Saturday, November 29, 2014

Poncho Update

Ok, so I did more math on this than I ever wanted to do.  Basically, this whole thing is a paradox.

So it turns out that the chart IS only supposed to be 69 rounds. I read the instructions incorrectly. It was the stitch count on row 69 that was like 77 stitches or something. Still, in my defense, it doesn't read very clearly. And it doesn't change the fact that the chart, when knitted, looks different than the pictured garment.

Also, the gauge is written as 19 rows for 4 inches. Ok. I am getting that or very close to it, despite using the smaller needle (not my fault). Well 69 rounds equates to about 14.5 inches in length. At what point does the length end up being 20.5 before the fringe? Can't be blocking. It's fair isle. It won't stretch out but only so much. Maybe that's the length with fringe? Not what the pattern shows, though. Brain hurting.


I did make the chart longer by one pattern repeat. This increases it by about 17 rounds. But I think that either A) I will run out of yarn, or B) it will be too long. 

So here's what I think I'm going to do: before the bottom charted border, I will add like 5 rounds of a simple, repeating heart pattern. Something like this:


WTF, Sally Melville?

I have the trilogy of Sally Melville's basic Knitting Experience books, which includes (1- The Knit Stitch, 2- The Purl Stitch, and 3- Color).  I don't necessarily have a problem with the "fashion" of these patterns, albeit a good number DO look a little dated to me.  The books' patterns (particularly those in Book 1) are mostly odd, asymmetrical, boxy things that don't really look good on someone my shape and size.  But the books have value for me not because of the patterns, but for the basic knitting instructions. It is what sets Melville's books apart from other knitting books.  The patterns are laid out very clearly with detailed information about gauge, yarn, needles, etc. 

Yeah, not so much in the 3rd book, sadly. The quality of the pattern instructions has really declined.

As of the date I am typing this, I am currently trying to knit "The Seventies" poncho pattern for my seven-year-old niece. She personally picked this pattern out. First of all, I am about 1/3 of the way done and I just noticed that the charted snowflake pattern that I've been diligently knitting does not match the pattern as it appears on the garments worn by the models in the pictures. It's not terrible---in fact it is the same pattern---just slightly different, like it's centered differently or something. So referring to the pictures is NO HELP when trying to determine if I'm staying on course. 



Second, I have also noticed that my poncho is turning out really small. Like toddler sized. According to the pattern instructions, the child size fits sizes 4 to 10. My niece is very tiny; she still wears a child's size 6. I must have missed something somewhere, right? So I looked back at the written instructions. There it mentions the unusual increases in the chart rounds. I haven't had any problems following the chart and the increases at all. But the instructions mention "rounds 69-77." Um...my chart ends at row 69.

So, Oops, I guess?

Thirdly, I decided to check the internet and, lo and behold, there are errata available for this book of patterns, and this pattern in particular.  Do they address the charting being off-centered? No. The missing 9 rows? No. But the errata DID mention that the entire poncho should have been knit on size 7 needles and not size 6. Awesome. Thanks for that.

So now I don't trust that anything at all is right with this pattern. I was getting gauge on size 6, but maybe that gauge is wrong? Maybe I was supposed to use bulky yarn instead of worsted?  What ELSE is screwed up?

I'm not ripping it out. I need to have this done and sent to North Carolina in time for Christmas. I am just going to have to extend the chart out on some graph paper.  Hopefully, I can get it close to the 20-inch length that it's supposed to be (not counting fringe). As it is now, if I don't do something, it will be like 14 inches long.

Hey, Sally, did anyone bother to test knit these patterns before you committed them to the book? This is like knitting patterns 101, here, Sally. Come on. Very disappointing.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

I really do exist

Hi. Yeah, so I know it's been over 2 years. There really is no excuse for my lapse other than my own depression and/or laziness. Mostly laziness. Things are way better now and I feel compelled to write again.

Trying to recollect where I left off in my life...rebooting...I'm just going to start spewing out things as they come to me, ok?

Well, we're back up to 7 cats again.  My sister adopted Toothless in early 2012 and now he's livin' large in an upscale apartment in Hoboken, NJ.  A few months after, we took in my parents' 10-year-old black cat (in the summer of 2012). His name is Rudy. Rudy was always a standoffish kind of cat when he lived with my parents. Not so with us. He adores me. He follows me like a puppy and sits on my chest at night. He drools on me. He licks my nose and cheeks. It's awesome. Fi-Fi hates him. Not so awesome. After 2+ years, she will still awaken from a sound sleep in her kitty bed and wander upstairs with what seems like the sole purpose of attacking him for no reason. She succeeds more often than we'd like. It has gotten better, but I don't like my babies hatin' on each other.

Herc is enormous -- 22+ pounds. Orson has arthritis in his silly toes. :-( Titus was very ill last year right around Thanksgiving. I was a wreck. But he's perfectly fine now. His birthday is actually tomorrow. He's 10. They're all getting older and knowing they won't go on forever makes me very sad. I try not to dwell on it.

All other cats are present and accounted for.

Probably the biggest news is that in March 2013 I started a new job. Todd also got a new job just about the same time. There is no other way to say it: it has changed my life. For the first time in I-don't-know-how-many-years I really have NO complaints. Sure, I still have the daily frustrations that come with any job. For instance, I just spent most of the day in what can only be described as an email exercise in tooth extraction with Dell over a missing monitor stand. I still don't think they know what the hell I'm talking about. But the people in my immediate group of co-workers and my boss are all wonderful. No weird egos. No jealous backstabbing. No soul destroying lies. Everyone treats me with respect and my contributions are valued. It's a nice feeling.

Still knitting. I've knit a lot of stuff since I last posted. Too much to mention everything. I will post some things soon. I've taken to lace knitting.  I love that wow factor that you get when you take a pile of knitted fabric that looks like nothing more than a giant wad of knots and then spread it out for blocking and you see this amazing landscape of delicate intricacy. Here are a few examples:




More to come....

Friday, November 02, 2012

FAIL

If you'd have to airbursh out your nipples in photos, then it's a failtacular pattern. Although I think she's actually wearing pasties...


This pattern costs $8.  EIGHT DOLLARS to knit a holey camisole.  I love how the pattern notes call the holes in the front "a Freeform [sic] eyelet pattern."  Yeah.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Allons-y, Alonso!


I remember being a little girl and watching my 3 favorite shows on PBS: Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Doctor Who.  To this day, whenever someone says "Doctor Who" to me, I immediately think of Tom Baker and his delightfully endless scarf, floppy hat, and 1970s fro-like hair-do.  He will always be the perfect embodiment of Doctor Who for me.  Running a close second is David Tennant.  I will admit it took me a little while to get beyond Barty Crouch, Jr. being Doctor Who.  (And it was really peculiar to see Barty Crouch, Sr. as the inventor of the Cybermen facing off against "his son" in season 2 of the recent Doctor Who reboot.)  But after a few episodes, it was clear that Tennant was the right choice to pick up the yoke of Doctor Who and run with it.  Some of the most memorable episodes in the recent series reboot of 2005 have been Tennant's.  I've found seasons 3 and 4 to be my favorites.

Every Doctor Who has their specific quirks and Tennant's Doctor, I think, was the funniest.  One particular thing he liked to say was "Allons-y!"  Quasi-proving that I didn't waste 6 years of French study, Allons-y means "Let's go."  In a couple episodes The Doctor mentioned how he always wanted to meet a person named Alonso, just so he could say, "Allons-y, Alonso!"  Well, The Doctor gets his wish in the Christmas episode of 2007, Voyage of the Damned, when he meets an officer on a space cruise ship bearing that most-desirable moniker.  The Doctor is ecstatic. 

After I finished knitting my Owls sweater on vacation, I started knitting these Tardis socks.  I had originally used a chart that I found on Ravelry.  But after knitting up the top portion and the start of the paneling, I just didn't like how it was turning out.  The letters were too indistinct, the window part was too smooshed together, and the door panels were not visible enough.  So I ripped out everything back to the ribbing and wrote my own charts with clearer lettering and devised my own technique for doing the windows/paneling.  I think they turned out really well!  The chart is available for free on Ravelry.  If you don't have access to Ravelry and still want the chart, just comment and include your e-mail address and I'll send it to you.

The rest of the sock is just the standard, awesome Ann Budd "sock recipe," with one minor exception: I do a circular, tubular cast-on for the cuff.  At some point I hope to write up how to do this cast-on.  But it is hard to explain in writing.  I'll have to make sure to include lots of photos.  It's a very easy cast-on process, once you do it a couple times. And it looks amazing.  It also maintains its shape, is very stretchy, and doesn't cut-off circulation in your calf.  It does use more yarn and it takes about 4 times as long to do it than any regular cast-on.  But the end result is worth it. I also use this cast on whenever possible for cuffs for sleeves, sweater bottoms, and hats.