long.

IMG_5062.JPG

And the yarn sure is purty.

IMG_5113.JPG

I. LOVE. THIS. YARN. Variegation issues aside. It has the sheen and softness of silk, and the resilience of wool. It stood up beautifully to repeated froggings. All it did was fuzz slightly, and then after washing/blocking I couldn’t even tell which end of the scarf was the froggy one. I don’t know how well it’ll hold up over time, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see, but for now I love it. I want to knit everything in it. Which I can’t, because, dude, 30 bucks a skein. whimper

But someday, someday I will be filthy rich and buy ALL THE LADY GODIVA IN THE WORLD.

Okay, realistically. Someday I will start selling patterns, and use that money to splurge on a sweater’s worth of Lady Godiva. Yum. Now there’s some motivation to get my designing shit together.

And Goldilocks? I am sick of you, Goldilocks. I am sick of trying tons of patterns with the same yarn and finding that none of them are Just Right. Stop infecting my perfectly good yarn with your obsessive pickiness!

Got that, Goldilocks? Next time – I’m sending bears.



Breaking The Curse

They haunt me. When I run from them, I know they’re always behind me. When I go to sleep at night, they stalk my dreams. They’re always there, haunting, taunting, following me. I try to rid myself of them, but they always foil my intricate plans.

They are the faceless demon in the night. They are my curse. They are four skeins of red Cascade 220 and two skeins of black Cascade 220 AND I HATE THEM WITH MY VERY SOUL.

I tried to turn them into a sweater.

IMG_4041.JPG

Okay, we won’t speak of that sweater. But, strike one.

Then I tried to turn them into a better sweater.

IMG_4529.JPG

Strike two. It doesn’t fit. And it looks weird. And I died of boredom while trying to knit a sleeve. In fact, I’m blogging this from beyond the grave. In the afterlife, you can only get dial-up internet. Boy does it suck.

Then there was my next “bright” “idea”.

redandblacktunic.jpg

Yeah, I didn’t even get to cast on for this one before the yarn said “nope, nuh-uh, not going to happen”. After I rewrote the pattern to suit it. You couldn’t have told me that sooner, yarn? Of course you couldn’t. You are the devil. Strike three.

But I’m determined to break the curse, and turn this yarn into a sweater. It’s just yarn! I can conquer it! So I got out the sketchbook and started drawing red-and-black sweaters.

Some that I quite liked, but don’t really feel like knitting:

IMG_4981.JPG

Some that I, well, imagine that cat macro that says DO NOT WANT:

IMG_4984.JPG

But eventually I settled on one. I wanted something a little weird looking, something that I hadn’t seen before, and I am on a big asymmetry kick lately so this is what I came up with:

IMG_4990.JPG

I… think I like it. The diamond pattern was originally “scribbled cross-hatching across the front left panel to represent some sort of pattern”, which looked like diamonds and then I decided I wanted actual diamonds. And then wasted a whole bunch of time swatching cabled and twisted-stitch diamonds only to decide to just do ‘em in purls.

I still haven’t frogged the last incarnation of the demon yarn, but that turned out to be a good thing, because I could try it on and make note of all the places where it didn’t fit right, and tweak the measurements accordingly.

(Places where it didn’t fit right = ALL OF THEM. ALL OF THE PLACES.)

So if this latest attempt turns out well, I’ll write up a pattern for it, which will be awesome because I’d like another garment pattern up there besides Maddy. And if I write up a pattern, it shall be called the Cursebreaker sweater. BECAUSE I WILL BREAK THIS CURSE. YOU HEAR THAT, YARN?

And on that note, I’ve been thinking that I ought to set up a proper pattern site. I am liking this designing thing and I think soon I’ll be good enough that I can actually sell some patterns. But Half-Assed Patterns as a name simply will not do. And yet, I’d like a name that’s still in the spirit of my demented sense of humour. I thought that perhaps I could find a fancy schmancy name that is somehow related to halves and/or asses.

And decided to start by looking up the scientific name for “donkey”, because, hey, that could be something. Guess what it is?

Equus asinus.

That’s just great. Not only does it still contain as(s), but it also sort of looks like “anus”. Oh yes, that’s the association I want. I can see it now:

“Ass ‘N’ Anus Design Studio – your bottom line for design!”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bang my head against my desk for a while.



Happiness is a Cabled Goat

If you ever need proof that I am way too easily amused… this entry should do it.

Yesterday, I was browsing the forums on Ravelry, and saw a topic that was intended to read “Need a good first go at cables pattern”. But a space had been left out, so it actually read, “Need a good first goat cables pattern“.

Oh, you know where this is going.

Here is something you may not know about me: I think goats are hilarious and awesome. I heart goats. Even the word “goat” is funny. GOAT GOAT GOAT GOAT. I of course clicked on the thread, hoping it would contain some real live goat cables. Apparently half of Ravelry also clicked on it hoping the same thing, judging from the posts. Clearly there is some serious demand for cabled goats.

Of course there is! Goats are fabulous. Cables are fabulous. You do the math. I already did the math, and so…

IMG_5057.JPG

Does it look like a goat? It sort of looks like a goat. It would probably look more like a goat if I knew what the hell I was doing. I’ve never tried to design a cable from scratch before. I don’t really know how to design a cable. But I did it anyway, and it’s not perfect, but damned if it isn’t recognizable as a goaty type thing.

When I started knitting – less than two years ago – my first project was a hat. And my second project was another hat, only with cables and i-cord ties and an improvised pattern. This was probably not something I should have been doing for my second project ever, but it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do it, so I did. And my cables looked great, and my i-cord looked… um… adequate (to this day, my i-cord is still kind of, well, knitted ropes of ass).

This is pretty much the attitude I’ve always taken with knitting (and for that matter, most other things). And it’s why I’ve never been afraid to modify a pattern, or make up a pattern completely, or try things that probably won’t work but sometimes they will and hell, it’s worth a try. It’s why I was designing my first sweater when I hadn’t even been knitting a year. And guess what. It sucked! But that’s okay. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that’s no big deal.

So that’s my advice to any newbie (or slightly timid oldbie) knitters out there. If you think you can’t do something, do it anyway! You’ll either figure it out along the way, or you’ll fuck it up, frog it, and figure it out the next time around with the knowledge of what not to do.

You can even make goat cables!

Um, so yeah, here’s a pattern for the goat cable. All the cables are small enough that you can do ‘em without a cable needle if you like.

Row 1 (RS): p6, RC2, LC2, p6.
Row 2: k6, p4, k6.
Row 3: p6, k4, p6.
Row 4: k6, p4, k6.
Row 5: p6, LC4, p6.
Row 6: k6, p4, k6.
Row 7: p5, RPC3, LPC3, p5.
Row 8: k5, p2, k2, p2, k5.
Row 9: p4, RPC3, p2, LPC3, p4.
Row 10: k4, p2, k4, p2, k4.
Row 11: p4, k2, p4, k2, p4.
Row 12: k4, p2, k4, p2, k4.
Row 13: p3, RC2, k1, p4, k1, LC2, p3.
Row 14: k2, LC2, p2, k4, p2, RC2, k2.
Row 15: p1, RC2, k3, p4, k3, LC2, p1.
Row 16: k1, p5, k4, p5, k1.
Row 17: p1, k1, RPC2, k2, p4, k2, LPC2, k1, p1.
Row 18: k1, LPC2, k1, p2, k4, p2, k1, RPC2, k1.
Row 19: p4, LC3, p2, RC3, p4.
Row 20: k4, p1, RC3, LC3, p1, k4.
Row 21: p4, k2, LC2, RC2, k2, p4.
Row 22: k4, p3, k2, p3, k4.
Row 23: p4, k3, p2, k3, p4.
Row 24: k3, LC2, LPC2, k2, RPC2, RC2, k3.
Row 25: p3, k1, RPC2, p4, LPC2, k1, p3.
Row 26: k3, LPC2, k6, RPC2, k3.

LC2 (RS): slip 1st st in front of 2nd st, k2
RC2 (RS): slip 1st st behind 2nd st, k2
LC2 (WS): slip 1st st in front of 2nd st, p2
RC2 (WS): slip 1st st behind 2nd st, p2
LPC2: slip 1st st in front of 2nd st, p1, k1.
RPC2: slip 1st st behind 2nd st, k1, p1.
LC3 (RS): slip 1st and 2nd st in front of 3rd st, k3.
RC3 (RS): slip 1st st behind 2nd and 3rd st, k3.
LC3 (WS): slip 1st st in front of 2nd and 3rd st, p3.
RC3 (WS): slip 1st and 2nd st behind 3rd st, p3.
LPC3: slip 1st and 2nd st in front of 3rd st, p1, k2.
RPC3: slip 1st st behind 2nd and 3rd st, k2, p1.
LC4: slip 1st and 2nd st in front of 3rd and 4th st, k4.

(Vertical lines are knits, horizontal lines are purls, and you should be able to eyeball the cables. Cable stitches coloured grey are purls, the rest are knits.)

Go forth and knit goats! I might have to design something around the goat cable. I’m thinking a sleeveless empire waist tunic, with a seed stitch top and columns of cables (goat and otherwise) interspersed with triangular seed stitch panels for the bottom… oh dammit. I’m going to need another Happy Fun Box of Yarn and I have no money. CABLED GOATS ARE TROUBLE.



Happy New Yarn!

I’ve been itching to design, lately. That sounds like something that involves a rash. “Yep, I’ve got The Itch. I tried the ointment, but it didn’t help. Don’t come near me, it might be contagious.”

Alas, the small size of my stash and the smaller size of my yarn budget means that I have no materials! Pffft. I need to become a Big Established Designer so that yarn companies will send me free yarn to design things. I’m sure they’ll be lining up to have their yarn associated with something as professional-sounding as Half-Assed Patterns. Heh.

But wait! There is hope! Hope in the form of a Happy Fun Box of Yarn* from Elann! Probably my last Box of Yarn for awhile, and it’s only a little one, but it should keep me occupied for a little while. What’s in the box? What’s in the boooox?

* Do not taunt Happy Fun Box of Yarn.

Well, first, there’s some Rowan Chunky Print.

IMG_4941.JPG

This one isn’t itch ointment; I already had a project in mind for it. I saw this scarf on Ravelry and I waaants one. I tried to turn my skein of Lady Godiva into one, but it was having none of that because Lil’ Missie Godiva is a picky bitch. (Oh, I will talk about this later. Not today.) And I thought, well, what I really need for this pattern is something bulky, something that isn’t variegated, and something with a bit of handspun-esque texture. And then, poof, Elann has Chunky Print for cheap, in the exact colour that I had been eyeing-but-not-buying on Webs’ site (I am apprehensive of ordering from there after the previous shipping debacle). It’s a sign!

(Why does every “it’s a sign!” moment result in me either spending too much money or doing something incredibly stupid?)

I was playing “guess the colour from intarwebs pics” game with this, because I wanted it to match this adorably hideous faux-vintage coat I have. I say faux-vintage because it is so very, very faux. Because I bought it at Urban Behaviour shutup shutup.

IMG_4939.JPG

Works for me!

Okay, next up we have some Elann Incense.

IMG_4960.JPG

I’ve been dying to try this yarn since I saw it in Elann’s newsletter before it was even available. Wool, silk, and bamboo for 4 bucks a ball? Yes, please!

The good news is that it’s very pretty, and soft, with a nice sheen from the silk. I got it in “Brick”, and played “guess the colour” with this one too – a little-known, harder version of the game called “guess the colour from Elann’s crappy, crappy swatches that are always wrong, but you have no other choice because the yarn’s so new that nobody has photographed it yet, and if it’s orange or pink you’re going to stab it in the neck, and yes I know that yarn doesn’t have a neck but IT’S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE THING DAMMIT”. It’s not a fun game. I don’t recommend it.

But I WON, because it’s not orange, and it’s not pink either, but a genuine true neutral red. Score.

The bad news is that out of 4 skeins, there are visible knots in 2 of them. No, I haven’t rewound them. This is just out of the bits of the balls that I can see. Who knows how many more knots are lurking in their depths. 50% wool yarn will spit-splice, right? Right?! Don’t tell me it won’t! Lalalalanotlistening…

It’ll be a scarf. The scarf of the Horrible Yellow Acrylic experiments. The scarf that I tried to turn that Lady Godiva into, but it was also not having that. Oh yes, I will definitely be talking about that skein of Lady Godiva later, loudly, angrily, possibly involving as many impolite words as I can think of.

Anyway. The scarf that is my own design! Take that, itch. I’ve tweaked it after the Lady Godiva fiasco and have most of the pattern written up. Now I just have to knit the thing.

And now, the final inhabitant of the Happy Fun Box of Yarn is…

IMG_4948.JPG

Two balls of Elann Tweedy Silk that I bought for absolutely no reason other than wanting to see what the yarn was like. (Answer: it’s boring. Typical rough silk, kind of pretty, whatever. We’ll see how it knits up, though.) I ordered two balls because I figured I can’t make squat with just one. Not that I can make much of anything with two. Maybe I just wanted an excuse to type “two balls” a lot.

But while I waited for the Happy Fun Box to make its way through holiday mail hell to me, I had an idea.

Or rather, a long time ago I had an idea, but could only think up a crappy implementation of it. This time I thought of a much better implementation. A smallish version of which could easily be done with 208 yards of boring silk tweed.

It is the NERDIEST IDEA EVER and you will all think it is stupid but that’s all right. It makes me happy! And I need to go knit it and write it up because it won’t make any sense until it’s in FO-and-pattern form, I don’t think. So for now I will call it the Secret Nerd Scarf. Which is actually not that different from what I’ll probably call it in the end.

Ahhh, the Happy Fun Box is filled with Happy Fun. And it has the potential to treat The Itch. Worship the Happy Fun Box! Love the Happy Fun Box!