Tag Archives: frogging

It’s a froggy party

I’ve had to undo, rip, frog and re-knit too many things against my will in the last few months.

I made a mistake in one slow-going sweater that I thought I could live with because I am accepting and generous of flaws that make an item look handmade, but this one was big enough that it would be stupid to let something like that go in something that was still going to eat up a lot of my time, so now it is even slower-going and I’m just now back at the point where I was in the autumn.

The other problems in other projects were ones of poor focus, forgetfulness, inadequate lighting, and a desperate need for an updated eyeglasses prescription.

I rather like to unravel things, but the last few rows in a still-actively-knitting piece are quite nerve-wracking, and I hate putting the stitches back on the needles.

So after too much forced-frogging, I thought I’d cheer myself up with some empowered unraveling.

Remember this?

Baktus on rock

It wasn’t going anywhere – I hadn’t touched it for a couple of years and I knew it was developing problems – I spun the troublesome yarn much thicker toward the end, so I would have to go up a needle size or two when knitting it, which would have thrown the shape of the piece off too much (or I’d have to suffer through knitting something getting too stiff and loosing drape). So I’ll start again on a different shaped pattern that will allow the needles and gauge to grow (like a increasing-only triangle) or alternate balls of the thicker and thinner yarn throughout a piece. (I may need to wash the sand, dirt, and pine needles out of it first since it was knit mostly outdoors.)

An aside: I’m also currently not loving the way YOs look with handspun – a little too wonky – but I still love the lacy baktus, and love trucking away on my current one.

froggy-before

I had no regrets when I took it off the needles, so frogging was the right choice.

froggy-during

I love noodles from every continent, so yarn in this stage makes me hungry.

froggy after

And it is back to balls.

While mohair isn’t fun to frog, and I was seeking pleasure only, this wasn’t too bad after all, and I’ve got the satisfaction that I didn’t let it sit around too long. (Though it will be some time before I knit with it).

frog-fuzzy cakes

I can’t believe this was once an entire adult-sized sweater. The amount of yarn seems so tiny and weighs almost nothing – makes me wish I had the tolerance for knitting and wearing lace weight.

(Tolerance isn’t the right word for wearing – something more along the line of destructionlessness…)

frog-bag

And that partial sock became food for my latest sock.

frog-foot

(It did fit though, so at least I know I need 80 stitches for a sock on US 0 needles, not that I plan to make any any time soon…)

I usually prefer unraveling commercial sweaters in the warmer months so I can do it outside and reduce the fuzzy dust in the house. But with a few days at 70F in December, it was warmer outside than in (but now it is truly winter and cold as non-yarn balls).

frog-yellow

So I finished unraveling and washing a sweater of a good shade of yellow (wool with a pinch of nylon and a subtle tweed) that I’d like to turn into an open-front cardigan, much like an old commercial one I’ve got…

(And yes, I did start a Paulie too, but haven’t touched it in ages – I’m just not an enthusiastic fingering weight sweater knitter.)

froggy-round yellow

Though I’m not sure I have quite enough to make it as long and and roomy and butt-covering as I’d like – it’s a bit over 1,300 yards, so it should be enough for something mostly stockinette and without a generous collar. I’m still trying trying to figure out a good pattern for it – I don’t have the brain-power at the moment to significantly modify anything, so I’m looking for something top-down, probably on size US6 needles, but I still need to swatch so that could change.

And I also might change my mind about wanting it to button up or just flap around…

And I’ve got a bamboo yarn in my stash of a similar color that I was also planning on turning into a summery open front cardigan thingie… they’ll have to duke it out to see who comes first…

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under collecting, knitting, recycling, Uncategorized

Necking

I like a GIANT squishy cowl neck.

I like scarves wound round and round and round my neck.

But I hate turtlenecks.

Even though they pop back in and out of style, I generally view them as always out – and smelling of elementary schools in the 70s and overly religious Midwestern mothers who dress decades beyond their age. But mostly I don’t like the feeling of my neck being oh-so-slightly constricted.

I’ve de-turtled a few necks over the years.

neck-flappy

(This one also got de-epauleted and de-shoulder padded, and de-gold buttoned – then I sewed the epaulets into the fake pocket to make a whimsical detail of sorts.)

Very often, there is a convenient seam running up the side of the neck that merely needs to be unzipped or picked and voila! A constricting turtle becomes a floppy…

manta ray? collar.

I’ve been going through my bins of thrifted sweaters to see what should be cut up into mittens and such, unraveled, or mended enough to wear…

neck-before

And I found this horribly weird pinkish, orchid? one that fits really well and lies on the “professionally” appropriate side of the fine line that it skates with  comfortably slouchy – partly because it’s actually a decent length on me and many thrifted cashmeres fall a bit too short.

But even after the turtlectomey, I’m debating about tossing it into the to dye pile, but I run the risk of loosing the good length… and though I think I hate the color, I think I can wear it without looking ill, and it goes well enough with browns or greys…

(I’d probably dye it yellow to turn it orange, or go the burgundy or brown route…)

neck-after

Turtles are also often the easiest part of a sweater to frog since they’re often knitted in rib stitch and don’t felt/full as much as the body. I’ve had several moth-eaten thrifts that were too holey or felted to frog as a whole, but still gave up good bits of usable yarn from frogged necks and cuffs.

Or merely extracted, they make good headbands or hat brims…

neck-headband

And once in awhile, a decent cowl will get detached too – most often from my own sweaters that have generally ceased to function as intended.

neck-mohair

And it can remain cowly, just no longer attached to a body…

neck-cowl

This was actually a favorite sweater of mine for about 10 years, so I’m happy to save part of it now that it is done being part of my wardrobe due to damage and too tight sleeves that always annoyed me but now are entirely unacceptable after the home reno and summer of gardening (big guns don’t play well with sheer skinny mohair). And I’ll attempt to frog the rest even though I swore off frogging mohair – if it works, I might knit more rounds onto the cowl to make it GIANT.

1 Comment

Filed under collecting, dyeing, knitting, recycling, sewing, thrifting

A tiny experiment

While cleaning up the autumn yard messes recently, I gashed open my main knitting finger – the top joint just above the nail where the yarn slides over just before it becomes a stitch.

So I switched to spinning and sewing quilt hexes for a few days and pissed off my wrist again…

But none of these bodily harms could prevent me from continuing to unpack and organize our house…

but I really didn’t want to…

The main part of our house is smaller than the last, but has more storage space, sort of. We also have more storage furniture of sorts. But everything doesn’t have a space, and there’s not a space for everything… I’ve gotten rid of many things lately, and haven’t acquired much in the last few years, so I’m not sure what’s going on here…

And in the time that I procrastinated from further unpacking, and mulled over things to no viable solution, my finger healed enough to start fibering again.

The verdict is still out if I like the tiny circular needles, but I’m leaning heavily to not

sock experiment

I think my hands are too big for them and they get crampy pretty quickly, but they’re size US 0 and I’m not crazy about dpns in that size either. I thought the tiny circs would make knitting faster without the pause to change needles like with dpns, but the stitches don’t slide very well, so I’m actually spending more time shifting shoving them around. The greatest advantage however, is on the gusset – they eliminate the chance for laddering, so I would potentially use them just for this part of the sock and switch back to dpns for the rest. Oh, and another big minus for them is you can’t try the socks on as you go – a brief aside: I can’t understand why toe-up socks are lauded for their ability for being tried-on as you go when top-down are just as able?!?! And better, I think too – you can mush your heel around a bit and situate your foot in active poses to know exactly when to start the toe.

But I think the biggest problem is the size 0-ness of the tips. I don’t dislike the journey in making a sock, but I’m not joyful/delightfully challenged about it either – I like making plain socks because I make them when I can’t pay much attention and just want my hands to move, and then I get a bit of pleasure in seeing that bam! suddenly half the foot is done when I’m pissy about sitting around waiting somewhere and in turn, I got one quarter of a sock for my troubles.

These particular tiny needles are a tiny struggle with only a tiny result in a not-tiny amount of time.

experiment-balls

So a day late and a dollar short, I finally came to the realization that I should knit my skinnier sock yarn held double and get bigger, faster socks.

Perhaps I’ll get some bigger shorties to try out at some point, or magic loop some socks for shits and giggles.

(I also like that this will be a cheap pair of socks – the mostly white yarn came from a stall in the market in Sulmona – it was either 1 euro per ball, or for two; and the green was from the big box with a big coupon or big sale and acquired in my old days of stash building, or perhaps for an old now-dead desire for colorwork socks.)

experiment-swatch

And it also solves my problem of not loving certain colorways – blended together, almost anything is better.

And I wasn’t liking the too-white tiny sock above anyway – I don’t have a need for white socks in my life anymore.

I’m not sure when I did, and why I’ve had some in my drawer for too many years.

experiment-color balls

(The top ball is one of the greatest color disappointments in my online purchases – it was supposed to be a nice 1920-30s stripey combo in mustard, olive, dusty rose and medium brown – the medium brown is right, but the candy colors are disgusting… it was in my pile of things to overdye, but I’m thinking it might blend well with the burgundy, cranberry, orange on the bottom…)

Now I’ve just got to resist playing with all of the color combination possibilities and casting on for several pairs of socks before I finish the current in-progress ones…

Leave a comment

Filed under collecting, knitting

Continuing randomly…

Those premature daffodils finally fell to some conquering beauties.

spring-daffodils

I’ve been puttering about the yard, finally paying attention to what is what out there and making plans to move some things around and add more. My research on native deer-resistant plants is just beginning, but I’ve got a decent list so far – at least for this year. The big project is expanding the vegetable garden 4-5 times the size it is now and installing a beefy deer fence… More on that later, I’m sure (after my arms recover from post hole digging, even though N is doing most of it).

My studio/workspace is still a partially unpacked mess, but I’ve run out of storage room, and once I start working on things, it will probably always look like a partially unpacked mess. But I need to clear a table to cut out a few simple patterns for summer clothes I intend to make but likely the seasons will change again before I get around to that…

spring-frogged mohair

I wanted some mohair to add to an upcoming knitting project, so I found it in this boxy 1980s bright beauty at a thrift store last year.

Remind me to never, ever, harvest mohair (at least this particular mohair mix) again. I’ve only finished the sleeves, which I think will be enough – especially since I took it an asinine step further and separated the plys to make even more… But perhaps the leftover body parts can be sewn into an enormous baby chick.

Speaking of baby chicks, I keep seeing them in the farm stores and I’ve got some serious baby rabies of the poultry strain…

But not this year – too many things to continue to get in shape and major fortifications would need to be made for some hens – I’m looking at you, you beautiful but murderous fox (and the hawks and raccoon and cats).

spring-shug or shawl

I finished that old shale (or feather and fan, but that’s wrong, right?) thing. It was supposed to be a dramatic drapey wide shawl – something that could be whipped around and trailed behind – but I ran out of yarn. It was harvested from an old mohair blend sweater (this one was easy to rip) and an old Shetland one, so there was zero chance of obtaining more, and I wasn’t interested in adding another color, though as I write this, perhaps I will consider adding something more blended with the Shetland at either end…? But more likely, I will turn this into a shrug – somewhat still dramatic with wide scalloped sleeves and a back at a reasonable length – I hate cropped shrugs, at least on me. The problem is, I was planning on selling this, I don’t like the color on me and don’t have the appropriate flowing navy or brown or black outfit with which to pair it. But it fits my weird ape-armed curvy but lanky body, and for many, the sleeves would be too long…. So perhaps I’ll try blocking it wider rather than longer, but I wanted the scalloped ends to pop out more…

spring-scraps

And even though I ran out of yarn for the length I wanted, the fiber gods smiled down on me for allowing the finishing to happen with the appropriate number of repeats and bind-off with only 6 inches of yarn to spare… that’s satisfaction.

cashmere-skein

I finished spinning that beautiful New Mexico cashmere.

But this picture is a lying liar about its tumultuous youth.

Yes, it is beautiful now, finally, but…

spring-kinky cashmere

…things got a bit kinky for a bit…

I wanted a rustic, bumpy, somewhat thick and thin single. But I still, always, over spin singles. So I had to run it through again to take out twist. But short staple + too thin parts = break, break, breaks!

In the end, it is good – goodly soft – but thin, something from cobweb to light fingering. I haven’t decided on a good pattern for it yet – I want a neck thing, preferably something simple and relatively dense, meaning not much lace if any… Might end up with a simple garter something or other… It’s about 650 yards if anyone has any suggestions?

spring-grape hyacinth

In the meantime, I dig and dig and dig and now weed too, and get awfully distracted making wreaths out of pruned wisteria vine… I can’t wait for it to bloom to find out if we’ve got the native stuff or the evil import…

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, home, knitting, recycling, spinning, thrifting

Caaaaashmeeeeere…

I had a huge thrifting score a few weeks ago.

I hadn’t been shopping for months because I’m too broke now even for thrift stores, and I already have a decent stash of wearables, frogables, and feltables.  But I needed just a few more things to complete or begin a few more things.

Thriftscore-cashcardi-grey

While there I found my sweater Shangri-La.

I can’t understand why someone would get rid of this: 100% cashmere, a nice shade of grey, and no issues apart from a few easily removed pills on one side where someone probably carried her purse.

Yes, it’s baggy and shapeless, but holy hell, it is utter bliss to wear.  It’s perfect for sleepwear or just lounging about too, so why would someone get rid of it?  Even if you lost a ton of weight, it still feels nice to wear, so unless you gained a ton, like an actual ton, or died, I see no reason to be rid of this.

I’m not the sort of shameful woman who does happy dances and squeals and all those sorts of public behaviors that continue to set women back decades, but this was one of the few times I came close as I cracked a faint but noticeable half-smile when I found it and hurriedly shoved it securely down into my cart.

And for $5.99 on the half-off day – it was only $2.99!!!

Thriftscore-cashcardi-grey-det

This also solves my need for a new long thin sweater, though I’m still planning on knitting one eventually.

I picked up another one to wear too – merino & cashmere, in perfect condition, also quite cheap.  The tag said it was from Fall 2004, so perhaps someone thought 10 years of ownership was enough?   The tag also emphatically stated DRY CLEAN ONLY, but it survived and flourished in its sudsy watery bath.

Thriftscore-stripeyT

And even more cashmere!!!

Thriftscore-cashpile

Most of these have some sort of damage or kill-worthy preppyness, so they will be harvested for their yarn or turned into linings for hats and such.

And I found a few sweaters made with good sturdy wool or wool/nylon blends in colors I like which will be harvested for their yarn as well.  The one on top is another (misshapen and holey) Shetland – I think I have enough Shetland sweaters to harvest an interesting palette of yarn now.  I was intending to make a big Hap shawl out of them, but I love the vintage spencer dresses seen here and here and here and would love to make something similar at some point.

Thriftscore-woolypile

I’m looking forward to making something out of the stripey one on the left too, perhaps along the lines of the scarf I made last year from recycled stripey sweater yarn.

stripey 007 - Copy

And it has already been reduced to a pile of lovely squiggles.

stripey 023 - Copy

Then a tower (what were you thinking?) of yarn cakes.

Leave a comment

Filed under collecting, knitting, recycling, thrifting

Not so gawful now, or perhaps just a little less so…

Gawful in NYC

This is my first winter wearing this scarf made from recycled sweater yarn especially selected to match my red coat.  (Stupidly, I also wore it in NYC when all the kids dress like slutty, sexy, and sloppy Santa and go bar-hopping – I fear I may have been mistaken for one of them at a distance).

Gawful sweaterBut all Santas aside, last year I found this moth-eaten semi-fulled [felted] cropped turtleneck sweater at a thrift store.  I thought it was god-awful, or “gawful.”*  I like bright colors, wool, and three big cheers for gay pride rainbows, but I thought this was just something that few should wear – it might just be best for a child.  Since it was already ruined by holes and aggressive washings (and had the magic unzippy seams) I happily frogged the bitch.

Gawful balls

Nice balls, eh?  It then dawned on me that half of the colors** matched a Harris Tweed coat I scored months earlier.

Gawful balls and coat

I don’t wear much red – I prefer orange, and I think red generally washes me out.  I have nothing against it per se, I just don’t choose it, and don’t have anything to wear with it – green would look way too x-masy, yellow would make it mustard and ketchup, and my rusty murky colored things don’t work.  I have a grey scarf languishing on the needles, and another dark cowl that would look decent enough with the coat, but I decided it needed an equally loud accessory.  I wanted a sideways constructed scarf or cowl so I could have long skinny rows and few, if any tails to weave in.  I was also itching to do a large project in linen stitch – I found Cerus Scarf by Hilary Smith Callis in ravelry, and though it’s not so much a pattern as just cast-on-this-many-stitches-and-then-do-this-stitch, I linked to it for the sake of conformity, much like the drunk Santas do every year.

Gawful detail

Thankfully I didn’t wear any green so as not to be confused with the drunken masses attending the St. Pat’s day parade in the city yesterday.  I would have worn this cacophony of reds in opposition and protest of toxic colored alcoholic beverages*** and the assholes who spew them on the streets and trains, but alas the weather was a bit wicked and I lurked about in my muds and rusts.

*I didn’t realize this was already a used term, see here.

**This was another project that surprised me in terms of color and color dominance.  I only did one row of the pale yellow and it absolutely screams out and takes the pink along with it, bleaching it down.  And where is the orange?  Though I did an extra row of orange, you almost don’t even see it.  If I had more yarn, I’d like to try a version without the yellow and pink and see if that gives it more of a murky glow.  And I’m still on the fence about removing the kinky fringe and stitching it into a cowl… I usually opt out of fringe, and I’m not sure why I don’t sorta like it, but I think it’s because if it’s too close to your face on a windy day it goes into your mouth?  Or maybe it is something from childhood.   I don’t have a specific plan for the harvested blues and greens yarn yet, but the smaller balls make them excellent for sideways designs…

***Nothing wrong with a good alcoholic beverage, just those that involve dye, or a culture of mass sloppy public drunkenness.

Leave a comment

Filed under knitting, recycling