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

Lies, Damned Lies, and… Cursed Yarn?

I have long known that gauge swatches are lying liars who lie.

What I didn’t know is that entire knitting projects also lie. Oh yes. You know how some people say you should knit a giant swatch, or even a small project to get an accurate gauge measurement? How about a whole scarf? Shouldn’t that be adequate? Well, shouldn’t it?

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See that scarf? That scarf is a lying liar who lies.

Actually, I’m a lying liar who lies too, because it’s technically more like three-quarters of a scarf. But my point still stands! That is a nice big giant sample of a stitch pattern. And what a lovely stitch pattern it is.

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It’s the White Night Scarf in Rowan Chunky Print, and it’s quite yummy. Except for the lying and the lies. See, what happened was that I grossly overestimated the amount of yarn needed for this scarf. So far I’ve fed it two of the four balls I bought, and if I bound off right now it would still be a decently long scarf. If I feed it all four balls, it will eat me.

So I thought, all right, I’ll make a matching hat. A cute little vintagey-looking hat in that same stitch pattern. And I’ve got a scarf-sized gauge swatch right here. Woooo! Measure measure measure, poke at calculator, scribble in sketchbook, ooookay we are casting on 84 stitches, apparently.

Hum. That seems like a lot for chunky yarn on size 15 needles. That can’t be right.

Trusssst me, whispers the scarf. Can I trust the scarf? It’s so pretty… so very pretty. But, no! I will be strong! I will cast on 72 stitches instead! I’msorryscarfIstillloveyou. You know, maybe you’re right, admits the scarf. Look how I stretch! 72 stitches is totally right for a hat.

LIES. FILTHY LIES. Unless by “hat”, it meant “giant tube top”, but no, not so much. All right, let’s frog and try this again. 60 stitches? Yeah, okay. And we need some ribbing at the edge, because the 72-stitch hat oh wait I mean tube top no no wait I mean LYING LIAR TUBE TOP PIECE OF LYING CRAP THAT LIES I HATE IT SO MUCH… er. Okay. I’m all better now. The 72-stitch… thing… was a little baggy and curly ’round the edges.

And we have hatness. No thanks to you, lying scarf.

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I’ll write up a pattern for it if I can get it to behave. Which it isn’t, at the moment. I finished up the top and it has a nipple. It’s a hatboob. With a nipple. “Usually only found deep in the rainforest, this is your chance to view the elusive Nippled Hatboob in captivity!” (Sigh.) But I’m not going to get into that now because there are other knits to yell at. Cursed knits.

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Oh, you know where I’m going with this.

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I joke about cursed yarn, but I’m starting to believe it’s a real thing. This yarn is all kinds of cursed. I have never had this kind of problem with a project before. There was the Lelah that ate my soul, but that was a simple sizing issue. There was the scarf of many froggings, but that was a “must find the perfect pattern” thing. There are tricky projects, and then there are cursed projects. There is no other explanation for this:

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… that might not be a good illustration of the problem. It’s just a yoke. Looking all sweet and innocent, the lying liar. So I’ll explain. It doesn’t fit. Again. But that’s not the problem, exactly. The last incarnation didn’t fit either, so I fixed the points of fuckery. Body was too small – let’s make it bigger. Sleeves were too big – let’s make them smaller. Simple.

I should have known better. I underestimated The Curse. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE CURSE.

I thought at first that I’d shrunk the sleeves down too much. A pain in the ass, sure, requiring a frogging, but straightforward enough to fix. But something else is wrong. It’s tight under the arms, and pulling all funny. It’s like the angle of the raglan line is off. I’m not sure. I could try a compound raglan instead. But it might be just another useless battle with The Curse.

Because I’ve knit a whole bunch of top down raglans, and never had this kind of problem. I’ve even knit one at about the same gauge. Standard raglans generally fit me fine. UNLESS THEY’RE CURSED. This sweater is going to find new and different ways to cock itself up until it claims my sanity. Already, just to add insult to injury, the collar has warped into some weird shape that would normally be fixed by blocking, but not this time. Not if The Curse gets its way.

Yep, I have to frog this thing again, I think.

Bad things come in threes, right?

I have a cursed yoke…
I have a nippled hatboob…
what’s coming for me next?



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.

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

Then I tried to turn them into a better sweater.

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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”.

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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:

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

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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:

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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.