Although there has not been much blogging going on here at the Lickety Knit Corporate Headquarters lately, knitting has in fact been happening. Unfortunately, the knitting has been falling into one of two categories: holiday gift knitting (and therefore not bloggable) and kill-me-now knitting.
Seriously, people, I don’t know whether it’s that my standards are too high, or that my attitude is all wrong, or that there’s some sort of knitting karma coming around to settle some kind of score (maybe I invented fun fur in a past life?), but my knitting seems to have been nothing but a series of disappointments recently.
For starters, I have been working very hard on Matt’s plain brown sweater, mostly to get it over with (the “eat the vegetables first” theory of knitting). You may recall that this sweater has already tormented me in various ways that I will catalogue and index for posterity once the damn thing is finished. However, I have made some good progress and said damn thing, against all odds, is starting to look like a sweater.
In fact, just as I was beginning to think that my persistence with this cursed sweater was being rewarded, I made the delightful discovery that the second bag of Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton is, in fact, an entirely different dye lot from the first bag. Yay! Isn’t this great?? I’m making Matt an avant-garde, modern, asymmetrical stripe sweater — just the sort of thing he wears all the time — without even trying! I could not imagine a better turn of events. I’m not sure you’ll be able to see the color contrast in this photo, but it’s there. And if you zoom in, you’ll get a good look at how I’ve handcrafted each stitch lovingly so that each one is different. It may look like tension unevenness to you, but it is actually a carefully constructed fabric designed to convey an impression of high-fashion shabbiness. Plus, poor workmanship is all the rage on the Paris runways right now. Yup.
In the event that it turns out I don’t love how the sweater looks with the yoke and one sleeve in one color and the body and other sleeve in another, I will get some brown dye and try to overdye the entire thing. Unfortunately, there’s not a damn thing I can do if it turns out that I don’t like how the wildly uneven stitches look. Small chance of that, though.
To give me a break from the artistic genius that is Matt’s sweater, I decided to whip out a couple small projects. I had a lovely skein of blue Manos in my stash, and I decided to turn it into Grumperina’s lovely Odessa hat that I’ve long admired. I adjusted the pattern slightly to accommodate the heavier-than-called-for yarn, and, to my astonishment, it came out quite nicely! It was a fun and easy pattern to knit (I left out the beads), and I was pleased to have a cute little blue hat to go with my navy coat. Imagine my joy, then, when I pulled the laundry out of the washer last week and, in with the jeans and towels, found my Odessa hat. I have absolutely no idea how it got there, unless I accidentally mistook the washer for a hatbox the last time, I, I don’t know, dropped acid or something. With great effort I managed to get it around my head for this photo, but it’ll go to charity now. Sigh.
Still, the hat had been quick to make, so I bucked myself up, dug into my stash, and cranked out another one in Lamb’s Pride worsted. (“Cranked out” actually glosses over some real problems I had while knitting the second hat, wherein I wound up trying to drop down stitches through multiple YOs and SSKs and then reconstruct a good two inches of circumference. I did this in an effort to avoid tinking back about 4 rows. In the end I’d estimate it took me about three times as long as it would have taken to tink, with astronomically more frustration involved. Well, let’s just hope it built character or something.
In a way this Odessa came out even better because the yarn is more evenly spun. I marched Matt outside and made him take a photo of me before I could inadvertently felt this one. Nice, huh? Don’t I look happy to be wearing it? At last, a successful finished object. What a feeling of accomplishment. Wait, what the hell is that??
That is a stitch that apparently I missed when I drew the yarn through (in theory) all the stitches left on the needles at the crown of the hat. It has now laddered its way down about 8 rows, through lots of K2togs, YOs, SSKs, and who knows what all. It is definitely fixable, but I can’t say I’m overly motivated to tackle it right now. Hats: you’re on notice. Moving on.
The one bright spot in all this is a lovely brioche-stitch scarf I knit out of two skeins of Misti Alpaca chunky yarn. I used size 13 needles and it took me about two days to make. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the nicest-feeling yarn I have ever knit with. As it flowed through my hands onto my needles there were times when it felt almost liquid, in a good way. It has been a while since the process of knitting itself has been so pleasurable. I wasn’t even beginning to get tired of it when I reached the end of the second skein. I love how the brioche stitch looks feminine and simple and substantial and warm. There is only one problem, and it is one that I have been obstinately ignoring and will continue to ignore: it’s a little itchy. I was stunned to discover this. I mean, to touch this yarn with your hands is like stroking an angel’s wing. It never occurred to me it might be itchy. And in fact, when I first discovered that it made my neck itch a little, I incredulously touched the scarf to every part of my body for which it was hygienic to do so. Not an itch anywhere. Therefore, I think it is perfectly appropriate that I punish my neck for being such a high-maintenance little snot. Think you’re too good for alpaca, neck? Too bad! You’ll wear that scarf and you’ll like it!
Oh, I thought of one other bright spot! I took my swatch for the Gatsby Girl Pullover into a great YS that is L to my mom (Ewe’ll Love It) when I was in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving. The owner, whose opinion I respect, took a good look at it and declared that it would be fine for the sweater. Given that she stood to make some money on the sale of replacement yarn, I trust her opinion and am going to press on with the yarn I’ve got. (I expressed my gratitude by buying Misti Alpaca and some yarn for a baby sweater. And some books. And needles. And notions. Not my finest display of will power ever.) Anyway, thank you all for your commiseration and advice. Muchly appreciated.