Don't Get Yer Gloves in a Twist

Pattern: "Lace Twist Mitts" by Debbie O'Neill, available in Knitscene, Fall 2009
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (no, I do not think I use it too much, thankyouverymuch)
Colorway: Chinatown Apple

Plus: This easy-peasy lace chart mimics much a much more complicated twisted cable approach. I love anything that makes me look more clever or talented than I really am. I am also pleased with how the semi-solid enhances, rather than distracts from, the stitch pattern.

Delta: I hate this "after-thought" thumb style, where you knit with waste yarn, slip back then keep going with main yarn. 1) I always struggle to put the correct live stitches back on the needles and 2) I always, always, always end up doing lots of awkward doctoring on either edge of the thumb with tail ends, resulting in an ugly *pflgth* framing the join.

In the continuing saga of the brown bane....

I should continually emphasize that this is a learning experience. Now, what, exactly, have I learned? Well, I learned that if you're going to do something, freakin' DO it. Don't pussy-foot around. I wanted to lightly felt the sweater, so I neglected/altered many of the circumstances necessary for optimum felting. I used warm, rather that hot water. I used light agitation, rather than heavy. I opted out of the suds so I could check every five minutes and rescue it at any point, without worrying about rinsing. As it turns out, felting incorrectly results in badly abused woolens, NOT light felting. The sweater emerged BIGGER and covered in ratty pills. Did I then abandon my strategy, like a sane individual? Heck no! I did the exact same thing, hoping for a different result. Finally, I read, thought, prayed, cursed, and took the plunge, letting loose all the felting power my humble washing machine possessed.

Results are mixed: I still spent an hour pulling off ugly pills and the sweater sleeves are still far too long, the armpit way too deep. On the other hand, the sweater is more dense and snuggly now, so clearly, I was moving in the right direction...right?

The RUFFLES. The button band and collar did a funky thing, shrinking and pulling in such odd ways that a full-fledged ruffle now frames the individual wearing this dreadful thing. Not manly. So what's a girl to do? I can't go back--no time machine. I can't leave it here--too big and ruffly. So, go forward and felt it one more time? Obviously, the ruffle problem will only increase, but maybe once the rest of the cardigan is appropriately sized, I can sew/cut/pin my way out of that mess. So that's just what I did....to be continued.

Watts Family Afghan of Eternity Square #33/36 (really tough)


I Did a Bad, Bad Thing

Pattern: "A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend," by Stephane Nicole, available free on her blog
Yarn: scrappy leftovers such as Berroco Comfort (acrylic/nylon), Queensland Collection Sugar Rush (sugar), and Sirdar Juicy DK (bamboo)

Plus: Quick and easy male-appropriate Christmas gift. I like that the simple design lends itself to horizontal stripes, which in turn lend themselves to stash-busting. I accidentally created a palette of colors perfect for sporting around a football game for my alma mater. Unfortunately, no one with whom I associate would ever attend such an event, even when we were students there. During the Homecoming Game one year, my group went instead to the theaters to catch the opening weekend for Fight Club. Good choice.

Delta: It seems a bit squatty to me, even after adding 1/2 inch extra before the crown decreases. Also, I think my plan for the stripes creates an optical illusion of the head flattening off abruptly across the top. Stupid idea, my fault entirely.

I'm married to the man of my dreams, so the "curse of the boyfriend sweater" should have no effect on me, right? Well, fate has found a way to reach around that inconvenient truth and give me a decent bitch-slapping anyway.

Oh, who am I kidding??? It's my own durn fault.

Meet "Smokin'" by Jared Flood. Let's talk first about what I did RIGHT, hmm? I carefully knit, frogged, and reknit until I achieved gauge. I measure Jake's favorite hoodie to determine which size to knit. I selected a yarn very close to the original requested--chunky, tweedy, wooly. I checked the website for errata before beginning and carefully noted those changes in the pattern. I worked on it dutifully and steadily for three months so it would be ready in time for fall in Virginia.

Now, the WRONG: I noticed that the sleeves looked humongous...but did nothing. I noticed that the fabric was floppy and slightly see through, despite Jared's comment in the pattern that the cardigan is knit at a tighter-than-usual gauge...but did nothing. I tried it on before attaching the button band/collar and saw that it could pass as a brown whale Halloween costume...but did nothing. In short, I ignored the signs that I was headed for trouble because I wanted to believe that if you select the right yarn, gauge, and pattern size, you're in the clear.

Then the really wrong thing: when Jake tried it on and saw that it was uncomfortably large in every way, I did not frog the sweater like a good little knitter. I decided...to try....and felt it.

To be continued.

Watts Afghan of Eternity Square #32/36