Category Archives: weirdo knit projects

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!

 

 

 

 

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: (With yarn. and swearing. And possibly booze.)

As a lark recently, and to vent about a knitting project I was struggling with, I put up a little chapter in an imaginary book about knitting. It turned out to be a big, big hit, so I suspect I might actually have to *make* this book in the very near future. I should warn you; when you see chapters, they will be out of sequence. Because most knitters tend to jump around in handy guides to knitting, forward and back, to find that one helpful thing they need that now they absolutely cannot find. If you’re a knitter, you’ll definitely understand…

Mrs Mausi’s Guide to Knitting, Chapter 5: Hats…

Pick out several pretty yarns for your project, realise none of them go together. Swear under your breath.

Knit the band slightly too tightly, with nice bamboo needles. Curse a little, undo the stitches, start over. Repeat at least twice.

Question your choice of yarn. Question your choice of needles. Question your skills as a knitter. Switch over to slidey aluminum needles

Just as you’re getting into the zone, watch your stitches slide off your slidey needles. Swear like a sailor. Swear like an annoyed sailor. Swear like an annoyed sailor who picked the wrong bloody needles. Rearrange the whole yarny mess in your lap so it doesn’t slither away. Refuse to change needles, because you can make this work, right? Right? Right!?

Finally get to the decreases on the top. Feel like you’ve climbed Mount Everest with nothing but a salad fork. Hope like hell it won’t ladder much. Punch the air in victory…And remember you still have to embroider stuff on it. Arrrgh…

…The hat? Turned out great, actually. Never let anybody tell you that you can’t get anything done while swearing, because it just isn’t so…

Pink and gray hat, inward swearing.
See the expression on my face? You can see the inward cussing, even after it turned out pretty nicely, actually…

Knitting in the workplace…

See this pretty thing?

Danse macabre
The darkest dark, the reddest red, the sparkliest sparkly!!

It started it’s dark and sparkly life in a basement of a museum, surrounded by coffee and polyester sweaters and noise.  Lots and lots of noise…

Breaktime Knitting
Not pictured: a handheld radio, a cup of tea, gurgling pipes overhead and my frowny little face as I try to concentrate…

I usually bring knitting to my job, to help me unwind between breaks and to sneak a little time into my various projects. More often than not it’s something I spun up myself that demands to be made into something right this minute. Yarn can be pushy like that. So very pushy. This yarn was a dark black, red and white spiral-ply I spun up from one of the beautiful batts at Butterflygirl Designs on Etsy. I’ve bought from her for years, and her goods are always so good. One of the nice things about handspun yarn is that you can keep your stitches pretty simple and let the yarn do all the work of being pretty…

Workplace knitting has it’s own challenges. It’s noisier than home, of course. There’s lots of traffic, and the possibility of spills, crumbs, overcurious coworkers poking at your project, moving it or distracting you enough to drop a stitch or two. I’ve lost count of the times on a break where I answer a workplace question while my hands are moving, and when I look down…I messed up that yarn over. Again. Drat it all. And I mutter quietly to myself when I think nobody can hear me. (But of course my coworkers can totally hear me. I can tell by the snickering)

Then there are the usual jokes.  Requests to knit whole sweaters for 20 bucks, or nothing. Various eyerolls, “only grandmas knit” or “knitting nerd” comments. The occasional vampire-slayer remarks. (I actually like these remarks because I get to brandish a knitting needle in a mildly threatening fashion.) But sometimes there are the people who sidle over and gently pet the yarn, or ask if I have time to crank out some wristwarmers for them, or can I make a goofy gutmonster for a birthday or something. I love these people.They get extra guts in their knitted gutmonsters.

Mostly I just like the peace. After I get into the groove a little bit, I can float right off into a nice soft realm of stitches and fluffy textures and away from the workaday life for a little while. I feel a little more rested on a break where I’m working on something. And when I’m finished, I just glow with a little well-earned pride. A moment in a gloomy basement redolent with the smell of burned coffee and old pizza can be the brightest part of my day when I bind off that last stitch…