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August 31, 2005

Fancy schmancy remedial knitting

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Yes, I know.

Another hat.

But I LOVE knitting hats! I love them! And they love me too! In fact, if I can't marry my Dyson vacuum cleaner, I may one day marry a hand-knitted hat! So there!

(Can you tell I'm operating on zero hours of sleep per night? Can you tell? Can you?) (And I can't watch the news, yet I can't stop watching. That's why we're talking about hats today, ya'll.)

Also! It has been so long since I have had ONE FULL DAY OFF WORK with no work work work and I have not done laundry in forever, since Lord knows I do not spend my limited free time doing laundry, and I am thisclose to running out of clean clothes to wear to the office. When that happens, I will have to call in STINKY. As it is, I am down to my desperation underwear -- you know, the Spy Panties (so-named because they creep up on you from the rear.) Yup.

Anyway! I'm not an advanced knitter, but man I sure do love to knit. I love seeing those decreases on a simple little hat stack up like so many petals on a daisy, I love seeing a scarf grow to lengths of absurdity, I love pom poms.

I also sniff yarn, so this could be a factor. I am also wearing hideously uncomfortable underwear, so that could be a factor.

Ya'll, I'm just going to go ahead and state the obvious -- I may never make it out of Remedial Knitting. And what's worse is that I am TOTALLY FINE WITH THIS REALIZATION. I just love to knit. Knit knit knit. "La la la, knitting is fun, la la, whoops! Look how UGLY this here scarf is! Boy, this is way uglier than I could have even imagined. And I have an active imagination. Um.... well. Guess I'll give it to my mom, har har, because she LOVES ME and she'll be OBLIGATED to wear it, HAHAHAHAHA boy I hope I have my camera 'cause man this is UGLY.. heh heh..."

Heh.

So, yes, I may be in Remedial Knit & Purl my whole life. I'm not crazy about lace. I'm not in a huge hurry to make a sweater. As it stands, I am still working on arguably the world's ugliest knitted object (see: Ugly Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig, coming soon to a padded room near you.) But boy I do love to knit.

So, hello, hat! Again!

I thought mittens might be too challenging to start without some help from my friends at Wine, Wine & Sons, Inc. Yet cruelly, I can't have alcoholic beverages while I am commuting to work -- so the next best thing to mittenknittin' is to knit on a hat during my bus ride. If I ever get a day off (Labor Day? BETTER NOT MEAN I AM LABORING DAMMIT) I will start making my mittens. Until then, I am still in Hat City.

The grey Patons Up Country wool hat (again: things you really need in the San Fernando Valley ... wool hats. To go with your Ugg boots. To ward off frostbite.) (but shutup! I love my Ugg boots!) anyway... where was I? Oh! The grey hat was becoming a bit stockinette-y. I wanted color, but a stripe suddenly seemed terribly passé, what with my panties up my hoohah and the dark circles under my eyes. So I pulled out my Book Of Hats, a much-beloved gift from Jenn of Knitwit Momma, and started looking for ways to make a sow's ear out of a lamb's wool.

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I have a blemish. The book barely covered it.

One of the hat patterns in the book uses slipped stitches to create a sort of woven look with different colors of yarn. I just used the technique on a few rows to see how it would go. After some untangling and a little improvising on color, it began to take shape and it's actually pretty! Me! Make! Pretty!

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Sure there were some touch-and-go moments. The bus is not exactly the smoothest ride, and my Addi turbos are slick, and sometimes stitches just JUMP OFF of THEIR OWN VOLITION.

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At one point, I made the ALMOST FATAL mistake of looking up (OK, small side note here: some folks apparently are GIFTED and can read a book and knit at the same time. Ya'll, I cannot knit and chew gum at the same time! Thank goodness knitting isn't a competitive sport, or I'd be out in the back 40 growing cobwebs. I'm just saying is all.)

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But after I got the hang of it, the pattern just moseyed along at a good pace and I was pleased as fur on a frog, my hat was looking so good! This positive result was a much-needed inspiration. You see, about a week ago, I made the mistake of trying to read the Patons Urban Neutrals pattern for the fluffy coat on the front of the booklet. (Since I have ALL THE UPCOUNTRY in the country, it seemed like an obvious move.)

I studied the pattern. I scrutinized it. I wasn't even DRINKING. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out the pattern and it all started reading like Greek, and my heart rate increased and I was sweating and I started to think I WILL NEVER EVER SUCCEED AT THE KNITTING BECAUSE I AM TOO DUMB TO READ A PATTERN.

NEED WINE.

Fast forward to this morning, on the bus, and me and my uncomfortable underwear are traveling at the speed of light to downtown Los Angeles (because light travels at 12 miles per hour, right?) and suddenly COLOR starts to look SO GOOD and holymoly I have a fancy schmancy looking hat that will fool my non-knitting friends into thinking I am a BADASS.

So maybe I should do more of this color knitting stuff. I love mixing yarn colors (even when I fail, miserably) (which happens, you know.) I like changing colors and making color combos and patterns, so maybe I need to try some intarsia or fair isle or ... whatsit? jacquard knitting? I think after the mittens, some funky colorwork is in order. This mosaic/slip-stitch knitting is the perfect place to start because a lot of it is written just like a regular pattern, with no chart.

Besides, my future Dyson husband may need a hand-knitted colorific cozy. You never know.


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• Here is a little explanation on about.com.

•Oh! Free pattern for a slip-stitch dishcloth on about.com.

•And there appears to be a whole book about this kind of knitting.

•There's an explanation and a small sample motif on knitty -- for free!

•My favorite link so far is on Wendy's site, she has some amazing patterns that even I could follow and they are so pretty!

Posted by laurie at August 31, 2005 8:14 AM