Monthly Archives: February 2015


Mulligans count in knitting too, right?

I am a (very amature) golfer. My husband and I golf during the warmer months and enjoy it quite a bit. We aren’t awesome but we aren’t terrible, and frankly we just golf for fun. Because of that, I am a firm believer in mulligans. Being able to pretend like a poorly hit ball never happened is key to my enjoyment of the game. Plus, I always make a point of saying loudly, “MULLIGAN!” whenever I want to pretend a hit never happened. (Yes, I know that yelling about a bad hit and drawing attention to it is somewhat counterproductive in the attempt to pretend it never happened.)

Sock Yarn Justification Blanket 2.0

 

I’m yelling “MULLIGAN!” at the top of my lungs for my Sock Yarn Justification blanket. Scrap blanket yarn bag thing

I had made some good progress on it but I kept feeling like something was amiss. I looked at pictures from completed projects of this pattern on Ravelry and it hit me what my problem was… my squares were pointing in all different directions. At first I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that I would like it just fine with my squares all whackadoo, but the more correctly oriented project pictures I saw the more I started to doubt whether I would like it all whackadoo. I posted on Ravelry to try to get other people’s opinions and suggestions on what I should do. The consensus was that I should start over, that if I’m not happy with it now I will probably not like it later either. No point in spending hundreds of hours on a project that isn’t exactly what I wanted. So I decided to restart and actually follow the damn instructions this time.

Unfortunately this did leave me with the question of what to do with the chunk I had knit so far. Frogging and reusing the yarn was sort of out of the question because of how they are attached. After sitting with it, folding it this way and that, I discovered I could seam it together and have it be a pretty well lined up little bag thing. Granted, it is extremely odd looking, especially with its little feet, but it amuses me. Maybe I will use it as a gift bag for someone. No idea. I just know I am going to use it, one way or another.


Three words: Thrummed Rainbow Insoles

Sweet mother of pearl it is brutal winter, and I say this as born and raised Canadian well used to the yearly ravages of winter. This winter is pretty terrible and extreme and my normal cold weather gear just hasn’t been sufficient. Projects like my birthday sprinkles hat and my shimmy mittens have been important additions that have helped me to stay warm but my feet remain cold, even at home.

Enter my brilliance!

Thrummed Knitted Rainbow Insoles

They may look crazy and alien-like, but sweet mercy are they awesome!

A couple of nights ago I was digging through my knitting bench and unearthed a half done thrummed slipper I started a couple of months ago. I had knit it using some crap acrylic Red Heart Super Saver and thrummed it with some properly lovely rainbow wool roving. I think my thought was to make it out of crap acrylic for durability and then line the whole thing with lovely wool thrums for comfort and warmth. Also,  I say half done because I never got further than the sole of the slipper. I actually declared the project killed a couple of months ago and pulled the needle out, not even bothering to slip it on to some scrap yarn. When I found the slipper bottom I had a sudden moment of brilliance. If I was Jimmy Neutron I would have hollered “Brain blast!“.

I took the half finished slipper bottom and stuffed it in to one of my Juno slippers and then put the slipper on. BAM! I just made the best and most warm slippers this universe has ever seen! I quickly crocheted the live edge of the slipper bottom to lock it in and keep it from unraveling (more) because this was BRILLIANT. In my slipper it turned what was an awesome slipper in to a parade of warmth and comfort, so I started thinking “What if I put them in my boots?”. DOUBLE BAM! More crazy warmth and comfort! I NEED to knit a matching one because damn, this is awesome. I predict I will leave them in my slippers for the most part but I’m not going to aggressively and securely attach them inside my slippers just yet. I love the idea of having removable insoles like this that I can use in different things.

So basically, I’m a genius. I have *invented knitted thrummed insoles.

Now…. I just need to knit a second one….

*yes, I know I am probably not the first person to do this. Quit ruining my fun!

Rounding the corner

I have been working a lot on my Sock Yarn Justification Blanket, which is extremely easy uncomplicated knitting. Enjoyable but pretty mindless, and I really feel like I need something more complicated to challenge myself with. I know I COULD be working on my Stripes Gone Crazy sweater, but another idea has struck me…

I have this idea for a hat, where the cables coming down from the top of the hat start small but get bigger, and then turn 90 degrees to become the bottom border as well. I haven’t seen a pattern like this, nor am I going to go looking for one. I want to see if I can create this pattern on my own and figure out how to make it work. Obviously the challenges are going to be:

1. making the cables grow from the top in a smooth way that maintains the look of the cables

2. pulling off the 90 degree turn while having the cabled pattern continue smoothly

3. doing a clean connection between the the rounded turn of the cable and the rest of the bottom band

Big part of this is going to be choosing a cable pattern that isn’t so complicated that rounding the turn is impossible. I’m sort of tossed up on whether to do this bottom up or top down. I can see how both are possible. Right now I am leaning towards top down for the hat construction, but before I start the hat as a whole I think I am going to have to do some test knits of how the cables will grow and how to pivot the design 90 degrees. Methinks there be some shortrows in my future…

 


Basic Striped hat (aka.This should not have been this hard)

Simple striped wool cap in grey and greenWHY GOD WHY!  Why do I agree to make things for other people?! Every single time I agree/offer to make something for someone else it instantly turns what should have been a quick and easy project into a behemoth of frustration. I’ve posted about this phenomenon on the Ravelry boards, and I am not unique in this. There are multiple theories as to why knit items for other people are so prone to mistakes and frustration.

– Making something for someone else we get much more focused on it being perfect, so small issues that we’d normally let slide get blown in to huge frog-worthy mistakes.

– Any sort of time crunch results in our normal knitting pace to be accelerated. This results in more mistakes, simply because we’re rushing.

– The added stress that comes with knowing the item is for someone else can affect tension, and that can cause all sorts of problems.

Whatever the reason, I never have more trouble with a project than when I am knitting it for someone else.
Take a basic striped hat, for example. Top down, simple, no complicating design elements like cables or fancy colourwork… I could do that in my sleep and it should have taken max two evenings to complete, right? Well, that would be the reality if I was knitting it for me.

This time, however, I was asked to make a hat by my friend Ryan who was starting a new job and moving to a different city. He wouldn’t let me pay for his sushi lunch as a farewell gesture, but he did mention I think three times during that lunch how he would love a knitted hat. Well, fine. How hard could a basic hat be? Hell, I had four days before his last day of work to finish it and give it to him which would be plenty of time, even with a buffer for “knit for someone else” screw ups.

Yeah, the damned thing took me two weeks. Granted, most of that time was me actively avoiding knitting the hat because I was scared of making another mistake that would necessitate my frogging it and starting over, but still… two weeks! Here is what happened:

  • Got about half way through the hat doing a self-designed stranded pattern. After realizing how hideous the hat was looking I frogged it.
  • Restarted and got about 25% through it only to have my husband remark that the top of the hat was looking pretty nipple-like. He was right so I frogged it.

    Top-Down No Math Hat: The Manly Version

    This hat cast on/shaping method is really tidy and simple and the end result is a really nice looking hat… once I switched to an 8 segment hat. 6 segments resulted in a big knit nipple on top. 

  • Restarted and frogged 2 additional times for nipple-top issues
  • Switched to a 8 segment hat top to create a flatter hat top and restarted for a FIFTH time.
  • I got to the point where I was finished with the increases and liking how it was looking. This then led me to worry about noticing or making a mistake that would have forced me to frog and restart so I sort of ignored the project for a week.
  • Finally, on Sunday, I rage finished it while watching the Daytona 500 (during commercial breaks, and the multiple red and yellow flags)
  • I told Ryan that I am finally done the hat and have arranged for his wife to pick it up this afternoon. (I am also giving her a couple bottles of wine.)
  • Now I am going through the “It isn’t good enough, look at all the mistakes, it isn’t going to fit, why did I put yellow stripes, everyone hates yellow…” crippling self doubt.

I don’t know… I actually rather like the hat and am pretty happy with how it turned out, but I still worry. For example, it fits me great and I find it comfortable and warm without being excessive. I measured his head before I started and his head is only slightly smaller than mine, so I am praying that it fits him as well, but I’m still concerned. Plus, Ryan is so damned polite and gracious that he would never give me any sort of indication if he didn’t like it. Damn him!

 

Anyway, project notes…

  1. I used Paton’s Classic Worsted yarn in Jade and Grey Mix. Nice yarn to work with though I was surprised at how much dye came out when I blocked the hat. The yellow stripes were done in leftover fisherman’s wool that I had dyed myself.
  2. Size US6 needles were used for the body of the hat which resulted in a nice gauge. Switched to a US5 needle for the ribbed edge. Probably could have gone down to a US4 for the ribbing.
  3. I used the Top-Down No Math Hat: Manly Version method for starting the hat. Pretty brilliant and easy way of doing a hat, and I really like the subtle swirl the technique creates. I will be using this method again. HOWEVER! Doing it with six segments is what caused the nipple-y top problem and things didn’t normalize until I switched to an 8 segment hat, so when/if I make a hat using this method it will absolutely be an 8 segment hat.

    My jogless stripes are far from being jogless. I think it actually looks pretty horrible. :(

    My jogless stripes are far from being jogless. I think it actually looks pretty horrible. 🙁

  4. My cast off (Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast off) created problems. Rather than keeping the ribbed edge all snug and nice it sort of stretched the edge out. It looks fine when the hat is on, but just looking at the hat flat on a table it sort of curls up and out. It really drives me insane. I needed a stretchy cast off but apparently that one created too much bulk or something. Blarg.
  5. I really effed up my stripes. My jogless stripes are anything other than jogless. They are all misaligned and stupid looking. I showed my husband and he had no idea what the hell I was complaining about and didn’t see anything effed up, so maybe I’m overreacting, but I definitely see it and it bothers me.
  6. Speaking of the stripes, I tried really hard to keep them random looking,varying the repeats and widths and colour changes. I am pretty happy with how that ended up.

Where the hell did all this sock yarn come from?

017Work continues on my Sock Yarn Justification blanket. The little squares (31 stitch) are very satisfying to do and take very little time. I can do one small square in about twenty minutes. I’ve also started making big squares (61 stitches), in part because I wanted some variety, but also to try to better show off the longer colour shifts of some of my yarns. I still really don’t like the DROPS Delight that I have, I still think it is crap yarn, but I am hoping maybe done in larger blocks at least the colour shift will look better.

I dug a little deeper into my yarn stash and found some more sock yarns for the project. The yarns I have are:

  • Garnstudio DROPS Delight (ugh)
  • Patons Kroy Sock yarn
  • Lang Yarns Mille Colori Socks and Lace
  • Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Colour
  • Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball
  • Mystery Self-striping sock yarn that I used in these socks but I can’t remember what make the yarn is
  • Neon Pink Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)
  • Black Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)

This is more than I thought I had. I’m pretty surprised at how much fingering yarn I have unearthed but it definitely isn’t enough to be able to complete the blanket. I do have the problem that pretty much all of the yarns are pink/red/purple/orange colour heavy with not a lot of blue or green, so  when I went and purchased some extra balls of Kroy sock yarn the other day at Michael’s  I made a point of having some be in more blues and greens.

Speaking of which, the selection of sock yarns here is beyond pathetic, and the few options there are cost a pretty ridiculous amount considering what you’re getting. I made a post on the Ravelry boards sending out a general call for any sock yarn people didn’t want and would be willing to donate to this project. I quite honestly didn’t expect to get any offers but damn if I didn’t get multiple offers! I’m floored! The first offer was from a woman in Wisconsin, IL, offering me ~12 different sock yarns that she would mail to me, no cost. She wouldn’t even let me pay for shipping, which is beyond generous. Such kindness and generosity is pretty refreshing and surprising, and I feel strongly that I want to pay it forward and do something like this for someone else some day.

Now, I know I had planned to knit all the individual squares separately and seam them together afterwards, with the thought that I would be able to get the most random and even colour distribution that way. This was a brilliant plan until last night I actually bothered seaming together 4 small squares to make 1 larger block. What a pain in the ass that was! So to hell with that idea, I am going to do the picking up stitches seam as you go technique laid out in the pattern. I did one square like that so far and it was pretty slick so I have continued in that way. I think it is going to be a pain in the ass as the blanket gets bigger, but probably still better than seaming everything after the fact.