… with a side of “dinner’s burned beyond recognition, let’s order a pizza.”
I’ve heard the term “potato chip knitting” on the Knitmore podcast, and while I never heard anyone specifically define the term, a quick Rav search reveals that it’s pretty much what it sounds like: knitting that you like so much, you don’t want to put it down, and every time you try, you just want one more row.
I’ve done potato chip knitting before, but usually it’s socks. Lately, I’ve been having a bit of a tiff with my sock knitting: I frogged a pair last month, after getting past the heel and realizing that the socks were tight enough to constrict my circulation, and I undid my Tuxedo socks, although luckily I was doing those one at a time. Both were SKA challenges, and both times I wrestled with the idea of frogging. The Rhyme & Reason socks I could have easily finished within the month and gifted them to someone… but I liked the pattern too much, and I really loved the color the yarn turned out. As for the Tuxedos, the yarn was fabulous (it was my first time using Mountain Colors), but the heel just looked wonky to me, because I’m not a [heel] flapper. And the stitch pattern was lovely, but using it all over kind of made it get lost inside itself, in my opinion. I’ll definitely redo them, but with a maybe a single stripe of the lace up each side, and one up the back. Either pair, I could have finished, but I wouldn’t have been happy with using two gorgeous yarns in projects I where I wasn’t totally satisfied with the outcome.
So as much as it pained me to kill so much progress (not to mention losing entries in SKA challenges), I sent both projects to that great yarn basket in the sky. I wanted to start something new, because having fewer than two active projects on the needles makes me a little uneasy, but I didn’t want to do another sock pattern. Enter Ginger & Wasabi.
I’ve had these in my queue ever since they came out in Knitty, but I have a kind of tier system with my queue, with wishlist items at the bottom, “I like that and would knit it at some indeterminate point in the future, and have the pattern (or it’s free)” above those, and “will knit and is paired with a yarn I already have in my stash” at the top. G&W was moved all the way up after I realized that not only did I want another pair of handknit gloves, but I had a ball of boring brown sock yarn that I probably wouldn’t ever want to use for socks (because plain really isn’t my thing, even considering the potential irony of being able to make vanilla socks with chocolate yarn), and I had two more balls of the same brand yarn in variegated colors, so I wouldn’t have to worry about differences in thickness that can happen even between yarns that are ostensibly the same weight. (For example, I’d never do colorwork with Cascade Heritage and Patons Kroy.) I actually made a swatch too, although I shouldn’t get much credit for that, since I needed to see how the various color pairings would look together.
Finally, as we started the final episode of True Detective, I cast on. I started with the large size, and worked as instructed in the pattern (k1 A, k1B) for about a dozen rounds. This creates a rolled edge, but after some thought, I decided I wanted the cuff to lie flat, to make the project go faster. (I also have long arms, and sometimes my jacket/coat doesn’t come down as far as I’d like, so I need every inch of wrist coverage I can get.) I frogged and re-cast on, this time doing only the first round as directed so I wouldn’t get wrong-color purl bumps, then working in corrugated ribbing.
After another 10 or so rounds, I pulled it over my hand to check the fit. (This is just one more reason I prefer magic looping to dpns: I can put all of the stitches on a nice, flexible cable when I check the fit of something, without worrying about anything straining over bumps and curves, or stitches coming off.) It was entirely too big, so I frogged again, measured my hand, and decided the medium size would fit better. (By this time, True Detective was over, and I was safe*, albeit somewhat unfulfilled. Thanks, Internet.) So I cast on… again… and plodded through 3½” of k1A p1B… again… and by the time I finished with that, it was around 6 in the morning, which was a little early for me to go to bed, so I decided I’d work the pattern until the sun came up.
And then I decided to work the pattern until I got through the thumb gusset.
And then I really had to go to bed, and when I couldn’t get to sleep, I wished I had worked on the pattern a little more. Maybe to the fingers. It was that addictive, which is strange, because it’s colorwork. It’s not hard, but it is stranded, two-handed knitting, which I didn’t think I really liked, but I guess I like it more than I thought I did.
Not that I’m a stranger to addictive knitting, per se – it’s just that it’s usually with socks. It’s just that there’s such a disparity between my current sock project and this one that I believe it’s throwing me off a bit. I’ll just come out and say this: I am not enjoying knitting my Mawi socks.
The pattern is quite pretty, so it’s not that. It’s just that it’s taking so long, and it’s so everloving slow. I have no one to blame but myself, for having chosen to knit an allover pattern (rather than taking maybe three repeats of the cable pattern and centering it up the front and back), and I used 80 stitches on a 2.25 mm needle.
Here’s the thing: I rarely knit socks (or anything, really) on needles that small. I actually kind of wince when I see people talk about knitting socks with a 2.0 or smaller, because it actually sounds uncomfortably dense. Which, I know, is kind of the point of knitting socks, but I admit to a little laziness in that area. My densest socks (aside from the Mawis) are probably my John Hustons, which were one of the few pairs I’ve knit on 2.25s, and also have held up the best. In fact, I’ve gotten such a bee in my bonnet to find the yarn I used (which is Australian) because the socks have held up so well, that I’ve kind of glossed over the fact that the fabric’s density is likely also a factor in the lack of pilling and fuzzing.
Still, though, I knit those socks 2AAT, and I know those didn’t take as long; even though I could knit at work at the time, they weren’t a very portable project, since I didn’t want to worry about trying to do cabling on dark yarn and getting distracted. Then again, the pattern itself only really has cabling up the side and allover ribbing, rather than an allover ribbing/cable pattern.
I think I’m going to do a rare mid-project name change, and it will reflect how my feelings towards the project have changed. I think that I’ve fallen out of love with them. I absolutely cannot wait to cast these off and be done with them, but I have to work them to a certain length… and I just don’t wanna.
On a (somewhat) happier note, I will not have to have these socks in my sock drawer, mocking me and my impatience with them. I was at my in-laws’ over this past weekend, due to having lost power after an ice storm. Anticipating a stay of several days, I took three projects with me, one of them being the Mawi socks. My mother-in-law (who is the rule-proving exception to all the mother-in-law tropes) put on the socks I gave her for Christmas and when my sister-in-law came home from work, she commented how much her mom talked about the socks and how much she liked them. She also said that she really liked the socks I had made for her but had nearly worn them out. So since her feet are almost exactly my size, I had her try on the Mawis, and told her that once I finished them, they were hers. It made me think of growing up with my own sister, and she’d happily eat the lima beans I could only push around on my plate. “Ugh… you like those?”
PS: I got a little shout-out on the Prairie Girls podcast. That was exciting, although I hope I didn’t traumatize Susie too much with my mention of animals soiling stash.
*I’m a huge, huge wuss. I am not into scary movies or television at all, and I generally avoid them. If something I’m watching takes a turn towards the creepy or unsettling, I have the “safety blanket” of being able to look down at what I’m working on. Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have much of a warning that shit’s about to get real, yo – for example, when Reggie Ledoux met his fate. But when I’m more familiar with what I’m watching, a complicated stitch pattern is my best friend. I love Silence of the Lambs and will watch it anytime it’s on, but during the storage-unit scene and the final basement scene, I’m pretty intensely focused on my work.