Tag Archives: knitting

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.

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…

 

 

Holiday Knitting DangerZone…

Ah, the holiday season…where everybody, including me, starts to panic about presents for the loved ones in their life. Like anybody who knits, I get loads of requests for last minute speed-knitting of pretty, warming things. Some of them are very doable. Many are too time-crunching. A few are jaw-droppingly ludicrous. Sweaters. Elaborate socks. Entire blankets. Union suits. Alien face-hugger masks with bendable leggies. Huge Dwarf helmet-hats with horns and braided beards. While it’s extremely flattering to hear that people think I have magical knitterly skills, I have to turn the big projects down. I also start getting that hunted look on my face, where I’m expecting to sprint down the corridors at work with my coworkers chasing me, yelling, “No, wait, it’s just a last-minute thing, I know you can do it by Christmas!! Come Baaaack!”

But that said, I’ve cranked out a few pretty things, here and there…

Mochi marshmallow wristwarmers
Mochi Marshmallow wristwarmers, with mohair,merino and handspun angora…
Silver angora
A skein of silver angora I plied with a soft silk thread for extra strength and shine…

Both of these lovely things have already been claimed. I should make more. When can I make more? So many things to make!! So many! Do I have enough yarn? The right kind? Do I have to make some? Why did I make this fussy, time-consuming thing that everybody wants now? I Must Make Many Many THIIIIIIIINGS!!

And then possibly ask Santa for a Time-Turner, or manybe a Margarita machine. It’s medicinal, I tellya…

The post-Halloween doldrums…

Ah, Halloween…it was lovely, everything I hoped for, and now it’s just a happy memory.

But I did get a fun photo of Shamu the Bunny in a jaunty Steampunk hat…

Shamu  in a jaunty hat
Shamu is a dapper little fellow when I put hats on his tiny, rabbity head…

And now it’s the season where everybody realizes they’ve lost their mitts or something’s eaten their scarf and they come running to me. I’ve been plotting and planning new mitts and hats to make, and today I’m just playing with colors, to see what seems to click. So far I’ve got a rose and caramel mix of mohair yarns I like a lot, as well as some black and deep purple sari silk for a Gothly scarf. I have to remind myself to play sometimes; it’s good to make custom stuff to order, but it’s even better to come up with something new…