As you may recall, I knit the Gnarled Oak Cardigan in Knit Picks Stroll, a superwash DK yarn.

I originally bought a bag without a purpose during their Black Friday sale, and discovered after choosing my sweater that I wouldn’t have enough to knit it. Bravely I cast on anyway, knowing that there were ways to handle dye lot differences, and trusting that it would all work out in the end.

When the additional yarn arrived, I was pleased to discover that the color difference wasn’t visible. Surely the goddesses of knitting were smiling down on me.

I finished the sweater in February, and it fit ( reasonably) well – it had negative ease, I’m definitely putting waist shaping in my next sweater, I’m crazy proud of it anyway. My first sweater!

Now, when I knit the swatch, I washed and dried it in the machine, because a) it was superwash wool and b) I hate hand washing large garments, so odds were good that it wouldn’t actually get hand washed very often. Or ever. It turned out great; I not only got gauge but a beautiful hand.

You all see where this is going, right?

The new yarn? Felted.

The original bag is fine – which means that the yoke and sleeve caps are felted, leaving me with bracelet-length sleeves and a narrower neck. Now, I have narrow shoulders, so the sweater actually fits me better this way, but if I hadn’t hit the felting lottery, I would’ve been devastated.

I send Knit Picks an email, letting them know what happened and how disappointed I was. (I am disappointed. It worked, but… now I’m terrified to wash it!)

That was two weeks ago.

Today I got a response, asking what they can do to make it right.

So that’s the point of my post – what should I be asking for? Would it be reasonable to ask for a sweater’s worth of yarn, since it’s a sweater’s worth of work that’s impacted? Should I ask for a replacement for the “additional” order? A gift card? Or should I let it go, since it worked out in my favor? What would you guys consider enough to “make this right?”

Happy New Year!

Last night I bound off the last socks I will ever make for my fiancé.

Tonight I cast on the first socks I will make for my husband.

What did you do today?

I have kind of a confession to make.

At the end of last winter, I was in Target, and I noticed that they had their accessories on clearance.  Among them was a pair of flip-top mittens in a rather pretty blue and white variegated colorway.  I have a fondness for fingerless mitts, and I’d been thinking about making a pair of convertible mittens like these, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet, and they struck me as kind of fiddly.  (Not that I generally have a problem with fiddly things, and I’d made mitts with partial fingers before without issue, but… I think it was the yarn.  I have a weakness for pretty colors.)  There were other excuses – I’m sure you’ve seen them before.  I had a lot of knitting in my queue, and none of it was mittens.  I have a hard time knitting for myself.  And so on.

The long and short of it was that I broke down and bought a commercially knitted accessory for the first time since I’d taken up the needles myself.  And since I bought it at Target and didn’t spend a million dollars on them, they were acrylic.

And then I forgot about them.  It was the end of the season, they went in the bin I keep my fingerless gloves in, and thus far this winter I’d been using my own fingerless mitts.  Then a concatenation of events caused me to lose one of my Codename: Garnet mitts (remember those? oh, and don’t worry, it’s just lost in my apartment and I haven’t had a chance to hunt for it yet) and found me digging through that bin in the very early morning.  Finding those mittens seemed like a blessing, because it was definitely getting cold enough for mittens.

That was yesterday.  I wore them in to work by themselves, and they were fine; last night it was cold enough that I layered them under my Hurry Up Spring armwarmers (and how glad am I that I made those over the summer? Super glad), but I’d been layering my Garnet mitts under them, so it seemed perfectly natural.

Yesterday, however, it was dry when I was commuting.

Today?  Not so much.  Which means my accessories got rained on, as they do.  My Through the Woods hood kept my head dry and my neck toasty warm, of course.  (If you’re looking for an extra layer to protect your head from the wind and precludes the need for a cowl or scarf?  Check that one out.  Fantastic.)

I’m sure those of you who know anything about fiber can see this coming, right?

Yeah, my acrylic mittens? Just got wet. And then my fingers got cold. And I reminded myself of all the wonderful insulating properties of wool, and I thought about the two balls of Felici Sport I have in my stash that was given to me by an incredibly kind stranger, and… well…

Can anybody recommend a good convertible mitten pattern?

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. I finished one temp assignment and started another. This one is in Portland, so I have a lot more commute and my day starts earlier and ends later. One bonus side effect of this is more train knitting time, and another is that I finally seamed my Through the Woods hood and have been wearing it every day.

But I’m not here to talk about that.

I’m here to talk about politics, and civil rights, and marriage.

For those of you who don’t know, my fiancé Jack is transgender. He’s very male to me, but because of family health history, he’s opted to forego medically transitioning.

What this means is that as far as the law is concerned, we’re a gay couple.

In Arizona’s last election, they passed a constitutional amendment denying us the right to marry.

Imagine my surprise and delight when Washington’s legislators and governor passed a law legalizing marital equality. On Valentine’s Day, no less.

Suddenly marriage became a real thing, something to plan. We started researching venues and recruiting attendants, like any other couple.

And then enough signatures were passed to put marriage equality on the ballot. Instead of going into effect in July, it would be put on hold until November. Instead of marriage being something I had a right to as a consenting adult who was madly in love with another consenting adult, it was something that my fellow citizens had the right to decide about. It was a “lifestyle” that was somehow threatening to people who had never met me.

Let me tell you this. I’m divorced. I was married in 1999 to a man who was, at the bottom of it all, a Nice Guy. There was a lot of internalized misogyny and self-loathing that went into that decision, and a lot about settling and not rocking the boat as I went through with a marriage I wasn’t sure I wanted when it came down to it. On my wedding day, I was absolutely positive I was marrying the wrong man – but we’d spent a lot of money and I had a lot of family there, so I went through with it.

It was the kind of mistake that lots of young women in their early twenties make. It was the kind of mistake that everyone should be able to make, regardless of gender.

Because marriage isn’t perfect.

But I’m 36 now, and as many women in their mid-thirties have done, I’ve learned a lot about myself. As many people have done, I’ve been through a lot. And as many people have done, I’ve found a partner who treats me with respect and love and makes me happy every single day. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I want nothing more than to commit to sharing the rest of my life with him and have my state (and my insurance company, and so on) acknowledge that I’ve done so.

My legal last name is still my ex-husband’s – changing it back was a stress I couldn’t deal with at the time, and I have no desire to use my mother’s ex-husband’s last name either.

I’ve read a lot of different opinions about name-changing. Jack and I discussed it, at length.

I want to take his name. The change symbolizes the creation of our family, emphasizes my sense of belonging with him. The men whose names I’ve worn up until now have been bad for me; I think it’s about time I had the name of someone good for me.

But first, I have to wait for my fellow citizens to decide whether I’m deserving of making this choice. I made it at 22 without anyone’s intervention, even though I probably wasn’t ready. (Who’s genuinely ready at 22 to make decisions that will impact the rest of their lives? Very few people.)

My county votes by mail, so if you’re local, you’ve probably already voted, but if you have the opportunity in your state (for this election or any other), please, please vote in favor of expanding people’s civil rights. This isn’t about religion, or history, or any of those things. If you’re not in favor of gay marriage, you don’t have to have one. But I’m not in favor of marriages that dissolve in six months, and I’m not allowed to stop them. It’s about the ability of someone like me to make a commitment to another consenting adult they love. It’s about rights.

Happy Election Day, everybody. Get out there and vote.

This isn’t quite a gauge check, but I have something yarny to talk about!

Friday was the second annual I Love Yarn Day, so I celebrated by finding a project, winding yarn, and casting on.  The yarn in question was two colors of Tosh Merino Light in Glazed Pecan and Earl Grey, the project is the (brand new!) shawl Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti, which I am calling the Afternoon Tea Mormorio.

Madtosh is just as wonderful to knit with as I expected it would be.

I came to the realization recently that my gauge has changed from when I started knitting.  I used to be an incredibly tight knitter, to the point where I knit socks on US2 (3 mm) needles.  Lately, though, my tension has relaxed considerably.  I can no longer automatically go up a needle size and get gauge, and I discovered that I really do need to knit socks using a US1 (2.5 mm).  Problem was, I only have one US1 needle, and it’s got something on it.

So yesterday I went down to Pearl Fiber Arts and picked up an Addi Turbo Lace and a Hiya Hiya Sharp (and a skein of Dream in Color Merino/Silk sock yarn).  I like to have three sock-size needles available –  not that I ever have three socks on the go at the same time, but… reasons.

(One reason being that I’m designing a sock and I don’t necessarily want to have it interfering with actual knitting.)

Did you do anything awesome for I Love Yarn day?

When I started the gauge check, in December of 2010, I was still doing a lot of processing about the end of Hurricane Isabel, and I was also helping some friends of mine negotiate a difficult and painful breakup.  I was doing a lot of thinking about the nature of relationships, good and bad, and learning how to build a healthy, solid partnership in the wake of abuse.

I’ve come a long way since I started this blog.  I’ve finished school, changed jobs, moved across the country.  I’ve worked to rediscover the person I was before the storm and embrace the person I’ve become after it.  Yesterday I took the last class required by the state to become a foster parent; all that’s left is paperwork (and a bigger apartment).  If all goes well, by this time next year, I’ll be a wife and mother.

Right now my life is in kind of a holding pattern, and my gauge check really reflects it.  It’s increasingly become a weekly report on what I did over the weekend, and I’ve found it to be more of a struggle to talk about something interesting with each passing week.

So for now, I’m retiring the gauge check.  I suspect that I may pick it back up when my life starts moving again.

What I’m going to do instead will be a series of reviews/book reports on my knitting library, tentatively titled Why I Picked It UpWhy will start with the books I’m not knitting out of for the Year of Good Intentions, explaining why I picked it up (obviously), what I like about it, and what purpose it serves.  I’m going to talk about why I buy craft books, because I’ve realized that there are reasons beyond patterns, and what I look for in a book that’s coming home.  Once I finish with my own library, it may continue on as a sporadic feature that includes books I brought home for the library, which will include a section on whether I’d buy it or not, and why.

Going into the new year, I’m thinking about doing a segment on fiber, where I try spinning or knitting with a new fiber every week.  The Big Shiny Idea involves two of each letter of the alphabet, one rare and one common (where possible), although I could probably spend several months just working on C.  There are a lot of breeds of sheep that start with C, I’ve discovered, and that’s not even counting non-sheep breeds like camel and cashmere.  We’ll see how that shakes out.

So, the long and short of it is the hiatus of the Gauge Check, but lots of new stuff to keep you interested.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be talking about my crafting – just right now, there’s not much of it.

In the meantime, I’m going to go back to playing Dragon Quest VIII.

It’s time for our weekend rituals, the ceremonies of escorting one week out and preparing the next one. Which, around here, is the Gauge Check, where I take a look at my week and figure out where I’ve come from and where I’m going. Sometimes there are goals, sometimes I just talk about what’s going on in my life and my crafting. You are all welcome to join in in the comments.

Yesterday was my second Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, and what a difference a year makes!  Last year I felt incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variety; this year I was familiar with most of the artists.

At this point, I really don’t feel like I need more fiber or yarn.  (It’s a space issue.)  I picked up a skein of Paca-Peds by The Alpaca Yarn Company, which is an alpaca/wool/nylon sock yarn, in the colorway Singin’ the Blues, but that’s all.  An amethyst necklace also decided it wanted to go home with me, and someone was selling “sample packs” of Jaquard dyes, so I grabbed one of those.  It gives me a way to try out more serious dyeing without investing much into it.

Mostly I enjoyed walking around and looking at the colors, feeling the textures, and talking to people.  That’s the best part of a festival, in my opinion.  Portland never has any shortage of crafting supplies, but being able to talk to the artists behind the yarn and fiber is a fantastic experience.

This week I finished off the Welsh Traveling Socks and put several more pattern repeats in on the Peacock Tail and Leaf Shawl.  I also dug through my physical library, trying to figure out what to cast on next for the Year of Good Intentions.

To be honest, I’m kind of at a loss.  I know I want to knit sweaters out of Big Girl Knits and Little Red in the City, but I don’t really want to cast on another sweater until I finish the Gnarled Oak Cardigan.  (I’m coming to terms with the fact that I don’t like the way I did increases on the sleeves, and I’m going to have to pull them out and start over.)  I’m also trying to get past the fact that the sweaters that catch my eye first are cardigans with a stockinette body and a decorative yoke, and how many hand-knit variations on the same type of sweater do I need?  Until I’ve knit numerous sweaters, one is probably sufficient, and Gnarled Oak will serve that purpose quite well.

For the most part, the other books are… not being very inspirational.  I bought Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines with the intent of knitting the Belinda shawl, but the more I think about it, the less I think it’s actually a good fit for the way I actually wear shawls.  A lot of the other patterns I like out of the book are either sweaters or kids’ patterns, and knitting for a kid I don’t have seems like a weird kind of borrowing trouble.  (How do you knit to fit a hypothetical child?  What size do you pick?)

I was planning on knitting socks out of 2-at-a-Time Socks, but I bought the book (on sale, even) for the technique, not for any particular pattern – and most of the socks in the book are sport- or worsted-weight, and I’m not really interested in knitting socks that don’t fit comfortably in shoes.  If I wanted to knit something for my feet in a heavier weight yarn, I’d actually break down and make slippers.

That’s a good example of how I feel about the remaining books – I bought them for techniques, or inspiration, or because I enjoyed the way they were written, or what I most want to knit out of them is a sweater, and knitting anything else would just be settling.

In the meantime, I have other books that I’m excited about, that didn’t qualify for the project because I’d already knit something out of it or I bought it after I started.  So, I successfully completed seven projects out of books I owned, and I have specific plans to knit out of two others.  Can I redefine the parameters of the project so I keep going, or does that qualify as failing or giving up?

What I didn’t want to create out of this project was a bunch of things I’m knitting out of obligation, not because I’m excited about the object or the knitting of it.  I don’t want to knit a bunch of tiny mountains, for example, and then have a bunch of tiny mountains cluttering up my living room.

What do you think?  Is it safe to redefine the idea, or is that cheating?


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