Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's not you, it's me; BBQ skewers...and a contest!


I am fully expecting any day now to receive a 'cease and desist' order from Grumperina* telling me to quit slagging on her pattern. All over the knitblogosphere I've blasphemed it, told my tale of woe to whomever would dare even breath mention of the J-word. I don't know what it is precisely about this pattern that has inspired such bile on my part. It must be some disastrous cosmic alignment and convergence of the pattern, the size 1 needles that are now warped beyond recognition, incidentally,(kabobs, anyone?) and the Opal hand painted yarn, which basically feels like twine at this point.




I'm sorry, Jaywalkers, it's just not working out between us. It's not you, it's me.

You might recall my last post which prematurely sounded the death knell of sock knitting round these parts. Right when I was about to permanently throw in the sock knitting towel, enter a pattern so utterly awesome, so undeniably
right on that the sheer magnitude of its power has yet to be properly comprehended and documented.

People, I am talking about the Monkey sock.

The Monkey sock. The sock that has single handedly restored my sock knitting mojo and brought me back away from the dark place. Coaxed me off the ledge. Shown me that it's not all of sock knitting that has me down, but rather one unfortunate, abusive, co-dependent knitting relationship. Jaywalkers, I'm breaking up with you. Cookie A., I want to have your baby. Run away with me, won't you?



The highs and lows of this wild roller coaster ride of sock knitting emotions has gotten me thinking about various patterns and projects, and inspired my first ever contest. Also, this my 100th post, and I love to see people duke it out over prizes.

There are two skeins of Trekking up for grabs, one for someone who has never posted before (yes I'm a blog whore) and another for an old timer. Post your answer to the question below before Monday, May 28th and you might score pay dirt! Tween thing and Peeper-lou will help determine the lucky winners.

Question: What pattern/project has nearly done you in, has kicked your knitting a**, so to speak, and what was the pattern that rescued your faith in knitting?

*please know that I think Grumperina is an amazing, gifted designer and that my recent Jaywalker travails are all of mine own doing, completely my own fault, and in no way reflect on her talents, which are well known by anyone who has either had success with the Jaywalkers (hate all of you) or any of her other patterns...

44 comments:

Zarzuela said...

Your Monkeys look great! Glad they have given you back your sock mojo.

As for your question: There have been plenty of patterns that I've just given up on, but I don't really let it bother me. I usually just move on to something else. Probably not the answer you were looking for!

Jessica

Laura said...

I love the colour of the yarn you're using for your Monkeys!

Hmm...I can't think of a pattern that's made me want to quit knitting...

Tammy said...

For what it's worth, I have a single Jaywalker that took me forever to knit and has now taken up residence as an lonely only in my knitting basket. I'm not sure what it was. I liked the pattern enough... I think it was the tight gauge I used... or that the pattern created... or the colors that I chose. Just not sure.

Rowan's Tulip is giving me some fairly decent nightmares about now. But usually when I hit freak-out with a pattern, I hide it until the nightmares are over.

IK's Falling Leaves socks totally renewed my love of sock knitting.

trixie stix said...

You make me want to try the Monkey's. I am currently wrestling with Jaywalkers, myself.

The pattern I almost gave up on was by the simple wrap-over by Debbie Bliss. The name should have tipped me off.

But I always come back to socks. Usually a toe-up recipe that will give me quick gratification restores my faith in the knitting goddess.

ali said...

Monkeys are on my list...
I was once working on a lovely little child's guernsey pullover, and all was going well through the rolled edge, the ribbing, up the simple St st of the body, until I hit my first stitch pattering... it all went haywire- and started to grow ever wider and wider... who knew simple knit & purl stitch patterns could wreak such havoc for a newbie knitter. All that back and forth , yif, yib... made my project grow...
I never finished, never even ripped, it sits in a lonely pile in the nearly abandoned craft (now storage) room downstairs. Maybe someday...
But why resurrect such an old disastor when there are so many other things to try knitting?
I tried my first "5 hour baby sweater" (which took more than 5 hours... but was such a pleasure to knit!
Anyway, great monkey sock, sorry about the jaywalkers...
Happy knitting-
ali

Karen said...

Oh yeah, Monkey is a winner!!! I love yours and I loved knitting the pattern when I did mine.

The pattern that did me in? Kiri, when I tried to knit it last summer and couldn't get past the first chart. The pattern that restored me? KIRI!! When I tried it again this year, successfully finished it, and realized that maybe I CAN knit lace.

Jen said...

Another monkey girl! It's really the perfect pattern. Not too mentally taxing, yet interesting enough.

I don't dig the jaywalkers either - they look inside out to me. They're also hard to get the right fit, or so I hear, which is nothing I want to get near.

I got really PO'd at an iPod cozy and a dog sweater once. Stupid rectangles, and they still didn't turn out right. I question all the patterns in SnB - only one has turned out. I was also pretty crushed when the front of my Karabella Cable sweater turned out all wrong, and I couldn't sort out the problems with the pattern. As soon as I'm confronted with too much math, knitting starts to bum me out.

Generally I work a scarf after I run into trouble with a pattern. It's really, really hard to mess up a scarf.

Ask this question in a couple months and see how I'm going on my next big project. ;)

Romi said...

Great socks!

Kicked my knitting bee-hind: the Tina Shawl from Fiddlesticks.

Rekindled my faith: the Tina Shawl from Fiddlesticks, 'cause I kicked back! ;)

anne said...

The sad thing is, at least from where I'm sitting, your Jaywalkers are actually great-looking.

There's a pattern in Rowan Vintage Knits that I've wanted to burn, and I'm not even knitting it -- my friend is. But she calls upon me to decipher its crazy-making instructions, and I'm ready to tell her to just give the hell up. And knit some Jess Hutch toys, which is always a great antidote to knitting frustration.

Sarah said...

Well, such a question! I will answer this one, however I am not really in the running because, with only, three completed projects I would have been over before I started. That being said, however, my first foray into knitting nearly made me go crazy. I was the Interweave Knits tweed beret. I must have re-knit that sucker five times before finally getting it right. It was the diamond shaped ribbing that got me. I was so close to the finish a number of times and kept realizing I was interpreting the pattern wrong. Until my friend told me that I had a bit of licence with the pattern (duh!). Anyway, it is still a little too large, but I knit it and I was very eager to start another (read, smaller) project right away.

I also am going to knit a pair of monkies. I had seen it somewhere, though can no longer remember who was first to put the bug in my head. So glad to hear it is not a crazy-making venture. My first sock—can't wait.

Oh, and BTW I think they are 'flame'. I had a harvest gold oven until just recently, so I am quite sure I can live with it as a colour when I am 80. But, if it wears on me I will pass it on to the kids who will probably be way into anything retro by then, and get myself some other hip colour of the day. Maybe hot pink will be the new 'flame' by then.

Heather said...

I agree with Anne--the Jaywalkers actually look pretty good. Granted, your Monkey sock looks great! Squishy!

As to your question, I'm not sure I've given up on anything yet--maybe I haven't been knitting long enough. What do I want to knit that might kick my ass? Eunny Jang's Venezia Pullover or her new fair isle pattern from Jamieson's that isn't out until the fall.

Heather said...

Oh! On second thought, I just thought of it. It's a pattern that no one has probably heard of from Hip Knit Hats--it's a bobble hat. Sounds terrible, but it's really cool. I hated--I mean HATED--making the bobbles so much that I wanted to shoot myself in the head. I could never get gauge, and it got frogged so many times that I mentally blocked it out of my head until now.

Top Hat said...

I'm a lurker (reading your blog, but not commenting). It's quite interesting, and although I'm not yet on the Monkey bandwagon, I may yet be. You have been tagged (read my blog for details) Please don't hate me for it (I'll make it up to you later, I promise)!

Barb said...

I'm also a lurker (but you know that!!)

The pattern that has done me in, and continues to do me in is the Hourglass. I have bought and returned yarn for it at least twice, swatched it and read and re-read the pattern countless times....will it ever be? Yes, but only with divine providence.

What rescued my faith in knitting? It has to be the Drive-Thru by Wendy Bernard. When I finished my first of those, I felt like the heavy weight champion of the knitting world.

Babs

Prof. Knitwit said...

Hey, I wouldn't worry about the Jaywalkers - we all run into patterns like that. For me, it was a shortsleeved lace and cable tee from the Vintage Knits book by Sarah Dallas - one day, I'll get back to it though. But, it didn't drive me too crazy - I just moved on to another pattern. Really, every other pattern that I've finished makes me happy to be a knitter - they're all special!! By the way, love the Monkey socks - they look great!

sophanne said...

Kicked my knitting butt? Hasn't been the pattern so much as the yarn and disregard for gauge. (they did say gauge didn't matter much at the onset of the pattern-in my defense) The Postal bag in Knitting for Peace done in what I thought would be feltable Noro that was actually silk and wool. I'm such an idiot- it felt like wool! It's more of a non-felted airplane carryon than a "postal bag." So much yarn- so much $$$-such a crappy FO~

Saved my knitting butt? Simple sock pattern (now practically memorized) done- coincidentally enough- with Trekking! When all else fails, I can make myself a pair of socks.

I'm getting ready to have my butt kicked again with that Rowan vest. It will be too late for the contest but I'm guessing that socks will save me once again. Or maybe I'll just move to mittens. I'm still with you on that.

Faith! said...

This is why I love your blog! What a perfect post- the comments generated are great too. Branching out made me hate lace, the Swallowtail shawl restored my faith.

Mintyfresh said...

those monkey socks seem to be having amazing therapeutic powers for bloggers everywhere!

a simple stockinette sock of all things kicked my butt and sapped my mojo, when it came out too tight on the cuff. the Shocking! Skirt got me back on track. but i have other projects that languished when they started to pain me, and they're STILL hanging around. Waiting for that rejuvenating pattern to fix the yarn!

kim said...

I love your Monkey socks! The colors are so pretty. That sock is definitely on my "to do" list.

To answer your question, Eunny's Anemoi Mittens nearly got the better of me. I still plan on going back and making another (more improved) next winter.

~Kristie said...

You are SO funny! I'm knitting the Monkey's for the 2nd time. I love them!

The pattern that kicked my arse is the Stitch Diva pattern named Curiously Clever Clogs. They aren't either curious or clever in my opinion.

The pattern that restored my faith? Hopefully I bought it today. The Fiber Trends felted clogs. If those don't work ... I've sunk my battleship.

Marti said...

The pattern that got to me was a simple "classic Sock" pattern by Yankee Knitter Designs. This pattern has 5 sizes in 3 different yarns. I used sport weight on the wrong size needles using 2 different sizes of the pattern...not a recipe for success. Then I had holes in my gusset and that just about did me in.
A simple hat knit in the round brought be back.,,

nicole said...

The Icarus shawl made me want to cry, not because it was hard, but because it took so... freaking.... long.... But like Romi, once I kicked back by waving my magic blocking wand over it, I fell in love again.

I also have an unfinished jaywalker in a prolonged time-out at the bottom of my wips basket, but really it's not the pattern's fault. It was my first and very LAST attempt at knitting socks in cotton (What was I thinking?)

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Love your skewer shot, I have one of those too :) (A little tense are we?) Looking forward to your contest results!

Dove Knits said...

I'm sorry things didn't work out between you and Jaywalkers. That sure was some pretty yarn. I'm glad to hear, though, that you aren't turned off from all socks.

For me, the pattern that broke me was the Fir Cone Lace shawl from Fruitcake Knits. The pattern was simple enough to knit, but it was written for someone who has made triangular shawls before. I haven't, so I had no idea how to do the edging, even after I emailed her and she tried to explain it. So, after a month of knitting, several months of trying to figure out the edging, and, finally, improvising said edging, I finally finished the shawl. Well, when I unfolded it to block it, I confused which edge was which, so the shawl was diamond shaped, and I couldn't get it to be triangular. Moreover, it had a big huge hole.

I literally threw it in the trash. Then I felt bad, so I pulled it out, and realized that the edge that I thought was the neck edge was actually the pointed edge, and blocked it into a triangle. And darned the hole to be nearly unnoticeable.

This was the only project just about ever to make me doubt my abilities as a knitter. It made me cry. It made me depressed for an evening. In a word, it kicked my knitting butt, and not in a good way, not in the way that persuades you to learn more techniques, but in a horribly discouraging way. HOWEVER, being able to fix it, and make it look quite nice (although the edging is on the wrong edge) RESTORED my faith in myself as a knitter and knitting as a hobby. So the shawl was really both for me.

I wear it almost daily, by the way.

Melissa said...

I tried to knit a rectangular lace shawl (from Knitpicks) that almost made me want to quit knitting altogether. So, I cast on a sock (not sure what pattern) and I was instantly ok again.

pamela wynne said...

lovely Monkeys! And such a good contest idea. I think the Baudelaire was the last pattern that really bummed me out -- not because of the pattern, but because I wound up with a gorgeous sock that just wouldn't fit. What saved me? Another Cookie pattern, of course -- my Monkey's were a joy to knit, and fit like a dream.

Woman who knits said...

MONKEY SOCKS!!! I had forgotten about that pattern. I might need to whip a pair of those together.

Nora said...

Reason why it was meant to be #3:

Kicked my a$$: Jaywalker; Restored my faith: Monkey!

I tell ya, you and I were destined to be... :)

danni said...

Love the monkey! I don't think a pattern has ever kicked my butt. I do get bored with patterns, as in the Jaywalkers - I started one, and got bored half way down the leg and put it down. It got frogged several months later when I realized that I really didn't enjoy knitting it. My philosophy on knitting is if you don't enjoy knitting it, don't knit it.

Any pattern I love knitting restores my faith in the craft. I just finished a lacy yoga bag from the new IK - loved knitting it! I even sludged through the finishing because I loved knitting it so much. I hate the finihsing - seaming and sewing and such. I avoid it at all costs.

Have a great holiday weekend and Happy Knitting!

Lone Knitter said...

I have to say that my Jaywalkers kicked my butt, too. Warped needles? Oh, yes. Very warped. And I had sore wrists too. My knitting tension was not one to get along with those double decreases in the Jaywalker pattern. Plain ole stockinette socks--that restores my faith in knitting everytime. Geez, can you tell I'm not one for patterns? Oh, well. Maybe I'll be more adventurous in the future.

Pilar said...

Ohhhh yes, I know what you mean!!!
That pattern that's still hidden somewhere, a place where I cannot spot it accidentally and get in a bad mood for days, is Thelonious, from Cookie A. I try to knit it for my swapetina, but coul't. Dont¡'t ask me why, I've even try to knit that thing flat to see if it was knitting in the round what was so disturbing....but no way. That b***** b*** refuses to work!!
My saviour was New England, from knitting on the road. It was so simple, so beauty, so relaxing as a dream. I love that pattern so much :)

a friend to knit with said...

First of all, both mr. jaywalker and mr. monkey look great! I guess only one receives your love in the long run!

Can the same project have done both? Well, it did for me......My hanne falkenbergs.....they DO kick your a**, but also make you know why you are a knitter! :)

Have a wonderful weekend!
(your daughter has a nice day to be at the zoo :) )

Laura said...

There for awhile I was having Bad Karma with sock patterns (you know, other than Basic Socks) & Monkey has also restored my love of sock knitting.

Diana said...

Dublin Bay socks kicked my ass; actually I allowed the pattern to kick my ass twice. I must not be a quick learner! However, the Wonderful Wallaby (sweater) restored my faith in knitting.

iSeL said...

Loving the Monkey sock, and I think you should give the Jaywalker pattern a break. Maybe with the right yarn you'll finally fall in love with it like I have. :D

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

My metal dpn's look like that from my first attempts at socks. Socks in general kicked my butt until I started doing them toe up. Switching to bamboo needles and Finding great sock yarns that can be knit using #3's has most definitely been the cure.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Oh forgot to mention, if I'm finding myself stalled on every knitting project I attempt either "Fetchings" or a simple "Purl Scarf" from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts will cheer me up no end!

Lazuli said...

Both socks look great! Though I must admit, I've knit neither yet. I think that's on my plate for this summer, trying to get to those sock patterns I always mean to knit. As for what's kicked me, sweaters. Specifically Eris. I just can't seem to finish it. But that might be because I'm running out of yarn for the sleeves - oops! As for what's brought me back, it's usually something interesting, with a pattern: either interestingly patterned socks or lacy shawls often do the trick!

amanda cathleen said...

Your monkey socks are fantastic! I love the colorway that you are using for them.
Charlotte's web tried to kick my ass, if it wasn't for all those who knit it before me and blogged about it I would be screwed! Remember that brown sweater from hell? *gr* and right now a ball band dishcloth ( a dishcloth for crying out loud!!!) is kicking my ass! It will probably straighten right out once I pay attention to what I'm doing! *L* Lace and socks always bring me back. I *heart* lace

ikkinlala said...

As a fairly new knitter, I've tried a few projects that I quickly discovered were far beyond my ability. I set them aside to work on once I'd practiced the appropriate skills. Some of them went better on the second try. Others are still waiting.

The project that most severely tested my patience, though, was a simple garter stitch scarf that my friend asked for. She wanted me to use a really weird novelty yarn that kept getting caught in the wrong places, and she wanted the scarf to be big. It was a very long and boring project, made worse because I knew it should be easy.

What restored my faith in knitting at the time was dishcloths, because I could finish one in an afternoon. Apparently I'm a fan of instant gratification.

Beverly said...

I have a sampler scarf that I cannot finish. I don't even count it as a UFO anymore! But...knitting the Print o' the Wave stole has made me high on knitting again!

uberstrickenfrau said...

thanky so much for commenting on my blog! hey, help your self to any buttons that strike your fancy! I looove to share. the project thats kicking my butt, good ol' cookies Pomatomus nightmare. Golly, I'm not lovin it, and I don't know quite why I'm such a moron I can't do it. I started a rainbow bright sox in plain ol' stright knitting and thats making me feel abit better. Hey, I am fer sure comin back here to read more, I likey your blog!

WonderMike said...

Okay the pattern that totally kicked moi to the curb was the Brioche two color scarf in Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting. I had to get a group of people to help me with the pattern deciphering (THANK YOU, CLAUDIA!!!) and I've been knitting it for 2 years.... ON A FREAKING SCARF. Ack!! Oh, and the perfect antidote to any knitting malaise... Jess Hutch's Spherey. He's soooo cool!