Helper monkey

The reality is this: the Adrienne Vittadini sweater is killing me. I can work maybe 4-10 rows before my left arm says, “stop, in the name of love!” I have worked one sleeve to the elbow in the past week, so at this speed it will take me a good 5-6 weeks to finish the sleeves. Also, I’m afraid I’ll be a bit short on yarn. The entire body, front and back, took less than 6 skeins; each sleeve will probably take close to 3. I bought 11 skeins total. The Maths tell me I’m likely to be 1 skein short. Shit.

The reality is this: I decided to give the intended recipient of the textured scarf something else for her birthday, so I’m no longer in a rush to complete it. I still want to finish it up (someday), and this scarf is the perfect “going-out, carry-along” project. But I’m not in a rush anymore.

The reality is this: I would love to get started on the Fibo, but I think it will be too overwhelming to work two sweaters at once because I’m completely re-working the pattern for each one.

The reality is this: it’s time to start a new project.

If you’re a knit blogger, your pajamas will eventually make their appearance in your blog. That’s just the way the world works. This is what I was dealing with this morning:

What is up with that? Can you tell from the picture that the individual strands of wool are slightly felted together? So, when I tried to wind the yarn into a ball, the strands stuck to each other and formed a hellishly-annoying cute-looking mesh. Huh, never knew this could happen to wool just sitting in a drawer.

This is lace weight yarn from, also known as Malabrigo, which I purchased at Circles, one of my LYSs. The original intent was to use this yarn for this shawl-like thing that I’m sure you’ve never heard of; I’ll just call it Crapotee. But, alas, I’ve decided to wind this yarn and use it for something else.

Lately I’ve been terribly disenchanted with using center-pull skeins, so eventually the slightly-felted mess became this:

And now it is looking like this:

The pattern is Crest of the Wave by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, and I think especially in its current unblocked state you can see how its based on the Feather and Fan motif.

This isn’t my first venture into lace knitting, but to date I’ve given up after a few inches every time. The really interesting part is that I’m really good at lace knitting. Huh? Okay, let me explain. I’m really good at reading charts, or making charts if they aren’t provided (like this pattern), and I’m really good at not losing nor gaining stitches, and I have a good sense of where I should put stitch markers and when I should thread a lifeline, and I’m good at reading my stitches and spotting mistakes early on, and you know I can do the knitting and the purling and the yarn overs… but lace knitting kills my body.

Let’s try this exercise. Imagine: some stitches, YO three times, some other stitches. Next row: some stitches, p first YO, p second YO, p third YO through the back loop, some other stitches. Well, shit, are you surprised that my body is in pain after this? The only surprise here is that (1) I haven’t yet figured out how to get my big toe involved in helping with these crazy stitch manipulations and (2) that I haven’t yet purchased and trained a helper monkey to give me a third arm when trying to purl the third yarn over through the back loop.

P.S. I’m looking for some non-wood straight needles with ultra super duper pointy tips. I’ve tried the Boye, Susan Bates, and Bryspun, and they aren’t pointy enough. Suggestions?


19 thoughts on “Helper monkey

  1. Jane

    The Denise needles are plastic and pretty pointy. Unfortunately, you need to buy the kit of all the needles.

  2. freecia

    Addi turbo sells some flex needles which basically look like the circular addi turbo cut in half with bobs on the cut ends to keep your project from falling off. Super-pointy but not really straights.

  3. catbookmom

    Others have suggested Denise and Inox, and you’ve ruled out Bryspuns. I’m currently testing the Balene II needles, but I don’t think the tips are any more pointy than Bryspuns.

    BTW, I make center-pull balls on my ball winder and then pull from the outside; if I have to frog, the ball stays firmer than if I’ve yanked out the middle.

  4. Carolyn

    The pony pearls…pony pearls I tell you.

    FYI you can put your center pull ball in those handy little mesh pieces the liquor store puts around your wine bottles to keep then from clanking…and you get to drink the wine!

    ps love the scarf…I also love lace.

  5. Kate

    Crapotee, you slay me. How’s that laceweight Malabrigo to work with? I’m groovin’ on the worsted merino.

  6. Betsy

    Kathy, your knitting blog superstardom blows me away. Every time I look, you have 10+ more subscribers than the last time, and your grubby hands post got more comments than our engagement. Will you sign my size 35s? 😉

  7. Colleen

    That’s a beautiful scarf! There is a little tricky-do about slipping stitches to purl together through the back loop. Do you know it, or do you want me to dig it out?

    So that skein got felted in the drawer? That’s weird.

  8. Jenifer

    For pointy needles, I sand down my bamboos. Just a suggestion if you don’t mind wood needles. Can you do that with plastic?!

  9. lauray

    sorry to hear about ur AV. You are making me very curious bout the book and pattern. I’ve bought it, but will only get in June/July. I’ve nvr heard of yarn felting in the drawer..LOL u r the first! I love that color u got from Malabrigo! My opinion, if u want pointed tips, it’s always bamboos. The metals I’ve seen and used so far doesn’t get close to it. Not even the Pony or Inoxes I have.

  10. paula

    My God, woman! That is ONE PERFECT, BEAUTIFULLY ROLLED ball of yarn!

    I know I’m totally missing the point of this post, but I just finished winding a ball of yarn and it’s all wonky as usual, so when I saw yours, I audibly GASPED. Gasped!

    Anyway, yes on INOX and yes on being able to sand the plastic needles. 🙂

  11. Michelle

    That yarn, although slightly felted, is absolutely gorgeous! I cannot wait to see the scarf in person. Lovely! I would like you to make a class at TG some time for chart reading. I have always wanted to learn how.

  12. sara

    Eeek. Your knitting injuries are scary. Between long hours on the computer and playing oboe in 2 groups – it was looking really bad a few years ago. Career-threatening bad. It’s the reason I stopped making jewelry. Have you looked into any treatment?

  13. Stephanie

    Beautiful yarn and scarf. I love that color and the variations in the hand dyed are fabulous. I have not a single needle suggestion – I’m just not good for anything! 🙂

  14. Stephanie

    I really like the Aero needles. I’ve only used their circulars, but they are VERY pointy and slick. They are coated metal. I’ve never seen them in a store near me, but I’ve ordered them from with good results. The price is great too.

  15. Tara

    Have you talked to a doctor about the pains? I mean, yipes!

    I have a partial ball of hollyberry leftover from Summer. If it’s the right dyelot, I can send it to you. 🙂 I love the color of your handpainted yarn, by the way! And I have some of their yarn sitting in my closet, so now I’m all paranoid that it’s felting to itself! ah!

  16. Anna

    Crapotee–too funny! Congratulations on exposing to the world that hand-painted yarn has more than one purpose in the world.

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