Bad Yarn Karma (and a good movie)

We spent a quiet Easter at home, in our PJs, doing a whole lot of nothing. Well, not really nothing…I did work a bit more on this:It’s the rather ugly hat I’m required to knit for Level 1 of the Master Hand Knitter certification. All of my swatches are done…have been for a while. But this hat has been the bane of my existence. I’ve ripped it out three times. My opinion is that I’m having trouble knitting it because I don’t care for the pattern. I mean, honestly, it’s not like it’s difficult!

I have this weird superstition/belief that if I have a lot of trouble with a pattern (regardless of difficulty) and have to rip it out several times, the fibers absorb the negative energy and develop Bad Yarn Karma (BYK). It’s happened to me several times. Last year it was a pair of Jaywalkers I was knitting with a Koigu KPPPM in a charcoal/brown colorway. They just weren’t coming together, even though it’s not a hard pattern to knit. After several re-starts, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they simply weren’t meant to be.

When BYK happens, it usually results in me putting the yarn back into my stash and ditching the pattern. Sometimes I can’t even use the yarn again for another project. Like the light blue Rowan I used in last year’s unshapely tunic (the Shapely Tank, which stretched into dress-like proportions)–I unravelled the yarn, washed it, and reskeined it, but I just can’t bring myself to use it again. It doesn’t FEEL right.

Very weird…Or is it? Am I alone, or has anyone else experienced BYK?

I do, however, have a Bad Yarn Karma solution: Go directly to your LYS and buy some new yarn for the project. I swear it works. Like this dumb hat, for example. I knit and ripped, knit and ripped, using the brown Ella Rae. I had other colors for the necessary stripes, but couldn’t get past that sinking feeling that this project was doomed and I’d never get past Level 1. So I stopped in my LYS on Saturday and picked up a new skein of Ella Rae in that light pink color. Now the hat’s on track and I’m going to be able to submit my work after all. That shot of freshness was all I needed.

Speaking of a shot of freshness, I’m still enjoying the lovely shades of lavender, purple, and indigo in this Koigu KPPPM:
(Sorry for the fuzzy photo.)

That’s sock #1, on my big foot. The recipient (not to be named until after the gift is delivered) has much smaller feet than I, but I wanted to show off the finished product. Well, almost finished–the picot cuff still needs to be turned down and sewn.

Here’s sock #2, on Saturday morning:
Don’t you love my little table piled with knitting crap? My lovely husband is so easy going–he never complains about it at all. Perhaps he deserves a pair of socks of his own…Oh, but those size 12 feet! That’s a whole lot of knitting ;-)

By the way: We saw “Hoax” this weekend (Richard Gere’s new movie). It was quite good. Funny, fast-paced, intelligent, and keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for his house of complex lies to come crashing down. Chris and I both enjoyed it thoroughly, and highly recommend it. If you see (or saw) it, let me know what you think.



…poor Shapely Tank. I knitted you. I blocked you. I wore you. I unraveled you.

In what incarnation will you appear next, lovely, drapey Rowan Luxury Cotton? Whisper what you want to be in my ear, and I will knit you up again. This time in a smaller size. After all, you ARE mostly cotton.

Meanwhile, I’ve finished Soleil in Rowan Calmer (it fits wonderfully!), and one pair of cozy winter in-the-house socks, in navy blue Dale Sisik. (FTR: I love Sisik. It’s fluffy and warm. Just a little itchy, though. Hopefully a nice bath will soften it up a bit. Maybe with a tiny bit of conditioner…Unless I get my hands on some Eucalan. I really need a bottle of that, and a nice bag of dried lavender. I worry about my woolens–especially the ones I’ve worked so hard to create!)

I’ve also made several ball-band dishcloths for myself and for family and friends. AND I’ve been swatching the yarn Karida and I dyed a few weeks ago, to see how they look when knitted.

We’ve both been happy with what we’ve done. In fact, after batch #1, Karida moved forward and dyed some final colorways–Neighborhood Fiber Company’s first offerings. They’ll soon be on the market! Exciting…

– Clapotis: Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk (a luscious, juicy violet)
– Short ribbed socks (my own design): Aurora 8 (rich eggplant)
– Argyle Tea Cozy (adapted from the one in Sally Melville’s “The Knit Stitch”: Blue Sky Sport Weight Alpaca (dusky merlot, pesto green, and a dash of mustard yellow)
– Tubular Scarf (from AlterKnits): Rowan Kidsilk Haze (in a bright raspberry color to cheer me up in winter) THIS IS NOT AN EXCITING KNIT, AND IT TAKES FOREVER! (Oh, but it will be worth the wait…)
– Linen Hand Towel (Mason-Dixon style, but with a different stitch pattern): Louet-Sales Euroflax (champagne and willow)

So why do I feel like I’m in a knitting funk? Some kind of ennui descended upon me last week. So on top of being exhausted most of the time, I also feel less than enthused about most of what I’m working on (knitting-wise). I’m sure it will pass…The cure might be starting to work in earnest on the Master Hand Knitter Program, which has suffered back-burner status recently.

Onward. The honey-colored light of autumn beckons…the days of knitting in the sun are once again upon us!

Shapely Tank. Shapely? Hmmm…

Shapely Tank, huh?

I finished this in July, and wore it twice.

I’m obviously uncomfortable having my photo taken, unlike some of the really gorgeous bloggers out there…

Anyway, the first time, it looked a bit big, but kind of OK. The second time, I had to wear a tank top UNDER my shapely tank…and NOT because I’m one of those people who has to layer everything (I think layering t-shirts and tanks is a bit “done,” but that’s just my opinion).

The Shapely Tank had morphed into The Unshapely Tunic!!!

Rowan’s Luxury Cotton DK was only slightly different from the yarn the pattern called for, and my gauge was right on target. I know because I checked it obsessively from bottom to top.

My stitches were even, lined up like little soldiers. The short rows were perfect. And I am the queen of compulsive finishing techniques…decreases lined up at the seams, trim neckline, and (my own touch) a three-needle bind off at the shoulders, with the seam on the outside, mimicking the neck and armhole edging.

But alas, it was not to be.

My advice to anyone making the Shapely Tank? Go for the negative ease. Really negative. I’d go four inches smaller than your regular size. And decrease more at the shoulders–the straps were wide, more “corporate shell” than “sexy summer top.” Or just go for Sizzle instead.

Live and learn.