Sunday, February 29, 2004

Bullfrog Extravaganza

Why am I such a dimwit?

I decided today that I'd use all the 10+ balls of mohair that I'd had in my stash for so long to make something for my friend Og because she rocks and she's one of my favourite people ever in the world.

So I went hunting for patterns. -Aran- patterns, mind you. Came up with a few, and picked the one I liked best.

Couldn't wait to get home and try it, after being stuck in the office all day - on a Saturday no less! - and first thing I did was pull out the needles, swatch a gauge, confirm my guess that I'm a loose knitter and I was right in going down a needle size, and then start swatching the pattern for the aran.

Everything was going JUST SPIFFY until I reached line 5 of the Tree of Life pattern. Line 5, mind you - not even anything more than that, which should have told me that I was in for dismal failure. I came up with four extra stitches that the pattern did -not- tell me what to do with. I frogged, tried again, and came up with the same result.

After frogging about twice more and still yielding the solid fact that a) either the pattern REALLY didn't tell you what to do with it or b) I was just that stupid, I went in and hunted for a Tree of Life pattern online so I could see if there was anything missing from mine that would get rid of the 4 stitches.

I did find a pattern, but that wasn't in multiples of 11 like mine was and I wasn't familiar enough to chart out mentally if changing it like that would make the whole thing go wonky or not.

I gave up on the blasted thing in disgust after an hour's trying to make it work.

Time to hunt again for another sweater - and I found one. I found several, as a matter of fact. The only problem is, the instructions? Are all in either Norwegian, Swedish, or Danish. This particular one was in Swedish. Same difference, frankly - I knew enough Swedish only to check that my engineering and translation teams had done vaguely the right thing when they went me their finished projects to check against the English. And since those were computing terms, they do not resemble knitting terms in the least. Hah.

So I poked about -yet again- and found a stitch dictionary on the same site that translated these foreign knitting terms. After translating 'knit' and 'purl', I printed out the first diagram on the site (the long strip of patterning) and decided to test-swatch it.

It looked so easy. Knit and purl, just in patterns.

Right, and I am a duck-billed ptarmigan named Alphonsus living in sin with a bob-tailed cat named ChiChi.

I couldn't get the dam' thing to work. I must have frogged it about a dozen times already in the span of an hour and a half. It finally hit me that you know, if you're looking at the diagram from the -front- and that's how the pattern should look, you need to -reverse- alternate rows and knit so that the pattern shows up that way on the front of the piece. This after hunting frantically through several websites like crazy (and incidentally, I couldn't recommend this site any highter - it teaches you how to read Japanese patterns, and it's in mostly in ENGLISH, which means the Sweater of Doom, as well as any other Japanese patterns I want to use, aren't so inaccessible any more).

And then...the 9th stitch kept appearing like flab on one's abdomen. The stitch swatch calls for -8- stitches. I don't know WHY I keep getting an extra stitch but right now I'm too tired to figure anything out other than I want to go to BED, and that I'm a bloody dimwit when it comes to reading diagrams because I can't and I don't know how and I've decided I don't -know- how to knit because I couldn't even follow something as simple as that.

Agh. I'm going to bed. Dammit.

And if someone can actually point out where I'm going wrong in the first Aran of Doom, or if I'm losing my mind, or if I'm just too stupid to follow the Norwegian patterns I'd love you forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

...Help, She Said

And the public poll/cry for help is: What on earth can one do with Filatura di Crosa's Millefili Fine?

Either I'm not used to the yarn but every gauge swatch I do of this has me reeling at how badly I knit - too loose, too loose -too loose-. Perhaps it's just that it's cotton, and cotton doesn't like anything. It's a bit better on my bamboo needles, but when I had it on my metal circulars for Sigma, ooof.

It's a gorgeous yarn and I want to use it badly - but I've no idea what to -make-.

Help, anyone?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Frog: frôg, n.

FROG: [Middle English frogge, from Old English frogga.] \Frog\ (fr[o^]g), n. [AS. froggu, frocga a frog (in sensel); akin to D. vorsch, OHG. frosk, G. frosch, Icel. froskr, fraukr, Sw. & Dan. fr["o].] 1. (Zo["o]l.)

An amphibious animal of the genus Rana and related genera, of many species.
Frogs swim rapidly, and take long leaps on land. Many of the species utter
loud notes in the springtime.
- (Definition from

This is the sound I am making today. Can you hear it?

So I started on my next project - a Beginner's Hat, because that looked like something I could use to get rid of all that acrylic yarn. Besides, after yesterday's fiasco with Sigma, I felt like a beginner.

I was actually proud of myself - I cast on at the bus stop this morning while waiting for my ride, and finished up a whole row of the hat brim at lunch.

And then I got home and actually started in on the second row.

Since when has anyone ever had to unpick an entire row of ribbing stitch because you screwed up 1 knit 1 purl? That's supposed to be brainless EASY, right?

Frog:Any of numerous tailless, aquatic, semiaquatic, or terrestrial
amphibians of the order Anura and especially of the family Ranidae,
characteristically having a smooth moist skin, webbed feet, and long
hind legs adapted for leaping.

This is also when I remain convinced there is a Knitting God who watches over idiot knitters like yours truly.

Because upon recasting on all 96 stitches, I discover that they said 'stockinette stitch' - which is NOT 1 knit 1 purl as I assumed, but 1 ROW knit, 1 ROW purl. I am still not yet familiar with the various stitch names, apparently. Says the girl who has done -cable- sweaters no sweat.


So far so good. But if you happen to hear an unusual lot of bullfrogs tonight, you'll know why.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

And In Other News...

...The Sigma Tank has been frogged. That's not because it's not a beautiful top, because it is. I've just not got the energy to start taking it apart to the place where I accidentally mobius-stripped it.

On the other hand - the frogging has convinced me there is a Knitting God.

It has also convinced me that I'm a knitting gauge-tension nitwit.

The reason is as follows:
When I did the calculations for Sigma, I gauge-swatched it. The results, summed up by the formula that was in the pattern, made it 240 stitches to cast on. You can't -possibly- go wrong with a formula and a gauge swatch, right? Especially when I stretched it out on the needles and it looked just nice, even allowing for some looseness in the yarn after knitting.

So I took the thing off the needles, all 240 stitches of it. And discovered that it would fit my best friend easily, no sweat. Not even tightness.

My best friend is male, 6'4" and built like a linebacker.

I, on the other hand, barely top 5', if you don't count that I'm always wearing huge clunky heels, and I weigh less than 110lbs. Or around that anyway.

Humbling, humbling, embarrassing-as-heck.

However! I -have- finished ONE knitting project and that is a catnip mouse for my SO's two cats! It's the one posted in Wendy's Mouse-A-Thon.

And even there the knitting nincompoopness continued because I didn't understand the extremely simple directions and wound up frogging the entire thing at lunch today at work. But! BUT! I finished it ALL UP today so I am proud of myself. I was taught to knit on the fly with no patterns, so reading patterns is uber-hard; I'm just not used to it.

I've decided to take my knitting to work and use my lunchtime to accomplish stuff. Today I was in the Indian restaurant two doors down from the office, drinking iced chai and knitting away on the catnip mouse, and there were two Westerners eating two tables up. One was bald and one had curly hair; both were male. When they finished their food, the curly-haired one kept looking at my knitting. It was sort of funny and I still don't know why he was looking. Maybe the fact that I was dressed like an office-going Goth (all black with a funky high-necked top that had a diagonal zipper down the front) had something to do with it.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Random Thought for the Day

If Sauron had -beaded- his rings, he wouldn't have made 19 of them, he'd have just stopped at ONE.

Ever try to fit dwarven knuckles blind? He'd have gone -nuts-.

Friday, February 20, 2004

See! New Toy Thing!

See, see, momma, I was a -smart- girl and added the new techy thingy all by myself!

Yes, I finally got myself a comment function so feel free to spam it to death. ;)

In other news:

The wedding went supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and I might have to knit a hat just to use up that acrylic wool.

More details later! I'm still sore from my 2-hour high intensity combat workout at the gym.

Friday, February 13, 2004


No, not mine. But one of my oldest friends (known her for about 20 years) is getting married Valentine's Day and she's done me the honour of asking me to be her wedding coordinator and surrogate sister. She has no sisters, and I'm the one who'll be dressing her, calming her down and generally being the Voice of Reason.

So I'll be gone for the weekend, and all knitting/crafty projects go on hold till I get back.

It's gonna be busy. Fun, but busy. Woo!

Friday, February 06, 2004


...Strange Angels Unawares, the finished version.

And the Hellebore Necklace, or the Hell Necklace for short.


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Strange Angels

Over the weekend a really good friend of mine asked if I would draw a picture for his music studio. Criteria: black and white, something sort of unfinished, and weird (this last is no surprise; he has mohawkish spikes like a porcupine. They look cool but they do garner stares.)

So...I present the as-yet-not-quite-finished-still-needs-work Strange Angels Unawares, and yeah Geocities is evil about linking so you'll have to just cut and paste. Opinions are welcome and lord knows I need some of those.

Yeah I know. Weird.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

New Sort Of Projects?

I think I'm about ready to take on a new knitting project in conjunction with my temporarily abandoned Sigma tank. This may just be because I spent my long weekend working on -work- (yes, we needed something out on Tuesday which meant yours truly had to finish it up even if Monday was a vacation for us). But, at least I'm getting paid for it. Whew.

On the other hand - I met Consomme for lunch and it was -really- neat! She's great and funny and really really cool. I'm so lucky to have someone nearby who can appreciate crafty things. I've earmarked a project in one of her books, as it is. Mmmm. Sweater-thing!

So...poll time: anyone have any really creative ideas for what to do with 20 balls of pink-and-beige acrylic yarn, and about 6 oddment balls of purple, blue, pink, bright yellow, bright green, bright pink and black equally acrylic yarn?

Yeah, Consomme - I'm -really- stuck for ideas. Maybe we should make teacosies and mice.