Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweater Stories: Finale (aka the Ugliest Sweater in the World)

They say (do they? they must) that there is no bad knitting. Some people say that there are no knitting police. That is definitely true. And true, too, that all knitting projects have value, that we can at least learn something from them. That is all kinds of true. And yeah, blahbityblahbityblah, everything is special and unique and wonderful.

But let's be honest, folks. This sweater looks like ass.

I mean, the knitting itself is not so bad. I'm actually a little proud of that (which is incredible, considering that I am seriously considering burning this sweater and denying all knowledge of it. Except that it's acrylic, so it would melt and make a big mess and then I would really sorry. Plus my roommates would kill me).

And yeah, I did a pretty good job of picking up stitches, and the raglan increases look pretty good.

But the rest of it? Oh dear god. For starters, the fit...I don't know what I was thinking, I really don't. It's way too big at the waist, and it sort of gaps goofily under the arms, and it's a really awkward length that is too long to be stylishly cropped and too short to be a real sweater.

Add that to the fact that this is the ugliest freaking yarn on the planet, and...

Yeah, so who wants a sweater?

Except no, I can't do that. Partly because I couldn't bear to inflict this monstrosity on anyone else, and partly because as ugly as it is, I did make and I'm (a little) proud of it. I guess it's condemned to to back of my closet, where I can bring it out and laugh at it occasionally.

I suppose comic value is better than no value at all.

I am a delinquent knitblogger

It would appear that despite my best intentions, this regular blogging is harder than it looks. With, you know, classes & activities & other things that cut into the knitting time. Sigh. Anyway, I'm back, celebrating this gorgeous Friday and also NO FOOTBALL GAME THIS WEEK, which, while sad, means that I get to skip my usual Friday morning ritual of frantically writing guitar parts and yelling at my printer (I write music for my colleges's marching band, which is fun but a lot of work).

At any rate, Sweater Story #2. Recall, if you will, the relative success that was my last sweater. How I spent hours and hours writing my pattern. How the yarn was the very best that I could afford. How I put all the time and energy and effort I could into ensuring that this was a quality product.

Not so with this one.

One day in Spain this summer, as I walked home from class, I happened across a little store called something that translates to "China Store." I walked in to one of the strangest retail experiences I've ever had--this place had EVERYTHING, from combs to shoes to home decor, all of it uniformly extraordinarily cheap and incredibly crap. I was on the verge of leaving when I spotted it. The wall full of yarn.

The details are a little fuzzy, but half an hour later I was walking out with a headful of sweater patterns and a bagful of this:

Now, this yarn...well, for starters, the brand is called Lana Para Labores, or Worker's Wool. This is pretty hilarious, because this yarn is wool the same way I am a nuclear physicist. It's acrylic, but not even good, soft acrylic that makes a passable imitation at being a natural fiber. No, this stuff is pretty much ropes of plastic. It's thick, oddly squeaky, and kind of rough. And have you seen the colors?

So why did I buy it, you ask? What mental illness could possible have come over me?

Oh. That's why.

I also came away with this (slightly dubious-looking) needle, necessary because all I had with me were sock needles.

And again:

Did it ever occur to me that there might be a REASON for these prices? Perhaps I heard my mother's voice in my head, admonishing me that you get what you pay for?

No, is the answer to that question. No, I did not.

As soon as I got home, I sat down and began scribbling, and after some swatching and calculations, came up with this:

My plan was for a fitted, cropped cardigan, knit top-down with yarn-over raglan increases, with deep ribbing at the sleeves and bottom, with half-sleeves. In my head, this looked pretty cute. A little colorful, true, but cute. I started knitting.

I kept knitting. The yarn was, indeed, horrible. It even had these weird little acrylic hairs in it, long and yellow-like doll hairs. Weird. I kept knitting.

Huh, this thing is getting kind of big.

I kept knitting.

After awhile, I started to notice something wet on my knitting, right at the point where the needle joined to the cable. I thought that was weird. I kept knitting, though, until disaster struck.

Maybe you didn't catch that.


What will happen next? Will she soldier on, despite crap yarn, worryingly large sweater, and now this disaster? Or will she pitch the whole thing in the trash and reach for the socks?

Stay tuned! Next installment coming, as soon as I find my camera that has the rest of the pictures.