Making Repairs

It takes a little longer for the cool weather to hit us here in Central California. I jealously watch as all my bloggy friends from around the country pull out their handknits and sport gorgeous sweaters, hats, and mittens in late September while I am still sweating my summer away. I yearn for Autumn’s chill long into the month of October as the sun still beats down upon me. But, now, finally, at last! The cooler weather arrived! It is only 79 degrees here this day! Out come all the gorgeous woolens! The handknit masterpieces of last winter and even winters before.

Alas, some things did not fare well over the summer. Remember this Wispy?


Oh, shoot! I knit this when I was cameraless, and all I have is this awful photo booth picture. Sorry!

Anywho – I wore that thing to death last winter, even though I have reservations about it’s flattering shape (or lack therof). I love this little shrug. It is absolutely delicious! Apparently the moths agree.

That is one shoulder. This is the other (the faint of heart should look away) –

I apologize for the ghastly imagery.

Imagine how my heart sank at the sight! I think I may have shed a tear or two (or three or four). There were also a few tiny holes along the ribbed edge.

It was quite a shock, and somewhat puzzling, too. This sweater was packed away in a box of woolen wonderfuls, yet it is the only item that shows moth damage. I guess they just love the Malabrigo (who can blame them, really?). There are a couple of sweaters that I would have just tossed out -it would have hurt a little, sure, but I don’t love everything that I have ever knit, not really (don’t tell that grey sweater, it would break her heart, but she really is quite expendable). But, this was one of the favorites, the one that my kids will think of when they remember me at my funeral – “I miss Mama already! She always wore that unflattering pink shrug, remember? She was so crazy about that bright, ugly thing!”

So, I pulled up my big girl undies and set out to save my beloved sweaterlette. The first step is always the hardest – I cut away some of the fabric to make a neater hole to mend. I may have held my breath and said a prayer or two while I snipped away at my knitting.

Then, following my darning procedure (explained here) I patched that ugly hole, taking care to catch any live loops and working well into good fabric to prevent any dropped stitches.

It isn’t that great of a patching job, but it makes it wearable and that is enough for me. I don’t really wear it out, anyway. And since I couldn’t get a good picture, here is another bad one –

The smaller holes were much easier, just duplicate stitched over the one or two stitches that had been munched away, again catching any live stitches. I can see them, but once they pill up like the rest of the sweater, they won’t be so noticeable.

So, all is well once again, but I will definitely be rethinking my method of summer storage for my winter lovelies.

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Drumroll, Please

At long last I am ready to show you my Wispy Cardi! (Please excuse the crappy pictures. If you remember, my camara go sand in it, so it’s Photo Booth pictures or nothing!)

Three things about this Cardigan:

1. It is so soft. I mean incredibly, wear it on bare skin, wrap your naked baby in it soft. I love how it feels. I used Malabrigo Lace Merino, and I am hooked!

2. It looks great…. from the back.

From the front, not so much….

I guess it is okay, but for some reason, I thought it would make me look like this. Nevertheless, I think I will still wear it. Fat girls are entitled to cute clothes, too.

3. I loved this knit, from the excellently concieved and written pattern, to the gorgeous yarn, to the speedy execution.

So, there you have it. The Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig in Malabrigo Lace Amoroso.

Pet Peeve

I have a little knitting pet peeve. And I don’t think I am alone. I can’t stand badly written patterns.

Now, you may say that I am being unreasonable or hard to please when I tell you that I hate patterns that use too many words just as much as I hate patterns that don’t use enough words. Knitwear Designer, pay attention here. When writing a pattern…

Please don’t write out directions for every single row for 40 rows, when the simple phrase “repeat last five rows 8 more times” will do. Also, please don’t use confusing phrases like “each end of 5th foll 6th rows”. HUH? Are you really unable to write that more clearly?

Please give me more instruction than just “join squares together”. Am I to sew them together? Using what method? How did you get the one in the picture to look seamless? I appreciate the freedom to use my favorite method, but what if I don’t have a favorite method and need a little help? Make a suggestion, at least!

Pictures, People. I also hate the beautiful, artsy pattern books that have awesome photos of children romping through a green forest and women laying in fields of flowers – but no good photos of the actual knitted garments. If you want me to knit one of your exquisite and complicated sweaters, it would be nice if you could show me what, exactly, the pattern is going to lead me to create.

Is this too much to ask? I think not. Take Hannah Fettig over at knitbot.com. She has it down pat. I am knitting her genius Wispy Cardi (more on that in a moment) and I cannot say enough good things about her pattern writing. She gives the perfect amount of information in the clearest terms. She somehow makes me feel really smart, as if I could have figured it out on my own, while at the same time giving every detail needed to complete the project. Her patterns are short, sweet and complete, and always have plenty of pictures. They are well worth every penny. (Your welcome, Mrs. Fettig. I take paypal.)

Now, about my cardi. I mentioned the word genius earlier, and I meant it. But, I am sloshing through the mundane at the moment. I know that the interesting part is coming, and I can’t wait to get there. But this first part is killing me with all the lace weight stockinette stitch! What really keeps me going, beside the promise of interesting knitting to come, is the yarn. Oh, baby! It is gorgeous. The color, the texture, the smell. I love this yarn. I am starting to wonder if this is a color that a thirty-something-mother-of-five like me can get away with wearing, but we will deal with that later. For now, I will continue to knit on what Abby said “looks like a long, plain scarf”. You know, I think she is right…

My Wispy Cardi in Malabrigo Lace Amoroso (It’s a work in progress…)

The Attention Span of a …. Ooo, Chocolate!

So, after trying all weekend to get my wips under submission, I have come to realize something:

I lost a pregnancy and a grandparent in the last month, plus,

I have a really hard time focussing on any one project in the best of times, let alone in a difficult time (such as this), plus,

I am more than halfway done with my checklist. Therefore,

I think that I have done pretty well with this little challenge and I hereby declare myself free to cast on something new! (insert crowd cheering sound effect here)

While, I didn’t quite complete the entire challenge, I did cut down from nine wips to five and made great progress (at least one ball) on most of those five. Besides, when the stash starts sending SOS signals, you know it is time to cast on a new project! But, not before I revel for a moment in the satisfaction of finishing some of those goals.

1. Work one skein of yarn on each of the three large projects – I worked two skeins on one, one skein on the second, and didn’t even look at the third (which ended up being put into hibernation on Ravelry to make me feel better. I don’t know if it is working…).

2. Frog the junk – check. I even found and frogged two other projects that I hadn’t even counted!

3. Finish the little gifts – Oh, I have plenty of time.

4. Decide whether or not to finish Icarus frogged. See #2

5. And, finally, get Celandine to mundane mode – I did three more medalions. Not quite there, but some progress was made. Plus, I sewed together the medalions that were finished and blocked.

And now, the Malabrigo Lace (that I totally adore by the way) is destined to become a Wispy Cardigan, and by golly, that is what it will be!

Ahhhhhh. That feels better.