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.

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