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

Attack of the Scarves, Part I

There’s a group on Ravelry called Finish Me. And in it, there’s this one thread where you state that you won’t start [insert project here] until you finish [insert project here]. I’m not sure exactly what I’ve promised in that thread, but I know that if I kept those promises, I would pretty much never knit anything ever again.

So I had this bright idea that I wouldn’t post new blog entries until I’d replied to the comments from the current blog entry – seemed an easy way to keep on top of comments. And eventually I realized that if I was to do that… wait for it… I would pretty much never blog again. Which I suppose is an option. But then where would I rant?

I’ve just decided to accept that I am a comment slacker, and I’m slinking back to the blog with my tail between my legs. (If I had a tail, which I don’t, no matter what those photos allege.) And in the meantime, I redesigned the blog’s layout, since it had been over a year with the same one. The donkey of old is gone! It has been replaced with… a donkey.


I suppose the new one is happier. Maybe it should be angry, what with all the ranting.

Speaking of ranting, I saw a lovely scarf on Ravelry. No, that’s not the ranty bit, I haven’t gone mad yet. Here’s the scarf: Noemi. And I spotted this one done in two colours which is quite simply made of awesome and I need one of my own immediately. In some teal and brick red Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. I’ve been dying to try that yarn and wouldn’t allow myself to buy any until I knew exactly what I would do with it. And this is so what I need to do with it. All I need is that scarf pattern. Okay then.

Is it a free pattern? Nope.
Can I buy it as a pdf online? Nope.
Can I buy a paper copy from a yarn shop? Nope.

No, no, the pattern is in a fucking book. Of course it is.

Does my local library have the book? Nope.
Are there other patterns in the book that I like, that could maybe justify me buying it despite being on a pretty tight budget? Nope.

I hate life, and everything, and also scarves.

This pattern taunts me. I must have that scarf. I’ve looked at pictures and I could maybe have a decent go at reverse engineering it, but I’m sure I wouldn’t get it exactly right and besides it seems somehow wrong to do that. I’ll reverse engineer a generic raglan sweater with no qualms, but not a unique scarf that the designer probably put a lot of thought into, you know?

Scarves. They’re out to get me. Witness this:


That fine specimen is getting frogged. It may not be obvious why it’s getting frogged, but you’ll hear all about it. It’s a sordid tale of deceitful crochet hooks, obsessive perfectionism, shameful cheating on one’s yarn diet, colour theory, and anal beads. No, wait. Not that last one. That was just the result of me asking somebody for knitting advice.

Me: What kind of beads should I use for my scarf?
Friend: Anal beads!


So I’ll get back to that soon. (Yeah, I’m chopping this entry in half so that I won’t go a month without blogging again. I have a plan!) There will be cursing, and frogging, and tears. It’ll be a party!

FO: Freakmittens

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


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


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?


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!


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?


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.


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.


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.


Mad Sweater Science, Part I

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Okay. So. The next issue is this:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweater of Hate

The yarn bin is a place of magical transformation. I stuffed a half-finished Maddy in there, looking like hot buttered ass, and a few weeks later it came out looking like a cute top.

Months ago, I stuffed the Fake-astanje Cardigan in the yarn bin. At the time, it was an adorable little sweater, only lacking some sleeves. Now winter looms, and along with frozen toes, frozen asses, and other frozen extremities that it’s best not to speak of, that means sweater-knitting. Time to reclaim that cardigan and give it some damn arms.

Little did I know that it would re-emerge from the yarn bin as a SWEATER OF HATE.

Let me tell you about Sweaters of Hate. They look pretty innocent. That’s part of their plan.


But don’t be fooled, they are objects of pure malevolence. They look like they’re going to fit you, but they don’t. And they don’t refuse to fit in some straightforward way. Of course not. They manage to be simultaneously too small and too big, and wrinkle in places where you know you didn’t put any extra fabric, and shrink in length if you look away for a moment, and then add fat to your upper arms. I don’t know where they get the fat.

They eat rows of knitting, too. I keep adding stitches to that first sleeve, and it doesn’t get any longer. It did at first. Just to lure me into a sense of complacence, I suspect. You think everything is going well, and you keep merrily knitting, and the sleeve doesn’t get any longer! By the time you notice, it’s too late!





This is my first long-sleeved sweater. How bad can sleeves be, I thought. They’re just a long, quick tube. AAAAAAGGGHGHGHGHH. DIE SLEEVES I HATE YOU WHY WON’T YOU KNIT YOURSELF HEEEEELP ME THE SLEEVES ARE EATING MY BRAAAAIINNN


You know what else Sweaters of Hate do? They make you ranty. Not about sleeves. Well, yes, about sleeves, but also about everything.

I belong to a few knitting communities on LiveJournal. I don’t post to them anymore, because they’re not very friendly. They look like they’re friendly, but then you inadvertently say something that might be offensive to 0.0037% of society and you can bet that that 0.0037% will read your post and tell you in no uncertain terms that you are a very bad person. Like jokingly calling the community a “hive mind”, apparently. I didn’t do that. But someone did, and a pack of knitting-community-wolves promptly descended on them, and this is why I don’t post there. But I keep them on my friends list to read, because sometimes there’s some good info, and plenty of decent people among the wolves.

But when the communities are not being unfriendly, they’re being far too friendly, by which I mean rewarding people for being extremely annoying, and if anybody points out that said person is being extremely annoying, this is what happens:

“OMG! I thought this community was supposed to be friendly! I was just trying to share my [insert annoying behaviour/opinion/blog-whoring here]! You’re all meanies! I’m taking my ball and going home!”

“Nooo! Don’t leave! We love you and your annoying behaviour! All those other people are just jellus haterz! Don’t listen to them!”

“Yay, my fishing for compliments worked and I got some attention! Now I’ll stay and continue my annoying behaviour!”

Gah, I have gone completely off on a tangent here, this isn’t even what I meant to write about. I assume the Sweater of Hate is responsible for this fit of ranting. It certainly has nothing to do with me being a cranky bitch.

Anyway. I’m being harsh with that example, because everyone appreciates a little attention, annoying behaviour is subjective, and we’re all guilty of it now and then. But those communities are strange. Attention-whoring seems to be embraced, accidentally saying something controversial means you’re a horrible person, and you must be Nice at all times, except when you’re being a bitch, but that’s okay because you’re actually a Nice Person telling off a Mean Person, and by the way, here’s a link to your blog and you really love to get comments!

Aaaah. That’s what I really wanted to talk about, blog-whoring, but I’ve gone off on a tangent again, and this entry is getting too damn long. Oh, Sweater of Hate, what have you done to me? Maybe it’ll help if I turn it sideways a bit.


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


I think that’s a little bit better. You know what, I’ll have to talk about blog-whoring another day because I think I’ve already used up my bitch quota for the day. What I will talk about instead is sweaters. OF HATE.

I hate you, sweater.

This is my second attempt at this sweater and I still hate it. I liked it when I sent it to yarn bin exile, so it’s possible that if I shove it back in the yarn bin for awhile, it’ll undergo another metamorphosis. I kind of want to frog the whole black bit and redo it in a different lace pattern. And redo those awful button bands because they look like… er… awful button bands, I guess. How many times am I going to have to frog this sweater?!

I’ve already given up on writing up a pattern for it. (Hm, I should take it off the patterns page.) Which is fine, really, because nobody wants to make a Sweater of Hate.

Yes, it’s going back to the yarn bin, and hopefully will take my rants with it. I think it’s time to take out the bag of Malabrigo. There’s no way something that delicious could ever turn into a Sweater of Hate.


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