Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Programming

After coming home from the GAP trip, I've been pretty busy knitting-wise. I finally started my Rhossili Beach Watch Cap, from Wendy Knits Lace. It gave me some amount of trouble, but I managed to wrestle it into submission.

I started it the first time, knitting on needles one size larger than the pattern calls for. I knit four inches of ribbing, tried it on, and it was right on the edge of getting too tight. Since the brim gets folded up, that would make it even tighter once it was finished. Also, the yarn was doing with weird rainbow-ish pooling thing which I wasn't impressed with at all. (Well, aside from the fact that I've never ever gotten a Dream in Color yarn to pool before. Their yarn is dyed specifically to AVOID pooling so I'm not sure what's going on with this skein.) So I ripped it out, and using the same needles I cast on for the medium size, thinking that more stitches would avoid the pooling issue.

As you can see, that didn't quite work out. But in the face of ripping it out a second time, I just don't care. I am so slow at knitting ribbing, and I really don't want to spend another six hours getting back up to where I am. So, whatever. I'm just going to have a rainbow hat. That doesn't stop me from being irritated, of course. I really love the colorway Cloud Jungle when it does what it's supposed to and blends nicely.

The odd rainbow effect is most noticeable on the brim, which luckily does get folded up, as I mentioned. So it's a bit less obvious when the hat's worn.

Still there, but a little more subtle. Anyhow, since it's my hat and will be on my head and thus out of my sight, I don't really care too much about it. The pattern is cute, the finished hat fits perfectly, and I really wish it were autumn already so I could get to wear it now.

That's the worst thing about warm-weather knitting. I think to myself that it's a great idea to get ahead by knitting cold-weather items, and then when I finish them I want to wear them right away. Sigh.

I've also finished a pair of socks for Dad. I used the two skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash in Shire that I bought with my last Webs order during their annual Spring sale. I don't know if Cascade is doing something different with their yarn, or if I just got a strange batch or what, but this yarn is so soft. Very soft. Much softer than the 220 Superwash I've used in the past. So, um, yay?

I used my own pattern for the socks, doing a basic cuff-down thing to Dad's foot measurements. I didn't want to do just plain boring socks, so after a bit of playing around with some scrap yarn, I came up with a way to do a little cabled M, his first initial. The idea of knitted monogramed socks cracks me up, but unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to use both of his initials and still make it come out legible, so just the one it is. I might play around with it some more, but we'll see.

I've also been knitting away on Super Secret Christmas Project #1. That's right, I'm starting my Christmas knitting in JULY! I'm not going down this year, I tell you! (yeah, yeah, famous last words. I know.)

Anyhow, I'm very glad that I started this now because I'm already set to tear my hair out over it. Have I mentioned how much I hate intarsia? Because I do. Remember the mess that was J-L's hat? This mess? Well. I'm reliving the nightmare.

(Shown here in black and white so I can still blog about it without giving anything away. Because, honestly, if you can tell anything about what the finished project will be like by looking at that hot mess? Well, you should be out using your fantastic psychic powers to win the lottery or clean up at a Vegas casino or something, not reading my blog.)

Yeah. I've got it going with seven colors, and in another few rows I get to add two more. Nine colors. As if that's not nearly fun enough, we'll just throw my inability to count into the mix. I keep messing up the chart and having to tink back. Where I am right now, I've messed up again. I should have 11 stitches of white, but I have twelve and everything else looks correct and I really really don't want to go back again I just want it to work and I don't understand why it isn't--

I threw it all in its bag and called it a night.

I was actually doing quite well, too. I made the discovery that if you're very careful you can avoid tangles. When dropping color A, if you cross it to the left of color B when you pick it up every single time without fail, then on the wrong side you twist the yarn around the other strands, and on the right side, they untwist themselves again. Like magic. It was going well until I had to join a new color on the wrong side, and rather than tangling in a way that would magically undo itself on the new row, it tangled in a bad way that not only messed up itself, but also prevented everything else from untangling when it should, and then I tried to fix it myself but that only made it worse because I'm trying to work from both ends of the ball at once because I'm bad at estimating yardage amounts and really don't want to end up with too much, which would leave me with odd short pieces that are too long to toss but too short to use, or too little, which would give me a billion more ends to weave in.

I'm probably going to just cut the yarn and hope for the best. Wasting a bit of yarn is well worth my sanity, and if I have more ends to weave, well, so what? Knitting under the influence is one thing, but I've never had anything bad happen while weaving ends with a couple glasses of wine in me. (What do you think got me through finishing J-L's hat? That thing could have doubled as a shag carpet when I finished the knitting. No way could I have made my way through that sober.

I also have the yarn for a pair of gloves skeined up and ready to go. After finishing up my hat last night, I didn't feel like taking on Intarsia Project of Christmas Doom so I went ahead and cast on. I'm working from a free Lion Brand pattern for gloves that are actually sort of ugly. They're knit with a garter stitch button band thing that you whack a great big decorative button onto at the end, which Lion Brand claims give the finished gloves "an extra sophisticated touch" but which I think look dumbass and would probably be annoying when they catch the cuff of my coat and either ruck the coat sleeve up or would pull the gloves down. Also, I really don't want to bother going out to find buttons. So I ended up just figuring out how many stitches the pattern said to end up with at the bottom of the hand, cast on that many and knit for 2" in good plain non-dumbass 2x2 ribbing. My gloves are also not the fetching grape Kool-Aid purple the pattern recommends. Mine are a light sandy-brown color, which I think will look nice with my red coat.

In the meantime, to keep my sanity, I've also been browsing patterns. I've decided that I need a big lace project. I'm thinking about knitting an Omelet shawl with my skein of Findley Dappled. I've also decided that I'm going to use my Noro Kirameki for a Juno Regina shawl. The middle section of that pattern looks kind of boring, but the lovely color changes of the Noro should keep me entertained well enough.

That'll have to wait until mid-August, though. I have my gloves and Super Secret Christmas Project #1 to finish by the end of July for the Natural Stitches Bingo game, and then it's time for the Ravelympics Ravellenic Games. I'm going to enter Sarah's Embarassingly Belated Birthday Socks into the WIP Wrestling category. I think that finishing them during the time frame of the Olympics, but I'm hopeful that the fact that they're the only project I'll be working on during that time will get me very close to being done with them. My ultimate goal is to have them totally done by the time I go home for a visit in late August.

Now I'm off to once again do battle with Intarsia Project of Christmas Doom. Wish me luck.