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.
It’s about time we had some hot hot FO action up in here.
This is a tale of a project that was destined to go horribly wrong.
I had never knit a shawl before.
Clearly, the perfect pattern to start with was a pattern written in Finnish, with only a few key words translated. A pattern that was obscure enough to be picked for an Obscuriosity KAL, meaning there were very few notes from people who had already made it.
Clearly, the perfect yarn to use was a skein that appeared to contain 78 grams of yarn from one dyelot, and 22 grams of yarn from a different one. Given that I had never tried to properly alternate yarns before, much less tried it in lacework.
So, it wasn’t surprising that the project turned out to be possibly my favourite FO ever.
… wait, what?
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Persia, 1 skein
Needles: US 4
Yeah, I’m not really sure how this one worked out, but now all I want to make, ever, is MOAR TRIANGULAR SHAWLS. I was worried that I would never wear it. This turned out to be a valid concern, except for the fact that I’ve been wearing it constantly. The way that it’s worn in the pic is my preferred method – point draped in front, ends brought around back, crossed, brought back to front and either tied under the point or left hanging, depending on how much time I want to spend yelling in my head, “WTF THE SHAWL IS FALLING OFF AGAIN?!” Which is to say, it looks better with ends hanging and doesn’t strangle me, but tying it is more practical.
Now let’s move on to today’s lesson: How Not To Fuck Up A Project Even Though Fucking Up Is A Near Certainty.
Problem: The pattern is in Finnish, the chart is confusing, and you have no idea what you’re doing.
Solution: Join a KAL with people who are less lazy than you.
The Obscuriosity KAL was extremely helpful, even though it was only a handful of people. Someone roughly translated the pattern, via internets and common sense. Other people reworked the charts to be clearer and shared their recharts. Once I got past the hump of “OMG WTF I don’t know what I’m doing halp”, the project was actually quite easy. The lace pattern was intuitive and could be memorized a little ways in.
Problem: Your skein of yarn contains two different dyelots because the universe hates you.
Solution: Magical made-up skein-alternating method! Also, kick the universe in the nards.
I am going to say OMG WTF again, because, OMG WTF. I wound the ball and found a break. Said, aw crap, now I have to work in a join somewhere. Went on my merry way. And then came the horrible realization. THESE TWO BALLS (heh heh heh two balls) WERE DIFFERENT COLOURS. The difference was subtle; I tried to photograph it but couldn’t get it to show up in a picture and was beginning to wonder if I was delusional. But I was not, at least not about this particular issue.
So I toddled over to Ravelry and searched for info on alternating skeins, and completely failed to find it. Oh, sure, there was plenty of “how to carry yarn up the side”. But there was nothing about “how to carry yarn up the side when switching skeins at the edge ruins the bump of your garter stitch border, but doubling the yarn and switching a few stitches in is too noticeable, and also did I mention that I’ve only got a two-stitch border to make this yarn switch and since I’ve got one small ball and one big ball (heh heh heh lopsided balls) I’m only doing the yarn-switching for a small section of the shawl, so the yarn-switching edge needs to match the regular edge”.
So I made up a method. Well, I’m sure someone smarter than me came up with it a long time ago, but my search-fu failed to find it so I had to invent it. Here’s how it works. (This assumes a garter stitch border.)
Work along the WS with Yarn 1, approaching the switching edge. Turn work.
Drop Yarn 1, pick up Yarn 2. Knit one stitch.
Pick up Yarn 1 along with Yarn 2, and twist them together, one twist.
Drop Yarn 1 again, which will now be causing a strange loopy mess, and knit a second stitch with Yarn 2.
Give Yarn 1 a yank to remove any loopiness, continue knitting with Yarn 2.
Work along the RS, turn, work along the WS, then do the whole mess over again, only with Yarn 1 and Yarn 2 switched.
This will keep the garter stitch edge bump, because you’re still “turning” Yarn 1 by “attaching” it to Yarn 2, so it’s as if you knit them both doubled but without the drawback of giant fat stitches. It’s invisible from the RS and not even terribly noticeable from the WS.
Problem: Your FO looks like a sad little scrunchy curling mess of random stitches.
Solution: Block it.
This is a problem with every lace project, ever, and you’re all already aware of the solution, but I felt it’s worth reiterating…
Blocking is magic, people. I know you don’t want to do it, but DO IT.
(Why yes, I AM going to spam that picture until the end of time.)
Problem: No triangular shawls.
Solution: MOAR TRIANGULAR SHAWLS.
Seriously. Go make a triangular shawl. Make this one! Or make a different one! I don’t care. Just make one. One skein of sock yarn makes a little one. Yes, this IS an excuse for you to buy that skein of expensive shiny hand dyed fairyfart yarn. Are you buying it? Why not? How about now? Yes, I know the economy is bad, but you need a triangular shawl. Stop arguing with me. If you’re not knitting a triangular shawl right now, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
… that is all.
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!
What I failed to mention before, was that two equals three for large values of two. Or something.
So. The zombie camera. Remember that? I said one of two things would happen: they’d fix it for free and send it back to me, or they’d tell me I’d have to pay to fix it and I’d say DO NOT WANT and I’d have no camera. But lurking in the back of my mind was the third thing that could happen, which I had discovered when poking around the internets trying to diagnose the camera’s ailment.
Sometimes, the repair centre receives a camera with the fixable-for-free image sensor defect, but the camera is so old that they can’t be arsed to dig up the parts to repair it, and instead send a “new” camera to replace it. And by “new”, I mean “old and refurbished but still a better model than what was sent in”. It sounded like people would, for instance, send in their six year old camera and receive a four year old refurb.
I was torn on whether I wanted this to happen to me. The zombie camera was a PowerShot S230. It was oooold, but also a very solid model, that had served me well all these years. I’d have no say over what they might send me as a replacement. For all I knew, it could be the little-known PowerShot AssGoblin, eleven days newer than the S230, which would only take pictures if you hopped on one foot while reciting the alphabet backwards when you pushed the button, and furthermore all the pictures would contain a superimposed image of flowered granny panties, and FURTHERMORE, it would arrive encrusted with suspicious blue goo because its previous owner was a melting Smurf.
I did not want the AssGoblin.
So when a box arrived in the mail from Canon, I was a little apprehensive. And pleased, of course – because the mere arrival of the box ruled out the “you have to pay for repairs” option. Whatever they’d done to my little zombie camera, they’d done for free. So there was that.
The box was rather small.
Well then, I thought as I pried it open, I guess they sent back my zombie, because there’s not enough room in here for a boxed up new camera. Little did I know that camera-box technology had grown by leaps and bounds since the last time I purchased a camera, and this was what the box contained:
First realization: That’s not my zombie.
I examined the included invoice (amount due: $0.00) with all the info about the repair.
Second realization: This is not a refurb. It appears to be new, for reals.
I toddled over to the intarwebs to see what exactly this SD1100 thingergummy was.
Third realization: This is not an old model. It came out last year. In fact, its replacement only JUST came out like a month ago, and up until then it was the CURRENT model in its line.
So. I totally owe someone at Canon some extensive sexual favours, because the more I researched, the more I realized that had the zombie camera not been eligible for a free-repair, and had I scraped together enough money to replace it, this is almost definitely the exact camera I would have replaced it with. And I’d just received it for free. Holy shit! Please excuse me while I do a small, tasteful dance of glee.
All right, all done.
I played around with the new shiny for a bit, and it’s quite an improvement over the old one. I know the photography buffs with their digital SLRs are scoffing at me squeeing over my little point ‘n’ shoot, but hell, I’m no expert, all I need is something to snap pics of shiny things. The old camera could not change this shot
to this shot
just by turning on macro mode.
Of course, the colours were still all wrong, and I thought perhaps I should finally learn how to set my white balance. The new camera has the same presets as the old one: sunlight, cloud, tungsten, fluorescent, etc. But there’s no setting for “some sunlight but also a desk lamp to zap some shadows with a whiter light than a regular light bulb”, and similar sorts of madness. There is a manual white balance mode that I had calmly and deliberately ignored on the old camera because it was scary. But it was time to suck it up and learn. So I asked a friend who knows about such things.
Me: I don’t understand how to use manual white balance.
Friend: Well, if you turn on manual mode and look for the menu-
Me: No, I know how to FIND it, I just don’t know how to USE it!
Friend: Oh! Just point it at something white.
Me: THAT’S ALL? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Anyway, since I am once again in possession of a working camera, my blog shall survive! Now it’s only dependent on me updating it, and we all know how totally reliable I am with that. Yup.
But, you might ask, what became of the zombie camera? Is it terrorizing the hallways of the Canon repair centre, devouring the brains of the living cameras, adding to its zombie army of photographic devices that give you a screen full of ASSING FLASHING LINES instead of a pretty picture? Do cameras even have brains? If they do, should we worry? I can’t tell you whether sentient cameras are an imminent threat, but I can tell you the alleged fate of my own little zombie…
The zombie camera is dead. Long live the zombie camera.
So I thought to myself yesterday, “hey, I should take some pictures of my new yarns and WIPs so I can get back into this blogging thing”.
Me: *turn on camera*
Camera: Hay what’s u- *PICTURE DIES*
Camera: Look at my pretty flashing horizontal lines on a black screen.
Camera: You didn’t want a picture of what you’re actually pointing the camera at, did you?
Me: Yes, yes I did.
Camera: Well, you get horizontal pink lines instead.
Me: *turn off camera*
Wait for it…
Me: *turn on camera again*
Camera: Look, your picture is back!
Camera: HAHAHA JUST KIDDING. Here, have some horizontal flashing lines instead.
So after an initial fit of “OMG WTF I HAVE NO MONEY TO GET CAMERA FIXED OR BUY NEW CAMERA AHHHHH FUCK FUCK FUCK, ALSO, FUCK!” I poked around on the internets and found out that maybe, maaaaaybe, it might be a known image sensor defect that Canon would fix for free regardless of warranty status (which, the thing is six years old hahahahaha warranty yeahright, so, sweet). Called ‘em up, found out that yes, it could be that, but I wouldn’t know until they took a look at it. Luckily the service centre is not far away.
Of course, knowing that electronics are fickle, I took another look at it this morning before taking it in.
Me: *turn on camera*
Zombie Camera: Hi, here’s your picture!
Me: *waits for picture to turn into black screen and flashing lines again*
Zombie Camera: Nope, still picture!
Zombie Camera: Oh, by the way, here’s some flashing lines over your picture.
Zombie Camera: Yeah, I figured you missed them.
Okay. Whatever, camera. You may have returned from the dead, but until you give me a picture with no lines over it, you’re still broken. To the service centre you go.
Me: Blah blah flashing lines.
Lady at Service Centre: *turn on camera*
Zombie Camera: I am a perfectly functional camera. See? Picture!
Lady: Huh. It looks fine.
Zombie Camera: *on best behaviour*
Lady: Yeah, no flashing lines.
Zombie Camera: Flashing lines? What? I know not of what you speak.
Me: I swear it was broken half an hour ago.
Lady: Heh, I believe you.
Zombie Camera: I WAS FRAMED. Heh heh. Framed. I made a funny.
Me: I hope they dissect you.
Zombie Camera: *whimper*
The end result is, in three weeks or so, I’ll either get back a shiny repaired camera in the mail, or a phone call saying “neener it ain’t the image sensor, you have to pay $150 if you want it fixed”, to which I’ll reply “NOT GONNA”, and then I’ll get back a shiny non-repaired zombie camera that makes terrible puns. And will have no camera, until I can afford a new one. And thus will not blog, for a knitting blog without pictures would be some awful mess of incoherence and imaginary conversations with inanimate objects, and nobody wants that.
So. We’ll see. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll actually knit something.
There’s a thread on Ravelry called Favourite Obscure Pattern, and it is made of delicious crunchy awesome. It’s exactly what it sounds like – awesome patterns that nobody has ever heard of.
(I say this as if I’m actually knitting things – which I am, just very slowly and sporadically, hence the lack of blogging. Lace scarves are purty, but damn do they take forever to knit.)
So I’ve been following that thread since forever, and some months ago had an idea. An idea which I kept putting off, because, mumblemumble insert elaborate and totally logical explanation here, preferably having to do with squirrels and duct tape, and certainly not because I have a tendency to procrastinate. Not me. Never.
But finally, here is the idea: Obscuriosity
It’s a KAL/CAL for obscure patterns. You know those patterns that you stumble across and think, this is awesome, how come everybody doesn’t know about this pattern? I think those patterns really ought to be plucked out of obscurity, and maybe a KAL like this can help. I remember stumbling on Fifi, thinking it was cute, and nominating it for the Sexy Knitters Club KAL. People jumped on it, it got picked, and now there are 165 of ‘em on Ravelry. When I first found the pattern, there were, like, two.
Incidentally, I still have not finished the Fifi I started over a year ago. I fail at knitting, for serious.
So, you know, if you’re into obscure patterns or KALs, go join up. Knit something that isn’t yet another Clapotis! I’m not knocking Clapotis. I like Clapotis. Even if it sounds like an unholy combination of climbing vine and STD. Even if I got so bored knitting one that I gave up, frogged it, and titled the experience “Crapotis” on my Ravelry project page. Which sounds like an unholy combination of climbing vine and… uh. Never mind.
To apologize for the lack of knitting content in this entry, here is a soul-eating sweater.
Yeah, I needed some sort of sample picture to use in an example nomination post for the KAL. I suppose a sane person would have just google image searched “sweater”.
If I was an Olympic athlete, I would not be the one that comes home with 8 gold medals. (Yes, Mister Teevee Guy, I get it, if Michael Phelps doesn’t get his 8 gold medals then the terrorists win, all right already, I GET IT HE’S AN AWESOME FREAKY FISH MAN NOW SHUT UP ABOUT IT AND JUST LET ME WATCH THE RACE THANKS.)
I would not be the one who scores a surprise bronze medal and is all thrilled about it.
I would not be the one who is really really good, and then has a crappy day and trips over a hurdle or something.
I would not be the one who is ranked 27th in the world and then unexpectedly makes a final and finishes 8th and is all “I’m just so blessed to be in this race at all!”
I would not be the one who is awesome by Normal People standards, but craptastic by Olympics standards, and will never win anything, ever, but goes anyway because it’s the frickin’ Olympics, and also there are lots of hot athletes there who might like to have some sex after their events are over.
No, no, I would be the one who missed the trials to even get on the team in the first place because I didn’t feel like getting out of bed that morning. Yep. I bet you know where I’m going with this.
I fail at the Ravelympics.
There’s my sketch of a cute little tee that I still have not even written up pattern notes for, never mind cast on. And furthermore, I don’t feel like doing it. I still can’t decide exactly how I want the neckline to work and how much negative ease to use and where to place the bust darts and these are all things that I know perfectly well how to figure out, it’s just that even thinking about it makes me want to go to sleep.
And then there’s the Princess Yarn.
A little while ago, I stumbled on this Eye-of-Partridge Shawl pattern, and it was like, angels singing, lights shining, boxes of free Malabrigo appearing on your doorstep, etc. This was the pattern that I’d been looking for. Not for the Princess Yarn. For another yarn that has been taunting me for awhile, my skein of Mini Maiden.
And then I realized that the pattern used 274m of yarn, and my Mini Maiden was 500m, and I really liked the size of the pictured one and didn’t really want a bigger one. Sigh. Foiled again.
But I did like the stitch pattern, a lot. Like stockinette, but a little more complex and keeps variegated yarn from pooling. Maybe it was worth a shot as a scarf?
I liked it. I really did. It looked a mess close up, but from far off it was perfect. The colours were doing awesome patterny things and it looked good as a skinny scarf and I could probably get a respectable length out of my one skein and and and… clearly there had to be a problem somewhere. And there was.
Notice how the scarf is pinned down?
Want to see what happens when I un-pin it?
Well, fuck a duck sideways on Sunday.
I noticed the curling right away. In fact, I did the scarf with a border at first, but eye of partridge stitch is wonky when it comes to row gauge, thanks to all the slipped stitches, and it doesn’t play nice with traditional borders. In the shawl pattern, the eyelets help that issue, and I actually faked an eyelet border but that led to a messy decrease row next to the eyelets and blah blah perfectionism, you know the drill with me by now. So I had to switch out to a slip stitch border, and I knew it would curl, and I said,
hey, it’s silk, silk blocks really well, blocking will fix everything
because blocking is MAGIC, you know, and yes, sometimes it is, but given that this thing lost half its width the second I took out those pins, well, if blocking can fix this thing, then I can go to the Olympics and win 8 gold medals. Yeah.
So, it’s a week into the Ravelympics and one project hasn’t been started, and the other one will probably have to go to the frog pond. And I’ll have to find yet another perfect pattern for the Princess Yarn, and how the hell am I going to do that?
I’m thinking… linen stitch? Because I saw this. And it’s purty. And it doesn’t appear to curl. And FOR THE LOVE OF MONKEYS I NEED TO FINISH A PROJECT AND END THE FAIL.
Frog the Princess, start over in linen stitch. That’s the plan. Yay?
I have to say, as a knitting motivator, the Ravelympics are not so much doing their job. I still don’t feel like knitting much, and when I do, I’d much rather pick up one of my Smooshy lace scarves, which I am not allowed to do, because I must only work on Ravelympics projects or else… or else what? Or else I am one of probably thousands of people who won’t finish their Ravelympics projects? Huh. That’s not so bad. I will be in good company. We can all revel in our suckage together, it’ll be a shiny happy fail party. Why muck about with this whole “effort and hard work” thing anyway?
Yeah, I could never be an Olympic athlete.
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!
When I decided to venture into beaded knitting, I turned to the intarwebs, as usual. I already knew how to do it but the devil’s in the details and I didn’t know what size crochet hook and what size beads would be exactly just right for my scrumptious skein of succulent Smooshy.
I quickly learned that a 1mm crochet hook was exactly the right size, and also too big and possibly too small. That I wanted to use 8/0 seed beads which were totally big enough for sock yarn except that they were definitely too small and that I should actually use 6/0 beads except that they were all wrong and also completely correct. And that it was probably a good idea to use silver-lined beads, unless it wasn’t. Okay then. What could possibly go wrong?
So I ordered one baggie each of 6/0 and 8/0 silver-lined teal beads to experiment (and props to Artbeads.com for cheerfully filling my order totalling a whopping $2.66. Okay, there was probably very little cheer, but they filled it). And I hit up the three local stores that carry a smallish selection of knitting and crochet goodies – no LYS ’round here unfortunately – and bought the smallest hooks I could find. The first hook I purchased looked very small. The second one, I could swear that it was even smaller, though of course I’d left the first one at home so I couldn’t compare. The third one was so small that clearly it had to be smaller than the first two. I lined them all up, and that was when I knew.
cake hook is a lie!
These things lie worse than gauge swatches. They claim to all be the same size and quite clearly are not. I knew the arbitrary size numbers would probably lie – and indeed, the three hooks are marked size 10, 11/12, and 12 – but you’d think that if it says 1mm, it would be 1mm. Is this an unreasonable expectation? Are millimetres different sizes in, say, different parts of the world, or on Tuesdays?
Uh huh. All the same size. Suuuure they are.
But no worries, surely one of them would work for my beadwhore needs, and in fact two of the three played nicely with both the 6/0 and 8/0 beads. I quickly figured out that the 8/0s were getting devoured by the yarn and that I liked the Red Heart (!) crochet hook the best, and abandoned my initial pattern plans and instead decided on the Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty, with a small modification for adding beads. I grabbed my yarn and my hook and ordered me some more 6/0s and got started with my one little baggie and all was well. Right?
Ha ha ha ha HA.
So here’s the thing.
I love the yarn.
I love the pattern.
I love the beads.
I love the yarn with the pattern.
I love the beads with the pattern.
I… um… do not love the yarn with the beads.
Okay, this is an obsessive colour nerd sort of thing. Brown and teal go together beautifully, in general. But this is shiny happy Dream in Color yarn which means that it’s not really brown, but is a SPARKLY MAGIC RAINBOW OF COLOUR pretending to be brown. There was some darker bits in the magic rainbow that I thought looked kind of tealy, but were in fact olive green. You can see what I mean in this inaccurate-but-point-illustrating pic:
(Note the crochet hook lurking there with evil in its cold metal heart.)
You can see the undertones of the brown, which are a rose pink sort of thing, purple (the hell?!), and an olivey gold with occasional darker bits. All of which clash horribly with the teal beads. Teal seems to play nicely with warm-toned reds (blue-green’s opposite on the colour wheel is red-orange), and of course, teal itself, and there was none of that in this yarn. The more I stared at the scarf, the more the colours looked wrong wrong wrong.
Which was very frustrating, because in all other aspects the scarf looked right right right. The pattern really is perfect for beads, and very easy, but not so easy that my brain was tempted to turn into a fine goo and drip out of my ears in protest of being under-used. Argh! Arrrrgh! But what to do? I had more teal beads on their way, and besides, I loved the beads and didn’t want to change them.
I experimented with my still-neglected skein of Mini Maiden, but…
It looked like a cat ate a clown made entirely of yarn, and that it didn’t go down so well and the cat then vomited up the yarn clown and the result was what you see in that pic. And clowns are scary, even if they’re made of yarn, and cat vomit is also scary, so clearly this was not the way to go.
There was only one thing left to do.
It was time to… *gulp*… break my yarn diet.
So on its way to me now is another skein of Smooshy, but in the colour Black Parade. According to an extensive (seriously!) search on Ravelry, it is a blacky browny tealy charcoaly sort of thing and should be perfect. But I won’t know until it arrives. Such are the perils of hand-dyed yarn.
THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.
Hurry up, yarn.
I’m stalking the mailbox because this is the only thing I’m knitting right now. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is a disobedient scarf that has been sent to the yarn bin to do penance. And there is something else. It’s made of orange acrylic. And since I don’t make things in orange acrylic, ever, that means that it’s an experiment of sorts. A shameful, guilty experiment. You’ll see.
I want to try knitting with beads.
No good will come of this.
Listen to me. I want to knit with beads. This means obtaining beads. Lots of them. Little baggies containing hundreds upon hundreds of small, shiny objects. I will never actually make it all the way to my yarn, or my knitting needles, because HAY SHINY OBJECTS LOOK SHINY SHIIIIINY WEEEEEEE!
Okay, but see, I have this yarn.
Don’t worry, I have not gone on a forbidden yarn binge; I bought it a while ago. It’s Dream in Color Smooshy in November Muse. That’s sock yarn. I do not knit socks. Nope. I won’t do it and you can’t make me. I have very well thought out reasons for not knitting socks, and I once typed them out on Ravelry, and because I totally can’t remember what they were, I’m just going to go look up that post:
Well, I’m afraid of knitting socks because then I’ll have to buy sock yarn, and then I’ll want even more sock yarn, and hand-dyed sock yarn, and sock yarn with a bit of silk in it, and seventy different kinds of teeny sock needles, and then some more sock yarn, and then ALL THE SOCK YARN IN THE WORLD because it’s just so darned pretty, and soon I’ll spend all my money on sock yarn and sell my clothes for sock yarn and stand on a street corner with a sign saying “will knit socks for sock yarn” while people hurl mass-produced dirty socks at me in disgust, and then I’ll be living in a box, a box lined with sock yarn and decorated with curtains made of sock yarn, and I’ll be all cold because I sold my clothes for sock yarn but at least my feet will be warm.
Ah, thank you, Ravelry’s search feature. See? Perfectly logical and not at all unreasonable.
So I don’t knit socks, but I do knit lace, and I want a brown lace scarf.
And then I saw – okay, here’s the thing, I stalk my patterns on Ravelry, don’t judge me. I just think it’s cool when people make ‘em and I like to look at the FOs. So I was stalking and I saw a beaded Serpentina. Shiny! But I can’t make another Serpentina. I already have a Serpentina. How sad would it be to knit my own pattern twice? I resisted making a Malabrigo Serpentina and I can resist this too. So there. But I can make a different beaded scarf. And I can go through Ravelry’s entire list of lace scarves and decide that I don’t want to make any of them. And then I can bang my head against a tree a few hundred times until I annoy a nearby squirrel and it starts hurling acorns as me, because that’s just about as productive as my “nope, I don’t like any of these three thousand scarves” sessions.
At this point a beaded squirrel was starting to sound like a good idea, so it was time to just pick a scarf already and stop the madness. So I did. Beaded Lace Scarf II by HeartStrings FiberArts. Well, maybe not exactly. Maybe just something that looks somewhat like that. Yeah, the madness never stops, it only takes quick coffee breaks, but at least now I sort of have a plan. And I need beads. Shiny ones!
But not brown ones. I don’t want sparkly little polished turds on my scarf. I’m teal-obsessed lately so clearly that’s the way to go. Unless it isn’t. Maybe red would be a safer choice with brown. But I want teal! But maybe red would look better! But but… are hobbies supposed to be all anxiety-inducing like this? I’m thinking not so much. Especially not when said hobby involves handling sharp, pointy sticks. This isn’t going to end well. Okay, but two minutes in Photoshop ought to solve this dilemma.
Hmm. That’s not giving me the answer I wanted.
The easy thing to do would be to buy some teal beads, and buy some red beads, and play around with both. Beads are cheap. But this would mean that I’d end up with at least one baggie of beads that I would not be using for this scarf. And then I’d have to do something with them. Oh yes. I couldn’t just put them in a drawer and forget about them. Shiny things simply do not work that way. The shiny must be enjoyed! Shiiiiiny. What could I do with an extra bag of beads?
I wonder how hard it would be to catch a squirrel.