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

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.



Mad Sweater Science, Part I

I am a bad blogger. I haven’t been updating often, I’ve been flaking on replying to comments, and also my head is all over the internets with a monster on it. That last bit has nothing to do with being a bad blogger, I just wanted to bring it up. Brainmonster got linked all over the fucking place and it’s freaking me out. I guess more hits are a good thing, and more Brainmonsters are definitely a good thing, but I was all squishy and comfortable with semi-obscurity. Oh well. I’m sure nobody clicked through to the blog anyway.

I am a bad, bad blogger. I will try to rectify that.

This is a bad, bad sweater. I will definitely rectify that. BY FROGGING IT. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! SUCK ON THAT, SWEATER OF HATE. And yes, it’s going to become this:

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Now, I skimmed that pattern and complained about it. Blah blah no waist shaping, but you folks offered some perfectly logical explanations for why that might be. Maybe negative ease would take care of it. Maybe the box stitch pattern stretched more than the stockinette. Maybe bits of it were knit on smaller needles. Maybe the shaping wasn’t immediately obvious in a quick skim of the pattern.

So I read through the pattern more carefully, and as it turns out, I was wrong to complain about it the way I did. Yup, all wrong. I should have complained much, much more. I should have written a novel about how this pattern is a blight on nature and on books called Fitted Knits. There should have been cursing and lots of it.

There is no concealed shaping. There are no smaller needles. There is no negative ease.

THE SMALLEST SIZE IS 34.5″. That’s actual size, not “to fit a 34.5″ bust”. That’s 34.5″ all the way around. 34.5″ at the waist. I am not a tiny girl. Maybe slightly on the small side of average. And the smallest size would be a potato sack on me. This pattern wants me to spend hours and hours knitting a potato sack. This is so wrong. SO WRONG.

So it’s pattern-rewriting time, and just when I had sworn off thinking, too.

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First there’s the matter of waist shaping, of course. This one’s easy. I’m stealing the shaping I used in Maddy, because it fit me so perfectly. I had to rework all the stitch counts anyway since I’ll be using worsted yarn instead of bulky, so I just went all the way and ignored the pattern’s numbers completely. I’m shooting for a 32″ bust and 27″ waist. Negative ease, yea! Then rapid increases to a 37″ hip.

Can I rant? I’m going to rant. What the hell is wrong with my demented body that I have to design a sweater with a 27″ waist and 37″ hip to fit it properly?! How is that even possible? Did someone slice off my bottom half and replace it with someone else’s? I think I would have noticed if that had happened, but it seems the only reasonable explanation.

Okay. So. The next issue is this:

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It seems like a sketchy idea to put a textured panel at exactly the fattest point on one’s arms (and by “one’s arms” I mean “MY out-of-shape, slightly flabby arms”). It’s not a problem on the model because a) she probably weighs 97 pounds and b) her sweater is clothes-pinned and photoshopped into impossible dimensions anyway. But is it a problem on a Real Person?

I looked up some finished ones on Ravelry. And, surprisingly, none of them seem to cause any Phantom Arm Fat. So the fat panel stays. Congrats, you wretched pattern, there’s one thing that you maybe didn’t get wrong.

Issue #3: The buttony bits at the bottom. It took forever to figure out how they are even constructed, thanks to the useless pattern that doesn’t show a picture of that section. Ravelry to the rescue again, and I also learned that there is often a GIANT GAPING HOLE between the beginning of the side slit and the first button.

Hmm, I thought, how can I rewrite that bit so that there’s no hole? And then I thought some more. Thinking is always dangerous. But yeah. If I put black buttons there, they’d barely be visible, so it would be a whole bunch of effort for nothing. And if I put red buttons there, they would act as signposts to the widest part of my body. “Hey look everyone! Giant hips! Right here! Just follow the handy red buttons!” Hrm.

So that whole section is going to turn into some simple, non-buttoned side slits, surrounded by a triangular section of seed stitch like in the pattern.

Is that all? That might be all. Oh, and I’m taking out the slit at the top. I like it, but it ain’t practical. Imagine that, something about this pattern not being practical. The shock! The horror!

So I’m ready to go, except that I haven’t frogged the bad sweater yet. I can’t quite do it. I’m going to remake it later with a lighter weight yarn and some mods, so someday there will be a non-hateful version and I really need to frog the hateful one. I just have to get good and mad at it first. Maybe I’ll try it on again; that should do it.

Stay tuned for Part II of Mad Sweater Science, when I’ll deconstruct a perfectly good pattern and rewrite it for absolutely no legitimate reason. Yay!



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.

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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:

BULLSHIT!

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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

I.

HATE.

KNITTING.

SLEEVES.

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

*twitch*

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.

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Hmm. I don’t think that’s working. Maybe if I add some hippos to it.

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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.

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I’m going to make this! How cute is that sweater? Cute. Totally cute. Not at all hateful. YAY!



*twitch*

I made the cardigan bottom stop curling. Without redoing the button bands.

Don’t ask how I did it.

I need a drink.



I’ll get you, stockinette, and your little (curling) dog too.

I’ve gone back to the wool cardigan. In June. I know.

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I went with modified (of course) Little Arrowhead Lace for the black section. It worked out pretty well, except that the bottom isn’t scalloping like I thought it would. I think it would scallop if it wasn’t busy CURLING LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. (Do motherfuckers curl? I don’t know. But I needed a very strong word because it is PISSING ME OFF. FEAR THE WRATH OF MY ALL-CAPS SEMI-PROFANITIES.) I knew it was going to curl, it’s stockinette-based lace and there are a couple rows of plain stockinette at the bottom, I just didn’t think it was going to curl this much. It’s similar to the fishtail lace I used for Lelah and that doesn’t curl much.

I could rip, but I’m not going to, mostly because I went and knitted on the (button-less) button bands, so I’d have to rip those too. And I also wove in all the ends, and I don’t feel like doing that again either. Maybe blocking will fix it. Maybe I’ll add beads at the bottom to weigh it down. I mean, to make it look pretty. Shhhh.

(And no, the button bands are not uneven, even though one looks thinner in the picture. I know this because I looked at the picture, went OH CRAP WHAT DID I DO NOW, double checked the button bands, and was reassured that it was just a weird picture angle or something. Because they are the same size. I maintain that my sucking is restricted to sewing. Well, sewing and estimating how much stockinette-based lace will curl.)

So that’s the Fake-astanje Cardigan status. It just needs sleeves now. I don’t actually know how to knit long sleeves, but whatever, I’ll figure it out.

I’m still working on the as-yet-nameless silk thing, but right now I’m on the plain stockinette section. And the only thing more boring than knitting round after round of stockinette is blogging about it.



I am not a designer.

I has a bucket yoke!

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Now the Silk Something (which really needs a name) is stuffed in a ziploc* in my yarn bin, while I decide whether to add short rows for the bust. I would think that my Itty Bitty Titties don’t need bust darts, but since everything I make seems to wrinkle up in the back, I’m wondering if boobie stretch is causing that.

* By “stuffed in a ziploc”, I mean “placed gently in a ziploc with the greatest of care, because otherwise the yarn gods will smite me for mistreating Fucking Expensive Silk”.

So I’ve tried to write up bits and pieces of a pattern for it, and for the Fake-astanje Cardigan, and for the Monster Hat, and I have run into a problem. And that problem is…

… I never remember what the hell I did, and I rarely write down what the hell I did, and a big chunk of what I do consists of “knit until it looks about right, then stop”. This approach to designing does not translate well to written patterns. I actually wrote up the following in my draft of the Fake-astanje Cardigan pattern:

Repeat rows 19 and 20 until body is slightly too small and sleeves just barely meet under arms if you stretch them a bit. (Now these are some sketchy directions. But if you go any further it’ll be too big.)

Would you want to follow a pattern that essentially says “knit until the garment totally doesn’t fit you, but almost does”?

I have to start writing things up as I knit them. I’ve already forgotten most of what I did on the Silk Something. Luckily I took a few notes. Unluckily, they are mostly nonsensical numbers scribbled on the back of a printout of instructions for English Mesh Lace. Even more unluckily, I also scribbled notes for the Fake-astanje Cardigan on that printout, and I’m not sure which notes belong to what project.

Now I have to go knit a monster out of Fun Fur. This time I will write down what I do, in case anybody wants to knit a monster out of Fun Fur. By the way, if you want to knit a monster out of Fun Fur, it may help to be certifiably insane. I am apprehensive about this endeavour…

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In which I fail to grasp the concept of summer knitting

The Fake-astanje Cardigan continues to practically knit itself. I’m wondering whether it might be worth actually writing up a pattern for.

Progress…
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And the waist detail…
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… which was completely pulled out of my ass, proving that there is no point in my pre-planning a pattern because I’m just going to change it at whim halfway through anyway.

Now I’m at the spot where I switch to black lace, and running into problems, of course, because the project was going suspiciously smoothly so far. (Well, if you don’t count frogging the entire body of the first attempt.) I swatched the modified Half-Opened Seeds lace and it is so not going to work, because a) it looks like poo and b) it is a bitch and a half to knit, and making myself annoyed and angry while holding sharp, pointy, metal objects seems like a bad idea.

So it’s on hold until I find a suitable lace pattern. Sigh. Maybe I’ll start the silk thing. Or maybe I’ll finally write up a pattern for this:

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Because wool monster hats are exactly what everybody wants for the summer, right?



Riiiiiiiiiiip!

Current state of Fake-astanje Cardigan 1.0:

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RIP, sweet little ugly sweater.

Current state of Fake-astanje Cardigan 2.0:

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I have always been suspicious of those people who can knit a sweater in, like, two weeks, but now I fear that I may be becoming one of them. Hold me.



First sweater… OF DOOM!

Well, Lelah’s done, I’m procrastinating on sewing buttons on the mohair thing, and I’m still apprehensive about casting on for the Silk Something, so I think that means it’s time to deal with this… thing.

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That would be Attempt #1 of the Fake-astanje Cardigan, sans sleeves, which will soon be frogged. It’s too big and it’s too busy and I don’t like it. Plus, I increased too much for the hips, such that it looks like I’m wearing an umbrella. I don’t care for umbrella-shaped clothing.

For my first sweater attempt ever, it’s not bad, especially since I didn’t follow a pattern, but… eh. To the frog pond it goes.

The stitch pattern is kind of pretty.

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It’s just… too much. I like simple, clean lines, to the point of boring. If I’m going to add texture to a garment, I don’t want it everywhere.

The good thing about this froggy fiasco is that I now have a much better idea of what I want this sweater to look like. Since I started it and then put it aside, I’ve knit Rusted Root and the mohair thing, and so I have a much better sense of how to make a top-down raglan look right. Plus, the details. Instead of just “red textured top half, black lace bottom half”, I know what kind of raglan increases I want, where I want purl ridges, what bits I want to knit on smaller needles, exactly what I want the collar and button-less button bands to look like… you get the idea. I’m going with a plain stockinette red part, and I think a modified Half-opened Seeds pattern for the black part.

Wow, I think I bored myself writing that. Knitting nerdity!

I knit the collar a few days ago. I based it on the collar from Forecast.

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For some reason I am in love with that collar. I keep petting it. I think I need help. You know what else I keep petting? The freaking Fun Fur. Yeah, I know.

Now I’m pretty far into the yoke, but I haven’t taken more pictures yet. Hey, who starts knitting a wool sweater when it’s practically June? What is wrong with me?