Saturday, December 20, 2008

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.


Eva said...

You have spurned the knitting gods, not to mention sowing seeds of discontent in your subconscious, by starting the project with a yarn you hate. I've recently done the same with the Retro Ribbed Socks (didn't blog about it though). The project became a task. Your needles rejected it, your fingers rejected it, and the pattern rejected it. Until you proceed with yarn you love, this project is cursed.

The Bolter said...

That's so true. That's what I thought I was fixing by using the Mission Falls 138--I love 1820. It was not, alas, to be. The yarn I'm using now, Lion Wool, isn't one I love, but I like that it's sturdy and the fabric is okay. Hopefully this will be enough to break the curse.