Sunday, April 8, 2012


Let's talk about death knitting, knitting of doom or knitting that kills. Miles and miles of stockinette stitch kill. Miles of garter stitch are even worse, and in my opinion uglier. Though I love it and would happily kill myself for it, lace knitting is knitting of doom. So also is a blanket which increases 8 stitches every other row and one which is worked in the round so you're knitting the entire perimeter of the square. I don't know what I was thinking at all.

Well, let me preface the story by saying that I am a genius, and that definitely needs to be said more often. When I got the commission (I just love using that word) for the hello kitty afghan of doom, from here on referred to as HKAD, I thought it would be super simple to find a pattern for a hello kitty blanket. No such luck. Hours of googling and nothing (and by hours I mean about 2 before I gave up). Then I tried finding anything hello kitty related that I could turn into a blanket. My one stipulation for this was that I did not want to work a complicated colorwork chart the very first time I tried intarsia, but I was pretty sure I could word color stranding. I found a chart of hello kitty for a dishcloth, and decided I would use that. I tried to use color stranding, but the piece just wasn't working out (in hindsight, I think the problem was that the black I used for the outline of the kitty was about 2 plies thicker than the other yarn I bought). Anyway, I scrapped it. I thought about the whole project for a minute, cursing hello kitty all the while (sidenote, I have always hated hello kitty ever since she got popular in my third grade. I just don't get it, no offense to those of you who do). Then I remembered that there was one more technique for adding color that I hadn't considered: duplicate stitch. So I happily knit away at one white square 37 stitches by 44 rows and finished it in a few hours (I said I was a genius, not that I was a quick knitter).

Then I began the duplicate stitch, which went well for a while. I started at the bottom and worked my way around for the outline of the kitty and everything was going good until I got back to where I started. Then I realized I didn't have enough stitches to duplicate, which was weird since I had enough on the other side. So I left the embroidery for a little bit, and decided on how I would turn this little white square into a full-sized afghan. I knew that people knit afghans in the round sometimes, from the center out, increasing stitches at the corners on a fixed interval but I'd never done it before. I was also pretty sure it could only make a square but my embroidery looked almost exactly square. So I pick up 37 stitches on each side of the square, joined for knitting in the round and began the afghan part. It went quick for the first few rows, but of course the pattern calls for an increase row every other row. 8 stitches may not seem like a lot, but 10 rows in I had added 80 more stitches and it was taking longer and longer to complete a round.

As part of my job, I have to watch a classroom full of sleeping kids every day at nap time. This has proved immensely handy for getting my knitting done, but I've noticed that the 45 minutes I have to knit before someone wakes up and starts terrorizing me (I have to keep all the children quiet until a specific time, and that's seriously difficult for the ones, twos and even threes to manage) seems to get me nowhere in the HKAD. I don't think I can even make it one round in that period of time.

I did eventually go back and do the rest of the embroidery. It had to be done at home, because the chart was on the computer and because I didn't want anyone to walk into the classroom and see me holding a giant pointy needle near small children. I had to fudge the stitching around the bow a bit, so now hello kitty has one ear and a bow. The bow ate her other ear, apparently.

And since you asked so nicely, here is a picture of my progress on the HKAD:

I switched to two circular knitting needles because the blanket was too big for one, but it's fast becoming too big for 2 circs as well. I wondered if I could work 3 or 4 but I've never seen anyone do that, in person or online. Google had no answers for me either, and I would really prefer not to have to but an expensive needle just because I need a really long cable, which is my only other option

In other related knitting news, I realized when I started the HKAD that I had bought too much yarn. Like, 3 times too much yarn. Like I said, I have no idea what I was thinking. Too much yarn, all acrylic, wonky annoying pattern, stupid kitty on it. It's like I wanted to hate it. Anyway, I've been thinking about what I should do with all of the extra yarn, since I don't really want it lying around forever. I'm still trying to stash down in spite of this setback. Then I saw the blanket one of the little girls was using during nap time. It's double-knit with palm-sized hearts worked in. When I examined it, I instantly decided I wanted to make it. It happened to be two shades of pink as well, and that gave me a good idea where to look for yarn. I started a swatch the other day when I couldn't stand looking at the HKAD anymore. Here's a picture of the half-finished swatch (I've tried to devote all of my knitting time to the HKAD since recklessly swatching something I couldn't start until it was finished anyway):

I've put NS's ripple afghan on hold for now, and replaced my nap time goal of 2 rows daily on it with 45 minutes of HKAD, but I expect to return to that as soon as I'm finished my HKAD. I've also left DM's barely started second sock at my aunt's house and haven't gotten it back yet. I think that was over a week ago. I also have DS's clown lace sock, but I have to turn the heel on that and I'm not sure I have the patience to read through the directions in the book and decipher the mistakes at this point. I do love my sock knitting book, but it has a lot of errata.

 In terms of my monthly goals, I wanted to provide a review for the two books I read last month, and the one I finished for this month's goal. Last month I read Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, and this month I read its sequel, Hallowed. These books were an addicting read, but mostly predictable in the love story plot department. Like, oh no, two boys like me and I can't choose which I want. Now seriously, if that ever happens to me and I start complaining about it, feel free to shoot me. Conflict resolved. The one thing I don't understand about that is that the girl always chooses the bad boy. Why would you choose someone who treats you like crap? How fun is that on a daily basis? In real life, that relationship would last like a week before huge blowout arguments ensued. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies was also along the same lines, without much of a secondary plot. I wouldn't really recommend this last, but the other two were good. All three had an angel theme, and I'm not sure if that was on purpose or not, as they were recommended to me and I haven't asked.

I'm gonna go kill myself knitting some more of that blanket and I'll pick back up with you guys probably next week.

By the way, Happy Easter everyone!

Quote of the day:
Kid: Why do you drive a midget car?
Me: Because I'm a midget
Kid: Blank stare

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