Monday Mishaps: All Buttoned Up

Another Monday and more mishaps to tell. This one happened a while ago as well, but it is keeping with the theme of Nordic sweater misfortunes. It was on Paul’s special request sweater, if you remember I blogged about it here.

Folded Button Mishap

He wanted a cardigan and I didn’t know how to do a zipper at the time. The obvious closure was buttons. There were no problems knitting the sweater itself, everything went as smoothly as could be expected. However, when it came time to do the seed stitch button band, I was not careful enough. When picking up stitches, I watched to make sure I wasn’t picking up too many. I started knitting and everything looked good. I think my tension must have loosened as I got closer and closer to binding off because when I finally finished, there was a very definite curve in the material.

Paul Button Mishap

It wasn’t extremely noticeable so I started on the other side in hope that I would do better, but I didn’t. At this point I took solace in the fact that they matched and it wasn’t a glaring mistake.

Apparently I don’t learn from my mistakes because when I was doing the button band for my coolbreeze cardigan, blogged here, I did the same thing! It really wasn’t quite as bad. I knew the type of yarn I used significantly relaxed after touching the water, so I knit the body a little on the small side. The button band, on the other hand, was a ribbed surface. It looked much smaller than it actually was. As soon as I blocked that bad boy, the button band sagged so badly that it was decorative.

Butten Mishap

I did rip this one out, and did it again. I still haven’t sewn on the buttons. I am thinking if it still looks bad this time I will attach a zipper on the inside so when the buttons are done up, they won’t pull at the fabric and make it look like I am about to explode out of said sweater. I don’t care how skinny you are, if you’re wearing a button up cardigan and EVERY SINGLE button is gaping, it’s not flattering.

One of the best pieces of advice for button bands that I have ever gotten was to use your swatch to test how often you need to pick up stitches in order to get the perfect number. Believe it or not, I actually did this with my coolbreeze sweater. The integrity of the yarn changed so drastically I didn’t anticipate the drape well.

I love the coolbreeze pattern so much that I am determined to make it work out. It has no chance to thwart my plan, this cardigan WILL behave!! Trust me, it’s happening.


Happy Black Friday and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I hope there was a lot of turkey and post-turkey food comas! I saw a pin the other day that said “It’s not really a holiday unless you push yourself to the brink of alcoholism and diabetes.” Truer words have never been spoken.

I’ve slowly but surely been working on grandma’s sweater and it is coming along. I cannot wait to be done the back and start on the back of the second sweater *cries a little inside*, but they will be really nice when I am through and last forever. I manically chant this during all the cable work.
Since the gradient socks are done, I needed another small mindless project to carry on with so I didn’t go blind. I decided to continue my mom’s scarf with the cascade 220 and mohair. If you remember, I blogged about trying to find an easy stitch and knit it into a scarf. Something that was simple to knit, but didn’t look plain. I ended up finding the most complicated stitch I’ve ever seen in my life and hating it. I was trying to figure out what pattern I should do when I noticed my bias scarf.

I made the bias scarf from alpaca last year. I was completely in love with this pattern and did a whole whack of scarves in it. It was a faze… a wonderful faze full of easy to knit, lovely looking scarves. I slapped my forehead and berated myself for not realizing the bias was the PERFECT pattern for this yarn! Needless to say I’ve ripped out what I have and started fresh. It is going really fast, because I don’t have to pay much attention to what I am knitting. I can sit, watch TV or listen to an audio book without worrying that I am going to cable something the wrong way.
I feel like I am really burning my way through my HUGE list of things to knit. I swear the next thing I do after grandma’s sweaters will be one of the sweaters for myself. I’ve acquired quite a bit of yarn for my sweater list and I cannot wait to start in on it.

Indecisiveness is the Spice of Life

I’ve started mom’s hat and scarf. To be honest I have finished the hat and am now just working on the scarf.

I found a hat pattern that has little eyelets, which swirl up from the hem to the top. I used a really small size needle to fit the gage needed for the pattern. You can’t really see that they are eyelets; there is just a hint of the pattern. Although it wish I had altered the amount of stitches needed and had bigger eyelets, the effect is rather interesting.
The scarf is something of my own design… okay, so I picked an interesting stitch and went with it. I made a small garter stitch boarder and then started this mountain and valley stitch. The very first line is easy enough S1 (for the edge), YO,* K4, K2TOG, YO* repeat specified section. Wrong side S1 and purl to end. Right side S1,*YO, Next two stitches go no a cable needle held in back, K1, K2TOG from cable needle, KTBL the SECOND stitch from needle and leave stitch on needle, then KTBL the first stitch on the needle and pull both off* and repeat. Was it just me or was that confusing?! I was looking for an easy stitch that would show up with the black yarn/mohair combo. I guess I don’t really know the definition of easy stitch… For the record, it looks good! Accents the yarn really well.
The mohair makes the Cascade 220 really REALLY soft and fluffy. I absolutely LOVE this combo. I may have some left over; maybe I could make mittens, or fingerless gloves? Mom’s also got some sock yarn to be paired with mohair; it’s going to make some extremely comfy socks.
I developed some project ADD this week and kept going from one thing to the other to another. I’ve ended up starting my grandma’s sweater and the Papaya Shawl from the Year in Colour. I haven’t been working on those too much lately. Since I’ve started work again my headaches have been more intense and more frequent.
Simple projects are the easiest for me to get on board with so far. I started the Tomato Bisque socks with the yarn Mom purchased from the Purple Purl. I did them in a simple rib pattern. The first sock turned out kind of small but I have enough yarn to do two more, so I’ll call that one a test sock. Which is fair because the yarn is so unusual. It is stretchy like elastic so I am trying to use a loose gauge.
As it stands I am trying really hard to focus and complete one project and NOT cast on one more…

Lace Liaison

I have recently discovered my hatred of lace. With the TFA Year in Colour Club, we get a skein of yarn every other month with a one-skein pattern. I believe it was the May skein that was lace, I blogged about Paul balling the skein here.

The pattern is for a beautiful cowl, the lace pattern not too complicated and there are sections of plain garter stitch. Easy enough… right? Wrong!

I cast on the 320 stitches on 16” 3.25mm needles because the yarn is so fine and those were the only length I had. Why not? The 320 stitches fit on the 16” needles with zero room to spare, but whenever I periodically worked on it, I worried about dropping a stitch and not noticing.

Old photo of the dreaded 16″ needle cast on.

After I finished Mom’s Alpha socks, I decided I was going to really work on this cowl and get it done! The problem was, while working on it so infrequently, I kept losing my place in the pattern and not remembering where to pick it back up. This is sort of embarrassing since the pattern is about 10 stitches repeated and only two lines of actual pattern. Nonetheless, the pattern looked off; I think I repeated the same line of pace panel over and over instead of alternating like I should have.
What I held in my hands was akin to a tangled mess of very beautiful and delicate yarn. This is where it started going downhill. I had about two or two and a half inches worked, while it didn’t look like much on the 16” needles, off the needles it seemed considerably larger. Deciding I would buy 32” circular needles in 3.25mm I ran to Johanne’s and picked them up.
Sitting in the living room at home, I unwound the work I had previously done. First balling the yarn then, nearer to the end, letting it sit in a small pile on the floor. I didn’t want my cast on edge to be too tight so I held one end of my 16” circular needle with the 32” needle creating an elastic hem that wouldn’t bunch.
This sounded like a good plan in my head why wouldn’t it be? The answer my friends is quantity. To cast on 320 stitches takes a lot of concentration and memory, even in small segments of 70, 90, 70, 90. Concentration and memory are two things I have been sorely lacking in the past couple months. First time, I cast on too little, so I fudged a stitch here and there were I needed it. Upon doing the second round I realized I then had too many. I ripped it out again determined to start over and do it properly. I cast on again, this time placing a stitch marker between every 10 stitches. Instead of ending up with a perfect 320 stitches I ended up with 390. I mixed up my numbers *facepalm.* Seeing no way to fudge that one, I started over AGAIN. The third time was not my lucky charm because there was something wrong with that cast on too.
At this point I decided it must be the yarn. The end I was casting on with was all kinked and crazy from having been knitted. Not to mention the fact that it tangles 100X easier in this from. I had a short text conversation with Alanna at this point.

Me  : I am officially endorsing the curse “SON OF A STITCH”
: I now hate lace
: If anyone is keeping score

Alanna: Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good.

Me : It’s not

Alanna: Did ya screw up?Me : It’s not a matter of screwing up so much as not being able to get it right…

Alanna: I see. Hate those days
:Is it the Tanis cowl? Or shawl?

Me: Cowl

Alanna: Lol. One word answers. Not good.
: Deep breaths

The breathing helped… a bit. I decided to re-ball the skein rather than immediately setting it on fire in effigy. I called on Betty the baller and started on the task of procrastinating my next cast on. The last time I ripped it out, the yarn managed to tangle into a labyrinth like knot at the end, so I cut it. There was noooo way I was opening THAT particular can of worms. Needless to say, my small pile of un-balled yarn was even smaller than when I began.
I’ll glaze over the re-balling; it went relatively smooth, although that isn’t saying much. I managed to get lace burn when I unraveled the ball a bit too fast. Lace burn is similar to rope burn, but it feels like it is crossed with a paper cut. Poor Alanna received a play-by-play via text. We also discussed the benefits of having a catharsis cry, and agreed that it should become a social norm.

There are no more photos of my progress with the lace because there is depressingly little to show for my work.

When the lace was balled and I could no longer put off another attempt, I started casting on. This time I only placed markers in the appropriate 70, 90, 70, 90 locations, it was a pain to take them all out the first time. At this point I figured nothing was going to help me except the divine intervention of the crafting gods. As it turns out, they finally heard my cursing and smiled down upon me. I cast on the right amount of stitches and carefully, VERY carefully began working the ribbing. In the several hours I spent doing this, I probably have half an inch of work to show for it.

Finished Alpha Socks

Lace after finishing the Alpha socks, which were knit in a fine yarn as well, was probably not a good idea. I just couldn’t warrant starting another project when I have this one on the needles. So help me, the next thing I knit will be bulky weight! Or at least worsted…

Of Wool and Warmachine

Well I FINALLY finished Paul’s sweater!!!

It is sheer happenstance I was able to get it done this early. By lucky coincidence, I arrived in Oakville 40 minutes early for my chiropractor appointment. This had absolutely nothing to do with me conducting very poor math while calculating what time I had to leave. I went into The Wool Bin, not my usual haunt, and meandered around to kill time. LOW AND BEHOLD!! Cascade Eco Wool in chocolate brown; the exact colour I needed! I still have a skein ordered from Johanne’s, but with that skein and the leftovers of this one, I will have enough for a whole other sweater. This makes me feel much better about buying a 478-yard skein to finish off half a button band.

I may have mentioned before, Paul’s first intarsia sweater is almost complete. I ran out of yarn while working on the previously mentioned button band. Although looking at it now, I suppose, I could have made the hood a bit shorter and saved the wool there, but there is no use crying over spilled milk or huge hoods. When I decided to make Paul a sweater I asked him to look through the intarsia books and pick out one he liked, since the moose patterned sweater was out of the question.

Link to the book on Ravlery
He picked a good pattern; it was actually my second choice for him. The pattern was for a pullover, as per usual with intarsia lopi sweaters, but he wanted a cardigan… with a hood. Outrageous demands! Of course I would give it a try, this project would be full of new skills that would only add to my current knowledge base. After all is said and done…. I think it will be quite some time before I try another cardigan.

I used the same colours in Paul’s sweater that I used in my own. You only use a few yards, if that, from the ball and I still have plenty. I could probably stretch those skeins into two to three more sweaters.
As part of another little anecdote, I feel I should tell you Paul plays a strategy game called Warmachine. It is a complex mix of manually assembled pewter models, paint, statistics, dice, tokens, tape measures and at least some manner of brainpower. As my friend Megan so eloquently said, “it’s part art project, part RISK.” They occasionally have tournaments, which are played on a 4X4 foot table. For some reason or another, the tournament organizer, Captain Spud, wanted to narrow the playing fields. To show the new boundaries, he bought a skein of red yarn and cut several strands to lie across the edges. After the tournament he gave Paul the rest of the skein since he had no further use for it and knows I knit.
Instead of throwing it in with the stash yarn I decided to make him a hat. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get an entire hat from the rest of the skein, so I put a stripe in the middle with some other leftover variegated acrylic yarn I had.
And of course I had to include a pompom.
I am still working on the socks, in an unexpected twist, I am actually using the double pointed needles. I could not complete the socks without them! Hopefully, my next post will include completed socks! Well… at least completed sock!