Zig-Zag Thud

I try not to be superstitious, but I can’t help wondering if maybe this yarn just doesn’t want to be a hat.

To be fair, I’ve never designed a hat before, and I have extremely limited experience in knitting hats. As in, I made one baby hat and one way-too-small Unoriginal Hat.

Looking at this yarn, I thought it would stripe nicely in zig-zags. I was toying with this idea when an episode of Ghost Whisperer came on, where Jennifer Love-Hewitt’s character Melinda was wearing this hat:

I knew I had to give it a try.

Not having that reference photo on hand, I resorted to the only zig-zags I knew, from the Jaywalker sock pattern. It just happened that when I calculated my gauge and measured my head, I’d have the exact number of stitches that the larger size of the Jaywalkers called for. I thought it was fate.

I struggled a bit with how to do the decreases, but a Ravelry user very cleverly worked out a system of dropping the side increases while continuing the center double decreases.

Everything went as planned, but unfortunately it looks kind of like a helmet, with these weird scallops dipping into my eyes and leaving an opening that elongates my forehead.

Seriously, my forehead is not this long!

I tried to tell myself it looked like a cloche style, that it was actually very cute… but this delusion could not persist.

I think there is potential in this idea. Twice or three times as many zig-zags and a snugger fit would probably reduce the amount it dips down into the eyes. Also less ribbing would probably be a good idea.

The upside is, I still love this yarn and it’s really comfortable as a hat. I’m planning to frog this one and do something fool-proof like an easy roll-brim hat, this time from a pattern and being honest with myself if I try it on and, once again, look a fool.

Third time’s a charm, right?

Uncle

I think it’s time to acknowledge that no, I am not going to finish my Tilted Duster for NaKniSweMo. I know, I know, big surprise, but I am disappointed.

This was my progress as of about 5am yesterday morning. Not pictured are two sleeves, knit but not seamed.

I had eight hours of classes yesterday (without sleep), and though I knit for as long as I was awake last night, I still only finished 13 of the 80 skirt rows. Which is to say nothing of the collar or the rest of the finishing.

Considering I have class from 2-10pm today, with all the work I can stand this morning before class, then another full day tomorrow, this just isn’t going to happen.

Sigh.

Looking back on this month, I can come up with plenty of times when I could have been knitting. I took several long train rides, working on my traveling sock instead (great progress there, by the way).

During an extended visit at my parents’, I spent most of my time knitting a hat, then trying out another:

At least I like where it’s going, even if it’s a blazing symbol of my constant knitting infidelity.

I’m not going to completely beat myself up though, because this month has taught me a lot about knitting and myself as a knitter.

For one thing, I shouldn’t have been so afraid of seaming. I let that hold me up for the longest time (if even subconsciously), when it actually took about 20 concentrated minutes of work. The seams came out alright, not great, but acceptable enough for my first full seater.

I should have been afraid of picking up stitches from the cast-on edge, as this turned out to be a nightmare. I still don’t know why I had such a hard time with it, but it literally sucked up hours of knitting time Tuesday night.

I also should have thought more about the pattern itself and what I was attempting to accomplish. The skirt portion is 80 rows of 210 or more stitches per row, which in and of itself is nearly like knitting an entire Tempting over again, but with increases. I might have reflected on the time it took me to knit the original Tempting (which yeah, we’ll talk about soon) and realized that no, leaving a few hours is not sufficient for that part.

Lastly, if I really want to finish something by a deadline, I shouldn’t dally around with other projects. I know it’s so easy for me to rationalize a hat or two or working on my socks instead, but obviously that was time I should have been working on the Duster.

I am much further along in this than any other sweater I’ve started so far, so it shouldn’t be too much time before I finish it, provided I actually stick with it and don’t put it aside indefinitely when I start up Christmas knitting next week.

Ahh the insanity. I realize it’s ludicrous to stress about knitting, since this is the hobby I do to relax, but I don’t like facing my limitations in any context. There may be no NaKniSweMo police (and thank you, Amanda, for reminding me of this), but I can still be annoyed with myself that I didn’t rise to the challenge the way I thought I could.

I hope your NaKniSweMo’s were more productive and successful than mine, and I’m excited to traipse through FO posts when I find a moment.

Finishing woes

I was foolish in choosing the Tilted Duster for NaKniSweMo, considering it cannot be even halfway completed until I do major amounts of seaming. I chose it knowing this, hoping this would be the sweater that broke me of my seam phobia, and yet, I remain paralyzed.

I’ve knit the back, both fronts, and both sleeves, and now I am at the point where I just cannot avoid sewing. I tried one seam with embroidery floss, which worked out better than any seam I’ve ever made… but it was only a few inches long and I’m still terrified of the rest.

The trouble is, this is a pattern with me. I get caught up on some small detail and let it hold a project up indefinitely. To wit:

Things I Am Avoiding Like the Plague:

  • sewing buttons on the baby cardigan (which has been otherwise finished since August)
  • threading a ribbon through my finished Tempting
  • undoing two bind-offs and sewing down facings on the Summertime Tunic, then threading ribbon
  • sewing the body of the Tilted Duster so I can pick up the skirt and finish the silly thing

For good measure, I’m also wearing my winter coat open because I am avoiding sewing two buttons back on it.

I realize that if I committed just an hour or two to finishing, I could have quite a few FO’s and a functional winter coat. Yet here I am obsessing over hats. And socks.

Must sew. No matter what, I must get over my fear of sewing.

Organic Growth

I am consistently amused and amazed by the way the pattern develops on the Sun Ray Shawl.

It is such a lovely example of organic growth and natural development.

I quickly knit through two of the 6 or 7 repeats, and I was downright smug with how smoothly it was going. Of course you know where this is going with me and my hubris. In even the most elegant instances of organic growth, one cannot underestimate the role chaos plays in development. (Here chaos takes the form of whiskey).

I picked the shawl up when highly intoxicated and chatting with a friend. I purled one back row, and somehow in that, I’m left with a mess. I’m missing one stitch, somewhere, and I cannot figure out where.

See, my row counter says this:

That can’t possibly be true. I must wonder: am I supposed to be on row 60 or row 58? Did I somehow drop my counter and click forward, or did I neglect to click it when I drunkenly purled that row?

I counted the chart, I tried searching the stitches on earlier rows to find an extra stitch or a neglected yarn over. It’s been an unpromising search.

“Ah well,” I thought, “this is why I put in life lines, and I’ll only have to rip back a few rows.” To be honest, I was almost looking forward to it, but…

Well shoot. Life lines don’t really work if you drunkenly tug them out.

You know what happens when the going gets tough around here, right? Yep, the tough cast on a new project:

I just needed some mindless stockinette. Knitting therapy at its finest. I’m about ready to brave a careful unraveling and some more counting on the Sun Ray now. Wish me luck!

Tempt tempt tempt

My Tempting sweater is moving along, seeming to knit itself.

I attached the sleeves to the body, but it felt all wrong somehow for the first few rounds. The stitches strained to get around the buckled-out curve of the circ, and simultaneously there was a huge gap and a long strained stitch pulling across the underarms.

I’m not sure if that will all get sorted out in the 3-needle bind-off, but at least the float is so long that I could cut it and weave the ends in, if it came down to that. Still I have to marvel at the ingenious elegance of the design. I can’t think of a better way of doing it, and for what it is, it’s spot-on.

Now I’m two inches into the yoke, and it’s feeling a lot better, easing around the needle and moving at a nice clip. Looks like I’ll have a nice little fall sweater in no time!