I just saw two photos on Ravelry of projects based on my patterns and omigod it is just about the best feeling ever. And even though the metric needle sizes weren’t correct on the Montague PDFs, and I seem to make hats that are shorter than anyone else likes them, and and and … seeing the little smiley face that said someone liked the pattern OK made me happy. Which was something I didn’t even know I should be insecure about until I saw it, and is now something I will be insecure about forever.
Finished another “Montague” hat for Pretty in Pink. It took a couple days longer to finish than I’d have liked, since the yarn got into an almighty tangle.
I worked at a yarn store for a while, so I thought I’d learned how to tackle a ball of yarn that looked like it had gotten into a fistfight with an octopus. The key is patience. Untangling yarn is an excellent zen exercise: after trying to outsmart enough balls of stubborn string, you learn that untangling yarn takes as long as it takes. There’s no rushing it. After butting heads with slippery ribbon yarns and half-felted wool, not much fazed me — not even a skein that looked like I did when I was an 8-year-old tomboy whose parents had to occasionally cut the knots out of my hair with a penknife.
But this skein was a different story. I’d wound the yarn on a nostepinne because Montague is knitted with the yarn doubled, but instead of pulling the yarn from both the center and the outside of the ball, I’d wound the two strands together. Instead of just doubling the number of quirks and knots that can happen with a grabby, loosely plied yarn, I accidentally and idiotically squared the amount of hassle. After spending a good four hours shifting knots around and working the yarn free a foot at a time, I’d untangled a pathetic 20 yards or so of yarn. The absolute bare-bones minimum I’ll work for is $17.50 an hour — which meant I’d wasted $70 of my time trying to rescue a $2.50 skein of yarn. The hell with that, I said to myself, and hurled the whole jellyfish-like mess into a corner.
Anyway. Montague. The pattern’s transcribed and laid out; I just need to get a good photo of it, and it’ll be ready to unleash on a defenseless public!
Oh, and I’m also completely in love with my slouchy kitty hat. It’s got me a couple of compliments and a whole lot of weird looks. The hell with them! Fall is well and truly setting in: the rain’s starting, and shirtsleeve weather is disappearing fast. Weird stares don’t mean much to me when my head is wrapped in a cute, one-of-a-kind hat made of butter-soft cashmere.
And in other news that’ll probably only earn me more weird looks, I’ve decided that it’s time I finally learned to play an instrument: the musical saw.
I’m making the pattern for Montague, the top-down chemo cap I made, and it is fun. The knitting itself isn’t remarkable, and the transcription is no fun, since it basically means turning all the winging-it and shorthand and shortcuts into something that can be replicated by another human being.
But the layout! Oh, man! It’s been a couple months since I cracked open InDesign and it feels gooood. After a year doing daily, non-features layout for a newspaper, it feels amazing to have free rein. I can use as many fonts as I like and I can indent them any way I want! I can use whatever photos I want! The number of columns of text? Up to me, dammit! It’s amazing! Not to mention, it’s InDesign on sleek, stable Mac OSX. Using (slow, quirky, unstable, frustrating, counter-intuitive) Quark XPress on (slow, quirky, unstable, frustrating) OS9 was excruciating.
I’m going to make the pattern available as a PDF, for a couple of reasons. Usually I’m all about plain text so I can decide myself how much text and color to use when I print something out, but knitting patterns are the big exception. Every time I have to print a written-out pattern from something I find online, I spend a good 20 minutes trying to puzzle out the most efficient way of doing it that won’t waste loads of paper. You’d think that the Internet’s been around long enough that we’d have figured out a reasonably smart way to print from it, but I guess not.
PDFs aren’t always much better. I was pretty disappointed when I bought a couple patterns from Rowan: The “Red Hot” sweater came with a tiny photo, with no schematic for how the pieces should be shaped and sized, and no photos of the back or side or any detailing. Grr.
Then I ordered a Stitch Diva pattern and … whoa. Beautiful. Large, good-looking photos. Easy to read. Lots of schematics and charts. Arranged to fit neatly on two pages, or on both sides of one page. Pattern name and page number at the top of each corner. Yay.
I have a couple few pet peeves about patterns:
- No pictures. That, or pictures that don’t clearly show what the finished item looks like.
- Leaving only a narrow margin down one side. I end up punching holes in the instructions when I put patterns like this in my pattern binder. (I’m not a fan of sheet protectors; I like to flip through multi-page patterns.) The Stitch Diva pattern was guilty of this one, but I forgive it because it got everything else right.
- Too much whitespace. This one happens with a lot of pattern pages that look like they were saved right out of Microsoft Word, instead of put together using pro layout software. There’s all kinds of empty space on the page, and it takes way too much paper to print out. It shouldn’t take eight pages for a hat pattern.
- Bad placement of photos. A little more obscure, but still annoying. When you’ll have a photo on the front of a page and another photo on the same place on the back of the page, the paper gets totally saturated with ink. The paper gets soggy, the ink runs and gets blurry and the page dries all warped and bubbled. Yuck. Sure, I could print the pattern out on heavy-duty paper, but that stuff’s expensive. Sure, I could print it on two sheets of paper, but dude — I’m a native Californian. We get all weird about things like wasting paper. I get mild anxiety fits when people leave the tap running, ferchrissakes.
Anyone else have any pattern peeves?
Chemo cap, own pattern, for Pretty in Pink contest.
Started Oct. 5, 2006; finished Oct. 8, 2006.
Pattern: mine. Yarn: Lion Brand Micro Spun. (Yes, Lion Brand. I was pretty torn up about this.) The yarn is six very loose plies, so it splits like crazy, but I like it. Pattern notes: Whoops, the hat came out kinda big. Obviously some tweaking is needed. It would help if I could find a super-stretchy cast-off that pulled in the edges of 1×1 rib so it wouldn’t flare out, but I have a feeling that particular quest is gonna last me a while.
Would I knit it again? Well, yeah. I gotta perfect it.
More chemo cap goin’ on over here. I’m kind of a hat fiend, so this is the perfect project for me. The next hat is my standard top-down beanie, worked not on the last project’s 3s and 5s but on blessed, blessed 10 1/2 DPNS in the split stitch from this Knitty pattern.
I’m using doubled L**n Br*nd Micro Spun. $2.50 for a ball of yarn?! I know I’ve got a loathe on for the brand, but honey, this is my exception. This stuff is plush and soft like brand-new fleece, comes in black and red — the only colors that matter — and at this price it could make me go all Romeo and Juliet in the middle of the yarn aisle at Joann’s, which is foreign territory, indeed.
If only it weren’t Lion Brand, I wouldn’t have to get all squeamish about buying it. Maybe it’s how let down I was the one time I knitted something in Wool-Ease and it started pilling while it was still on the needles, or my stint at a high-end yarn store that nurtured the fiber snob in me, but dang. Lion Brand? Yeesh. “So Micro Spun would, were it not Lion Brand call’d, retain that dear perfection,” indeed. I thin I’ll call this pattern “Montague.”