Anger Burger

A Little Diversion

Posted by Sunday on Jul 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Since I swore I would not discuss knitting here on Anger Burger, let’s discuss what I’ve been knitting lately.

I should defend myself, weakly, by saying that I’ve given the dog a massive dose of prescription sedative since she, like most dogs, hears a single firecracker and immediately thinks HOLY SHIT IT IS THE MOTHERFUCKING APOCALYPSE RUN FROM ROOM TO ROOM AND DROOL ALL OVER YOURSELF. But! Before you think that the sedative means that she is now blissfully unaware, you are wrong!  Because she is 100% committed to being an asshole, after a dose of sedative that should drop an animal twice her size, she remains panicked and slobbery, and emits a high keening noise not unlike a fluorescent bulb.

Anyway, I don’t have any food to write about.  I want you to know that I do not talk about the knitting for a pretty straightforward reason: it’s not easy to just drop into a knitting conversation, because there is such a drastic spectrum of skill levels.  And I really don’t know what I’m doing.  I wing it a lot, I make a lot of mistakes, and I do terrible math that results in things that I have to completely tear out.  I choose the wrong yarn.  I wash things wrong.  But I have some successes, and I will tell you about them.

First and most important piece of knitting advice: join the free knitting social/networking/data site Ravelry.  It is the single-most utilized knitting tool I use. People obsessively document their projects, which means that you can cross-reference literally almost anything and see, for example, what brand of yarn everyone else prefers to knit that project with (and then learn details about that yarn, such as what it commonly retails for, the yardage, etc.) and then click on individual projects.  I swear, I would not be as voracious a knitter as I am without Ravelry.  Before I start a project I see what everyone else seems to think about it; I’ve decided not to knit things due to overwhelming complaints of a bad pattern.

My friend Amani asked me about this photo:

She asked, did I knit that sweater? I did.  It is a popular free pattern called Aidez, and it is my favorite house sweater.  CAVEAT: it is my favorite house sweater because I sort of don’t care if I fuck it up. I chose the wrong yarn (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, curse you!) and it pills like a mother. I swear I’m picking off mouse-sized wads of yarn fuzz from the underarms every single day.  I don’t understand how there can still be a sweater left, frankly. And the color, “Porcini”, looks alright in this photo, but in person is a very flat, very off shade of putty that really looks grim. I’d have named the color “Dead Oatmeal Barf”.

I made some changes to the pattern because why would I just do something normally. I don’t feel like listing them or anything.  See?  This is why I don’t talk about knitting.  But I will say that the sweater is looong and I shortened it by an inch and wish I’d shortened it by several more. And I knit it in the round instead of in pieces. The pattern also commits my biggest pet peeve: it instructs you to simply “reverse the stitches” for the opposite side, rather than writing them out.  C’mon!  It just means that I have to write them out in the pattern margins.  Is it really saving that much time for the pattern’s author to not do it herself?  Foop.

I knit this hat for a friend’s daughter, the a pattern this basic, but it’s just so goddamn cute.

I used Cascade 220 Superwash wool, which is a little expensive, but the word “superwash” means that it is machine washable.  Which, if you are knitting for a child, is basically rule #1. And it comes in a bazillion colors. And it feels good to knit.

The zig-zaggy fringe on mine won’t stand upright like the pattern shows it will, but I sort of like the disheveled berry look.

The most successful sweater of recent years has been the Beatnik:

In addition to being a free pattern, it is one of the most effortlessly best-fitting sweaters I’ve ever made.  If you feel the urge to tackle a cable-knit sweater of moderate challenge, this is it.  It’s really not that hard, I swear.  Also, I followed this knit-a-long tutorial for knitting it in the round, which is a little more work up front but makes for a much better sweater later. Another sweater that I expect I will make several of, in several colors, so that I can basically always be wearing it.

I’ve knit this scarf probably half a dozen times:

It’s the “Waves of Grain” scarf, yet another free pattern, and a tricky but worthwhile venture into lace knitting.  In fact, it was the first lace I knit, and I went on to love it and knit many other lace things. If you have been burned in the past by knitting clothing that doesn’t fit, I suggest trying to knit a complicated scarf like this one.  One size fits all.  And also: it doesn’t have to be knit on fine yarn and tiny needles, you can try it on a slightly larger yarn and corresponding needles first.  It’ll make a huge scarf, but at least it will help you get the hang of it. My example up there was also my first attempt at beading a knit piece, and that was a pain in the ass like you wouldn’t believe.  But: pretty!  Maybe don’t try it your first foray into lace knitting, you will hate God and man and all things living.

And that is that.  Right at this moment I have a project I just finished for Mike the Viking drying and waiting to have buttons sewn onto it, and when it is done I will show it to you.  I call it the Hobbit Vest, because the green tweed I used has given the whole thing a rather Tolkien-y air.  You should know that I knit an entire front panel of it that I then tore out and re-did after realizing that it was too big.

Which leads me to my last piece of advice: if you are not patient, do not bother with knitting.  You will make mistakes for which the only solution is to obliterate your work so far and then start again.  This often means losing hours, if not tens of hours, of work time.  You will never hear me say this again about anything, but with knitting, for me at least, it is not the finished product I am looking for.  It is the construction of it.  Please don’t make me paraphrase it into a lesson about destinations and journeys. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucking frustrating. But there is a kind of zen place I go to of pleasant tactile textures and beautiful heathered colors.  There is order from chaos.  It is not at all unlike cooking, now that I think about it. Of course I can go buy a sweater or a pie, and it will be cheaper than the one I had to make myself.  But look at that thing! I have serious post-apocalypse tribal cred! You want socks after the department stores have all burned? I’m your girl. I am fucking useful.

July 3rd, 2012 | Totally Unrelated

40 Responses to A Little Diversion

  1. Raine says:

    That purple sweater fits you like a glove…cliche I know, but it really does fit you fabulously! Niiice!

    • Sunday says:

      Well thank you! And I wish I could take credit for it fitting so well, but it was just one of those sweaters designed to fit women with bodies like mine.

  2. Karen says:

    What a hoot!! Love your refreshingly candid and funny discussion about knitting. Right on time as I get ready to frog the lace border I messed up on a recent project. You give me strength – and a smile:) Thanks!

  3. Carly says:

    oh goddammit internet, THREE pictures of a boston in a berry hat should maybe come with some sort of warning.

    I’m super-impressed. Knitting is one of many things I could never get the hang of, even on the most basic level.

    • Sunday says:

      I used to be a terrible knitter until I realized that YouTube showed you how to do EVERYTHING. And then things made sense.

  4. TheOtherLisa says:

    My friends knit, my daughter knits and my function in life is to marvel over their skills and beautiful creations.

    In other news, I would pay you money for that kind of scarf. Seriously.

  5. Ami says:

    You are really good, that sweater is amazing! Every 5 years or so I try my hand at crochet but never get any further than making one long ass chain stitch. I always feel clumsy and stiff holding my yarn and needle, and crochet is just one needle. Knitting might send me over the edge, and yet I come from a family of knitters but can’t seem to find my groove. I will visit the site you suggested, maybe that will inspire me again. Thanks!

  6. jess says:

    tank in a berry hat! stop it!

  7. Little Big says:

    Do not forget the pink tweed sweater you knit for Isobel! It is her favorite!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/exlibris/4183537328/in/photostream/

  8. Brook says:

    I completely agree with you about KnitPicks yarns (and not just Wool of the Andes). Many of them pill like a bugger and there’s rarely a colour I’d even consider. This perplexes me, since they have many, many colours, but they’re all slightly off for my taste: Too pastel-y, dulled, or kindergarten crayon box-y. I’ve had better luck with Elann.com (no affiliation,just a long-time satisfied customer).

    All of your knitting looks great and your Beatnik, in particular, is gorgeous.

    I’m a process knitter, too (and often, cooking, for that matter). It’s a good thing, since I’ve made mistakes like sewing a sleeve in upside down, so it looked like the sweater wanted to ask a question, then following it up with the exact same error on the other side. It looked like the sweater was being robbed at gunpoint.

    Sending you good thoughts from the land of ketchup chips.

  9. ASB President says:

    I just sent you $5 out of my last $10.54 because I’d rather read about you making food than actually buy food. Knitting’s okay, too. True Story.

  10. Arlette says:

    Eee, that Beatnik!

    I’m with you on the Knit Picks. You tried Cascade Eco Wool? It’s so much more ALIVE-feeling.
    Also, I’m “arlette” on Ravelry! Come find me!

  11. eileen says:

    KNITTING YEAH!!

    I keep meaning to make Aidez but will now certainly be sure not to use WOTA! Now I just have to figure out how to get around the horrific looking seam at the back of the neck. Also if you’re on Rav you should certainly be in LSG. Groups search it!

  12. Hannah says:

    You, kind sir, live with a world-class hat model.

  13. Vita says:

    I love every single project on this page. sigh. Maybe I’ll have to try to learn to knit again.
    But I just got in to needle felting, and the stabbing is really satisfying.

  14. Take a pen or pencil and a piece of paper and scribble around and around in circles and up and down a bunch for about a full minute. Then step back and ‘admire’ your handiwork. That’s an approximation of my knitting experience. On the other hand, I can make my own booze using only apples and some simple equipment, so fuck the apocalypse.

    • quagmire says:

      We choose you for our post-apoc team! Phuckin’ apple hooch … hells yes! [Sunday can make us sweaters for the nuke-winter, right?]. I’ll contribute my unrelenting wit and ol’ man shamanistic wisdom (besides, I have lotsa guns n’ knives n’ hurty shit).

  15. ASB President says:

    Why do they let Jay have weapons?!? Second Amendment be damned, I’m moving to Canada.

    • quagmire says:

      I never have to use them because of my charm and mesmerizing personality. But you Richie, can just go ahead and consort with those cousins of cheese eatin’ surrender monkeys. Although … some poutine sounds mighty tasty right aboot now (sp.intentional!), ehya! Gotta go, my carbine needs waxin’.

  16. lydia says:

    That purple sweater has given me a serious case of sweater envy. That really fits you beautifully. Still, I know myself too well to try and pick up knitting again.

  17. Amanda says:

    I didn’t think your dog could possibly look cuter than all the other adorable pictures you have posted, but it has happened.

  18. quagmire says:

    Ha! Just realized why I inexplicably FLoL every time I look at Tank in that hat … Fruit of The Loom commercials!

  19. Rick says:

    Okay.

    Tank is now, officially, the cutest creature EVER on the internet.

    Really? A berry hat? Are you trying to kill us with the cute factor?

    Jeeze!

  20. Victoria says:

    Both of the sweaters are great! I am going to knit the Beatnik, eventho it is a little more difficult than anything I have done before. Thanks for sharing your beautiful knitting!

  21. lauren says:

    I’m super late to the party here, but just wanted to say I am always 100% in favor of knitting on angerburger. :) I’m completely jealous of your beatnik – what a gorgeous sweater!

  22. Tacy says:

    I, too, am super late here, but your post AND all the comments made my Internet bill totally worth it! I laughed so hard. I want to enlarge Tank’s pictures and frame them! I’ll put them on my bedroom wall and they will start my day out right. Oh, and quagmire, please don’t provoke the Canadians, my dh are practically living on ACCs–(aspirin&codeine) since we’re really old and live near Vancouver, BC.

  23. Angie says:

    Dear Sunday,

    You’re always so funny and real, not like other homemaker-porn blogs. The sweaters are great, but I think you should wear bright and clear colors like black, navy, white, red and emerald green because you have clear skin, dark hair, and blue (I think?) eyes. In other words, high contrast. Strong colors will compliment your looks more than barfed oatmeal.

    Tricotbelle on Ravelry

    p.s. You are cool. Can we be friends?

  24. Rick says:

    Sunday? Are you still with us? It’s August 16th. . .

  25. quagmire says:

    Sunday went out yonder one night over a month ago to the outhouse … we thank maybe them hawgs done et ‘er. They’s big ol’ hawgs!

  26. kat says:

    oh noes. i am concerned. are you out there somewheres?

  27. Brandy says:

    miss reading your posts…hope you are doing ok

  28. Jarvis says:

    Hope all is well

  29. Erin says:

    I miss your writing. I hope that things are all right in AngerBurgerLand!

  30. Deborah says:

    Echoing the smart commenters, I miss your posts and hope you and the crew are well …

  31. LauraHelen says:

    Hi. I know you don’t know me, but I miss you.

  32. Rick says:

    Sunday? ARe you out there? What’s going on? Did you loose your way back from the outhouse?

  33. Rozebekistan says:

    I hope you come back! Your fans are agonizing over sending your bothersome messages. We realize that you have better stuff to do, but we do not. Please don’t commit blogicide like so many others.

  34. Sarah S. says:

    I was just starting to get to know your blog. Hope that you’re well. And selfishly I’m hoping you come back soon!

  35. quagmire says:

    POST! … or you are grounded young lady. – Dad

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