Tag Archives: Pretty in Pink contest

Same hat time, same hat channel

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!

Slouchy kitty hatOh, 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.

Finished Montague!

Montauge - doneMontague
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.

Chemo cap, Mark II: A rose by any other name

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.”

Finished: Odessa

Odessa: doneOdessa
Started Sept. 27, 2006. Finished Oct. 3, 2006.

Yarn: Cashmere left over from a swatch for the yarn store where I used to work; no ball band. Needles: US3 circs for the ribbing, US5 circs for the middle, US3 circs for the rest of it when for some reason I couldn’t find my 5. Nobody’ll know the difference.

Pattern notes: Made for the Pretty in Pink chemo cap contest. Knitted minus the beads the pattern called for. A very elegant pattern: easy to memorize the stitch pattern, with an easy pattern stitch that wasn’t totally brainless. The finished product looks classy and deceptively complex — what I call a “low effort, high yield” pattern.

Would I knit it again? Hell yes! This one’s going to be a staple in my hat stable, I can tell.

Macro mode, tamed!

Holy cats! I got the macro setting on my camera to work! I’ve been battling with it for weeks — there’s something about the Canon Powershot S40’s and S45’s finicky macro setting that makes close-ups nearly impossible.

Odessa: beginning

I was driven by a mad urge to take knitting photography out to the edge where Brooklyn Tweed lives, or where Interweave Knits finally is after they taught their photographers about focusing. (I used to play the “What’s the focus of this picture?” with that magazine, trying to determine which single part of the photo wasn’t a blurred-out, indistinguishable mess. “Model’s forehead” was a popular answer, along with “definitely not the knitted garment.” Best answer: “the non-knitted handbag in the foreground that has nothing to do with the pattern.”)

The S45 isn’t quite my boyfriend’s Canon Digital Rebel, which has spoiled me for little pocket cameras, but it’s competent enough — except for that damn zoom. The trick seems to be using the lowest aperture, propping my elbows on the desk to form a tripod, zooming all the way out, and praying.
I’ve been an atheist since I was 13 — any camera that requires prayer to keep a shot from being a blobby mess can kiss my ass.

Aaaanyway, in the picture is, like, an inch of the Odessa I’m making for the Pretty in Pink contest. I’m omitting the beads and I’m knitting it with lifted increases instead of yarnovers, to keep from having little holes in the fabric, but otherwise I’m sticking to the pattern.

When I was pawing through my yarn, looking for something soft enough for a chemo cap, I saw the cashmere … and I faltered. It was one of the only things soft enough to work that I didn’t already have set aside for another project, but dude … cashmere. My only cashmere. It’s a mind-bendingly delicious souvenir from my stint at the yarn store, a leftover from a store-sample swatch. It’s been parked in my yarn bin for over a year because nobody, including myself, deserves anything made from yarn this buttery-soft.

I think there’s something wrong in my head because every time I pat the yarn, my mouth waters. It’s not like full-blown synthaesia — I don’t smell orange blossoms or hear music when I cast on with it, or anything as awesome as that — but it’s still completely amazing yarn. Kinda makes me wish I had a ball band for it so I had a prayer (More prayer? WTF? I don’t like this trend) of finding it again. A hat made of this yarn would be an amazing gift, and one I’d be really proud to give, but … dude. My only cashmere. I picked up some black 100-percent merino instead and put the blue one back in its little plastic Ziploc bag.

After a little swatching, I saw I had two options with the merino: I could knit it on the recommended size and get a thick, fluffy fabric, but it would stretch out too much and let bare scalp show through. Eeek. Smaller needles gave better coverage, but they also gave a dense, unappealing fabric.

I sighed, and dug out the cashmere. I don’t wear soft blue-green, anyway.