Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My Knitting is Cursed

Knitting is a Big Thing in my life. It's a hobby, it's led to new friendships, it's quietly spiritual...and for the past three months it's been completely cursed.

I haven’t had a project turn out worth a damn since MARCH. The last thing I finished that was any good at all was the DNA scarf out of good ol’ completely indestructible light blue Red Heart for my best friend from junior high.

Everything since has been crap.

First it was the Fabulous Green Yarn that broke my heart. This yarn is absolutely incredibly wonderful stuff that was a special gift since it was handspun by my Big Sister who moved to the tropics not long ago. Beautiful olive greens with little flecks of red in a soft wool full of good karma and sunshine packaged in its own woven-leaf box…I love this yarn as much as I love the sister who sent it. Trouble is that it won’t become anything for me. I swatched out a simple yet lovely woven pattern that showed the yarn to good advantage and planned to make a sweater. I could tell there wasn’t enough for my size so I decided the sweater should go to Youngest Duckling, who is six…but there wasn’t enough for her either. Got halfway through the back before I figured it out though, which meant yet more frogging—it’s a testament to the quality of the yarn that I can’t tell one ball has been knit up at least six separate times by now. Played with that yarn a whole ‘nother week waiting for it to speak to me again but it didn’t—not even to tell me whether it was okay to knit up with Something Else or whether it had to be stand-alone. I had really hoped for the latter so I could show off the yarn most of all…but I had no idea WHAT except for maybe a set of hats and my family already has more hats than they’ll ever wear including several coordinating sets. So fine, I know when the creative process is blocked and put it back in its box to rest.

Swatched around with various two-color ideas meant to eventually be a cardigan but all of those totally sucked from the starting gate. Nothing I could even stand to use as a hotpad.

I needed something new for spring so I thought I’d make another top-down raglan. I have one in Reynolds Cantata

that I wear just ALL the time so I thought I’d make another in some other kind of cotton. The “other kind” of cotton turned out to be a one-pound cone of Lily Sugar-n-Cream from Wal-Hell in an ombre with red and greens and yellows and beiges against a white background. I’m pretty sure it was called “pepper pot” and absolutely sure it’s been discontinued since I just searched Lily’s own website and didn’t find the color. I had some more of the same yarn in a coordinating shade of green with which I made the I-cord for the neck and was most excited to pick up stitches for the neck and start down. Thought I’d have a SWELL top just as it started to get hot enough to need one. I "borrowed" the stitch pattern after reading about it on my newsgroup: knit the right-side rows then K1, P1 the wrong-side rows to create a bit of textural interest. Discovered right away that you could either "stack" the K1 P1 rows or "stagger" the K1 P1 rows so I chose "stacking" to make a rib-like fabric with a strong vertical line. Things went pretty well till boredom set in just before the arm increases were done.

That was when I started playing with Tychus and got burned. Tychus is a wonderful hat pattern from

which I’d wanted to try as soon as I clicked on the link—the VERTICAL striping was most pleasing to me. So I printed out a pattern and sat down with my yarn and created disaster after disaster. First attempt was so big and baggy after only one wedge that I ripped out even before starting a second wedge. Changed needles and got a wedge that looked decent…but after two more I had the same saucepot effect and had to start over. The third time I went to still smaller needles and cut a few stitches out which worked well enough for me to keep going with the project. At the same time I learned that a co-worker had just been diagnosed with a BAD breast cancer so of course THAT was the chemo cap pattern I was going to use but I was going to do it in cotton because of the warm weather. Used the scaled-down pattern, single strand of cotton and thin needles and produced something that was wearable…but only barely. It was still Way Too Effing Big which was why my tech got it still damp one morning after frantically trying to shrink the thing in the dryer.

I should’ve known better right then and there but I had to make ANOTHER Tychus and get it “right” this time. Trouble was that I wanted to use more cotton. This time I used two strands of Berrocco’s Cotton Twist and THOUGHT I was making a wonderfully smooth and maybe even chic hat. Thought that right up to the binding off…when I discovered that COTTON had been a terrible mistake. Made the thing not only heavy but drape-y and way too big for anyone but the Abominable Snowman. So fine, live and learn about fiber content versus pattern…but I was starting to sense a trend.

Went back to the good ol’ raglan and worked patiently at it for another month. Finally got it done this past Sunday and was ALL excited to have a new top to wear to work on Monday. Was also all excited that I'd made Just Barely Enough Yarn work too and was feeling pretty smug about having bound off the sleeves in the contrast color without adding any length since I had been going for "cool summer top to wear to work." Everything was SWELL and I was feeling all happy….till I tried the thing on. It’s pretty enough but way too big and not at all flattering. Looks like one of my end-stage maternity tops

and instantly became the most disappointing knit I’ve ever had.

Color me frustrated. And forward me the names of your favorite exorcists.


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