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

The Princess and the Partridge

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.

Mmm, sleep.

And then there’s the Princess Yarn.

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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?

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Huh.

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?

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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.

Ugh.

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.



Nipples, Nerds, & Neverending Needlecraft Narratives

I have successfully de-nippled the hatboob.

But, of course, OF COURSE, there’s a new problem.

Exhibit A: a completed hatboob, pre-blocking.

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Exhibit B: a completed hatboob, post-blocking.

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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.

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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:

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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…

Heh.

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:

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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.

Harrumph.

But the rest of ‘em were properly dyelot-labeled. Same dyelot? Nope. Visibly identical to my dyelot? Yup. Sweet.

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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.)



Lies, Damned Lies, and… Cursed Yarn?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad things come in threes, right?

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



FO: Goldilocks’ Revenge

Goldilocks is back, and this time she’s pissed.

She returns in the form of one skein of Handmaiden Lady Godiva. A picky, picky, picky skein. This pattern is too hot. This pattern is too cold. This pattern is too big. This pattern is too small. OH MY GOD. And there are no bears in sight to shut her up.

First, there was the experimental Horrible Yellow Acrylic stitch. I kind of knew that this one was doomed from the start, but I gave it a try anyway.

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Yep. Doomed. Stitch pattern devoured by the variegation. Luckily, it looks a lot better in some solid Elann Incense…

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(5.5 feet down, 1.5 feet to go, and then you get the pattern!)

But we’re talking about Missie Picky Bitch Lady Godiva now. Next up was the White Night scarf attempt. It wasn’t horrible.

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But it wasn’t right, sez Lady Goldilocks. And it really wasn’t. The result didn’t make me think “yummy scarf that I will want to show off”. It smacked of “must get this yarn knitted up and out of the way”. I think the pattern will suit my Rowan Chunky Print much better.

So I thought maybe plain stockinette was the answer, given the variegation. But stockinette is so boring. Maybe some ridges of something-or-other to break up the monotony.

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I like it, said I.
I don’t, whined GoldieGodiva.

Sigh.

Okay, then, maybe something a little more complex. Maybe some seed stitch. Seed stitch looks good in variegated yarn. And maybe some slip-stitch ridges just to add some visual interest.

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It’s pooling all funny, whined Lady Bitchwhine-a, and this time I had to agree. It wasn’t pooling, exactly, but the colours were grouping themselves strangely and unattractively. If I made it any thinner, I’d barely have a scarf. If I made it thicker, the scarf wouldn’t be long enough with my single skein. Back to the frog pond. And now I was getting desperate.

And that was when I found the Morning Surf Scarf.

You know what? I don’t like seafoam stitch. I don’t like the way it looks and I don’t like knitting it. But for some reason, I liked this particular incarnation of it. There are some beautiful FOs on Ravelry and I think something about the rows of stockinette in between the elongated stitches makes it look better. I don’t know. But it was worth a try. And I tried it. AND IT WORKED.

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Pattern: Morning Surf Scarf
Yarn: Handmaiden Lady Godiva, 1 skein (I think the colourway is Forest, but I’m not sure)
Needles: US 7

Yeeees. Me likey, and Goldilocks ain’t complaining. This pattern is just right. The yarn is adequately shown off. The colours did a neat diagonal stripey thing. The stitch pattern and the variegation co-exist nicely.

I cast on 26 stitches, and it was looking a little short at bind-off, but after a wash and a block it turned out nice and long.

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And the yarn sure is purty.

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I. LOVE. THIS. YARN. Variegation issues aside. It has the sheen and softness of silk, and the resilience of wool. It stood up beautifully to repeated froggings. All it did was fuzz slightly, and then after washing/blocking I couldn’t even tell which end of the scarf was the froggy one. I don’t know how well it’ll hold up over time, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see, but for now I love it. I want to knit everything in it. Which I can’t, because, dude, 30 bucks a skein. whimper

But someday, someday I will be filthy rich and buy ALL THE LADY GODIVA IN THE WORLD.

Okay, realistically. Someday I will start selling patterns, and use that money to splurge on a sweater’s worth of Lady Godiva. Yum. Now there’s some motivation to get my designing shit together.

And Goldilocks? I am sick of you, Goldilocks. I am sick of trying tons of patterns with the same yarn and finding that none of them are Just Right. Stop infecting my perfectly good yarn with your obsessive pickiness!

Got that, Goldilocks? Next time – I’m sending bears.



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.



FO: Freakmittens

Well, I knit the damn mittens. And I was right to fear them.

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Pattern: mostly pulled out of my ass, but used Plaid Mittens as a guide and stole the finger opening of Peekaboo
Size: to fit freakishly skinny long hands
Yarn: SWTC Gianna, 2 balls (the small 41.5m balls)
Needles: US 10.5

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Yeah, they look innocent, don’t they? Cute, warm, cozy. But there’s a problem. There’s a big problem. Maybe more of a big-and-small problem. Can you see it?

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How about now?

They were knit with the same yarn, with the same needles, with the same exact non-pattern (I counted stitches obsessively to be sure), something like one or two days apart with no other projects in between and thus no opportunity for my gauge to go wonky. And one is clearly larger than the other. Freak! Freeeeaaak! Keep your children away from the freakmittens!

Step right up, and see the yarn that spawned the freakmittens! Keep well back from its cage; it doesn’t like strangers!

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On your left, ladies and gentlemen, is the yarn left over from the ball of yarn used for the first mitten. On your right, ladies and gentlemen, is the yarn left over from the purportedly identical ball of yarn used for the second mitten. Directly in front of you, ladies and gentlemen, is an angry knitter saying “What the fucking fuck?”

You see, ladies and gentlemen- yeah, okay, I’ll stop that now. You see, the two balls of yarn were not only the same yarn, but were from the same dyelot. The two balls of yarn were not only from the same dyelot, but from the same bag. But when I was knitting the first mitten, I was thinking, hey, this is a weirdly dense fabric on 10.5s and the ball band recommends 10s, what the hell are they smoking? And while knitting the second mitten, I thought, hmm, I don’t know what I was complaining about, this yarn knits up perfectly fine on 10.5s. I thought maybe I was just getting used to the yarn. But when the second mitten looked to be knitting up munchkin-sized, I started to see the horrible truth.

Could it be that one ball of yarn was actually thicker than the other ball of yarn?

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I’m not crazy, right? The one on the right looks a bit thinner?

The first mitten’s fabric feels thicker, kind of quilted, while the second feels like normal knitted fabric. The difference is really noticeable. I pulled out a third ball of yarn from the bag and it seems to match the second ball, the thinner one. Maybe the fourth ball will be thicker again. Maybe the fifth ball will be Fun Fur! Okay, now I’m getting angry.

So I think, maybe they’re not that different in the pic, and maybe I’m imagining things, and I pick up the remnants of the second ball and it falls apart in my hands. Into two mini-balls that were apparently wound into one. And one is thick and one is thin.

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From the left, Ball One (thick), Chunk of Ball Two (thin), Other Chunk of Ball Two (thick). I’m not imagining things, those are clearly different. The thick bit of Ball Two (which I guess I never reached in the course of knitting the mitten) kind of matches Ball One. The thin bit… doesn’t.

I AM ANGRY!

Because for once (ha), this is not my fault. I didn’t screw up the knitting. The mittens look exactly like they’re supposed to, except that they’re made in two different yarns that claim to be the same yarn! What what what crapmonkey crappy crap is this? And you know, I actually liked the yarn. It’s pretty and soft and cozy, but now I will never be able to trust it.

You deceived me, yarn! How could you to this to me?! WAAAAAH!

I don’t know what to do with the freakmittens. Both of them fit okay and don’t feel all that different when worn, but the little obsessive voice in my head is going the mittens must be identical or I will kill you in your sleep. (I’m already angry at that voice for pointing out my Giant Left Boob. Now my Tiny Right Boob has quite the inferiority complex, thanks to that voice.) I could frog Mitten One and re-knit it with Ball Three, but I have no guarantee that Ball Three will match Ball Two, and even if it does it could turn into Ball One thickness halfway through and GAH I knew I should have been suspicious when Elann was selling a whole bag of this freakyarn for like 20 bucks.

Fear the mittens.

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The Thing That Ate My Malabrigo

I has a yoke!

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This sweater is quick. It may be knitting itself when my back is turned, because I don’t think I’m that fast. That picture was from yesterday and since then I have a bit more body and a big chunk of sleeve #1. I will have no problem at all finishing it in a month. That’s the good news.

The bad news?

This sweater is a RAVENOUS YARN-EATING BEAST.

Yes, I’ve already acknowledged that I don’t have enough yarn for the sweater and I’m prepared to work around that. But, I said, okay. If I can get to the point where I split off the sleeves in under one skein of yarn, I’m good. I’ve made top-down raglans before. I can estimate how much yarn they’ll eat. I’ve got 4 skeins of Mmmalabrigo. If the yoke eats less than a skein, I can finish the body with another 1.5 skeins, and the remaining 1.5 should be enough for 3/4-length sleeves.

The sweater heard me.

The sweater laughed.

I used up the first skein of yarn one row before splitting off the sleeves.

That can’t be a coincidence. It just can’t. The sweater knows my plan and is out to foil it. It’s waiting until I think I’m safe – until I’m just about to split off the sleeves with my tiny little remaining nub of skein #1 and BAM, out of yarn.

I made you, sweater. I can unmake you. Ribbit, ribbit.

But I’m not giving up yet. It’s going to be tight, but I may juuuust have enough yarn. I abandoned the body for awhile, and started a sleeve, just to see how much yarn would be eaten, and the news isn’t bad. The sleeve is gently nibbling at the yarn instead of greedily slurping it down.

I made some on-the-fly changes to the sleeve shaping – decreasing every inch instead of every 2 inches – tried it on, and the sleeve fits fine. The body seems to fit about right too. I’m a bit concerned that everything fits, because the sweater’s going to grow a little after washing. But my swatch didn’t grow toooo much, so it’ll be all right. You hear that, sweater? You grow too much, and I will feed you to my monster hat.

The Malabrigo is DELICIOUS. It’s soft and beautiful and soft and a pleasure to knit with and soft and so very, very soft.

I may or may not have tried on the sweater naked.

And I’ve lucked out with a fairly consistent dye lot, it seems. I’ve heard horror stories about Malabrigo’s colour variation; even within the same dye lot the colours can be completely different. I did not want to do that thing where you switch balls of yarn every couple of rows. You know why? Because I’m lazy. That’s why. I stared and stared at my 4 balls of yarn, and came to the conclusion that 3 of them were exactly the same. The 4th is just a touch darker than the others. So I am not switching balls until I have to deal with that 4th skein, and you know what? I can’t tell where the skeins change at all. S’all good.

(Heh heh. Balls.)

STOP EATING MY MALABRIGO, YOU ASSMONKEY SWEATER JACKET THING FROM HELL.



Mad Sweater Science, Part II

In typical last-minute fashion, I’ve decided that NaKniSweMo is a go. And the sweater to be knit in a month will be…

*drumroll* (yeah like you really care)

DROPS jacket in ”Eskimo” or ”Silke-Alpaca” with A-shape and ¾-long or long sleeves – yeah, what kind of crapmonkey name is that? I’m not typing that over and over. I’m not even copying-and-pasting it over and over. It will be called the Mmmalabrigo Jacket. Because it will be made of Mmmalabrigo. And it is a jacket. Except, it’s really a sweater, but they call it a jacket, so I will too.

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I’ve gone and rewritten it as a top-down raglan. Partly because of my usual seaming-phobia, but mostly because I totally don’t have enough yarn to make it. I have 4 skeins of worsted Malabrigo. That’s 864 yards. I’m making the smallest size, and probably going with 3/4-length sleeves, and not flaring it out as much at the bottom, but I’m still going to run out of yarn. So making it top-down means I can run out of yarn at a spot where I can go “oh well, it’s long enough, I’ll just stop”, instead of, “oh crap, I have no left front shoulder!”

And I thought that this would be the perfect time to finally try a compound raglan. I’d taken that Maggie Righetti book back to the library already, but I remembered the principle – increase every other row down to the shoulder tip, every 4 rows down to the underarm, and every other row for another 1-1.5″. Okay. No problem. Wheeee!

Then I started doing The Math.

The Math told me that the distance from collar to bust with the original pattern would be between 7 and 8 inches.

The Math told me that the distance from collar to bust with a traditional raglan line (increasing every other row all the way through) would be between 7 and 8 inches.

The Math told me that if I did a compound raglan the armholes would be somewhere around my waist. That seems like a problem, since that’s not where my arms are.

I think The Math is screwing with me. Or I screwed up The Math. Or my arms are growing out of my neck and I just never noticed. Whyyyy doesn’t it work? I don’t know. I’m tired and don’t feel like figuring it out. So traditional raglan it is! But I’ll get you someday, compound raglan. I know where you live, compound raglan. You can’t hide from me.

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I’m sticking pretty close to the numbers of the smallest size in the pattern and I’ve worked out everything except the collar. I haven’t decided what to do about the collar. I think it might eat me, so it’ll have to be modified a bit.

I’m swatched and ready.

And after a week of knitting, I’ll discover that I got all the numbers wrong and have to frog and start over. Yay! Looking forward to it! Kill me now!

Ahhh, now that feels more like November.



Gigantic Gaping Fifi Chunks

Fifi is a whore. A filthy, diseased whore. I hate you, Fifi.

I have WIP guilt. Plus, if I do the NaKniSweMo thing, I’ll be ignoring Fifi for yet another month. So I thought I should at least get the body done, if not the stupid sleeves. My brilliant plan was to put in some little slits at the hip. I like side slits. They’re cute and give the Giant Hips a little extra wiggle room. But there was a problem.

I should have foreseen the problem.

I blame my rampant stupidity.

See, I knit Fifi with a whole lot of negative ease. That’s fine, because Calmer is stretchy. There isn’t very much waist and hip shaping in the pattern. That’s fiiiiine, because Calmer is stretchy. But guess what. If you introduce slits to the sides, Calmer stops stretching at that point, because there’s nothing pulling at it. The result is gigantic gaping chunks of non-shirt, instead of small, cute slits. Well, crap.

I tried Fifi on. Noted the gigantic gaping chunks. Noted the uneven stitches, the weird random wrinkles (how can it possibly wrinkle? Thanks to Exxxtreeeeeme Negative Ease, the thing is sized for a five-year-old), the armholes that appeared to be too big, and also the gigantic gaping chunks. Then I noted that I was trying it on with a sports bra and sweatpants and that surely couldn’t be helping things any.

Changed into a proper bra and pants, and things looked a little better. A little.

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Yeah, I experimentally tied up a gigantic gaping chunk with some Unnecessary Ribbon. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t leave them as gigantic gaping chunks. That’s just not attractive.

I can rip back and reknit without the slits, but I think it’ll cling too much towards the bottom. I can reknit with extra hip increases, but that would draw a lot of attention to the messy-looking purl columns running down the sides. I don’t know why they’re messy-looking, but they are. I can shorten it to the point above the slits, since it fits okay up to there, but I think that would be a bit too short.

Or I can do the ribbon thing. Eh. I think it looks a bit trashy, especially given that the top is so fitted. But maybe a bright peach cutesy cable-knit top can’t look trashy. I don’t knoooow.

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Fifi is an armless WHORE.



Revenge of the Backfat

I do not have a perfect body. Far, far from it. I have allowed myself to get out of shape lately, and it doesn’t look very good on me. By all rights I should not be able to wear a top like Coachella. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I tried on my WIP, and not only did it fit, but it fit in a “damn, baby, I’m hot!” sort of way.

Delighted, I hopped off to photograph it for blogginess. The front photographed fine using my camera’s timer, but then I gave the back a try.

Oh dear. We have backfat. We have backfat, and lots of it. But wait! I knew I had checked the back out in the mirror, and it looked fine, and not at all like it was drowning in endless ripples of fatty, fatty backfat. Right? I checked again, and was reassured that the backfat situation was well under control. Sure, I’ve got some. See aforementioned “out of shape” admission. But judging from the photo, you’d think I had enough with which to sculpt a small hippopotamus. Maybe a large hippopotamus. Nah, let’s be realistic, a small one.

I have long sworn that cameras are evil. I’m not photogenic at all – I am beyond un-photogenic – I have posted a few face-showing pics on this blog, I think, and none of them were flattering, and those were the good ones. But usually the camera restricts its evil to my face, and now it has moved on to creating phantom backfat? This won’t do at all.

It was time to turn to drastic measures.

It was time for… the dreaded mirror photoshoot.

My mirror-pics always look mucky and blurry (maybe I should clean my mirror) and I hate to resort to them, but it was the only way I could look at the camera’s display while taking the picture, and thus thwart its evil backfatty plans. And you can’t argue with results, because now I have WIP pics that will (hopefully) not horrify anybody:

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It isn’t all drapey in the front like most of the other ones I’ve seen, but I think I prefer it this way. Seems easier to wear somehow, and also won’t give the world a boobie peep-show, which is probably for the best. (I am sure there are people who will argue with that point, but their argument is probably based around wanting to see my boobies, so I think I can safely disregard it.)

And guess what. Other than leaving out the half-inch of waist shaping – because it’s about 5 inches too small already, and frankly I have no idea how or why it fits at all – I have followed the pattern as written. I never do this! I feel so lazy! I… kind of like it. Oh dear.