Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Smack Down by the Knitting Fairy

One of my Christmas gifts this year was this wonderful muse from my good friend Gale.

It hangs next to my favorite knitting spot and I was hoping for some positive energy to put my knitting mojo on the right track. So far, I am not impressed. My last couple of projects have come up short in the success department.

The Maine Lung Association Gala is Saturday night and I promised two knitted bags as a donation. Last year I did the Jenanne tote bag and a Pink Lady and they were a huge hit, selling for a combined total of over 100 dollars and yielding some followup commissioned projects. This year I planned another Jenanne tote and a bag called Amanda's Squatty Sidekick, another felted purse. First the squatty sidekick...the pattern said it was a quick knit and the directions certainly made it look that way. Somehow something went terribly wrong. It ended up horribly skewed and, after felting it I "dissected" it, hoping to sew it together, line it and pull it out of the crapper. I realized that my sewing machine is buried under an avalanche of miscellaneous detritus and the clock is ticking so I decided to put it on the back burner until I can work on it without the time pressure. This is what I have to work with:

Yeah, I know...good luck with THAT! So I signalled to the bench for a substitute and will offer one of these two FO's instead:

Hopefully they will do well in the auction.

Now to turn my attention to the Jenanne tote. I've made this pattern AT LEAST five times so I figured it would be piece of cake. I had so much leftover yarn in my stash and I had separated my feltable yarn from my other yarn so I figured I was all set. The knitting gremlins must have read my mind and laughed their devilish little asses off. This bag started eating yarn like the fat kid in the pie eating contest. The clock was ticking and I still had to felt the blasted thing. All of a sudden I was running out. CRAP! I really didn't want to dig into my stash of unused yarn or go out and spend money on more yarn (my New Year's resolution was a MAJOR yarn diet!) Alas, it was not to be. Reluctantly I headed to my LYS for one more skein of Lopi and, wouldn't you know it, they didn't have ANY of the colors I was using. I had already put so much black in it that I didn't want to use any more. So I bought a skein of light blue and finished it FINALLY. For some reason I was in the slow lane on this one, unlike all of the other bags I had made. It was taking FOR-ever! On to the felting process. I put it in the washer (zipped in a pillowcase cover to keep the lint out of my machine's motor) and piled in a bunch of old ripped jeans to increase the agitation. First cycle through it felted...a little. Second time through...a little more. In the end it took FIVE times through to get to the size I wanted. But something was still amiss. The colors looked off. And, to make matters worse, some of the black turned out NOT to be pure wool...DOUBLE CRAP! That left a section of about an inch with nasty big old stitches glaring at me, unlike the rest of the bag. So here is the final result in all of its ornery, uncooperative, maddening glory:

Hopefully, like a big-eyed orphan or a whimpering puppy in the shelter, somebody will see this pathetic project and take pity on it and place a bid. The saving grace is that this is a charity auction and people tend to be very generous for a cause. After that, it will become a hot item for a white elephant sale or a gag gift that will be passed around office holiday yankee swaps for years to come. Oh, how disappointing. I feel so bad, especially since last year's projects did so well. So here's my plea...God, can I PLEASE have my knitting karma back now, PLEEEEEEZE?

It hasn't ALL been a disaster. I've been working on a Norah Gaughan sweater, the Lite Lopi Pullover from Fall 2003 Interweave Knits. And I even have all the yarn I need in my stash [woo-hoo!] It's a little slow -- circular knitting for 15+ inches but I am really liking it. So there IS hope. I won't have to stab myself in the eye with my knitting needle or hang myself with my yarn. And maybe after that I'll have the momentum going to finish some of my other UFO's and resist the urge to start anything else! Happy knitting everyone!

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