Saturday, December 20, 2008

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Posted below about the mitten saga, Reader--a story that is sadly bereft of visual aids. No one wants a picture of a half-frogged, tear-soaked mitten.

At left, a picture of a project I finished in November: the Norwegian Star Earflap hat. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed, a wool/angora blend. The yarn is wonderfully soft and I love the angora halo (I am not sure it can properly be called a halo? but anyway, the angora fuzziness). The problem with this hat is that it's not actually super, super warm. The yarn is very light. If I were to knit this hat again, I think I would do it in a bulky or a heavy worsted yarn.

And here's my current stockinette sock-in-progress, knit mostly in the movies. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Coney Island. Felici is soft but surprisingly durable--the pair I knit in Felici Pebble has held up well so far. I like the short color repeats on this one. I am including two shots of what is clearly a very boring project because the picture with the bag is truer color-wise.

In that picture you can see my travel-sock set-up: the bag is from Etsy seller stuckinillinois. Her craftsmanship is excellent and her prices are more than reasonable. I do the travel sock on two circs, though I prefer to knit socks on DPNs, so I don't drop stitches. I don't need to look at a pattern anymore--I'm on pair seven of these, so I should hope not--but I carry instructions from Double Diamond Knits in case I forget (again) how to do the heel cup.

All right, that was dull as dishwater. Just be glad you got photos this time, Reader.

Sinners in the hands of an angry god.

I have a tale of woe for you, Reader. I suppose it's less a tale than a catalogue of blights upon the soul. Sit down; get comfortable. You might need a drink for this one.

I have made at least--at least!--eight attempts to knit the Squirrel & Oak mittens from Hello Yarn. I should note that I have knit these before. I have knit these successfully before. Indeed, I'd count the previous incarnation of them as one of my most successful knitting projects ever. But Reader, I have grown prideful. I wanted to replicate my success. And I--well, I should say now that I don't think this is all my fault. The pattern said to use sport weight! I was just following the pattern! But no. I can't blame the pattern. The pattern worked once for me, even. The devil must be in my needles! It's got to be the needles.

Attempts I have made to knit the Squirrel and Oak mittens:
  1. With Elann Peruvian Quecha. I hate this yarn. It's scratchy and sheds like hell. But I had some on hand in a deep purple and a lovely contrasting light pink, and I, despite the voice in my head telling me no, cast on anyway. Got about a third of the way through the first mitten when I realized that the yarn wasn't going to get any less horrible even if I really, really wanted it to.

  2. With Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. Kept casting on, knitting a few inches, and hating how my colorwork looked. While this pattern calls for a sportweight yarn, I found the Ultra Alpaca Light--ostensibly a DK, but seemed like a light DK--too thin.

  3. This one hurts the most. With Mission Falls 138. This is the DK version of Mission Falls 1820, and I chose it because 1820 is a robust, elastic wool. I should've known this one was doomed when the yarn tangled so badly whilst I was winding it that I had to spend two hours fixing it. Cast on, knit three inches, and frogged no less than three times. Finally got it going at a decent tension. Spent most of yesterday on the leaf mitten. Kept ignoring that the mitten was floppy (i.e., the gauge was too loose*) until close to the end, when I realized it was looking too long. I decided to block it to see if I'd like how it looked better then. Guess what happens to superwash wool knit too loosely, Reader? Guess what always happens to superwash wool knit too loosely? It grew, Reader. It grew and it grew, and like any possessed thing, it had to be stopped.

    I shot this one in the head and put it out of its misery. And mine.

  4. With Lion Wool. I'm about three inches into the first mitten. I do not have the heart to continue just yet. Who knows what might befall this mitten? Maybe the yarn will spontaneously disintegrate. Well: I know one thing. Like a captain and her ship, this mitten and I share a destiny, and we'll be going down together.
*Yeah, all right, I'll admit it: I didn't do a gauge swatch. They're mittens, for heaven's sake. I knit this mitten on size 4 circs and assumed that would be tight enough, since yarn actually calls for sizes 5-7. I know I'm a loose knitter, but I didn't think I knit that loosely. Had the same problem with the Ultra Alpaca Light too.