Archive for January, 2008

The Ugly Mitten

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

When I first learned to knit, I HATED it.

You know how, for some people, it’s all about the process? Yeah, NOT for me. For me, the process sucked. I just liked having knitted THINGS.

I loved that, somehow, by fiddling with a pair of sticks and some string, I ended up with an actual THING. One minute, I had yarn. The next? I had a mitten!

The first thing I ever made was a mitten. I had a friend who really missed these red chunky mittens that she’d lost and brilliant me figured I would MAKE her a pair for the holidays. The fact that I had no idea how to knit didn’t deter me. I ran out to Michael’s, picked up some red yarn, needles and a how-to book and went at it.

I remember sitting there, brow furrowed, fingers in a death grip around the needles, when my brother said to me, “I thought knitting was supposed to be relaxing. You don’t seem very relaxed…”


Eventually, I ended up with one red mitten. It was a two-needle mitten made from a pattern I’d found on the internet. I did see one for DPNs, but considering the fact that I had no idea how to knit AT ALL, those 4 tiny sticks looked like a nightmare to me. It was a cute mitten and I was proud of it. Soon after, a second mitten followed.

After that though, I decided that mittens took too long to make. By my rough estimate, each one, knit in worsted weight yarn, had taken me about 6 hours.

I wasn’t into the idea of more 12-hour mittens.

So, I went back to Michael’s and bought some REALLY CHUNKY yarn. I think I may have even made a SWATCH! Somehow, my little brain figured out how to alter the two-needle pattern for the chunkier gauge. 2 hours later, I had another mitten.

2 hours! YES!

Chunky mittens became my thing. The only thing I knit for three years was chunky mittens*. I didn’t make them because I *liked* knitting. I made them because I liked chunky mittens. :) (er, well, because I liked mittens. They were chunky because I was LAZY.)

Here are three things you should know about these mittens I used to make:

  1. They were made from acrylic yarn. Duh, Michael’s.
  2. My idea of ‘seaming’ was making sure side A was attached to side B, by whatever half-assed sewing means necessary. This was mostly not pretty.
  3. For three years, I knit through the back loop. Meaning, ALL my knits were TOTALLY twisted.

These were the exact type of mittens I gave my sister all those years ago. The ones she *never* wore.

The ugly mitten (left). A normal mitten (right)

The normal mitten on the right was made using the same yarn and the same pattern YEARS later. The only difference is that I modified the two-needle pattern so I could work it in the round and changed the seed stitch to ribbing. The normal mitten on the right is the sort of size of mitten a normal person would wear. I have no idea who would fit the mitten on the left.

Also? If you ever had any questions concerning the effects TWISTING one’s stitches would have on one’s knitting, I think the answer should be evident here. If not, this close-up should clear up any additional confusion:

Very twisted. Very not cute.

You might have thought I was exaggerating when I said I made my sister some ugly-ass mittens. You realize now that you would have been wrong, yes?


Word on the street is that the sis is loving her *new* mittens, so my knit karma has been restored and all is good and right in the world again. So, YAY!

Completely unrelated, This weekend I am actually going on a BUSINESS TRIP! (secretly, I always get a little jealous of all of you who get to jet off to here or there for work! no fair! I want to go too!) However, the only work I actually have to do on said trip is to ride the plane. LOL.

That’s right, my job this weekend is to *experience* air travel. Tough life, I know.

I’ll be flying out to San Francisco for the day (hey! 1 day is better than no days!), which is good timing as it keeps me from being INSANELY jealous that my co-workers’ “work trip” is a 4-day stay at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Yeah, they still have to wake up at 4am every morning, but boo-f’in-hoo, they’ll be in the BAHAMAS! ;)

Anyway, so that’s that. Hope you all have a kick-ass weekend and thanks for sticking around :)

* and baby booties, but that’s another story. Those were ugly too.


Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

This thing still on?


It’s been almost THREE MONTHS!!

I fell off the wagon AGAIN!!!


quick updates:

  • I didn’t finish the book. I got two weeks, 12,000 words in and 13,000 words behind. It became so obvious I wouldn’t even come close to finishing that I decided to let it go and not stress about it. This is not to say the book won’t get written, as we both totally intend to finish the books, but it didn’t happen in November. Or December for that matter. We’ll see about January.
  • I uh, didn’t finish my Central Park Hoodie, either. Yeaaah, there was an *incident* wherein I may have miscrossed some cables and then spent WEEKS deciding how or if it should be fixed.

    Apparently, I can be really wierd and anal on occasion, and the fact that the cables crossed TOWARDS the button band and not AWAY from the buttonband was annoying the shit out of me.

    (pictured here with the *2* set of buttons I bought because I couldn’t decide. I’m going with the butons, not the toggles.)

    I am, however, entirely too lazy to re-knit an ENTIRE piece of a sweater. So, in a complicated attempt at avoidance, I somehow decided that THIS was a good idea:

    Yes, that is what you think it is.

    I decided it would be a BRILLIANT idea to drop the 6 cable stitches down 102 rows and then re-knit them, this time making sure the cables cross the RIGHT WAY.

    102 rows.

    Of yarn spaghetti.

    So fun!

    In the end, I had this:

    fixed on the left, original on the right.

    While reknitting 102 rows of cables wasn’t SO bad, I certainly am NOT up for doing it again, therefore, I made the executive decision to leave the other cable ‘as is’ and call it a ‘design decision’. Hopefully, the wonkiness will block out, because that re-knit cable is kinda fugly and uneven. :-\

    As it stands now, I have 1 back, 1 left front, ribbing on a right front, and one sleeve up to 4 repeats of the cable pattern. I guess I’m about 40% done.

  • I DID do some knitting for Christmas! My mom kept asking me where her fingerless mittens were. I kept trying to tell her that, since I had re-taught her to knit, that meant she was actually armed with the skills to make her OWN fingerless mittens. This sentiment was lost on her, and she kept asking. Thus, momma got Fetching for Christmas. In addition though, I decided to *finally* make my sister something decent!

    A looooong time ago, I made her mittens. Mittens she never wore. Every time she’d admire something I’d made and hint that she’d really like one of whatever it was, I would bring up these mittens and the fact that she’d never worn them. I held strong on this for years. Ye who does not appreciate knitted items shall recieve no more knitted items.

    Then, about three years ago, I was hanging out in my sister’s room and found the forgotten mittens and took a really good look at them.

    Those mittens?


    I wouldn’t wear them either!

    It was then I decided that maaaaybe I should knit her something nicer (hey! it’s not my fault! I just just learned to knit! I had no idea they were ugly! Had she WORN them, maybe I would have figured it out sooner!)

    So, this year, my sis got a pair of thrummed mittens:



    They’re en route now, and should get to her tonight!
    (yeah, yeah, I know Christmas was a month ago! I’m not good with deadlines, ok?!!?!?!)

I actually started this post on Dec 31st, and it was supposed to turn into a look back on 2007 and a look forward into 2008, but if I don’t post this NOW, it might be 2009 before you ever hear from me again!!!

Quickly though — 2007 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I have a feeling 2008 is going to be a magical sort of year, though. I hope, anyway. I don’t really make resolutions anymore, but I will say that I want to be fitter and healthier in 2008 and I want to keep working on being a better friend. That was my ‘resolution’ from last year and I don’t think I did a great job of it. Hopefully, this year, I’ll do better.

I hope you’re still reading, because I miss you :) I’ll try not to be such a stranger.