“I decided torture was my only option…”

knitted square pinned at all sides

…or maybe I was just trying blocking for the first time. This is a 100% acrylic yarn, one whole skein of Premier’s Deborah Norville Collection “Parrot” color and just enough of Highway Worker Orange to make one corner.

Only one side of this was 12″, the other sides were 13.25″, 13.5″ and 13″. Sigh.

I posted a question in the Squares for Comfort forums warning them my “square” was a bit funky. They said no worries and send it on in. I did so, yesterday. Yay! Second finished thing, well for me a least. This square is just part of a blanket, it still needs to be made up with other people’s squares into the final finished object. I’ve named it Gladys and feel quite fond towards it despite its funkyness.

Fair sailing Gladys, take care, be soft and comfy, me and the dog’ll miss your funky measurements.


12″ x 12″ square – not a reference to the shape of my head

So I  ran across this group while goofing around on Ravelry – Squares of Comfort – they are making up blankets for people affected by Hurricane Sandy. They are asking for donations of 12″ x 12″ squares. Simple enough, right? Well, yeah, sure, but I am a doofus and had to ask how to get a 12″ x 12″ square. The whole too big Dogweater A and too small Dogsweater B have got me throughly confused about how to get a certain size of anything! A commenter on the discussion boards recommended the “Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth” pattern as it is knit on the diagonal.

It is magic.

four cast on stitches in an olive green yarn

You start here, casting on just four stitches and increase with a yarn over once every row and you get:

6" of diagonally knitted dishcloth in a variegated yarn


I was terribly surprised by this – knit knit knit and whaddya know? It just keeps on getting bigger.


I didn’t realize how long it would take me to get to 12 inches , though I am there now:

knitted triangle and metal t-square ruler

I thought I would be finished by now! Hah! I started on Friday and worked on it the whole weekend, mostly while watching “Posiedon” and then “The Posiedon  Adventure”.

I have to go do the decreasing side now – so away I go with the K2tog! Buh-bye!

Oooooh, I finished something!

folded up knitted dishcloth

This is very exciting for me, my first finished project! Yay! It’s a basketweave dishcloth from the Chicks with Sticks “Guide to Knitting” book.

It smells.

Yes, the yarn is scented: lemon lime, but just enough that ole allergy ridden me could not smell it. I dunno, it’s a little weird yet strangely interesting. Why would you want scented yarn? Is there something I should have knitted with it other than a dishcloth? Will the other dishcloths make fun of this one when I put them all away in their drawer? Have I doomed my newly created kitchen linen to a life of being the weird smelly kid on the playground? Am I perhaps too invested in this dishcloth? Hmm…

In other news, I had nearly decided to rip apart the Overly Large and Excessively Orange Dog Sweater but am now going to make bands instead of a one piece underpanel. More on this as I work it out. I know I can barely contain the excitement!


“Oh, I don’t go by gauge.”

By which, Teacher Lady means she doesn’t do what I did – which is what the books said – make a swatch, size up from that to make a pattern larger that it was written to be.

Arrggh (my frustration is very pirate-y)!

I used the needles I was going to knit with, I used the yarn I was going to knit with – see where this is going? The dog sweater of Exceedingly Earnest Orangeness is too big.

beginner dog sweater, back, with a stripe

I even put in a stripe.

The lady sitting across from me at class last night suggested I get a bigger dog. GENIUS. That said, I am not getting a bigger dog.

The Teacher Lady asked what kind of dog I had and I ashamedly admitted to owing a part-poodle. He is a lovely, lovely dog but he is small, fluffy and yappy. He also likes wearing clothes, which I find hilarious and so – Dog Sweater A. Anyway, the point of all this is – the sweater is a bit bigger than the dog.

I used this formula to size up the pattern:

  • Using gauge given for pattern (ex: 5) , divide number of stitches called for in pattern (ex: 40) by gauge (so 40/5 = 8″) to find the inches the pattern makes (8″).
  • Using yarn gauge (ex: 5 stitches =1″) multiply that by the number of inches you want (12″) to get new number of stitches to cast on (5 x 12 = 60, cast on 60 stitches).

That sounds right, yeah? I got it from allexperts.com, “How to make a larger size than the pattern provides…” and followed the directions EXACTLY.

Or wait…did I? What the hell? Gauge? Uh, where is the gauge – what is the gauge? I made a swatch and counted how many stitches in an inch of knitting with my little ruler thingy. That’s gauge, right?

AUGH! Uh, pardon me while I step aside for a minute and google “gauge” …no, no “gauge” is just written as “tension” in the pattern I was using, and measuring the stitches in the knitting is the gauge…

I did 18 stitches, measured and got 4 stitches equaling one inch – 4 sts = 1″

In the pattern:

pattern dog has a chest circumference of 15″

for the back                  47 sts = 10.5″
for the under panel    19 sts = 4.5″

My dog, Dashiell, has a chest circumference of -wiggly- wait, no, treat!, uh 17″. So all I need to do is increase the pattern 2″, right?

So, 47 CO, wait, wait, 47 + 19 , err, uh, to make the whole…uh…oh, I only did the back, the 47 sts. Lessee, try this 47 + 19 = 66, gauge was 4 sts = 1″ so should be 66/4 instead of 47/4 so…

66/4 = 16.5

The pattern makes 16.5 inches. Oh, wow, MY MATH WAS WRONG! THAT’S WHAT IT WAS! I HAVE FOUND MY ERROR!

So, the sweater is supposed to be 1.5″ larger than circumference of dog. With Dashiell it should be 18.5″ then.

4 x 18.5 = 74

I left underpanel out of my calculations and came up with 68 sts to cast on for the back!

pattern back is 10.5, uh, make it 12.5 for Dashiell

4 x 12.5 = 50

pattern underpanel is 4.5″, make it 6″ for Dashiell

4 x 6 = 24

So.  Um, yeah. That would explain why the sweater is too big. Luckily I only cast on 58 sts for the back so it is only 2″ too large on the circumference. I think I can save the whole sweater by making the underpanel narrower and it will just be a little big on his wiggly wiggly self.

Which is a good thing because otherwise I would have to go to the park and grab other people’s dogs and stuff them in the very very orange sweater until I found one it fit. Which would be distressing and possibly get me arrested.

Here’s a picture of the ribbing the learned to do just for this dumb sweater:

1 x 1 ribbing on edge of very orange sweater

And here are the samplers I made to get the ribbing and the binding off right:

ribbing and binding off samplers

Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that the damn dog sweater is possibly save-able, shall we?

Oh, oh! I forgot about the stripe I put in! Everyone was all “no, no stripe! especially not a red one!” so I totally put in a red stripe, and then had to rip it back ’cause I did something weird when I added it in, re-did it and got this:

red stripe in very orange sweater back

and this is how I did it:

knitting setup, including notebook and mustard pretzels

the Vogue Knitting Quick Reference guide and a bowl of honey mustard pretzels. Yeah, baby!

I will now start on the reduced size underpanel. Lets hope this works out!

“What are you doing?”

Firstscarf is stalled due to lack of yarn. It is this long currently:

scarf and measuring tape

I need more yarn and I haven’t made the trip back out to the yarn shop yet; enough to make it  a bit longer and for a  fringe. Even though the original pattern does not call for it. It is not a scarf if it does not have fringe, damnit.

So Firstscarf is stuck like this:

multi-colored scarf laid out flat next to measuring tape

so I did this:

beginning of a basketweave knit dishcloth

Which is the beginning of a basketweave dishcloth using a cotton yarn that is scented. I, uh, didn’t realize it was scented until I read the label. I have allergies, I couldn’t tell the yarn was scented. Now that I know I am both charmed and wierded out. Really, scented yarn? Yep.

I keep sniffing my knitting.

Anyway, the pattern came from a Chicks with Sticks book which is in the background of the picture. I tried to take a closer shot of the basketweave but my camera was just “hey, yeah, no – not doing it” so here’s my notebook and the book page instead.

My mother and I traded yarn ’cause I admired the devout orangeness of hers (my yarn was an indifferent  hunter green. I have often mistaken orange for green, and continue to do so. I am sure there is an interesting trauma in my past that accounts for this, but I don’t have a clue what it is. I just think it’s funny I get orange and green mixed up all the time.) I immediately began a dog sweater I don’t know if I can finish:

A* holding beginnings of dog sweater A

Which is mostly due to me not knowing how to decrease at all. I have a couple  books and my knitting class is in two days, so…

That is my nephew,  A*, holding the knitting. Being unfamiliar with my camera, the shots he took of me holding it were all blurred.

The color is, according to G*, “highway worker orange.”  G*, also known as my mother, has a long and sordid history with orange. She and Aunt M* once painted a whole wall orange and had to repaint it when my father came home and saw it. I understand there was a great deal of yelling. I feel I should paint my kitchen orange. Huh.

I learned to do ribbing (1×1) and a stockinette stitch just for this dog sweater.

ribbing on beginning of a very orange dog sweater

This is my third try at ribbing. The sweater is this far along:

very orange dog sweater, beginning

I sized the pattern up a couple of inches, hopefully I did it right and it will not envelop the small dog like devouring sea life. If it turns out too big I may cry.

Although the dog would probably be relieved.

Firstscarf update

a wonky piece of knitting

I have gotten this far in my scarf.

Which means the introduction of this little fella:

ball of Bazinga! yarn

The second skein! Gasp! But wait, do not fear! I have a book! It is a pretty good book, lots of pictures.

So this happened:

knot tied at side of knitting

And I was all worried and fretful. No, no worries – knot was tied, new skein introduced, more knitting occurred.


Learning to Knit

Well, yes, I am learning to knit. So far I haven’t stabbed myself repeatedly with the needle (embroidery), burned myself on the pan, rack or eye-of-the-stove (general cookery) or made the engine grind and whine in disturbing ways (machine sewing).

So I like knitting, the yarn is lovely, the needles are blunt and you can so easily undo what you have done if you mess it up. Granted you will lose whatever progress you have made but there is no frightening whine of a borrowed sewing machine motor (no, no, your sewing machine is fine, no worries!) and, happily, no blood.


ball of yarn in a bowl

This is some lovely lovely Italian yarn called Bazinga Pomegrante.


pair of blue metal cable needles and some cast on yarn

The start of a beginner’s scarf


The cable connected needles came from the learn-to-knit class I am taking at the local library. The teacher brought a bunch of donated needles and yarn for us to use. I chose these because they are shiny and blue. Excellent.

This is a bulky yarn that goes thick then thin. It looks pretty cool knitted up. I am pretty pleased with my first effort but this is mainly due to the awesomenss of the yarn and the fact all I have done is repeat the first stitch I have learned. We will see what happens when I try to add more yarn in and get to that whole “binding off” thing.



hands knitting

Knitting in front of the TV.


scarf on needles being held up for picture

After the movie was over I had this much. The color is off, though.


better color picture of scarf beginnings

Here the color is more like the actual thing.


Since I don’t really know what I am doing I am just going to knit a lot and take what I have in to show the teacher next week. My practice work on donated yarn had some weirdness in the beginning with the stitches being really tight then way loose and all sorts of odd gaps and funny stretches. I’m still going to use it in a future scarf though.

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