Sunday, 20 November 2011

Laughing at myself

As I sit in front of a blazing fire with the wind howling outside (Puppy is curled up behind the woodstove in her favourite spot), I must share a tale of woe. Two projects have not yet made it onto the etsy shop, due to the fact that they were, well, epic fails. The first is based on a request from a friend, who wanted felted trigger-finger mittens like he'd seen the old fishermen wear in his home province of Newfoundland. According to my friend, "those guys could like, dip their hands in the freezing ocean, pull 'em out, and their hands would be warm and dry!". Well, this seemed like a tall order to fill, especially since their were no patterns available for what he wanted. They had to have a separate trigger finger, they had to be felted (fulled), and he wanted them for hunting season. I set about trying to combine a trigger finger mitten pattern I had in an old pattern book of patterns designed for the war effort, with various felted mitten patterns available. The first one turned out not so bad, except that I somehow misjudged (perhaps forgot altogether?) the material that would cover the base of the hand below the thumb. So I tweaked the pattern and re-knit. And somehow ended up with a highly deformed thumb/finger combination. I'd also on these two attempts experimented with knitting the ribbed cuff on BEFORE felting, using superwash wool. Unfortunately the heat from the felting process destroyed the superwash and left it with no memory. The third attempt was unfortunately not the charm, as though an improvement on the past two, the finger did not felt as much as the rest of the hand, and ended up over-long. I'll be revisiting these soon for a fourth (and hopefully final) attempt so I can get them to my friend, make a pair for the dreamy hunkster for Christmas, and get them up on the shop.

My second fail was an attempt to turn an old lace pattern that was first published in Canada in 1891 in a magazine called "Home Work" into a lace-edged toque. I was almost at the end of the lace pattern on the first attempt when I looked at my work and thought, "That doesn't look right." I then realized that I had forgotten that the pattern was written as a lace edging for long-ago forgotten delights such as hankies and lace-trimmed pillowcases. In other words, I was knitting a flat pattern in the round.
(on the left of the photo)
So I frogged it, re-wrote the pattern for knitting in the round, and started over. I cast on when I hopped in the carpool and hoped to have the edging completed by the time we got to school I was on the second last round of the lace pattern and was counting stitches when I noticed that I had somehow turned my in-the-round hat cuff into a mobius. This is not the first time I have done this, knitting in the dim light of my headlamp in the carpool. I have set it off to the side and will revisit it when I am feeling less animosity towards that particular hat pattern.

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