I’ve sacked my Super-Ego.

Some years ago, I did an evening course which covered a lot of Freud: the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego; and it tickles me to see things in terms of this structure.

As you’re no doubt aware, the Id is our primeval self – our cravings and desires.

the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation

Sound familiar, knitters? Every time we succumb to Startitis it’s really our Id has taken control.

The only reason we don’t spend every waking minute knitting-up a storm is because of our Ego and our Super-Ego, says Freud.

The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. It’s the ego’s job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.

So the Ego makes sure we put our needles and hooks down once in a while and interact with those around us, to ensure they don’t cast us out entirely. We hold down a job so that we can pay for our yarn.

Where does the Super-ego come in?

Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.

In knitting/ crocheting terms, it’s what makes us stick with a project through thick and thin and see it through to the (sometimes) bitter end.

But sometimes you’ve got to let it go: to give in and admit defeat is the triumph of the Ego, whose function is centred in reality.

When you’ve ripped back a hairy yarn repeatedly, just to rectify a mistake others might never see; when you know in your heart-of-hearts the project is not going to be fit for the purpose you envisioned; when you realise that sticking with it will prevent you from completing another project in time… then it’s time to let your Ego take back the reigns and give in to the Id.

All this is a fancy way of saying:

  • I made the mistake of timing myself doing one repeat of the edging on Petals and realised I have 20 hours worth of work on the edging alone.
  • Considering I only average one hour per day, I was never going to get Petals *and* Peaseblossom Tunic completed in time for the Wedding/Communion deadlines.
  • In the meantime, I have bought a dress that I could wear to one of the event but it doesn’t go with Petals.
  • I also have a skirt that I think *will* go with Peaseblossom.

So yes, I have abandoned Petals and started Peaseblossom.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Choose Between Right and Wrong

My WIP of choice this days is Petals – Kirstin Omdahl’s pattern for Crochet So Fine – that I’m making in sumptuous purple Alpaca Lace dyed by Dublin Dye Company. I hadn’t been making much headway on this at all over the past few months. For a while it was the WIP I brought with me to work because it’s so neat and portable but it meant I might only have a 15 – 30 mins to work on it at lunchtime.

The problem was I would spend almost all the time I had available figuring where I was in the pattern, and where the beginning of the row was. Only recently did I follow through on my brain-wave of putting a stitch-marker in the start of the round. This has made a world of difference to how quickly I can get moving again when I pick it up; and how much it can progress anytime I touch it. Round-on-round I keep surprising myself at how fast it’s growing now after stagnating for so long.

This evening, as I was halfway around the 2nd-last round of the back, my excitement was building at how it was getting easier to see the gorgeous pattern emerge. Easier to see… yes… then I *really* saw it…

Wrong From Right

Can You See It Too?

The green stitch-marker is holding the loop of my live stitch and I’m working anti-clockwise. The “pineapple”, in the section I have *just* made (i.e. to the right of the green stitch-marker), has a missed stitch about five rounds down. Compare it to the shape of the preceeding “pineapple” section – i.e. on it’s right.

Still can’t see it? How about some close-ups for comparison:

Petals Wrap on Cover

The *problem* with crochet is that – unlike knitting – there is no way (that I’m aware of) to tink down a few rows to sort out a mucked-up stitch. The choice is to rip aaaaaaall the way back to the mistake orrrrr decide you’re happy to live with it. When you look at the finished garment – as it’s shown on the front cover of the book – you’ll see the bottom-most segment of the hexagon gets quite gathered. It’s likely that if I organise to position the “wrong” segment here that no-one will ever notice.

However – and this is the crux of all matters of WIPping or Ripping – *I* will notice. And I think it’ll bother me. I think I’ll have to rip right back.

Just as well I had figured out a way to get it to progress more quickly, eh?

I iz bustin’ ma WIPs here!

Back in March, while we were still recovering from the heady excesses of our yarn-spree in London, one of my fellow Knit-Knights (we meet in Swords, gettit?) threw down a gauntlet – no more yarn purchases until at least four WIPs were whipped into shape. It was just the call-to-arms I needed.

What was once an Urchin fit for a giant (pictured with my usual Urchin on top) …

I know I'm big headed but Srsly!

And what was once a top-down coat for the vertically-challenged – at least in terms of getting vertical guage:

Ready to join at underarms? - eh... I don't think so

Were both reduced back to the yarn-cakes from whence they came.

Aaahh! That's better

A once face-less Mole now gazes at the heavens…

"Bright Lights! Bright Lights!"

While those in Heaven too soon are remembered and honoured with an long-promised ISANDS package: 


I only knit two of the items in the package: EZ’s February Baby Sweater (in Mint) and the burial gown (in front). These languished for months – over a year in the case of the February Baby Sweater. All they needed was to have the ribbons or buttons sewn on. It’s amazing what we procrastinate about. It was such a relief to me when I finally posted this package off.

Having dualed valiantly and vanquished the deamon WIPs, I set off to claim my treasure, realising there was a flaw in our pact – a loop-hole, if you will (I am Irish after all – finding loop-holes is practically a national past-time!)

When we made our bargin we didn’t specify a correlation between the volume of WIPs completed and the new yarn purchased. We also didn’t put a limit on how many purchases we could make. So, ahem… having moved one small package out of my storage area I now have to find room for this:

Chirpy-chirpy Cheap! Cheap

Chirpy-chirpy Cheap! Cheap!

Yes, I succumbed to the cheap yarn in Aldi – to the tune of three jumper’s worth! And not Kid’s jumpers or cropped-cardis or shrugs- oh no! I was thinking a cabled jumper; a Fair-isle cardi; and something in crochet; so each jumper’s-worth of yarn is 1.5Kg worth. There was no yardage on the ball-band so I’m sure I’ve over estimated.

Ho hum… think I gotta bust-me some more WIPs.


Come all ye and gather to hear my sad tale:
Of the pattern that thwarts me and taunts me to fail;
Of the cables that twist and the ribs that won’t rip;
Of the short rows that sever’d my mental grip.

You may recall me banging on about mentioning my disasterous first attempt at knitting a cardigan for DH’s 40th Birthday (coughcough in August ’07cough). Oh yes, who could forget that epic: the two-months of knitting; the episodes of running short of wool; the frequent trips to buy yet more; the kilometers of yarn; the production of something big enough for a Sumo Wrestler? I dubbed it “The Behemoth” with all the affection that name inspires! 



This would be Bliss!

This would be Bliss!

The Back of Behemoth
The Back of Behemoth

Why is it, when I make mistakes, they can’t be small, intimate affairs? They have to be bombastic productions with stratospheric repercussions. They say you learn from your mistakes. Perhaps my subconscious feels the need to SHOUT LOUD to get my attention. Learning from your mistake would involve doing the same thing, the same way – only better, because of all you’ve learned. Right? Of course not. This knitter has to do the same thing a completely different way and learn a whole new set of mistakes.

 I was inspired by my knitting hero, Elizabeth Zimmermann, to give it another go. Barbara Walker helped point the way: down-wards! and Aileen gave me the knowledge. With that knowledge came courage. I charted, I calculated and I measured my swatch (i.e. The Behemoth – at least it was good for something). I cast-on – provisionally – and started my top-down version of Debbie Bliss’ Glenvar pattern. Mistake #1 of my whole new batch. I call my second attempt “GlenvAargh!!!”, with almost as much affection.

Learn from my mistakes (a.k.a. share the pain)

Follow that line!

Follow that line!

Mistake #1: You can’t knit up and down from a provisional cast-on in ribbing. At least, not without something “hookey” happening to the rib. I was aware of this but decided to lash on, regardless. The result is intriguing but I’m guessing no one’s going to notice.

Mistake #2: Short-row shaping (for the sholders) and cables is not a great combination; it may wreck your head! I got through it and was happy with the result, mainly because I survived it.

Mistake #3: This one is hard to explain – basically my calculations gave me 210sts around; the stitch pattern is based on 10sts; I planned to centre one repeat on the back and work the remaining 200 around. This meant the pattern repeat was not centred on the side seams. I decided this was fine and charted my way all around. According to my charts the front cables & ribs didn’t line up with the back. I didn’t realise that my charting was completely useless until I reached the underarms. Of course, the way the sholders were set up, the front and back cables and ribs have to line up. If I wanted to keep to the pattern I needed a stitch count of 200 or 220.

Mistake #4: My first response on realising Mistake #3 was to opt for a stitch count of 200 and I rushed at joining under the arm-holes. Only then did I realise the impact this would have on the length of the armholes. Similarly, a stitch count of 220 would make them too long. GlenvAargh!!! went on time-out for a long time while I stewed over the repercussions. I couldn’t bear the thought of ripping again.

The other day, a light went on. It was possibly inspired by fellow Knit-Knight (we meet in Swords, you see) Clare (a.k.a. Clarabel on Rav). She’s been knitting Mirage Pullover from More Big Girl Knits. I was very taken with how the lace pattern travels up the side seams and the underarm of the sleeves. I realised I could make a new chart for the side seams, based on 15 sts. Sigh of Relief: Aaaah!

So, I got out my graph paper, pencil, rubber and stuck my tongue into the corner of my mouth as I charted my new territory; focused me. Then I ripped back the two rows to unjoin the fronts and back; fearless me. Then I realised that I’d messed up in my increases for the armholes, previously, so I ripped back another inch; determined me. I used a smaller needle to pick up the stitches as a life-line before I ripped; clever me. Something a little odd happened as I was ripping the back. I figured it out as best I could and knit on; brave me.

Mistake #5 (yup, I’m not done learnin’ any time soon…) Pay more attention when something strange happens, even when you’re ripping. I’ve ripped out a short-row on the back and botched it up beyond all recognition. My short-rows are so good, even I can’t find them. All I know is the cable pattern is out of kilter – the first two repeats don’t need a cable twist for another two rows but the rest of the row is on the cable-twist row. GlenvAargh!!! is on time-out, for a third time, until I figure this one out.

Oh! and while I’m at it: Mistake #101 – you can’t frog ribbing from the bottom up (as the wise lady says – ask me how I know…) The Behemoth bites me even as I slay it.