mom’s birthday

nothing says “i love you mom” like a hand-made present with a little blood, sweat and tears sprinkled on top. which is why exactly two weeks before mom’s birthday i decided to make her a lace scarf. the idea was beautiful of course, and the outcome too. getting there, not so much.

size 180 x 27 cm
wetterhoff sivilla (75 g/3.5mm)

i assure you, my mother is not being held
at gunpoint in this picture

the pattern was pretty clear and knitting it wasn’t hard at all, just a lot of repetitive work. but when it comes to details and finishing my IQ drops by 40 points the second the basic chart is done. graft without reading the instructions? okay. thread the edges with sticky cotton yarn? sure. start blocking at 0:30AM? why not. and don’t bother counting the charts either, a ballpark figure is accurate enough. frogging lace is easy anyway. sheesh.

here’s me grafting. see?

i ended up redoing simple things over and over, because the lobotomic side of my brain couldn’t keep up with the excitement, and because the smart part just couldn’t let it go. also there was a south park marathon on TV during the first trainwreck of a blocking cycle, which may or may not have contributed to the lack of focus and abundance of epically retarded decisions. sticks and stones may break my bones but i’m jesus and you aren’t.

still, 10 days for my second ever lace scarf is not bad. and mom seemed to like it. the yarn choice was perfect too, although the color was supposed to be a little more pink and less purple. so in the end the project turned out fine. but will i learn anything from all the shit i put myself through here?

hell no. same time next year.

more pics after the jump.

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possum to the people

my friends are awesome. really, really awesome.

one of them did me a huge favor regarding a certain pair of bright red eyeglasses, which pretty much made me break down and weep because i was so moved (see, i do have feelings after all). anyway, i couldn’t decide how to thank her until i went to a local yarn store with some other business and saw this beautiful eco-friendly black yarn that was super soft and had some curious grey fibers sticking out of it. so i thought, i’ll make her a pair of fingerless mitts, because my ultimate goal in life is to make her look like a homeless person. no. wait. that didn’t come out right.

i made her a pair of these…

with this.

wait. go back. what’s that there, the 30 % part?

possum? as in, i-have-a-pointy-nose-and-hang-upside-down-from-my-tail-because-i-can’t-be-bothered-to-stand-on-my-feet possum?

yup. apparently there’s a huge eco-disaster looming out in new zealand because possums, which some douchebag brought from australia in hopes of becoming some major fur honcho, destroy trees and eat birds and do all kinds of shit they’re not particularly welcome to do. so people out there are trying to eradicate them by shooting them with bazookas or whatever (no one wants to tell me how they actually do it but i always love the idea of bazookas), and once the buggy-eyed bastards are dead they make yarn out of ’em. which i totally support. if there’s such a thing as eco-friendly yarn, this is it. really. everybody wins. except, you know, possums. because they’re dead.

the yarn really is soft, softer than alpaca in my opinion. some guy somewhere with too much time has measured the possum fibers with a fancy microscope thingy and concludes that it’s physically impossible for it not to be soft, because the fibers taper down to 1 microns, which is well below the human ability to sense. so no “prickle factor”. i love that word.

the mitts themselves are very basic, but the material is curious enough as it is. so curious, in fact, that from now on i will only wear things made out of possum hair, because unless you wear possum, YOU ARE DESTROYING NEW ZEALAND.

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blocking 101

here’s how to do it.

you take the scarf, shirt, whatever, and dump it into your bathroom sink. no, wait, draw some warm water first and then dump it in. you don’t want that baby felting. don’t worry if there are toothpaste stains or other smears in the sink, as it’s probably not enough to ruin the fabric anyway. let it soak for a good 15-20 minutes, kneading it firmly every now and then to remove any air bubbles. muscle relaxants will help time go faster.

at this point you’ll notice that you forgot to thread the edges. you may also know that it’s difficult to thread wet fabric, or if you don’t know, you will soon enough. so take the piece out, dry it using your preferred method and thread the edges you want to keep straight. then soak the piece again.

once the piece is completely soaked, take it out and roll it inside a towel to squeeze out excess water. stomp on it to a couple of times – keep your socks on while doing so as they will help absorb more water. lay another towel on the floor and spread the piece on it. pull the threads tight and start pinning down the edges. make sure to jam the pins deep into the flooring underneath, as this will make the hold more secure. some people use a ruler or a tape measurer to keep the proportions even. i trust my eyes more than some piece of plastic, but this of course is up to your discretion.

if you took the relaxants, you will start feeling a bit drowsy right now. don’t worry. that’s part of the fun.

unless you were able to insert all the pins in less than 5 minutes, the piece will have dried too much by now, especially if you’re blocking lace. you probably don’t want to do the soak for a third time, nor do you want to take all the pins out again, so you could just try spraying the piece with a spray bottle. however, silk fibers especially need to be thoroughly wet, so just to be safe i would recommend rinsing the bastard with a watering can (a garden hose would work too). pour at least a few gallons directly over the piece, or until the color of the yarn has gone darker throughout. of course, everything on a two-meter radius will be flooded, along with two apartments below you, but even the most stubborn fibers will now be thoroughly wet, which is crucial.

the wet part of the blocking process is now over. getting the piece to dry into its newly stretched form will be a small pickle, now that the piece and the towels and carpets and floorings under it are drenched. first give it a good 24 hours to dry by itself. but unless you are blocking near a radiator or a window with direct sunlight, you will need additional help from the hairdryer. you shouldn’t need to use it for more than 4-5 hours.

once the piece is completely dry, take out the pins and remove the threads, using force if and when necessary. weave in all unwoven ends. be sure to leave a few pins on the floor! finding them will be a fun game for kids and pets. if all has gone well, your newly blocked garment will only have lost some of its original sheen and texture, and will have a lovely minty scent.

finally, take your head out of your ass, go to this address and start over. because my technique sucks some epically major balls.

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b-day & hat resurrected

greetings from planet birthday. it’s a pretty sweet place, where everyone likes you and wants to give you cool things for no reason at all except for being born on some random day. and you gladly accept this lavish attention with pink buttercream smears in one hand and a spongebob balloon in the other. but the price, of course, is that the next morning you realize you’re now twenty-schmumble which is exactly four wrinkles and a lady moustache away from oh-god-let’s-not-go-there. how fleeting life is, you ponder, and drown your worries in leftover cake.


well, getting old can’t be all bad if you have the right kind of friends to get old with. the kind that knows you well enough. the kind that gives you stuff like this.


speaking of dying, i recently found the smoldering remains of a certain hat accident from last winter and decided to try and resurrect them. fairly brave of me, since all attempts last time ended in nothing short of bloodshed. meaning the hat looked less like a hat and more like a condom with vertical ribs. this time it only took four cycles of knitting and frogging to get it right, but who’s counting. it looks like a simple pattern, which it is, but fitting it was a nightmare. hats for me always are. because of my giant trapezoid head.

size kinda loose
novita jussi (under 100g/4mm)

it’s kind of amazing actually how persistent i was with this piece. i’m not saying there weren’t any ohmybloodygodandfuck moments, because that would be a dirty dirty lie. but sometimes the amount of tenacity hidden under my onion layers scares me.

i’m also working on a very special surprise project that again concerns lace, since i’m now the bona fide master of intricate knitwork. more information on that next week. for now let’s just say my mental capacity is growing by the minute.

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another problem solved

living alone and having a less-than-impressive social life means having to negotiate several tricky obstacles that arise when attempting to perform functions that, for optimum results, require two people. and i’m not just talking about sex.


although TV’s a good replacement for that too.

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