Posts Tagged ‘whoops’

Now that I’ve got my computer back up and running, and the Universal Toque pattern tested and posted, it’s time to revisit my FOs, WIPs, and wistfully, the frog pond as they’ve been in the last six weeks.

First up, here’s my current love affair: Stephen West’s Spectra, knit from Little Red Bicycle worsted (grey; purchased at Knit City, and sadly I think in-person sales are currently the only way to buy this awesome yarn) and my early handspun, in Hydrangea BFL/silk gradient-dyed fibre from Everything Old!

spectra scarf close-up

More (pics, projects, pontification) under the jump.


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The winter solstice is still almost a month away, but oh man it gets dark early already.  By the time I get home from work at 5, it’s full dark, and really, if I want useful light for photography on these mostly overcast days, it’s got to be before 3.  All of which is to say that I’ve been taking some terrible flash photos of my latest misadventures and they’re awful but they’ll have to do.

First up, the socks that aren’t.  Not any more.  I frogged them.


The pattern was Mince Pie Mayhem from Socktopus by Alice Yu.  It’s a cool pattern and I look forward to knitting it down the road, probably on a size larger needles than those I got gauge with (2.25mm), definitely when there’s no deadline involved.  The stitch pattern has cable crossings every second pair of stitches on every second row and there was just no way I could envision myself finishing them in time to give them to Mr. Salamander for Christmas, plus I was not happy with the way the yarn was spiral pooling.  So I ripped them out and started again with a different pattern (which is turning out well enough to deserve Saturday afternoon light, no pics yet).

And then an uninspired doll shirt.


I think this is the third time I’ve tried to knit a distressed-look doll sweater, and every attempt has either languished on stitch holders or been frogged into oblivion.  I think it’s the drape – or lack thereof – at this scale that causes my dropped-stitch sweaters to look dumb instead of badass like their human-scale counterparts.  Drape is definitely an issue with this handspun I was using (singles from the Tour de Fleece), and I was also really disappointed with how not handspun it looks.  I was trying to spin thick and thin, why didn’t it come out that way?!?  So that’s frogged as well, and the yarn is in time out.

I do have one flash photography success story, though, but I’ll put it under a cut for anyone who’s not ready to see *gulp* Christmas-themed decor yet…!


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Oh dear!  It’s not looking like I’ll have time to finish my Dearli cardigan by the end of the month for the Summer Sweater KAL!  I am feeling a bit disheartened as the FOs pour in over on the Ravelry group for Luvinthemommyhood…some people are wrapping up their second sweaters and I’m only halfway done my first!  Here’s where it’s at at the moment and I’ll tell you why I don’t think I’ll make it to the finish line…after you enjoy how well it ended up fitting my waist in the new & improved version.  Not to mention how perfect that shawl pin is!  If it looks equally good with the ruffles, I won’t need to do a belt at all!


Okay, here’s the problem.  See that section of increases/decreases around the centre of the front?  The one where the fullest part is just below my breast and the decreases start right at my bust line?  Those are my bust darts, and they’re supposed to be about 1.5″ higher so that, you know, the fullest part of the dart would match up with the fullest point on my bust (crazy, I know!).  I’m not sure what happened in the armhole portion, but something went horribly wrong with my stitch count and this is the result of me having fudged things to get that right, only to apparently add over an inch too much length.  Sigh.  I will be ripping back yet again to make this right – I thought I was quite carefully following the “decrease at neck edge every X rows Y times, then every Z rows Q times” directions, but when I achieved the full length of armhole I was supposed to have, there were several decreases left to go…so I just did them.  Nope.  Don’t do that, kids, it brings nothing but tears.  At least this time I’m not ripping back to my cast on – it’s only about 8″, no big deal…

The other reason I won’t be finishing this sweater in the next 11 days is that I’m working hard on a super secret project for which I juuuuust finished spinning this yarn!


I’m really looking forward to having a proper blog about it in October…and wearing it at Knit City on the 13th & 14th!  The yarn, a heavy fingering/light sport, is spun from Everything Old fibre, a merino/bamboo mix that I’m really enjoying, spun on my favourite sparkly spindle.  Over the course of this project I’ve also decided that I really need to get into proper supported spindling, since I currently just use my pointy-ended drop spindles as makeshift supported ones.  Any suggestions for brands/styles you’ve enjoyed?  I will be checking out Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts at Knit City, as I’ve heard they carry spindles, and if not there I’ll be ordering online soon after!

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Dear me!

First off, here’s a picture of the deer I have started calling “my Dearli dears.”  They are always hanging around when I am heading home from work late and I’ve taken to saying hi and telling them off for being so bold!  People walk and bike by them, and they just stare placidly at the interlopers, like “you’re not a tulip, why do I even care?”


Dearli, if you’re wondering, is a Chinese TaoBao shop selling Mori Girl outfits and accessories, and since I named my Regent cardigan “Dearli” (in part because I intend to style it Mori-fashion, and in part because the colourway is named “Doe”) I have had deer and Dearli on my mind a lot this summer.


Recently at knit night we were discussing what to do when a project doesn’t fit.  Some people felt strongly that if a sweater doesn’t fit you, that just means it’s destined to belong to someone else!  One woman said that she’d given away handknits before and that she would go to great lengths to find just the right person for a garment that didn’t fit its intended recipient.  Personally, I’m a selfish perfectionist and once I’ve put that many hours into something, I will do whatever it takes to get the finished project I wanted.  Which brings me to this week’s update!

When I got to the armholes and separated the fronts from the back, I figured it was about time to try the thing on and make sure the bust darts I’d added were working out.  That’s when I discovered that although the total circumference of the sweater was pretty close to what I wanted, the back was so wide that the centre of the armholes wanted to sit about 3″ forward, more on my bust than my torso!  So this weekend I sat down with some apple-ginger cider to dull the pain and ripped the whole thing out to start again.

more than 6 extra inches - whoops

I’m now working the next size smaller, with an additional change: after carefully checking my own measurements against the schematic (which I had done circumference-wise, but I’d neglected to take separate back and bust measurements), I’m placing the back shaping and armholes as for the smallest size.  I think this will mean I can dial back the bust darts slightly too, as there will now be more material in the fronts to start with, but I haven’t double checked that math yet.

In addition to wanting a sweater that I will love passionately for its well-fittedness, I had a reason for ripping right back to the cast on: I tried to mess with the design and regretted it!  Lately I’ve been moving away from Kfb increases because they create a purl-like bump that distorts stockinette.  For some reason, instead of trusting the designer’s instructions, I decided to place a marker and use M1 increases from that point.  The shape of the front was fine, but I was not happy with the very visible line where I’d been increasing.


This time around, I tried following the actual directions as stated in the pattern (crazy, I know) and what do you know, it looks amazing and no more line-that-adds-nothing on the fronts of my cardigan!


So let this be a lesson – always measure twice, and respect your designer!

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I’m in a very impatient, dissatisfied mood with my knitting right now.  I think it’s partly because of the Christmas knitting: one project, I really want to start but can’t until I get some measurements, for which I’m relying on someone else; another project I started and decided halfway was a complete failure; a third I basically finished but it turns out the buttons I have on hand are not appropriate (not functional even…this is no minor design quibble); and a fourth I haven’t been able to start because the person it’s for is always hanging around (cough*Mr.Salamander*cough).  And then, I ran out of yarn for Winterhold and just when I’d made my peace with the fact that the collar would have to be a little narrower than it was meant to and bound off (but conveniently before I started the blocking process) I found an unexpected stash of what I think is the same Kroy yarn…at least enough for another couple of rows.  So now I’m unpicking the bind off, picking up the stitches, and feeling very annoyed with the world.  Every new project I pick up, I find myself putting down a moment later.  This one requires too much thought.  That one is boring.  And so on ad infinitum.

This is a difficult mood to be in when we’re about to make a long drive and enjoy a weekend away visiting Mr. Salamander’s cousins up island.  Of course I won’t spend the whole drive knitting, I’ll be reading aloud from “Does Anything Eat Wasps,” a collection of fascinating Q&A published by the New Scientist magazine (until my voice is hoarse from speaking over the diesel engine), and I’ll be singing along with, no doubt, some J-Pop (mine) and CCR (Mr. Salamander’s), talking about the scenery and the like.  But you can’t go on a 3-hour drive without knitting, it’s just not allowed.  So I’ve cast on and discarded a sock (too much effort to learn how to do short-row toes right now and I’m too bloody-minded to admit defeat and just use Judy’s Magic Cast On), started another Wee Tree (that I almost certainly won’t finish this weekend, and possibly won’t touch again before Christmas), attempted and horribly failed at a free-form felting project (that’s what happens when you think “gee, I should try to wing this thing I saw at a fair one time” 45 minutes before you’re supposed to go over to your mom’s for dinner).  My latest spasm?  Oh yes, I’m going to knit a shawl!  In the truck!  And while spending time with other human beings! Nothing can possibly go wrong!

Here’s my picture of how nothing can possibly go wrong:


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Usually new things come easily to me.

Not so much colourwork.  I present for your amusement some extremely amateurishly tight stranded knitting, featured in my adaptation-for-45cm-BJD of Everything Old spinner, dyer, and designer Emma Galati’s Pevensie (which incidentally is a super sweet pattern that I foresee knitting in the intended size range some time down the road):


But let’s not dwell on the fact that I was so obviously, completely wrong when I thought it was just a bit too tight and would probably block out.  Let’s not think about the fact that I’m about to frog the whole thing back.  No, instead, let’s talk about how awesome the tonal variation in the two sock yarns I used for CCs looks.  Let’s focus on how the subtle shading works with the already awesome motif to enhance the illusion of three-dimensionality!  Because this combo of yarn and pattern is so awesome I’m not even going to try and pretend that a seed stitch ruffle was some kind of intentional finish to the garment.  No, I’m going to rip it back and make this coat perfect because it deserves that kind of attention!  See?


Incidentally, the red is leftover Everything Old Hopscotch from Mr. Salamander’s socks.  I think I’m pretty cool, using a designer’s yarn to execute her pattern.  The grey is my beloved Shibuiknits sock, and the white is Kroy and I still dislike it pretty much the most of any sock yarn I’ve knit with (thankfully this is my last ball of the stuff, and I think this pattern will pretty much use it up).

I’ve hidden my other project under a jump for those of you who don’t like to be thinking ahead to Decembery decoration yet.  I mean, sure, wait ’til after Thanksgiving, right?  But here in Canada that was already over a month ago, so NYAH!


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That’s right.  This knitter.

I made a minor mistake just before the end of a row on my Rhodion stole.  I was tinking back to fix it when, I don’t know, I got distracted by a passing cosmic ray and dropped one of my needles (yes, I’m knitting a shawl on straight needles; yes, it’s because I hate progress).  I tried to pick them up, but what with the silk and the extreme laciness of the lace…well, let’s just say I made a hash of it.  And then ended up frogging back a few rows before I finally got to the point where I thought I could tink back an entire couple of rows and pick up all the stray cable crossings (side note: who ever thought mixing cables and lace was a good idea anyway?  I mean, besides me, because clearly I was wrong.  And I can’t fault the designer, because this stole is gorgeous.  But there’s got to be some sort of governing body I could complain to, right?).

I tried to insert a lifeline before in some other project, and I just couldn’t figure out how to do it despite watching a video.  Whatever, I thought, I’m a badass lace machine and I never screw things up so badly I have to go back more than one row.  Guess I thought wrong.  Tomorrow, it’s unwaxed dental floss and youtube for me!

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I was all set to start on a neckwarmer and just debating whether to use some of my yarn from Fibrations, or maybe the alpaca I picked up at the Saanich Fair.  I’d spent all evening Ravelling for patterns and had settled on one for the neckwarmer and another to use up some Kidsilk Haze that has been waiting patiently in the back of a drawer for ages.  I opened my “fuzzy yarns” drawer (containing primarily alpaca and mohair, with a few bits of other things) and saw, crawling on my Saanich Fair skein, a moth.

I’m fairly sure it was a clothes moth.  Not 100%, we do get lots of moths in the house and some of them are small and I don’t always close the drawers tightly.  But it did look mostly like the picture I looked up moments later.  And as I started pulling yarn out and jamming it in zipper-lock freezer bags I started to realise just how much animal-fibre yarn I now have.  And I started to think about my sweaters and shawls and how devastated I’d be if the next time I pulled out my wedding shawl little beads pattered to the floor, released from their lacy suspension by holes eaten in the slender threads.  PURE TERROR.  So I’m treating this as a clothes moth infestation despite the approximately 16.7% chance that I failed to correctly identify the critter I saw.  All animal-fibre yarns in that storage area are quarantined to the freezer for 72 hours or until I can make time for them next week.  Then, I’ll be taking them outside to shake out – apparently while freezing DOES NOT KILL EGGS, only adult and larval moths, you can get them to fall out, thus identifying any infested skeins.  I’m hoping it’s just one (and I think I know which one).  If not that, I’m hoping it’s just that one drawer and that none of them found the wool drawer underneath or the silk drawer (which contained a large amount of silk-wool blend) above.  O god, please let them not have made it up to my “hope chest” which is not actually a chest but rather the space on top of my second set of plastic drawers (used for storing doll stuff, notions, needles, etc.) where shifting piles of future baby apparel hover with threatening cuteness.  Apparently by being open to the air that stuff might actually be safer?  But still.  I would cry if a year or two down the road I finally got to pull out some of that stuff I’ve knitted and it was full of holes.

Depending on what the affected yarns are, I may bake them at 150˚ for 4 hours (which kills the eggs, yay) or allow to thaw (and eggs to hatch thinking it’s spring, ha ha fuckers) and then re-freeze after 48 hours (hopefully before they have a chance to nom my yarn!) to kill the larvae with cold.  Either way, BOOOOOOOO TO INVERTEBRATES!  And if anyone knows where I can get Pyrethrum/Pyrethrin spray (derived from chrysanthemums and apparently quite an effective spray that’s not toxic to mammals) in Victoria, please let me know, because I was told to check Amazon, but they won’t ship it to Canada, dammit!

And of course this means I have to come up with a new plan for what to knit today, one that doesn’t involve any of my beloved squishy wool type yarns!  Curses!

Oct. 28 edit:

I found a good source of pyrethrins!  Of course the moth scare has blown over by now, but I am putting this out into the world.  Flea and tick sprays for household pets are based on pyrethrins, or at least the Zodiac brand stuff we have in the house is.  I was reading the label…it’s theoretically for spraying directly onto your pet, but I’m pretty sure they make a household spray as well that might be slightly different in composition.  In any case, it seems like a great option for occasionally spritzing my stash storage.

Also, once the scare blew over I totally knit that neckwarmer from the alpaca from the fair, and then promptly lost it.  Like, 48 hours after I cast off.  Headdesk.

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It’s been a while since I blogged about my Ivy cardigan.  I’ve been working on it steadily – it’s a great take-along project, mostly stockinette on normal-person-sized yarn & needles so it’s very easy to converse around – and recently I figured the right front was just about done and I was nearly ready to start blocking and sewing the body together before I start on the arms.  Yeah, about that…

One of these things is not like the others.


One of these things needs to be frogged back to the armhole.  Yes, the right front, the one that makes kind of a deformed W with the back instead of the nice smooth U-shape like the left front.  I don’t even want to think about the counters I’m going to have to reset in some magical way that may involve counting rows (YUCK).  I’m not sure how this happened – not only was I following the pattern, I had in fact been using the digital counter I got for my iTouch (KnitCounter – it’s great) and I’d written what I did right into the names of my counters: “waist m1 ev 6 x 8,” “neckline2 dec ev 2 x 38,” and so on, in case I forgot or didn’t have the pattern with me or, as I realised when I went to start the shaping and was reading the pattern, made a mistake on one side that I wanted to replicate on the other (I was supposed to decrease every row four times – if not for the counter labelled “neckline1 ev 2 x 4” I might have been ripping back even farther, with more confusion, not realising that I’d decreased every second row four times).

Of course now that I’ve posted the photo I notice that you can’t see whether the bottoms are lined up properly.  They are.  *headdesk*  I’m sure this is just my comeuppance for all the times I’ve smugly congratulated myself for moving straight on from scarves & dishcloths to my first sweater, with many more made since for people and for dolls and nary a big whoops among them.  I see now that it was all luck and I am at the capricious whim of the universe (or at least my synapses).

Well, it’s not going to improve by sitting on the table there.  Off to the frog pond!

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