half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog

The Road To Madness Is Paved With Ketchup

Let’s begin with a skein of Malabrigo Sock.


And let’s say that I am winding said skein. Insanity level is low moderate, given that Malabrigo Sock has a tendency to tangle, and given that I don’t own a swift or ball winder. So. Moderate. One can handle that. One might argue that anyone who takes large quantities of string and pokes at them with some pointy sticks for hours and hours in the name of “enjoyment” is used to handling moderate levels of insanity.

And let’s say that I am happily winding away, and looking at the pretty pretty red, and oh wait how about we go off on a completely unrelated tangent about salty snacks. A particular snack that you may not be familiar with, depending on what parts of the world you come from, as I am informed that it may be a Canadian thing.

I am speaking, of course, of ketchup chips.

And what on earth does this have to do with knitting? (Nothing. I mean, something.) Have I gone mad? (Yes.)

Well, I used to eat ketchup chips as a kid. The average ketchup chip would be this sad, pale thing, weakly sprinkled with red bits, that tasted vaguely tangy and spicy. But the best thing EVER would be when you’d reach into the bag and pull out a chip that was just saturated with red powder. It was like a delicious artificial ketchup flavouring party in your mouth!

The more I looked at this yarn, the more it looked like one of those heavily seasoned ketchup chips. In fact, I could almost swear that it smelled like a ketchup chip. If I had eaten some of the yarn, I’m sure it would have tasted like ketchup chips, but it seems like a generally bad idea to eat yarn, so I didn’t. Does anyone know if Malabrigo has been blending their merino with ketchup chips? I’m pretty sure they have been. But how could this be? Was there a massive ketchup chip yarn conspiracy brewing?

“Ketchup… catsup… ketchup… catsup…”

But then, suddenly, it all made sense.

My yarn was not made of ketchup chips. That would be insane. In fact, that would be wonderfully, deliciously insane, and would surely overtake any other insanity associated with this yarn, like, I don’t know…

… trying to convert a rectangular stole into a triangular shawl…

… when you have only ever knit a triangular shawl once in your entire life…

… and have no experience charting or designing triangular shawls…

… and have never ever tried to chart anything in Excel before…


Oh. Right. That.

So, really, my brain is just trying to fight fire insanity with fire insanity. Isn’t that clever of it?

Yeah. I stumbled on this pretty pretty pattern, Diagonale. It was a big-ass rectangular stole. I don’t wear rectangular stoles, I don’t have enough yarn on hand for one and I ain’t buying more, and even if I did have the yarn and did wear it I would never survive the task of knitting 950 yards’ worth of Repetitive Rectangle. Please. I couldn’t even make it through a Clapotis.

But I did have 440 yarns of sock yarn, and a growing obsession with triangular shawls, and a strong sense of masochism. No problem! I’ll just rechart it – use a triangle’s worth of the stitch pattern on one side, mirror it on the other side, and work out some sort of central section that makes the two sides smoosh together nicely. Yeah! No problem at all! I’ll just… um…

Okay, that is NOT a chart. That’s a NOTHING. That looks like someone barfed knitting symbols onto a grid and then smeared it around a bit.

So, good then, I think I’m ready to cast on. Wait, what? Yeah! I don’t need no stinkin’ chart! I’ll just figure it out as I go along! This is a brilliant idea! As evidenced by the numerous exclamation points I’m using! There is nothing insane about this plan at all!

Mmm… ketchup.



  1. Elizabeth says:

    Ketchup chips are so delicious…but they are definitely a canadian thing. I used to buy them whenever we visited (along with dill pickle chips…mmmmm), but lately they’ve been popping into US stores if you’re closer to the border, and now I even see them down here in Pittsburgh. So Yum!

  2. Elly says:

    :O You get Lays crisps in Canada! They’re called Walkers in Britain. I love ketchup flavour.

    Anyways… you know you need a decrease for every YO, right? Otherwise… it’ll be painful. There may be tears. Drop me an email if you want help with your chart.

  3. Julie says:

    haha, good luck!! I’m sure you’ll find a way- let the ketchup chip yarn be your guide to triangular goodness!

  4. Allison says:

    I always dipped my potato chips in ketchup when I was a kid, and people called me a weirdo for doing it. Now that I know there are actual chips like this, I feel better! Good luck with the shawl!

  5. CanarySanctuary says:

    Mmmm, the saturated chip. For me, it was all about the BBQ ones (which have also undergone a colour change, btw). Kudos for the knit bravery! You can do eeeeettt!

  6. Mae says:

    Mmm. Ketchup chips.
    Also, I think if you crossbreed that pattern with Laura Chau’s Simple Yet Effective Shawl it could work, as it’s really just garter and stockinette alternating… so I think, depending on how the stole is constructed. It just might work.

    Also. You finally fucking blogged. Praise Allah

  7. Beverly says:

    “barfed knitting symbols” … hahahaha!!

    Good luck!

  8. Leandra says:

    I had no idea ketchup chips were a Canadian thing too! I always thought they were just a European thing. (My friend has family in Belgium, and they send her boxes of delicious foods not available to us over here! AND she always shared with me. Did I mention that she’s my BEST friend??)

    Your post left me with a craving to eat ketchup chips and go pet the skein of malabrigo sock I’ve got languishing in my stash upstairs.

  9. Hilary says:

    You’ll do fine! The exclamation points are surely a mark of a brilliant plan. And though I’ve never had ketchup chips before in my life, that yarn is totally making me crave them.

  10. Ella says:

    *taps fingertips together*


    You know, we could do an experiment on this. We could go through a whole bunch of bags of ketchup chips and find the most saturated ones in there, soak them all in some sort of liquid, throw some yarn in the liquidy goodness, and see if we can’t make that color yarn. Then we’d have yarn that’s not only pretty, but tastes good to boot!

    Of course, sucking on your sleeve at work might get a little awkward. Just sayin.

  11. Anna says:

    I love this blog. That is all.
    Oh, except for also expressing my deep and undeviating love of the saturated chip. Salt and vinegar… mmmmm…. When they’re so strong that it actually hurts to eat them – that right there is a glorious moment…

  12. jamie says:

    I have this exact yarn, two hanks, and I keep smelling cinnamon, no red chile, no nutmeg, its like that picture of the old lady and young lady, and you can’t see them both at the same time, only for my nose.

  13. jamie says:

    wrong new blog address

  14. Melanie says:

    I have never seen ketchup chips before! Your blog has enlightened me.

  15. Illy says:

    Wait a minute . . .
    Ketchup chips are a Canadian thing??????? HOW DOES THE REST OF THE WORLD LIVE???????????
    I swear to God, I can eat like a whole bag of those in one sitting (not the dinky little snack packs, either). And now I want some.

  16. beading says:

    i never dipped my potato ships in catchup, but rather i mashed them in catchup made a mess and ate them with a spoon, love it til this day :)