Well, it’s finally done. I’ve put the needles down, blocked it with a frenzy, and at last, the Clapotis is off the wires.

And I’m really not impressed.

I feel like that’s some sort of sacrilege to say out loud. Apparently everyone loves this pattern. But I just don’t see it. Maybe I knit it too loosely. Perhaps I’ve always subconsciously had something against this yarn. It could be that the pattern should be made with a heavier yarn. Most likely it’s a combination of all three. But whatever it is, I’ve never felt the love for this piece. And you know what? I think that’s okay (even though I’m nervously looking up for the lightning strike).

What I’ve learned here is this: I don’t care for the dropped stitch pattern on this weight of yarn with such big needles. I want a firmer binding on a finished piece, and this is not that. Now that I’m done, I see lots of places where it could be better, where the stitches could be tighter, or gaps where I don’t think there should be gaps. I’m even wondering if I might have gotten the stitches wrong on the edges, or messed it up when I had to go down and fix a missed yarnover. Hmmm. Also, I just dread the first time something snags a loose thread, because you know it’s gonna happen. Suffice it to say, this particular Clapotis is not one of my favorite pieces.

So I’m glad I did this, because I think it’s important to discover the things you don’t like as well as the things you love. And even better if I can put words to it, so that next time, I can avoid what I don’t like. But now I can check this off the list, and move on to something I’m gonna love a lot more. Besides — TheCoed has been nosing around as I blocked this piece, so I think it’s going to become hers, just because I know she’ll wear it with joy. And that’s really the point of it all, isn’t it?

So there’s my report, and my teachable moments. Everyone sing along with me: “Clap on! Clap off! Clap on, clap off, Clapotis!”

So, the Noro scarf is merrily rolling along, and I’m well into the second set of balls (!!!). However, as smoothly as the first set went, the second has seen a couple of snags along the way. First, there have been two knotted points where somebody in the Noro factory said, “Hmmm. I’m tired of this color. Let’s change….NOW!” and tied the beginning of an entirely different color to the end of your lovely progression, thus messing up the color flow. Do I think anyone besides me is really gonna see this? Probably not, but it does drive me crazy to see it happen (k)not once, mind you, but twice. Who can guarantee it won’t happen again before I reach the end? Right. Me neither.

My second snag is that, odd though it might be, these two balls have similar colors in them, and I get green against green, pink against pink, and orang against orange. This is crazy talk, as they really are different dye lots, but I see that it usually happens after these surprise knot situations, so I guess they figure you’ll just play the skeins your dealt. So I’ve found myself knitting about four inches, finding far too much similarity, then unraveling back to where the knot is and, instead, picking up the other end of the skein to try incorporating a new color flow. Why would I be insane enough to do this? Because, my good friends, this picture shows you precisely what it looks like when you don’t. I must admit, I probably should’ve pulled out sooner (wait-what? THAT’S not manly!), but I was hoping against hope I might juuuust make it. Clearly, that didn’t happen. So once again I frogged back to the knot, and swapped ends, and so far it seems to have taken the hint to behave.

Fingers crossed I get it done before Friday.


Originally uploaded by robin2go

Sometimes, no matter what you’d rather be doing, you just have to frog that shite and say, “Whatever.”


So I am finally working on the Noro my sister bought for her scarf, but then gave up because three rows after she cast on she was so tight she couldn’t even push a needle through to make a stitch. Like most people, I think the Noro is beautiful and I totally want a Noro striped scarf, but when it comes down to buying the actual yarn, I get overwhelmed by the color selections. And possibilities. And wondering, what if these colors don’t exactly work with those colors? Clearly, I need to man up. And so I thought we had come to the perfect solution: by working on my sister’s scarf, I get to play with her Noro before I buy and she gets a scarf that’s longer than three rows long.

So you’d think.
Actually, the colors aren’t bothering me in the slightest. It is cool to watch these stripes slowly turn to other colors as I continue to knit. However, I think the operative word in that last sentence is “continue” because really, that hasn’t been the overall feel here. More like struggle. Muddle. Frog. I’m just short of calling it the undo scarf, as the more I knit, the more I undo, but I think I might have finally gotten the rhythm of this scarf, and so we are at a detente, the scarf and I, and slowly the rows continue to build.

The irony here is that this scarf is supposed to be my easy off-project project. You know, the one you go to when you get overwhelmed b the intricacies of the difficult pattern you’re working on and long for some simple knit purl? Yeah, that one. And as this is a simple 1×1 ribbing, it should be relatively mindless, save for the one slight hiccup: the edges. Aye, there’s the rub. Because the edges are really the only drawback to this scarf, and perhaps not so much a drawback, but more like I don’t think I understood just how important those edges are, nor just how close I was to being pushed over them. Metaphorically speaking.

Okay, so why am I so whiny about the edges?

Mostly because the edges are the only tricky part of this scarf. It’s the first time I’ve used two colors at the same time, so you have to bring the non-worked yarn up along the edge as you’re knitting the other one. And that sounds easy unless you’ve ever done that before, and in practice, it befuddled me. Also, they suggest using a slipped stitch selvedge. Again, in theory I understood what was going on. In reality, I had no freaking clue. Slip sti– waaaait, what? Why the second row and not the first? On both sides, or not? Clearly, I was not going to be able to sort it out until I rolled up my sleeves and got on with it.

It was, in a word, painful.

I think I’ve ripped this simple scarf out 9 or 10 times. Never getting more than eight stripes through; sometimes less than two. Sadly, the reality is you need to get going for a while to see where your mistakes are, and how you’re doing it wrong, before you can correct it. And I am probably more likely to rip something out if I’m still relatively close to the beginning, as much as it pains me to do so. Or perhaps that was just me. Thank God for YouTube and @iAudrey, because they were the only things that could show me a) how to try to do it, and b) how to fix it.

So now I’m on the right track. So far. We’ll see just how long this takes me — or if I even want to do another one for me. I hope I’m not sick of it by the end; I still want to do one for myself in Noro’s Silk Garden.

That is, if I haven’t been pushed over the edge by then.

(PS. Photos of scarf in progress to come. Waiting for, you know, light.)

I’ve finally finished my first super bulky project, and it’s a two-fer: the Wisteria Scarf and the Aspen Hat, both designs by Wenlan Chia.

I totally adore this scarf. My fellow knitpistol Audrey made it for her mother, and I loved how long she made it (although I didn’t realize it at the time that she simply used up all her Twinkle). I used Cascade Magnum, which has more yardage per skein, so I had plenty leftover to play with. While I felt a little cartoonish working with size 35 needles, it was certainly a quick knit between the superbulky yarn, humongeous needles, and lace pattern. Before I knew it, I’d added another 20 inches to the length, which turned out to be enough length that I could wrap it around my neck and still have it hang down to my thighs, adding more warmth to my black leather coat. The feel of this yarnporn is FABULOUS, the lace pattern somehow braidlike and delicate, and the color deep and rich.
Realizing I was going to have a fair bit leftover, I decided a matching hat would be a nice addition. So, before I finished off the scarf, I started from the other end of the skein and made a matching Aspen Hat from the same designer. This turned out to be a challenge in and of itself, because it took a couple false starts to get going in the right direction. Once I got my game on (meaning after I frogged my first attempt, added 6 stitches in the rows, discovered it was way too big, frogged the second attempt and went back to the pattern), this went fairly easy. Some notes by other knitters said that the hat isn’t tall/deep enough, which led me to make the following two mods on the crown:
  1. One round all knit before starting decreases (call it Row 1.5). This is to add to the height without messing with the decreases.
  2. Added one last decrease round at the top between the last two rounds of knit (this would make it Row 11.5) to decrease the number of stitches left from 16 to 12:
  3. k4, skp, k5, s2kp, k1

  4. No changes were made to the brim.
I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out. It’s beautiful, and the fit is lovely. Of course, I might stretch some and then I’ll be bummed; guess we’ll see. Nonetheless, I believe this is going to become a favorite hat, and one I’d make again in a heartbeat.
Once I finally got the hat out of the way, I could turn my attention back to the scarf. I cut all the fringe to length first, then finished the scarf with the remainder. Finally attached the fringe to both ends, and voila! Two projects completed in a veritable blink of an eye. I plan on wearing both the Aspen and the Wysteria out for my anniversary on New Year’s Eve (yes, tonight).
Beautiful patterns, and beautiful yarn. I think I’m now a pushover for these super bulky wools.