All posts by mausi

A Knitting Mercenary Project: The Krueger Sweater, part 1…

From time to time I take on a custom knitting project for someone. Maybe a friend, maybe someone online who needs something they just can’t get any other way. Recently a friend of a friend had a very interesting request for a project. He was a Freddy Krueger impersonator, and needed a custom sweater. A Freddy Krueger sweater?!? Really?!? How could I pass up a project like that?!

So we met at a coffeeshop, I took some basic measurements, as well as photos with a sweater he already had. There was a lady in Britain who made old-school Krueger sweaters in bright greens and reds, and it was a gorgeous bit of knitting. But this incarnation was from the TV series instead, and needed a more olive hue instead of the cheerful Christmas-y colors of the early films. So, ready with my measurements and the pattern I had written out in my notes, I was ready to tackle this thing…

But there was a snag, at first. The kind of colors I saw online for this particular project were, shall we say, kinda bright? Certainly not the slightly sinister tones I needed to make the sweater look right when it was finished. And the nice, dark olive I needed was unavailable in any of the online shops I checked until it occurred to me to try Amazon.  Even then, a tea rinse would probably be a smart idea to sadden those bright hues a touch.  I was using Plymouth Encore, an excellent acrylic/wool mix yarn that’s a decent pick for a sweater that may see a lot of wear and needed some easy washing. Did it have enough wool to pick up the tea? The answer, happily enough, was yes, and my samples had a slightly browner hue…

So, now that I had a strategy, it’s knitting time!

Freddy Krueger sweater
I am enjoying how the reverse stockingette for the red stripes adds extra dimension!

 

 

 

 

A few pretty things…

Moving seems to take forever. And when you’re finished, there’s always More Stuff to Do. You’re never really done moving in. But I do feel like I’m settling in now. The new Craftroom makes spinning very easy, and painting is much easier with a table committed just to that.  So I’ve been making lots and lots of yarns…

 

Opal mist
Sparkly pretty yarn!

Ms Mausi and the Inherited Stash…

Greetings, fellow knitty-fiends! I realize it’s been a while since I put something up in this space, but I’ve been busy, in ways I didn’t intend to be. Quite a few things happened over the summer, but what really took up a lot of head space for me was losing my mother. She died in June, and I spent (and spend) a lot of time processing her death.

The hardest part is going through all of her things. Like me, she was artistic, and I’ve been going through her paints and projects, many unfinished. It’s the unfinished ones that really hurt the most to find.  Some of it’s glorious, some of it’s awful, and it takes time to really sort everything out. There’s also huge tubs full of movies. so many movies. And mostly, except for the odd animated film, the kind of wonderfully grody, cheapy-budget horror films we both loved so much. I now have every Saw movie, however many they made so far.  And other great movies I’m looking forward to watching, like, “Doll Graveyard” and “My Mom Was a Werewolf.” There’s also loads of books, also mostly scary horror or weirdo mystery or funky things Nostradamus said.

But the unfinished projects are the saddest.

At one point I couldn’t look at the unfinished crocheted farmer couple she had been working on any more, and busted out some of her yarns to crochet tentacles for the lady’s unfinished legs. Oddly enough, not only did it make me feel a little better, but the couple looked much more…interesting…

And while I have a photo to share of the couple, It’s not loading right at the moment, and the dolls themselves are in a huge stack of boxes by the china hutch… Yes people, we’re moving! To a larger house with a very nice attic space that will become my new craftroom. It’s a very bright spot after some very dark times.

But there’s still lots of packing to get through first. Le siiiigh…

 

 

Inheritance
Crochet needles, Acrylic yarn and Bad, bad super-bad horror movies. That’s how my mom rolled…,

 

Mrs Mausi’s Guide to Knitting Chapter 6: The Gauge Swatch…

Hello there! Yes, there’s more blathering about the perils of tip-toeing down the perfidous path of knitting! You poor darlings!…

Bunbun the Kitty insisted on helping me with my illustration. Stealing the pen and lying on the paper is not super helpful, Bunbun.

Chapter 6: The Gauge Swatch.

So now you’ve been knitting for a little while, and you’re feeling confident! You can cast on like a pro, you have stopped dropping stitches and your garter stitch is nice and even. So’s your stockingette. You can purl with the best of them.  Your pot holders and scarves are wonders of knitting to behold. And you no longer have the new-knitter tight-clutch anymore. Not you! And you’ve become so confident with your knitting prowess that you look at helpful instructions about gauge swatches and are all, “Hah! I don’t need to do that! That’s for the noobs! Not me! My gauge is clearly 4 stitches to the inch on size 8 needles with worsted! Perfect!”

Oh, you poor doomed soul…

1:  Start a fun sweater pattern with unfamiliar yarn you just brought home. Look at the gauge measurements and go, “Eh. That’s pretty much what I knit anyway. I don’t need to eat up time making a gauge swatch I don’t need.”

2: Snuggle the yarn. It such pretty yarn. It cries out to be a sweater! *your* sweater! Right now! Right this second!!

3: Cast on with wild abandon and start some ribbing. Stop two rows in and think, “Huh, these stitches are a little stretchy. But it’s ribbing, it should be fine. I think I need a glass of wine!”

4: Pour yourself half a bottle of wine and put on The Craft. Knit happily for several hours. Notice the yarn is sliding a bit loosely, but merrily knit on. Marvel on how the wine keeps your fingers nice and loose while you knit.

5: Finish off the wine and yell happily at the movie. Cheer on the magical catfight at the end. Then look down at the cosy knitting on your lap and realise it’s HUUUUUUGE…

6: Curse at your wine-sozzled fingers. Curse at the movie you were enjoying so much 5 seconds ago. Curse at the pretty, pretty yarn and the pretty, pretty circus tent you’ve been making all this time. Curse at the ghost of Elizabeth Zimmerman, who so sweetly kept reminding you to do that gauge swatch before you got all crazy with that yarn. Curse curse curse!

7: Should you rip it out? Should you rip it out? Should you? You should, you know. Frog that bastard and start over. All the way over. Correctly.  Like the knitting badass you know you are. You can do it. Even though it’s hours out of your life. And that sweet magical catfight you watched. It’s there, right where the stitches got extra loose. You were laughing so hard, and that was the last glass of wine, too. Man, that was good stuff…

8: Keep knitting anyway. Decide instead of a shapely pullover it’s going to be a tunic. Keep hearing the psycho mom from Carrie chanting, “They’re all going to laugh at you…they’re all going to laugh at you…” Stubbornly plug on. Of course, now your gauge is too tight because you’re wound up. Try not to get too tight on the neck ribbing. Mutter evil things to yourself…

9: After much cursing, another couple of nights with wine and more horribly funny schlocky movies, you’re done! With your circus tent! That has bits that seem too tight!! Hear the sweet voice of Elizabeth Zimmerman in your head, reassuring you that blocking can fix a lot of things. Hope to hell she’s right, or you’re going to go find her grave and yell at it for a while. She’d understand. She was that kind of lady.

10: The tunic, after blocking, is…really not that bad, actually. Friends compliment it, and really appreciate that off-the-shoulder look you’ve got going there. Smile graciously. Smile nervously. Promise the ghost of Elizabeth Zimmerman a nice bottle of wine if she won’t tell the other knitters the truth.  And for each and every new project, a gauge swatch shall be knit. Pinky swear…

My illustration of my sweater woes. It’s shaky because of the aforementioned cat-problems. Please don’t mind the extra cat hair. Bunbun helps the only ways he knows how.

 

Mrs Mausi’s Guide to Knitting, Chapter 13: Lacework.

Eventually there will be some extremely jacked-up illustrations for these little knitting chapters. When I get to it. Which might take a little bit. So you’ll have to imagine the kind of horrible things I could draw for these pages. If you think of something particularly good, feel free to tell me about it…

alchemy yarns
Alchemy Yarns: The yarn of your wildest dreams and worst nightmares…

Mrs Mausi’s Guide to Knitting, #13: lacework…

1: Buy delicate, expensive mohair yarn. Snuggle it. Dream of the wonderful shawl you’re going to make.

2: Look at patterns. Beautiful, eyesearing patterns you’d be completely insane to try. Even just reading the patterns makes your brain cells cringe. Pick out an easy lace pattern you can’t screw up too badly. Promise yourself you’ll tart it up with beads and a cool border later on.

3: Snuggle the yarn some more. Awwwwyeahhhhh…

4: Start your shawl. It’s gorgeous! Light, airy, shows off your snuggly yarn perfectly! And it’s knitting up quickly!! Beam with pride. And putting in an emergency saving strand, in case you mess something up? Nah. No way can you mess up something this simple. You’re a better knitter than *that.*

5: Bring your project to work,can let your coworkers coo over it and pet it. Then realize you missed a yarn over…3 rows down.

6: Swear. Swear like a biker. Swear like a biker with an itchy rash. Because it’s mohair, which resists all attempts to fix anything. Swear like a biker who has to unknit 3and a half rows of freakin’ mohair. Think about leaving the mistake and crocheting a goddamn flower over it or something. Nobody would know. But you would. You would know. Forever…

7: Undo 3 and a half rows of lacework, muttering nastily to yourself. Hope like hell you don’t drop a stitch or jack up the other yarnovers too badly. When a helpful friend recommends frogging it instead,laugh the laugh of the knitting damned.

8: One hour later, finally get to your mistake and fix it. Feel the rush of beautiful, flawless stitches. Snuggle your yarn some more–its your friend again!! Ignore the coworker who says, “can’t you just buy that at a store?” No, my dear. You cannot buy this kind of yarny satisfaction.

*You will be repeating steps 6-8 at least three more times, possibly more. I recommend inventing new swears for each flaw, to keep things fresh.