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

The Thing That Ate My Malabrigo

I has a yoke!


This sweater is quick. It may be knitting itself when my back is turned, because I don’t think I’m that fast. That picture was from yesterday and since then I have a bit more body and a big chunk of sleeve #1. I will have no problem at all finishing it in a month. That’s the good news.

The bad news?


Yes, I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t have enough yarn for the sweater and I’m prepared to work around that. But, I said, okay. If I can get to the point where I split off the sleeves in under one skein of yarn, I’m good. I’ve made top-down raglans before. I can estimate how much yarn they’ll eat. I’ve got 4 skeins of Mmmalabrigo. If the yoke eats less than a skein, I can finish the body with another 1.5 skeins, and the remaining 1.5 should be enough for 3/4-length sleeves.

The sweater heard me.

The sweater laughed.

I used up the first skein of yarn one row before splitting off the sleeves.

That can’t be a coincidence. It just can’t. The sweater knows my plan and is out to foil it. It’s waiting until I think I’m safe – until I’m just about to split off the sleeves with my tiny little remaining nub of skein #1 and BAM, out of yarn.

I made you, sweater. I can unmake you. Ribbit, ribbit.

But I’m not giving up yet. It’s going to be tight, but I may juuuust have enough yarn. I abandoned the body for awhile, and started a sleeve, just to see how much yarn would be eaten, and the news isn’t bad. The sleeve is gently nibbling at the yarn instead of greedily slurping it down.

I made some on-the-fly changes to the sleeve shaping – decreasing every inch instead of every 2 inches – tried it on, and the sleeve fits fine. The body seems to fit about right too. I’m a bit concerned that everything fits, because the sweater’s going to grow a little after washing. But my swatch didn’t grow toooo much, so it’ll be all right. You hear that, sweater? You grow too much, and I will feed you to my monster hat.

The Malabrigo is DELICIOUS. It’s soft and beautiful and soft and a pleasure to knit with and soft and so very, very soft.

I may or may not have tried on the sweater naked.

And I’ve lucked out with a fairly consistent dye lot, it seems. I’ve heard horror stories about Malabrigo’s colour variation; even within the same dye lot the colours can be completely different. I did not want to do that thing where you switch balls of yarn every couple of rows. You know why? Because I’m lazy. That’s why. I stared and stared at my 4 balls of yarn, and came to the conclusion that 3 of them were exactly the same. The 4th is just a touch darker than the others. So I am not switching balls until I have to deal with that 4th skein, and you know what? I can’t tell where the skeins change at all. S’all good.

(Heh heh. Balls.)


Gigantic Gaping Fifi Chunks

Fifi is a whore. A filthy, diseased whore. I hate you, Fifi.

I have WIP guilt. Plus, if I do the NaKniSweMo thing, I’ll be ignoring Fifi for yet another month. So I thought I should at least get the body done, if not the stupid sleeves. My brilliant plan was to put in some little slits at the hip. I like side slits. They’re cute and give the Giant Hips a little extra wiggle room. But there was a problem.

I should have foreseen the problem.

I blame my rampant stupidity.

See, I knit Fifi with a whole lot of negative ease. That’s fine, because Calmer is stretchy. There isn’t very much waist and hip shaping in the pattern. That’s fiiiiine, because Calmer is stretchy. But guess what. If you introduce slits to the sides, Calmer stops stretching at that point, because there’s nothing pulling at it. The result is gigantic gaping chunks of non-shirt, instead of small, cute slits. Well, crap.

I tried Fifi on. Noted the gigantic gaping chunks. Noted the uneven stitches, the weird random wrinkles (how can it possibly wrinkle? Thanks to Exxxtreeeeeme Negative Ease, the thing is sized for a five-year-old), the armholes that appeared to be too big, and also the gigantic gaping chunks. Then I noted that I was trying it on with a sports bra and sweatpants and that surely couldn’t be helping things any.

Changed into a proper bra and pants, and things looked a little better. A little.


Yeah, I experimentally tied up a gigantic gaping chunk with some Unnecessary Ribbon. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t leave them as gigantic gaping chunks. That’s just not attractive.

I can rip back and reknit without the slits, but I think it’ll cling too much towards the bottom. I can reknit with extra hip increases, but that would draw a lot of attention to the messy-looking purl columns running down the sides. I don’t know why they’re messy-looking, but they are. I can shorten it to the point above the slits, since it fits okay up to there, but I think that would be a bit too short.

Or I can do the ribbon thing. Eh. I think it looks a bit trashy, especially given that the top is so fitted. But maybe a bright peach cutesy cable-knit top can’t look trashy. I don’t knoooow.


Fifi is an armless WHORE.

November is Masochism Month

I usually do NaNoWriMo every November. I’ve done it for four years and have written some truly horrible and hilarious novels. I just opened up last year’s novel, and it includes such chapter titles as:

  • The Case of the Missing Back Hair
  • Suck My Godly Cock!
  • In Which Nothing of Interest Happens
  • NinjaPirateZombieViking
  • The Inevitable Jello Orgy
  • Hippopotamus, Revisited

That is the sort of “great” “literature” I produce every November. But I’m not doing it this year, for a bunch of reasons that are mind-numbingly boring so I won’t speak of them. It doesn’t seem right to be doing nothing at all, though. November is Masochism Month! I need some ridiculous challenge that will make my life miserable!

So perhaps I should try this NaKniSweMo thing. I have two sweaters* that I want to make and already have the yarn for, right? The textured tunic and the Garnstudio jacket thing? I could be ready to start either one by November. But which one to make? Textured tunic would probably be the easier knit, but the jacket thing would be at a larger gauge and probably quicker. Hmm…

* As I typed “two sweaters”, the universe laughed loudly at me.

But. Buuuut. There’s always a but, and really it’s more of an ass, in the “oh ass crap fuck ass ass ass!” sense. My pile of indecisive Silky Wool has crawled inside my head, not unlike a brain parasite. I was poking around on Ravelry and spotted this pattern.

Now, I don’t want to make that sweater. Of course not, that would be too easy. But it gave me an idea. So I pulled out the sketchbook and drew up a little exercise in v-necks and asymmetry.


Hmm. Cute. Cute, right? Stockinette and moss stitch only, nothing more complicated that would melt into yarn poo. Just a little weird with the angles of the front panels. Okay. I could maybe make this. I could see this in Silky Wool. Good. Okay. Problem solved.

Poke poke poke, around the internets, for nothing in particular because NOW I KNOW WHAT I’M MAKING HA. Oh, look, the Winter 2007 Interweave Knits preview is up. Well, I’d better take a look, just in case there’s something even more suitable for the Silky Wool. You never know…

Ha ha ha, sez the universe.

I went through the whole list, and nothing caught my eye. Until I got to the very last pattern. Rosemary’s Swing Jacket.

Well crap. That kind of reminds me of the Thing I sketched, except weirder and better. Moss stitch everywhere! Crazy asymmetrical front with a crazy asymmetrical collar! I wants it!

But, well, it’s written for worsted weight yarn, so I’d have to do lots of The Math to make it work in Silky Wool, and it’s shaped kind of weird, and the front panel doesn’t look like it would stay put in Real Life, and the mag doesn’t come out for awhile, and I don’t know whether it’s full of icky seaming and and and wait. WAIT. I am a fucking designer. A crappy wannabe designer, perhaps, but was I not already dissecting this sweater, trying to figure out the construction and what the hell the big collar was connected to and… I don’t even need a pattern. I can make this right now. It’s actually a really simple sweater, just with angled front panels and a collar that’s attached to the back front panel then folded over the front front panel.

I can make that as a standard top down raglan cardigan, then pick up stitches at the neck and do a sort of asymmetrical (there’s that word again) trapezoid-shaped collar. And I can change the bits I don’t like. I can do one angled front panel and one straight one, because I like the contrast. I can make it more fitted. I can move the pointed bit of the front panel downwards and add a button. I can lengthen the sleeves and bell them a bit.

And best of all, since I am blatantly ripping off someone else’s pattern, I will feel no obligation to write up a pattern for this thing, since it ain’t my design. Yea!


What do you think, O Temperamental Pile of Silky Wool? Is that what you want to become?

I don’t know about NaKniSweMo. Now there are THREE sweaters that want to be knit (not to mention my still-neglected Fifi), and I am no good at project monogamy. We’ll see, I guess. November isn’t November without a good healthy dose of masochism!

The Dumb

I have, once again, run out of mindless knitting.

There was the Knotted Openwork Scarf, but it’s done. And I’m too lazy to photograph it and make its FO post. Photographing scarves is hard. That should be said in a “math is hard” talking Barbie type voice. Except math isn’t hard. I heart math. But photographing scarves is hard, because they’re all long and skinny and don’t suit a 4:3 aspect ratio. Also, lazy. Lazy lazy lazy. I have the dumb, people, I HAVE THE DUMB. Listen to the cat macro, for it is wise.

And then there was this.


So there was this time, back in university, when I was sitting in a really boring lecture. The kind where the professor reads the textbook to you in broken English and you pour coffee down your throat and desperately try to stay awake, long ago having given up on actually learning anything. And I was doodling, instead of taking notes. I was doodling a word in giant bubble letters. The word was this:


And so the guy sitting behind me peeks at my notebook, cracks up, taps me on the shoulder and says “can I borrow your notes?” Snerk.

The point to this non-story is that I am the type of person who will doodle BULLSHIT when I should be learning things, and will doodle MONSTER HAT when I should be knitting things, and will even draw pictures of monster hats when I already have a finished monster hat to work from and have absolutely no reason to sketch one out.

But I did knit the main head bit of Monster Hat II. Because it was mindless. I even wrote down the way I did the decreases. I even finished it while slightly drunk. I suspect I’ll lose any badass-drunken-knitting cred by mentioning that I was slightly drunk from sparkling wine. Oh, shush. It’s yummy.

Now it’s time to figure out how to knit teeth that don’t curl (no stockinette!) and don’t look like congealed ass (no garter stitch!). Noooo. Can’t brain. Dumb. So on to other things.

My library finally got Fitted Knits in and I picked up my on-hold copy today. I borrowed it to make the ubiquitous Back to School Vest. It looks like a lovely mindless knit, except that I haven’t figured out what yarn I want to use. Yarn angst! But the book is full of other yummy patterns, and the textured tunic caught my eye.


I thought about the naughty Fake-astanje Cardigan. I thought about how much I loathe it. Wouldn’t it be satisfying to frog the bastard (AGAIN) and attempt to make it into something cuter (AGAIN)? A quick photoshopping later…


Hmm. I don’t know. It might work, it might not, it’s hard to tell.

I’d have to rewrite the pattern a bit. Not only because it’s written for thicker yarn, but because, if I’m reading the pattern and schematic correctly, there is no waist shaping. Whaaaat? Okay, what kind of trickery did they pull on the sweater in the picture? If you turned that model around, would there be seventeen clothespins yanking the sweater into a fake fake fakey fake super-fitted shape? I think there would be!

Are you kidding me, pattern? You have the dumb, pattern. Oh god. The dumb is contagious. The pattern caught the dumb from me. If you’re reading this, you might catch the dumb from me too. Run away! Run away from the dumb!

Sweater of Hate

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!

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.

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.