My crazy plan to turn a rectangular shawl into a triangular one is working! Despite my having crappy non-charts, having no idea at all what I’m doing, and experiencing ketchup-related hallucinations, it’s looking exactly the way it’s supposed to.
It just goes to show that you should never let a measly lack of sanity stand in the way of whatever you want to do.
Of course, I am now ignoring the thing in favour of test knitting something pretty, because I am fickle like that. But that’s not the point! The point is that IT’S WORKING.
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…
… and basically HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
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!
We are sad to report that your always reliable blogger has been felled by a terrible misfortune.
Yes, that’s right, it’s as you’ve feared, HER HEAD HAS BEEN DEVOURED BY A COWL.
… yeah, okay, I’m full of shit, as always. But the good news is, I actually finished something. According to this blog, the last time I finished something was January of 2008. That can’t possibly be right, but I’m not going to try to dig up the date of the last time I really finished something, and then have it turn out to be February of 2008. There are some things that I’d rather not know.
Pattern: Nom Nom Nom Cowl
Yarn: Diamond Luxury Collection Mulberry & Merino in some colour that I’m too lazy to look up but it’s the only pinky corally colour it comes in, 2 skeins
Needles: US 7
So. I had this yarn, right? This merino/silk yumminess that I picked up at Romni’s boxing day sale and tried to enable the ladies in line next to me into buying some too. I think it almost worked. I was originally going to call the pattern “Enabler’s Cowl” for that reason, but once “Nom Nom Nom” got into my head it wouldn’t leave. Not unlike a brain parasite. But. I got the yarn, I knew it had to be a cowl, I scoured cowl patterns on Ravelry and nothing was right.
It couldn’t be too complex, because the yarn was single ply and fuzzy and would eat any fiddly lace or cable patterns.
It couldn’t be too simple, because that would be the sort of pattern I should save for variegated yarn, even though I swore that I won’t buy variegated yarn anymore, because it always looks like gorgeousness in the skein and then clown vomit when it’s knitted up and then you’re all, OH GOD WHY DID I BUY THIS NEVER AGAIN, and then three days later you see something else that looks like gorgeousness in the skein, and surely bright red and pea green and squirrel poop brown will look lovely when knitted together WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG.
So I found a nice simple cable pattern (from here), and painstakingly charted out a way to make the cowl increase in size from top to bottom without interrupting the cable pattern and OBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW HOW THIS ENDED because there ain’t no cables in the pictured cowl, but I’ll tell you anyway: I started knitting it and it looked like ass.
I went back to the usual obsessive Ravelry searching which of course was useless because I did it already, but then I stumbled on a knitted top that was just plain old garter with some vertical ridges. And it was knit up in some sort of shiny yarn that was not unlike my shiny yarn and what the hell, why not.
It’s mind numbingly boring.
It’s simple enough that a blind drunken monkey could replicate it.
And it’s exactly what I wanted out of this yarn.
So the moral of this story is that trying is the first step to failure. And that taking the easy way out is the path to success. I’m sure this lesson will serve you well in your everyday endeavours. And for the benefit of anyone who does not have a blind drunken monkey on hand to replicate the pattern, I’ve even written it up. Now you don’t have to try at all!
P.S. I’d apologize for having neglected my blog for so long, and for the coming influx of long-finished FO posts that will probably pop up over the next little while, but my head was devoured by a cowl, people! It’s all very traumatic.
P.P.S. I’d be a bad KAL-whore if I failed to mention this: the next round of Obscuriosity is starting soon. Nominations are open for two more days, and voting for another week after that. You know you want to come pet the pretty obscure patterns…
So, remember when I used to knit?
(… and blog?)
Yeah, that was fun. I should do that again sometime. I suppose I have been knitting a little bit. Witness the beginnings of my boyfriend and my other boyfriend with a slightly different haircut:
So there’s that. But that’s not a lot of knitting. I’d like to say that I haven’t been knitting because I’ve been plotting world domination, through a complex scheme involving a carton of rubber gloves, some duct tape, large quantities of lime jello, and 3,248 kittens. But if I had been doing that, then I certainly wouldn’t be telling you about it. Secrecy is the key to world domination plots. Kittens too, but mostly secrecy.
Nah, there’s been none of that. I just haven’t been in the mood to knit.
I keep hearing rumbles of this whole Ravelympics thing, though, and I’m intrigued. I like the Olympics. I will probably watch them, to see all the
hot almost-naked swimmers who are all wet and almost naked and hot and wet fine athletic performances. If I sign up for this KAL type thingy, could I actually get some knitting done while I watch?
Actual, for real knitting?
Because! Buying yarn is not knitting. Stalking Ravelry is not knitting. Sorting my big yarn bin into two small yarn bins is not knitting. Drawing pictures of things I might want to knit is not knitting… but it’s getting closer.
So I’ve gone and signed up for this Ravelympics thing – I think, there seem to be pages and pages of instructions on how to sign up and I went cross-eyed trying to read them all, so I just tagged my projects and hoped for the best. That always works, right? Signed up for Sweater Whateverthealliterativeeventnameis for that… thing I drew. Do I actually have a pattern written up for it, or even pattern notes? Nope. Do I have enough yarn for it? Probably not. Have I swatched? Yup… like, a year ago. Surely that gauge is still accurate. Yeeeeeah.
And in the spirit of impending failure, I also tagged up a second project. A scarf. A little scarf, just 220 yards of yarn. Nooo problem. Heh. Heh heh. Did I mention that the yarn is evil?
Bet it doesn’t look evil. But it is. Once you try to knit it up.
And then try again.
And then try AGAIN.
The last attempt wasn’t horrible, but I don’t think “not horrible” is what I ought to aspire to when knitting, especially when I’m knitting with a skein of hand-dyed silk that cost entirely too much.
The damn yarn doesn’t want to BE anything. It just wants to be some sort of fucking yarn princess all sitting around unknitted, believing that every pattern is below it ‘cuz it’s just so special and pretty and sparkly. It’s a brat, is what it is, and IT IS GOING TO BE A SCARF IF IT KILLS ME, AND IT IS GOING TO BE A BEAUTIFUL SCARF, THAT SHOWS OFF THE YARN PERFECTLY, AND DO YOU HEAR ME YOU BRATTIEST BRAT WHO EVERY BRATTED BRATTY BALL OF BRAT YARN? DO YOU?
Er. I don’t actually know how I’m going to accomplish this. Pffft, details. I scoff at details.
Yay, Ravelympics! I’m gonna knit! And if I don’t knit, I’ll blog about how much I suck for not knitting! It’s win-win. Blah blah insert gold medal analogy here. Wheeee!
(Oh come on, I can’t be the only one whose mind automatically goes there whenever someone writes “Happy VD!”)
Valentines Day is completely off my radar, usually. It doesn’t make me happy and it doesn’t make me bitter either. In fact, its only real significance is that it’s the day before my very favourite holiday ever: Half-Price Chocolate Day.
But, well, there’s all these Valentines-related knitting projects on Ravelry and elsewhere and I got to thinking. When I’d been planning the Secret Nerd Scarf, I thought it would have been a good idea to get it out before Valentines Day (which obviously did not happen), because- well, I’m getting ahead of myself here. I’d better first explain exactly what it was.
I’m a huge puzzle nerd. One of the things that you quickly learn from puzzle-nerdity is that there are a whole bunch of ways to represent the alphabet. One of these ways is with binary numbers. I won’t get into a big explanation here of how different base systems work (I figure those who care will look it up themselves), but binary uses two digits, 0 and 1, to represent numbers, and 5 binary digits can represent numbers up to 32. Which means, 5 binary digits can represent the alphabet. (And yes, there are other ways to represent the alphabet in binary, but this is the simplest one.)
So, let’s say, the letter M… that’s the 13th letter in the alphabet, and the number 13 represented with 5 binary digits is 01101. And if you wanted to write a whole sentence in binary you’d keep doing the same thing for each letter.
Now, encoding something like “01101” into knitting is way easy and can be done in tons of different ways – with knits for 1s and purls for 0s, for example. When I first had the idea of a secret-binary-message knitting project I was going to do it with colourwork. But, bleh. And then I had the idea of doing it with cables, which would be more versatile and look better and be easy to knit and yay! And then I spotted that binary cable hat that did it first. Yeah, yeah, we know this already. But that’s what the Nerd Scarf was. And I scrapped it. OR DID I?
Yeah, so I changed my mind. The Valentines Day thing, see? How cute would it be to knit “I love you” or something equally sappy into a scarf, but in a completely non-obvious way that would be known only to you and perhaps the scarf’s recipient? Totally cute. I could call it “Secret Admirer”. But I couldn’t do it. First, there was the similar-hat issue. And second, well, there was no time to get it out before Valentines Day. And there was no time to get it out on Valentines Day either. But…
Well, first things first. Why was I so hung up on the hat? It wasn’t the first binary-related knitting pattern and it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, off the top of my head, there’s this other binary hat, and the binary scarf from Knitty (both of which I think are awesome, by the way. Me = neeeeerrrrrd). And I don’t think any of those copied each other, or that the binary cable hat person copied either of them. So what would it matter if I put out a similar scarf? Well, I think the issue was the implementation – it would have just been too similar. From my quick glance at the hat pattern, it looked like it used very simple cables, with a twist representing a 1 and a lack of twist representing a 0, and that was exactly the way I was going to do it, so even though the hat had nothing to do with encoding a message, it would still look very similar.
And then I thought, wait, why did I choose that specific implementation anyway? Well, because it was the easiest way to do it. That’s it. I was being a lazy-ass, basically, just like I always am. But it really wasn’t the best way to go. Because I was trying for something that, at first glance, would look like a regular old scarf, with no hint that it was concealing a message. And the twist/no-twist 1/0 encoding, while reasonably aesthetically pleasing, would clearly look like a deliberate pattern of some sort. It would be obvious that something was up.
There had to be a way to do it such that the message would be hidden, but still visible to those specifically trying to read it. I stared at cable patterns for a while, when something occurred to me. Something that should have been very, very obvious.
When you knit two cable twists with some stockinette in between them, it looks kind of like a circle or oval.
When you knit two cable twists with one or more extra cable twists in between them, it looks kind of like a vertical column.
There it was, clear as day – a way to visually represent the actual numbers 0 and 1 with cables. If done very carefully, it would look just like any old cable pattern to a casual observer, but be incredibly obvious to someone who knew they were looking for rows of binary numbers. And if done in a smallish size, different letters could be encoded by changing just one line in each cable repeat, the one with the extra twist that differentiates a circle from a column, so it wouldn’t be complicated to knit at all.
So I posted the cable pattern at the beginning of this entry. Did you see it then? Can you see it now?
Or, to be completely obvious about it:
I LOVE THIS. Can I say that? Hat be damned, I had to do something with this – and in fact, I’d now wandered so far from my original implementation that there was now no visual similarity to the hat. And that’s good enough for me. I’m okay with there being multiple binary cable patterns out there, I just didn’t want to put out anything that was so similar that people would think I’d copied it when that was damn well not the case. Whew. Okay.
The other problem. Time.
Did I mention that I thought of this idea on the afternoon of February 13th?
I could not possibly knit a scarf in a day. But… but… I could knit a swatch in a day. And obviously that’s exactly what I did. I’d normally be wary of posting a pattern that I haven’t knit, but in this case, the swatch-version was just fine. I used the same beginning, end, and edging for the swatch as for the scarf, so the only difference is that it’s 3 letters long instead of lots of letters long.
(The three letters? “LUV.” Yeah, laaaaame.)
So I spent yesterday evening writing up bits of the pattern, digging in the yarn bin for some cable-appropriate yarn and finding half a ball of Patons Classic Merino, speed-knitting the giant swatch, and just barely having enough time to squeeze in 3 letters’ worth of secret-message. Splashed some water on it and pinned it out to block overnight. Snapped a picture today and finished the pattern write-up. Ahhh! So apprehensive. From conception to published pattern in less than 24 hours? Is this a good idea?
I’m reminding myself that Bamboozled was a very quickly-thrown-together pattern (although not in a freaking day), and according to Ravelry it’s the most well-liked and highly-rated of all my patterns. And people seemed to get a kick out of my goat cable, which was designed in an evening. Maybe it’s better that I speed-design than angst incessantly and draw it out forever. Maaaaaybe.
I don’t know.
But happy Venereal Disease… er… Valentines Day to all! Here’s the Secret Admirer pattern!
Now I’m off to prepare for the epic Half-Price Chocolate Day celebrations.
I have successfully de-nippled the hatboob.
But, of course, OF COURSE, there’s a new problem.
Exhibit A: a completed hatboob, pre-blocking.
Exhibit B: a completed hatboob, post-blocking.
Yep. It ate my head.
So the de-nippled head-eating hatboob is going to be frogged, again, and the pattern tweaked, again, and I am really glad that this thing only takes a day to knit. And I know how to fix it. And this’ll be okay. So. That’s the hatboob status. I really like saying “hatboob”. Hatboob hatboob hatboob.
Facing less rosy times is the Secret Nerd Scarf.
See, I was browsing Ravelry today and spotted the Binary Cable Hat, the hat people have been making for Hat Attack, and guess what – it’s pretty much the same thing, conceptually, as what I was going to do. Well, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s similar enough that I’ve lost my zest for the scarf, and furthermore I don’t feel like having a bunch of knitters assume that I copied the idea and start accusing me. (There’s been a lot of that going around lately.)
I guess the good news is that now I have a couple of balls (heh heh) of Tweedy Silk to play with. And if I’d really wanted to make the scarf, surely I would have started by now. I hadn’t even bothered swatching.
I don’t have any plans for those two balls (heh heh) yet, but I have some other plans for new stuff. First, I have a lovely 250 yd skein of Colourmart heavy dk cashmere/silk which will become some sort of armwarmer type things that I will design myself.
Second – well, there was a sale at Lettuce Knit a few weeks ago, and I went despite not being able to spend very much money. See, I knew that if I didn’t go, it would taunt me. It wasn’t that I wanted something in particular, it was that I’d be bothered by what I might have missed. What if there was some gorgeous yarn for dirt cheap and I didn’t get it because I didn’t go? What then?
Well, there wasn’t. There was plenty of gorgeous yarn that I totally couldn’t afford even at 30% off (Handmaiden Swiss Mountain Cashmere Silk, I’m looking at you). There was plenty of yarn that, surprisingly, I didn’t want. There was plenty of yarn that I would have wanted, had it been there.
Lettuce Knit is a strange little shop, in that I both love it and hate it. It carries a whole bunch of beautiful yarn lines that I covet, except that most of the time, either it’s stuff I can’t afford or it’s not in stock. I thought I’d be able to snag some Dream in Color worsted at the sale, but all the colours I wanted were out of stock. Maybe some Fleece Artist Peter Rabbit? Nope, unless I wanted it in fuchsia or electric blue or radioactive-vomit-green. Handmaiden Mini Maiden? Nope, out of stock completely. Aaaaah! Carrots dangled just out of my reach!
There’s another thing, too. When I was browsing the sale, not once did anyone in the store greet me or ask if I needed help. That doesn’t actually bother me, because I like being left alone to browse, but – what I noticed, is that some of the people shopping were clearly regulars there. And were clearly being treated very differently. Which, I realize, is what happens in small shops. You get to know your regular customers, they become your friends, and thus you treat them that way. I can’t fault anybody for that.
I mean, nobody was rude to me. If I asked for help, I got it. And I certainly won’t stop shopping there. It’s just – you know, I will never visit the shop often enough to become a regular, because it’s not local for me. And so I will always feel a little bit out of place there, as soon as a regular comes in and is greeted heartily while I lurk invisibly in the corner. This may be why I feel more comfortable shopping at Romni – it’s so big that it’s never obvious whether the other customers are regulars, and furthermore it feels like it’s perfectly okay not to be one.
Anyway. I was determined to buy something, anything, just because I dragged my ass all the way down there, and I was also determined that it not be another “WTF do I do with this?” single skein. And that’s when I saw this:
Aha! I thought. That’s what I’ll buy! A sweater’s worth of that! Berroco Peruvia in Aquamarina. I could afford it, it was delicious and shiny and soft and fairly practical and TEAL, not red or black or coral – it was perfect.
Aaaaand there were only three skeins of it left. Needed at least five for a sweater, preferably six. So I optimistically bought the three skeins. No problem, I thought, I’ll just walk over to Romni and get a couple more, they carry Berroco stuff, maybe I’ll even luck out and get the same dyelot. Well. Not so much. I ended up pawing through their basket of Peruvia and then having this conversation:
Me: I’m looking for a colour of Berroco Peruvia that I don’t think you have.
Romni Guy: Uh-oh…
So I turned to the intarwebs. Guess what – there are very few shops with reasonable shipping to Canada that carry Peruvia. Who knew? The only ones I could dig up were Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, so I fired off emails to them asking if they had my dyelot. Which they didn’t. Of course. (But props to both shops for good customer service – they both checked and got back to me the same day.) So I’d have to hold my nose and order, and hope to get a dyelot that wasn’t too far off. But I thought, what with shipping and all, I’d better wait until I wanted something else from one of those shops. While a little voice in my head whined, I want a sweater. I want a sweater now. Where’s my yarn? Buy more yarn! Buy it now! Now! Now!
(It occurs to me that I have mentioned voices in my head very often on this blog, and I should probably reassure readers that I am not clinically insane. As far as I know.)
And just when I had resigned myself to disappointing the little voice, up pops a blog update from The Yarn and Fiber Company saying they’ve decided to start carrying some Berroco yarns, including Peruvia. Did I mention that they ship free to Canada? SCORE!
So I ordered. Asked them to send my dyelot if they had it, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Opened up my package to see this:
OH COME ON. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. ALL RIGHT, WHO’S SCREWING WITH ME AND SCRATCHING OUT THE DYELOT NUMBER? STOP THAT NOW.
But the rest of ‘em were properly dyelot-labeled. Same dyelot? Nope. Visibly identical to my dyelot? Yup. Sweet.
So that’ll be a sweater. I have a sketch, but it’s a seeecret. (I don’t know why. I’m not submitting it for publication or anything. I guess I need a new seeecret now that the Nerd Scarf is dead.) In keeping with the current theme of my knitting, it will have a giant collar that may or may not eat my head. OM NOM NOM NOM.
(No, it will not have nipples. Pervert.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
Oh, you know where I’m going with this.
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:
… 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?
I’m very suspicious.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Or do neat crazy loopy things!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okay, we won’t speak of that sweater. But, strike one.
Then I tried to turn them into a better sweater.
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”.
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:
Some that I, well, imagine that cat macro that says DO NOT WANT:
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:
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?
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.
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…
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.