As a designer, not everything that is cast on ends up as a published pattern. Some designs will never see the lens of a camera. Most are finished, a few are at a half-way point. All have been abandoned for good reasons.

Sometimes what I envisioned doesn’t completely match what comes off the needles. I may have had to alter a stitch pattern or substitute a construction technique and the finished piece doesn’t elicit the same emotional response the imagined one did. As a designer what I most want to do is create an emotional response in the knitter.

As a knitter and sometime crocheter I want to fall in love with a design. I want the piece to make me stop cruising through the rest of the designs. I want to have the desire to click through to get more information about the project. But most designs I see elicit no emotional response in me. Yes, they may be well-designed and all, but emotionally they have no resonance. Instead I find myself looking through designs with the same dispassion as shopping for a head of lettuce. As long as the outer leaves aren’t already rotting, one head of lettuce is the same as the next.

Clever construction, a new technique are interesting, but they don’t make me feel excited about purchasing the pattern and collecting the yarn for it. I yearn for knitting and crochet that has emotional resonance.

While I’m yearning, I have enough work to do to keep me busy for a long while. Tech editing, photographing, and pulling into shape 4 patterns for the overseas company are on the front burner.

In updates: Yarn Rascal was in his glory with the small ball of merino yarn I gave him. He spent most of the day destroying playing with it. He even took it into bed with him and slept with it under his chin. I told The Skipper I think we should look into getting a merino sheep or two. The Skipper just looked at me.

I sent a PM to the shawl designer yesterday. I’ve heard nothing back. I have 4 more rows to complete and then I start the cast off for the shawl. I’m looking forward to it getting done.

Much to my dismay, the “getting in shape” part of life continues. Should I live through it, I promise myself never to fall “out of shape” again.

Saturday morning began with a solid wasp sting to my right Achilles tendon. The villain was a yellow jacket. While they have nasty dispositions, yellow jackets are beneficial to the garden eco system, which is the only reason why I don’t aggressively eradicate every one of the little terrors. I was “getting in shape” when I came across it, specifically moved out of its way only to have it unknowingly stalk me and sting me when I paused for breath. The result was the eco system has one less yellow jacket.

Limping home, accompanied by the standard cloud of bugs swirling around my head, didn’t improve my mood. When I got home, I reached for an ice pack and Benedryl (yes I am allergic to wasp stings), settled myself in the chair with my “relaxing” knitting and waited for the ice and Benedryl to work.

On the last row of the stockinette part of the shawl I realized the number of stitches called for could in no way be attained by keeping in pattern. Put aside the yarn and needles, get the pencil, get the paper, get the calculator. I had to tech edit the whole pattern. Mistakes were found. The pattern was bought on Ravelry. I looked through the notes other knitters made. All alluded to mistakes and assumed the wrong was on them and not the pattern. The quandary I find myself in is whether to PM the designer and tell her of the mistakes and suggest how she can fix them privately or just point them out and give the fix for them in my project notes. What would you do? For me, I would want the PM. However, I don’t want to be stepping over anyone’s boundaries.

On the other knitting front, The Skipper’s sock is calling me to finish it. A small yarn sacrifice is scheduled for this afternoon. Yarn Rascal will be besides himself with joy.

It’s Always Something

The Scallop-Edge Shawlette continues to progress. It starts by casting on 2 stitches which grows to 262 sts. I just reached 200 sts last night. For now, its all stockinette st with simple yos, which makes it a relaxing knit. Also in its favor, Yarn Rascal is not attracted to the yarn. Patton’s Stretch Sock is a cotton, wool, nylon, elastic mix. Yarn Rascal is 100% pure wool loving. Thus, I am not constantly interrupted by him jumping into my lap from all directions of the living room to gain the yarn.

Speaking of Yarn Rascal, somehow he knows I’m planning a small offer of yarn to the knitting-powers-that-be in hopes that I can uneventfully finish the second sock for The Skipper. The idea of a small offering came from Ribbing Yarns. Since an offering of wool with fire seemed a bit 12th century, I decided to update by giving a tiny ball of merino to Yarn Rascal. He must know I am planning this. For the last few days, he’s been sitting in front of the closet doors to the yarn vault in wild eyed expectation. When I walk past them, he howls and races to get in front of me, trying to herd me back to the doors. As a Bichon, he has no herding dog instinct in him, so I find his herding behavior a little bewildering. Rather than stumble over him, I usually pick him up and whisper, “Soon, my love” into his ear.

Resuming my yoga and walking routines hasn’t been easy. This has been a bad season for my allergies. When they are this bad, I usually feel unwell all over. Doing the downward dog yoga pose is right miserable when my eyes are itching and watering, my nose is running, and I’m coughing. A picture of health I’m not.

As for walking, the bugs have been awful. They are the kind that encircle my head and follow me no matter how fast I go. So my routine is to start out walking. Step up the pace while swatting bugs with one arm. Then step up the pace again swatting bugs with both arms–a great work out for the arms, by the way. Finally when I can’t stand having bugs around me anymore, I run while flailing my arms around my head like a lunatic. A relaxing way to get back into shape it’s not. Thankfully, it’s suppose to rain all day today, which means I only have to sniffle and cough my way through the yoga. What a blessing.


Lucky me, the shawl yarn arrived in the Saturday mail. I’ve been working on the stockinette stitch part since then. Easy, almost mindless knitting is something I haven’t done in a while and unknowingly needed to do. It’s relaxing and comforting to have something on the needles that I don’t need to continually count, notate, or measure.

The sock sits waiting. The Girl’s 1960s sweater sits waiting. Right now I am working on being okay with their waiting. Not feeling like they are a rebuke. Not allowing them to pressure me. I need a small break from constant design on top of the tech editing I do for other designers. I need to breathe.

I saw my surgeon who performed the mastectomy yesterday. From her viewpoint everything looks okay but I need to get out and exercise more. While I’ve kept up with my arm exercises, the yoga and walking has not been happening. I realized yesterday while I was running around the city of White Plains how much of a negative impact the lack of yoga and walking has had. It’s not good. I need to stay ahead of the damage that is accumulating in my heart and left lung from the radiation treatment.

Starting today, I am introducing slow but steady changes.

The second sock, in a knitted pair, carries a curse. For me, the curse is anything that can go wrong will go wrong when knitting the second sock. It’s why I like to quietly cast on my tiny stitches for the second sock with no announcement or fanfare and knit it as discreetly as possible, hiding it under other knitting when putting it away for the evening, in short doing everything I can not to catch the attention of the knitting-powers-that-be and hopefully skirt the curse. Instead I made a gruesome error.

madelinetosh sock yarn

When I completed the first sock, I mistakenly called the accomplishment to The Skipper’s attention. With great effort, he pulled his eyes away from the sports channel, glimpsed the sock, and said, “So the second one should be easier.”

I inhaled sharply as if I had suffered a severe paper cut. He didn’t say that, I thought to myself, tell me he didn’t say that. I could feel the attention of the knitting-powers-that-be rivet onto me, taking in my tiny, pathetic sock needles and the innocent ball of yarn awaiting cast on as the second sock. I closed my eyes and practiced deep breathing for the next 10 seconds and tried to accept that the second sock would be a hellion.

No sense in chastising The Skipper. The man isn’t superstitious in the least. If I had explained the curse, he would dismiss it as irrational. Yes, irrational to him, but he wasn’t the one who would struggle to knit through the curse.

I have restarted the sock twice. Despite the progress shown in the picture above, I will most likely be ripping it back for a third time as I don’t like the way the short rows look on the two initial right side rows that begin the toe shaping. I am going to give the toe a little soak today to see if it blocks out. I know that it won’t.

On a positive note, I ordered yarn to begin a small shawl that I have wanted to knit for months. If I am lucky, the yarn will be in today’s post and I will cast on for the shawl while the wretched sock dries. If I’m really, really, lucky it will take the entire weekend for the thing to dry.

Have a good weekend.

Sometimes knitted garments turn out just as I envisioned them and it is such a joy when that happens. Case in point is the Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat set. It looks just like what I had in mind.

Charleston Baby Sweater.

Charleston Baby Sweater.

I love the texture of this sweater. The way the vertical lines and the horizontal wavy lines interact as a unified whole. Believe it or not the inspiration was Art Deco architecture combined with the style of 1920s bed jackets worn by women. The hat, with the ribbon positioned at the side of the head is reminiscent of the Cloche worn in that era.

Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat Set

Charleston Baby Sweater and Hat Set

Since my inspiration was the 1920s, I wanted the photographs to look like 1920 photos. After “playing” around with the camera—truth is error upon error—I unexpectedly but pleasingly stumbled upon just the way I wanted the photos to look. Something wrong gone right doesn’t often happen to me. I was pleased as a chipmunk with a cache of nuts for the winter.

Charleston Baby Hat

Charleston Baby Hat

The pattern as a set or as separate pieces is up for sale on Ravelry.

The sizes are 3 mos (6 mos, 12 mos, 18, mos and 24 mos). Made in fingering weight yarn it is perfect for cool days and nights as well as air-conditioned environments.

To purchase the pattern as a set .

To purchase the sweater only

To purchase the hat only

Changing Projects

The Skipper’s Sock has 14 more rows before cast off. (Sounds like a NASA countdown.) Instead of starting the second sock, I will switch projects and go back to the 1960s Girl’s Sweater by casting on for the front. This means I must get myself motivated and out the stores to select buttons. I can’t do the final math calculations for the front unless I have the button sizes in front of me.

The sweater has a three button placket at the top. In order to calculate the width and length of the placket I need the buttons first. I’ve pretty much decided the placket will be worked horizontally in seed stitch.

sketch girl's 1960 smock 1

This means the front will be separated at the start of the placket and each side will be worked separately to the shoulders. I don’t favor this type of construction because I hate joining yarn and getting it to look right. It drives me right around the bend the same way those little holes at the top of the gusset of a sock used to until I found ways to eradicate them.

The crux of all this is that lately I haven’t been feeling all that well. Tired, cranky, and just out of sorts. The same way I felt when I had the cancer, but I am trying not to let my mind go there.

On the one hand, I want to ring the doctor and say I think its time to take an MRI or PET Scan to search for cancer, while on the other hand, I don’t want to give credence to the fear. It’s heading into the time of year when we found the cancer and so I may just be reliving the trauma again. On the other hand…. And so this back and forth goes on in my head.

For those who follow the exploits of Yarn Rascal, he still lives. Whatever he ate worked its way out of his system. He may get a chance at a Golden Paw Award this weekend if I decide to open the yarn vault and search out the sweater I was knitting for myself before the cancer diagnosis. I only need to finish the shoulder part of one front and knit the sleeves. It would be a perfect sweater for me to toss on in the house this winter. So if I go searching for it, Yarn Rascal should have a clear shot at the Shetland Wool that he so does cherish.

Have a good weekend.

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