Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why I Hate My Life

There are many reasons why I could hate my life. There's the six months of unemployment, the ten pounds I've gained since summer, the temp guy who is totally jerking me around, my upsetting credit card balance, my very naughty kitty cat... should I go on? No, there's no need to go on, because if you ask me right now why I hate my life the answer is BECAUSE I HAVE TEN MILLION YARN ENDS TO WEAVE IN ON THIS STUPID SHAWL!!!!

I've been meaning to knit this Grandiflora shawl as a gift for my parents since I bought the yarn in the spring of 2008. I finally casted on at the beginning of this November in hopes of giving it to them as a Christmas gift but I'm still not finished. (Though I have to give myself a pat on the back for knitting it this quickly - it was some pretty detail-oriented stuff). So here's the thing, now I'm finished knitting but I'm just beginning the finishing! ARG!! I hate finishing! Whah!

Here's what I've got:

Do you see all those little bows tied up on it? These:
There are 28 of those little bows. Each of them contains two pieces of yarn that I have to weave in. Then there are the cast on and cast off tails. That's 58 ends to weave in. Into lace. What on earth was I thinking when I chose this project?

So far I have 8 done, 50 to go. I arbitrarily picked February 15 as my deadline for finishing this task. I picked that date 14 days ago and I have only done 8 ends since then... all of them yesterday. Will she do it?? Who knows!

(And I may be getting ahead of myself here, but how in the hell am I going to block this monster?)

FO: Amigurimi Panda

You know how you just associate some people with a certain animal? For example, if you were playing a word association game with a psychologist you might respond "Pepper" if they said the word "cat." I am a cat person. Well, my brother is a panda bear person. That's why this year for Christmas he got a cute amigurimi panda bear! This is proof of how much I love him because, as we all know, I hate to crochet. I particularly hate to crochet with black yarn, so that's double love.*

yarn details
worsted weight acrylics in black and white


9 mm safety eyes
poly pellets & polyfill stuffing

project details

pattern: "Panda Amigurimi" from Cut Out + Keep (free!). The url was:, but the link seems to be broken now. I have the pattern saved as a word document if anyone wants it.
hook: size F
duration: December 16-17, 2009: pretty much a whole day.
yarn used:hardly any
total cost: negligible

  • I used safety eyes instead of creating crocheted/embroidered eyes.
  • Remember to put the face on the bear before you stuff the head! :)
  • The pattern recommends using transparent nylon thread to sew the pieces together, but I just used matching yarn.
  • The entire body is stuffed with polypellets to keep this little guy grounded even with his massive head!

*In gauging my love for my brother, let's just ignore the fact that I have promised to knit him a hat for Christmas/his birthday for the past three years and have yet to do it. He got a panda instead.

FO: Rusted Root

OK- I'm way behind on my FO posts!! Here is one for my Rusted Root top, which I finished back in October. You'd think that since I don't have a job I could at least manage to stay on top of my blog, but you would be wrong. Have you ever noticed that the less you have to do the harder it is to get things done? Anyway, I digress.

Rusted Root!
(this is me massively sucking in my gut!)

I was so excited to knit this top based on all the awesome pics on Ravelry but it has really turned out to be a disappointment for me. "But it looks so cute!," you say. I have to admit that it does look pretty good in the picture but if you see it in real life it's pretty blah. (Perhaps all the great sweaters pictured on Ravelry are the same way?) To be fair, I don't totally blame the pattern. A lot of what I don't like about the sweater has to do with my own poor decisions.

First, the yarn I chose was all wrong for this project. (Though, in general, I liked the yarn. The color is to die for!). The pattern calls for a cotton blend but I think the cotton created way too much stitch definition. It looks great on the lace panel, but on the miles of stockinette stitch that make up the rest of the sweater the cotton highlights what would otherwise be barely visible changes in tension, which I think makes the end product look messy and "homemade" (vs. "handmade.")

Second, I made the wrong size. This is my fault, but there are extenuating circumstances: I gained ten pounds while I knit the sweater, during which time I was under extreme stress studying for the bar exam.

Third, the sleeves are a mess. They are insanely tight - and this is a separate problem from the sweater being too small in general because I enlarged these sleeves a few times (even when I was still legitimately an XS) and they were still bad. (Now that I think about it, I had the same issue with Delphine. Maybe I just have big armpits?) Also, the shaping it takes to make the puff sleeves is a mess. Again, if the yarn didn't have such insane stitch definition it might not look so bad.

Finally, my bind off on the hem is ridiculously tight and it makes the sweater pucker a little at the bottom. This is totally my fault. No matter how hard I try I just can't make a freakin' loose bind off!!! I did a tubular BO on the neck and arms which is so much stretchier, but you can't do a tubular BO on this 1X2 ribbing that looks so nice at the bottom of the sweater.

In conclusion: I think if I knit this again I could do better, but I don't think I want to invest all the time and energy in something that still might not work out.

yarn details
Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in Seaspray
dye lot 39451A
50 % Cotton 50% Acrylic
aran weight
machine wash
100 grams/207 yds @ $5.50
purchased 5/09

pattern details
pattern: "Rusted Root" by Sarah & Rachel - Zephyr Style ($6)
needles: size 6 and 4 circular
size: XS (28-32" bust)
yarn used: 2.65 skeins
started: May 24, 2009
finished: October 3, 2009
total cost: $20.58 (including pattern)

  • did a 1X1 rib on the neckline and the sleeves (mostly just so I could do a tubular BO)
  • added hip shaping - Don’t forget to make waist shaping decreases match up (K2tog and SSK, not just K2tog).
  • added two rows of straight stockinette before the ribbing on the sleeves
  • converted the written lace pattern into a chart - this made life so much easier!