For those of you who have been following me for a while, you'll remember the billion dollar blankie. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a quick "previously on UncleStashley.com" ...
Bought the world's most expensive yarn in order to knit a blanket for my sister
Soon realised I didn't have enough, and I bought more
After a few hundred dollars I had a blanket border and was out of yarn
Bought inexpensive yarn, lots of it, to finish the blanket in another colour
That was the extent of the first post. I think I may have given an update since then, but can't recall for sure. The update would have been that the cheap yarn quickly revealed itself as a cheap, horrible, shedding mess:
So I folded the blanket border in half, seamed the sides, and said "here's a pillow present. Or a bag present, with extra effort." And my sister opted for the extra effort.
So I found a similar (not quite as jumbo) but darker yarn and i-corded the heck out of it. I attached it to the bag (I have no idea how one does this, so I made something up), and it stretched down to her feet. Right, knitting's stretchy, I'd forgotten that. Plus the whole thing seemed pretty unstable, held only in two points, pulling the stitch I'd attached the cord to wildly out of shape, etc.
I investigated options, and stumbled across the idea for leather handles—surely they wouldn't stretch—which led me to Bittersweet Baskets and Homemade Handles. There was a bit of back and forth between my sister and I about which exciting option to pick, but eventually we settled on hand-held, black, and I ordered the necessary accoutrements, and they were whisked to me lickety-split, and this weekend I wove the dowels into the bag, and lo-and-behold, it's finished: the Billion Dollar Bag.
I'm so happy. It actually works. And by distributing the weight evenly along dowels on both sides, instead of at two stitches on either side, it seems pretty secure to me. Here's a picture of it on an actual arm, for better sense of the scale of the thing:
So that's what about $500 can get you these days, including yarn (used, above) yarn (thrown out), needles, dowels, finials, and handles. Don't let this happen to you! There are all sorts of lovely bags out there that didn't take nearly this amount of effort and expense.
Speaking of Terrible Mistakes
I normally knit at night (unless I'm on vacation, or waiting to go on vacation, or at a meeting, or lecture, or there's downtime at rehearsal, or it's Knit Night, or the service is slow at the restaurant), generally between 10:30pm and 11:30pm. I'm used to it, my brain seems to work just fine, and I don't think anything of it.
Except the other day, when I was about to pick up where I'd left off (Caldwell Vest, left and right fronts knit simultaneously, charted cable pattern) and realised to my horror I'd made a mistake. I'd purled when I should have knit and knit when I should have purled (or, as I like to think of it because of the chart, I'd whited when I should have greyed and I'd greyed when I should have whited, and it's tricky because the meaning of the white and grey boxes change depending on whether you're on the right side or the wrong side, so you'd better be sure of that!)
Suffice it to say, it's easy to make that kind of mistake, but it's unusual for me (I knit next to a computer and make notes of EVERYTHING so I don't accidentally falter and do this kind of thing).
Reader, I fixed it. I dropped each and every stitch, pulled it back up the right way with my trusty crochet hook, knit or purled each corrected stitch as I went along, and eventually was done.
I moved to the other front (I'm knitting both at once on the same long circular needle), and saw that I'd made the same horrible mistake as on the other front. Horrors! Except ... by then my brain fully clicked-in (thanks for coming back, brain) and I realised that I'd completely reversed what I'd thought the white and grey squares meant. In fact, there had been no problem in the first place, I'd knit (or purled) everything correctly the night before last, and now had just carefully ruined an entire row.
Back to the original front: I dropped each stitch twice now (because, remember, after "fixing" it I'd knit or purled it as well), returned the original stitch to its original state, then again for the just-knit/purled row above, and then knit/purled each stitch as I went along. After about 25 minutes I was approximately back to where I would have been had I not been an idiot.
And, if only I hadn't been so gosh-darned sure that there was a problem, had I spoken the issue out loud and scrolled an inch down on my screen and compared my words to the Actual Legend, I would have realised there was no problem. Urgh! So lesson learned. Double-triple check against the legend, because I hadn't memorized the meaning of the squares properly.
Off the Needles:
On the Needles (and actively being worked on):
Sling Heel Socks (87.5% done, i.e. 1 sock finished, the other sock almost finished)
Caldwell Vest (at the armholes of the two fronts, back's already finished)
Itineris Shawl (only 1/5 the final strip to knit)
On the Backburner:
Another 1898 hat (it's just such good airplane knitting, I had to do it again. I've finished the band, and misplaced it)
The second Sophie's Universe blanket (Round 50)
A swatch of stockinette in white worsted (third of three needle sizes) for my Master Knitting Course
Persian Dreams Blanket (round 6 of Hexagon 9)