frog


I played chicken, and the chicken won.

The first mitten before I removed and frogged the flap and tore back and redid the grey edging bindoff.

I am not a fan of playing yarn chicken. I know, in the grand scheme of things yarn chicken isn’t exactly the most badass or risky of behaviours, but it is outstandingly annoying when you end up NOT having enough yarn to finish a project as you planned. And yet, despite my hatred of yarn chicken, I played it.

My Tri-Blend set is so fabulous I can hardly breathe, and looking at the yarn I had left over after I finished the cowl I thought for SURE I’d have enough yarn to make some matching mittens. So I went ahead and just started knitting. I finished one and declared it pretty damned cool. I had some things I wasn’t 100% on, like the thickness of the icord bindoff around the top (which I frogged and redid as just a normal bindoff, looks way better), but overall I totally liked it.

I went to start the second one I had a moment of “Oh crud…” because the amount of blue yarn I had left seemed extremely insufficient for the second mitten. “Maybe it is more than it looks!” I said to myself, steeped in denial and misplaced optimism, and I started the second mitt.

Yeah, no. It was exactly as much as it looked. I was down to INCHES to spare when I was finishing the thumb, so no way in hell did I have enough for the finger flappy bit. My husband said to just knit the flap using the yellow, saying it wouldn’t matter if they weren’t exactly the same. I scoffed at this suggestion, declaring that I put too damned much work into this set, I was NOT going to settle for an unmatching imperfect pair of mittens after all this.

This is all I have left from the three skeins I bought in PEI. Notice how the blue is just a ramen-noodle resembling mess. I haven’t properly balled it up after frogging the first flap.

I had no choice.

I carefully detached the flap from the first mitten and frogged it. I now have two matching fingerless mitts with no finger flap, and yeah, I could just leave them this way but that would defeat the purpose since I’m aiming to make a super warm set to battle the cold cold Canadian winter weather. Fingerless mitts = frostbite. So my plan now is to redo the flaps, each flap being its own little tri-blend gradient. My plan is to go Grey – Yellow – Blue so that when I attach the flap to the mitt it will be blue on blue and therefore look tidier. I’m also going to actually WEIGH the blue yarn to make sure I have an equal/even amount of yarn for both flap.

Even then, I’m pretty sure I am going to come very close to using up every little bit of this yarn. I have hardly any blue left, even less grey, and a bit more yellow, but still! I feel sort of proud for so completely using up the three original skeins of yarn I got from MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. I continue to be very happy with this yarn and I continue to totally regret not buying more of it when I had the chance. The only thing I can say against it is that when I soaked and blocked my hat and cowl there was a surprising amount of colour in the water from the blue and yellow yarns, but honestly that isn’t a huge deal for me.


To frog or not to frog… That is the question… 2

If you don’t know what spring peepers are, they are just this little frog that vocalize (a high pitched “Peep! Peep!” sound) in the spring. For us hearing the spring peepers is the first sure sign that winter is finally over.

Friday night my husband and I went on a bit of a summertime date (He got us some ice cream, and then we parked by the river and watched the sunset while we ate our ice cream. So romantic! ) and on the drive home with the sunroof open we heard the loud calling of spring peepers.They do their loud dusk calling throughout the summer, but last night it was crazy how loud it was. It was remarkable enough that I took a video.

They are one noisy-ass frog, lemme tell ya, but this was way beyond normal in terms of volume. On top of that, they were very timely because I have been thinking over a bit of a predicament…

I am seriously considering frogging and restarting my Stripes Gone Crazy Sweater.

StripesGoneCrazyIncreasesI haven’t worked a single stitch on it in many months (not since JANUARY for heaven’s sake!!), and, yeah, my sock yarn blanket is part of that, but the big reason is that I am not happy with my sweater so far. I mean, geeze, the last post I made about it was how I totally effed up my shoulder decreases as well as where I picked up the stitches on either side, and frankly I did a pretty pathetic job of fixing those issues. As I have worked on other things since I hibernated that project I feel like I have improved a moderate amount since then, and I definitely wouldn’t be repeating those mistakes. I also know I’m always going to see those mistakes every time I look at the sweater. Its one of those “No one else would notice but I will” things. I could knit the rest of it totally perfectly but I will just see that weird seaming and gappy shoulders.

 

So what to do… Do I frog the hours of work I have put into it so far and start over, or do I continue along under the hope that once the sweater is done I really won’t see the mistakes?


I have a lot in common with Wile E. Coyote, only lacework is my Roadrunner

© Warner Brothers

… and then some jerk roadrunner beat the ever loving crap out of him and foiled all of his plans. Roadrunners suck.

I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person. In terms of academics, I’ve always done well in school – I graduated high school bilingual, I got my degree in Psychology and English, and I got honors in college when I studied computer programming. I also have proven myself adept at problem solving and picking up new skills. Take my first car, for instance. My first car was a manual transmission car, and when I got it I had never driven a manual transmission car. My father actually had to drive it home from the dealership. A day and a half later I  had learned how to drive stick after just a couple lessons from my dad, and I drove home to a city filled with very steep hills. Granted, I had a sign in my back window that read “WARNING! I just learned how to drive a manual transmission! Do not stop to close!” for the first month or two (which, holy crap other drivers respected, ha ha ha) but I’d still stay I picked that up pretty damned quickly.

Knitting is one skill I have picked up very quickly and it has been a pretty big source of pride for me. Whenever people ask me how long I have been knitting they are always very surprised when I say it has only been just over a year. For only having learned to knit 14 months ago I have managed to nail down a lot of techniques and skills, and I have completed projects that are a lot more complex that I ever would have thought I could have done so soon after learning. Cables, stranded knitting, double knitting, knitting Continental as well as English, chart reading,… it all came to me pretty easily. Basically, knitting has come to me pretty naturally, and this has led me to feel a bit invincible in my knitting ability. It all smacked of Wile E. Coyote, thinking he was a genius and always being so overly confident that he could triumph over rabbits and roadrunners, feeling it was laughable that they could ever survive his attempts. I definitely was channeling his cockiness, basically expecting every knitting skill to just hop into my cooking pot because it was inevitable that I was going to capture them anyway so why not just save us all the hassle.

Then I set my sights on lacework…

Behold my personal Roadrunner.

Oh, how humbling lacework is. I feel like an Olympic diver drowning in a kiddie pool. All this time I have been feeling so brilliant and naturally oh so fantastic at knitting, “Nothing is hard to me!”, I’d think to myself, but now I feel like part of my brain must be missing. I can NOT get this stupid lacework to work, and it is making me feel incredibly humbled and stupid. Mostly stupid.

The source of my angst is my Fellowship of the Shawl. This thing is KILLING me. It hasn’t been all terrible, it actually started out well enough. The first couple of sections (The One Ring, Boromir, and Legolas) were a snap and worked out perfectly. This, unfortunately, made me even more prideful. Then I started Gimli. For the love of mercy, this section is MURDERING ME! I have frogged it I think seven times now if I include all the times I frogged this section when I attempted this shawl back last May. I follow that stupid pattern SO CAREFULLY and every time something screws up. I either end up with too many stitches or not enough. Thank god for lifelines or else this would have been a total frog a few times over by now.

I just don’t understand why I seem to be utterly incapable of correctly completing this section. I knit this section yet again yesterday only to find it was effed up yet again. A big part of me wants to just keep the incorrectly knit Gimli section and move on to Gandalf, but I know I’ll regret it, especially since Gandalf builds upon Gimli’s pattern. So I guess I have to frog this yet again and start it over again. I swear I have this stupid section’s chart memorized after having had to do it so many effing times.

For real, though, I am absolutely hell bent on successfully completing this stupid shawl. Lacework is the single biggest gap in my knitting skills repertoire and I am NOT going to let this beat me. I am going to finish this stupid lacework, I am going to have it be PERFECT, and I am going to be an awesome lace knitter.

Hell or high water, my friends. Hell or high water.


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.


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.