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

Leave me alone, Maddy…

As promised, Maddy pattern is up.

I’m so very tired.

A final burst of idiocy: I was trying to find a method to calculate how big to knit the yoke; something more concrete than my usual method of “hold it up in front of the mirror, say ‘okay, what the hell, that looks about right'”. So I came up with a formula that used the body stitch count to calculate the yoke stitch count. Then I realized that the formula to calculate the body stitch count used the yoke stitch count. Um. Oops.

(If you’re curious, the method I ended up going with was “try it on, dammit”.)

Then I proofread the pattern and found a whole bunch of errors. Okay, like, three, but that’s still three too many. Good: they’re not there anymore. Bad: I apparently cannot write up a pattern without errors, so there might be more still in there that I am too tired to catch. I’m sure people will find them and tell me about them, possibly with added profanities.

Perhaps this will improve my mood:


Alas, there is nothing fun and frivolous in there, only useful stuff. Still, new goodies! And the brown yarn will become Monster Hat: The Second Coming. Brain-eating hats definitely qualify as frivolous, right?

Maddy Masochism

Maddy is about 95% written up, and you’d think that now I could relax, right? Check for errors, fix the schematic, maybe set up a pdf version for easy printing, piece of cake. I’m sure you already know that if things were going that smoothly, I wouldn’t be writing about this at all…

Here’s the thing. The pattern is written for my size. 34-36″ bust, 28-30″ waist. It’s not an uncommon size, plenty of people can knit it as-is, but a whoooole lot of people will need a different size. I know about YarnStandards.com’s sizing chart, I know about other sizing charts on people’s blogs, I have no fear of knitting-math, but I don’t quite trust myself to write up other sizes. I just don’t have that knack of knowing where I’ll need to tweak the sizing chart numbers, except for my own size.

So I’ve written up instructions on how to resize it for your measurements. Extensive instructions. Instructions full of math and examples. The standard yoke/waist/bust stuff, plus how to change the neckline size, how to calculate the size of the lace panels at the bottom, how to know if you need bust darts. A whole freaking lesson on how to alter patterns, basically. I’ve been knitting for a year and a half; I’m not even qualified to give that sort of lesson.


(I don’t think I will ever get tired of turning my knits into monsters.)

Part of me is saying “you know, you could follow your own instructions, plug some numbers in, and come up with a bunch of sizes to add to the pattern”. But what if I get them wrong? As soon as there are absolute numbers in a pattern, people tend to follow them without thinking about what they’re doing, you know? Well, I don’t, but I’m a freak and a masochist and just have to know how every pattern works before I make it.

Another part of me is saying “hey, why don’t you code up a little calculator, have people enter their measurements, and it’ll automatically change the numbers in the pattern”. This appeals to my nerdy side, but it’s a lot of work for a pattern that maybe nobody will ever knit.

(I’m a pessimist. Several people have told me that they want to knit Maddy. It’s already in 7 queues on Ravelry and the pattern isn’t even available yet. But I’ve got stuff in my Ravelry queue that I’ll probably never knit, and just because I see a pattern I like doesn’t mean I ever get around to knitting it. So… yeah.)

It’s just that people are going to look at that mess of sizing info and go “meh, too much work, I’ll knit something easier instead”. It really isn’t that much work – and it’s also a useful lesson on how to dissect a pattern. And I like the idea of being able to make it fit your exact measurements, instead of choosing the closest size and hoping it’ll work out.

AAAAAAH! I don’t know what to do. And I want to get this pattern up soon; I promised I would.

It sure will be nice to write up the pattern for Bamboozled after this.


One size fits all, and I even have the chart done already!

FO: Maddy

Does it fit? Does it fit? Does it fit?



Pattern: IT’S COMING DAMMIT (sigh, I’ll edit in the link when it’s done, which WILL be in the next few days, I swear) IT’S HERE DAMMIT
Size: uh, me-sized? will fit about a 34″-36″ bust
Yarn: Alchemy Silk Purse in Rust Red, 4 skeins (note: these are the older skeins with more yardage)
Needles: US size 4

Apologies in advance for the picspam, I’m damn proud of this thing, and I took a million billion pics of it, and you’re going to humour me and look at them all, dammit. (Or you’re going to close your browser and laugh at me. Sob.)

maddy2.jpg maddyside2.jpg

It’s not perfect. It’s really obvious where the skeins change (alas, they all looked the same colour in the skein, otherwise I would have planned a smoother transition), and I’m not sure how long it’s going to fit as well as it does, given silk’s tendencies to stretch and sag. But damn, did I guess at the right measurements or what? This is probably the closest I’ve ever come to having a knit garment fit exactly right.


The pattern… oh, the pattern. I am the kind of knitter who reads over a pattern, figures out how it works, and promptly ignores the pattern details. I don’t need rows and rows of “k1, p2, k16, yo, slm, yo, k16…” and such, what I need is “knit in pattern to marker, increase just before and after marker”, general stuff, and if I can’t remember how many stitches before the marker to increase, I can look that up.

Unfortunately, that sort of hand-wavy instruction makes for a very confusing pattern, and writing up the pattern is very nonintuitive to me. For example, I kept moving around the point where a round starts/ends, and for a large chunk of the pattern I didn’t even have a round marker there, so I’m going to have to figure out where a normal knitter would want to put the round marker. Otherwise I will have to append “it all makes sense in my head, I swear” to every other line of the pattern, and that’s going from “Half-Assed Patterns” all the way to “This Pattern Is Useless And I Hope The Idiot Who Wrote It Gets Eaten By An Angry Giant Squirrel”.

I’ll make it work. I think.

maddysleevedetail.jpg maddyback.jpg

For anyone who might be thinking of making it (I’m trying to be optimistic and assume that someone, somewhere will like it enough to make one, heh), it’s not a difficult pattern. I suspect it looks harder than it is. The hardest bit is increasing in the lace pattern for the yoke, and it’s not hard so much as head-hurty. I’m going to try to include very clear directions for using extra stitch markers in that section to prevent total loss of sanity. The lace bits at the bottom are rectangular, so they’re super easy, and all the increases at the bottom are done in the stockinette section.


Very strange not to be writing about mods, given that there are none, because the pattern is MINE ALL MINE. Though I do want to say that looking at the pattern for Picovoli was very helpful; it has sort of the same shape I was going for, and similar gauge, so it was a useful “are my stitch counts in the right ballpark?” reassurance.

maddy3.jpg maddyflat.jpg

Designing this was a neat experience (occasional fits of “HELP ME I AM GOING MAD!!!” aside), but I’m kind of relieved it’s all finished.

I’ll be even more relieved if when I successfully write up a legible pattern for it.

Gratuitous Picture Post

Just testing out my WordPress Flickr plugin… heh heh.



*whistles innocently*

I have an evil plan.

I’ve decided what to do about the monster hat. I’m going to rewrite the pattern completely – instead of trying to match my hat exactly – and then test-knit the new version. Because the only thing better than owning one ridiculous head-eating monster is owning two ridiculous head-eating monsters.

Of course I have no yarn. Some stasher I am. I rummaged through my yarn bin and the only appropriate thing I found was a gold-ish ball of Elann’s Highland Wool. Thing is, I’m not sure 109 yards is enough for a hat with earflaps and i-cord ties, and if I buy another ball I’ll have to place an Elann order, and if I place an Elann order, I will buy EVERYTHING.

I have to go to Michaels to get some giant googly eyes, so I suppose I’ll just pick up a ball of Patons Classic Wool. Yes. Must be good. *twitch*

Maddy is almost done. Its pattern is, um, not.


Fifi is nowhere close to being almost done, possibly because I’ve been ignoring it and it stubbornly refuses to knit itself. But I’ve at least split the sleeves off and started the body.


My ball of Royal Bamboo has spontaneously sprouted a mouth (not pictured), and is using said mouth to yell at me for not knitting with it yet. But I have promised myself that I won’t start anything new until Maddy is done. No bamboo headband, no Monster Hat II: Electric Cliché-a-loo, no doing evil Diamond Mesh Lace type things to that skein of Mini Maiden in the yarn bin. I will be good. I will be good.

P.S. I fail at being good. It’s Sunday and I ordered yarn again. I only spent $25, and got something I’ve wanted for a long time, so I don’t feel too guilty, but – what is it about Sundays? I wonder if I can set my computer to block all yarn shops on Sundays.

I’m not saying what I bought, because it should make for some lovely yarn pr0n when it arrives.

(Half) Asses and Monsters and Beer, Oh My!


Monsters are a problem. Sometimes they eat your head, and sometimes they refuse to be written up into a pattern. Right now I would happily let this particular monster gnaw on my brains for awhile if it would just tell me how the hell the decreases on the top of its head work.

I am having waaaay more trouble than I should with mentally dissecting that hat. I’d only been knitting a few months when I made it, so I couldn’t have done anything too wacky. I know how to read my knitting – usually – but this durn hat critter thing seems to melt into an amorphous yarn blob whenever I try to pick out the stitches I used. Graaah. Monsters.

I added my first pattern to Ravelry today – the Vicious Gnauga Backpack, naturally – and it’s all very odd. Pattern source, asked the form, and I filled in “Half-Assed Patterns”. And cackled. If I ever get my shit together on this whole designing thing, I will really have to come up with a better name than Half-Assed Patterns. I mean, it doesn’t exactly fill a prospective knitter with confidence.

Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Which will likely not be for a very long time, if I’m currently being foiled by a little red monster. Not even a complicated design, but a hat with eyes and teeth. How embarrassing.

And if when I conquer the monster hat, next in line to be written up is Maddy. Ask me how I’m going to turn this mess into a pattern…


The correct answer is: BEER.

Don’t tell me that’s not an answer. It’s totally an answer.

What do you mean, kittens aren’t made of silk?

I return from Harry Potter exile! (Don’t worry, no spoilers here.) I managed to remain completely unspoiled by avoiding the Intarwebs Of Spoilage as much as possible. I’d like to blame my lack of blogging on that, but the truth is, I’m deeply, deeply lazy. (Sorry, Mae!) This shouldn’t come as a surprise – see the blog name.

Coachella is done…


… but not done done. Can’t wear it until it’s washed and blocked, and can’t do that until I weave in the ends and snip them, and can’t do that because the blasted ribbon yarn is fraying. There’s always something. So I need to get me some Fray Check or whatever it’s called, and I have no idea where to find it, as there are no real sewing shops around here. It’ll be done. Eventually. And then there will be a proper FO post, and I will complain about having to double the amount of hip increases. Not the pattern’s fault. My giant hips’ fault.

So, that done, I rescued Maddy from the yarn bin. The other day I noticed that three people had it listed as a favourite on Ravelry, even in its pathetic WIP state. It occurred to me that people might actually want to knit this thing, and I really ought to get off my lazy (half) ass and finish it, and get a pattern written up. Aaaah! Pressure!

A few weeks in seclusion did it good, because it no longer looks like hot buttered ass to my eyes. I don’t know whether it underwent some sort of metamorphosis in there, or whether I’m just less of an obsessive perfectionist critical of it, but now it looks an awful lot like a cute lacy top. It’s back on the needles…

… and holy god, I had forgotten what it’s like to knit with Silk Purse. I love the silk ribbon yarn I used for Coachella (fraying aside), but I have to admit it’s not the most softest of silks. Now Silk Purse, on the other hand, is like knitting with kittens, if kittens were made of yarn and not, you know, kitten. You’re a kitty, Silk Purse! Yes you are! Yes you aaaaare!

I know it’s going to stretch.
I know it’s going to pill and fuzz.
I know I will be ready to feed it to a kitten at some point. A giant kitten. With sharp, pointy teeth. A giant, fire-breathing, demon-eating kitten. Wait, I want one of those. To do my bidding. Nobody will mess with me if I have a giant kitten.

I’m sure I had a point here, but now I just want to go looking for a giant kitten.

Silk & Cursing

That’s it. I give up.

I had no intention of knitting Coachella when I looked through the new Knitty. I thought it was cute, and the construction was neat, but it just wasn’t my style. So I acknowledged its cuteness and went back to pondering yarn subs for Zinzin.

But then I saw this Coachella and it was all over. So I give up, and I’m going to make one.

Of course I had no yarn for it. I am not a stasher; I generally buy yarn only if I have a project in mind (though I will make exceptions for such yummies as Mini Maiden). I hadn’t yet decided what sort of tank to make with my new Misti Cotton, and pondered that as a sub. Nice drape, not too heavy, it could work. But the gauge was larger. And since I plan to knit the XS – going on my theory that I should knit one size smaller than the size I actually should be – I can’t do the trick where you knit a size down with a larger gauge and it all evens out. I just didn’t feel like reworking the pattern. For once I am feeling exceptionally lazy and want to just follow a pattern as written. This is terribly out of character for me; I fully expect to get halfway through and start inappropriately adding lace or buttons or neon green fun fur or something.

I’m just kidding. I would never add buttons.

Anyway, I was in Toronto again yesterday, and wanted to stop by Romni to pick up another skein of Misti Cotton, because I think my plan to get a tank top out of two skeins was wildly optimistic. And while there, I found this:


100% tussah silk, Romni’s house brand, so it wasn’t too pricey. About the same size and gauge as the recommended Berroco Suede (which I had no intention of using, because suede yarn scares me. I know it’s not actually suede. I don’t care), with a similar ribbon-like construction. I know, I know, I have complained about the impracticality of 100% silk yarn and I never learn, do I. But this is the rare garment where I think it will actually be suitable. I reserve the right to change my mind after beginning to knit, and to swear a lot. (By the way, my blog is apparently rated NC-17, no doubt due to my filthy, filthy mouth. I am not particularly surprised.)

On the topic of silk and cursing, I have decided on a name for the silk thing. It will be called Maddy.

Officially, it is named after a doll I had as a child. (What kind of child names their doll Maddy?) The doll even had red hair, so it would match the top nicely, if for some reason I wanted a doll-matching top, which I do not. I have no idea what happened to that doll. But I sure loved it as a kid. (Seriously, Maddy? Why not Madeline? What the hell was wrong with my child-brain? Maddy. Gah.)

Unofficially, it is named that way because three letters of its name accurately describe my state of mind when working on the garment.

Silkiest bunch of silk that ever silked…


This is the top that never ends…
Yes it goes on and on my friends…
Some people started knitting it not knowing what it was
And now continue knitting it forever just because…

It is taking forever plus fifteen minutes, it looks like hot buttered ass and it’s pissing me off. Okay, it looks like shiny, silky ass, which is marginally better, but still. I like the pattern. Well, the non-pattern. The pattern in my head, which I have managed to write up about 3% of. I am just kind of wishing that I made it in some nice, cheap, mercerized cotton. Not only would it probably look better, but if it didn’t, I wouldn’t care, because it was cheap!

I can’t even take a proper picture because the bottom is crammed onto a 24″ circ, but I tried:


I’m telling myself to do 1 repeat of the lace pattern (8 rows) every day, time permitting. Otherwise I think I would ball it up and throw it in the yarn bin, and stick my fingers in my ears and hum whenever I was forced to remember its existence.


4 repeats in, at least 4 more to go, at which point I’ll see whether it’s long enough. It won’t be, of course, because the universe hates me. Lousy stinking universe.

But damn if it isn’t kind of pretty, in all its hotbutteredassiness…


Noooo. I will stand firm. I will not be seduced by its silky silk silkiness. YOU WON’T TAKE ME ALIVE, FOUL YARNY TEMPTRESS.

I am clearly going mad.

Bistromathic Gauge Swatches


I’ve been rereading my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books lately (and relistening to the radio series, and getting the Krikkit song stuck in my head for days, driving me mad, and OH GOD I AM A NERD). I have also been cursing my knitting.

The Fake-astanje Cardigan has been relegated to the yarn bin because it’s freaking June and I will knit summery things or die trying, dammit. Also because I don’t feel like knitting sleeves. The silk thing is pissing me off because it’s not perfect, and also because it doesn’t have a name yet. I don’t understand why inanimate objects won’t take some initiative and name themselves.

But never mind.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy presents the concept of a recipriversexcluson, which is a number that is defined as being anything but itself. Got it?

I’m not going to say that there is no purpose in gauge swatches. There is, but not the purpose one would expect. I’ve decided that my swatched gauge measurement is a recipriversexcluson. So it does give me some information, which is that whatever I think my gauge is, is exactly what it isn’t.



(No, I do not have a 27″ bust. This yarn grows a LOT after washing/blocking.)

I know that my gauge changes a bit between knitting flat and in the round, and I’m pretty sure I factored that in when I did all my fancy gauge math, so I can only assume that I am being foiled by Bistromathics. Which is very strange, given that I am not in a restaurant, and neither is the little notebook in which I wrote down my gauge info.

Another safe assumption would be that I should quit rereading my Hitchhiker’s books.

The silk thing is frustrating me, it really is. Apart from two of the skeins of yarn being completely different colours (can you tell in the pictures? If you can, I don’t want to hear about it LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU), and the total impracticality of 100% silk yarn (but it’s so purty), and the fact that I had to tink back in one little section three times because I used the wrong increase, then went back and did the right increase, then realized that the right increase was actually the wrong increase and I’d had it right in the first place, I… forget what I was going to say.

No, wait. The gauge stuff. Which is now erring on the side of “too big”, and so help me, I am going to have to cut a bitch if this thing is too big. Because that is the issue that plagues every damn knit garment I attempt, and I thought I finally had a good solid theory on sizing, which is “make it way too small, and it will somehow fit in the end”. I can only hope that I overestimated how much the yarn will grow, and… it will somehow fit in the end. Oy.


It is nice to be past the stockinette and well into the interesting bit, though.