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The Stashley Awards: Great Achievements in Knitting, 2019 Edition

Spoiler alert: pretty much all the great achievements are going to be mine. If you feel you ought to have won one of them, let me know, and I'll consider you for next year's award ceremony!

Largest Overestimation of Cast-On Stitches for a Sweater: and the winner is ... Uncle Stashley, who began a Stephen West "Loosey-Goosey" sweater and eventually realised it would be blousy on Mr. Creosote, the gourmand who explodes during Monty Python's Meaning of Life. I frogged it, and cast-on about half the stitches, and for some reason those weren't quite enough. It would be body-hugging, not loosey goosey at all. So I spent the next few rounds increasing (I can't frog twice, if I frog twice than it's more than admitting failure, it's like admitting congenital ineptitude), and now it's perfect. I'm going to revisit the hem area later (it's a provisional cast on) and add ribbing, and it will all seem intentional.

Biggest Waste of Time on a Hexagon: and the winner is ... Uncle Stashley, who returned to making stranded-knitting hexagons for Jenise Hope's "Persian Dreams" blanket, and promptly knit the wrong size from the other 10 hexagons already knit. To be fair, there are a bewildering array of patterns in the "Persian Dreams" vicinity ... there are 6 separate PDFs for the Persian Dreams pattern (e.g. design-your-own, stitching-up, optimized charts, colourways, yada yada yada) then there exist the Persian Dreams expansion pack (5 more PDFs), the Hexagon blanket fingering (6 PDFs), the hexagon expansion 1 fingering (5 PDFs), and the Hexagon expansion 2 fingering (3 PDFs). There's even a Persian Dreams worsted set, which I didn't buy, or things could have been even worse. I'm still not sure which one I'm supposed to be knitting, but at the very least I'm making sure I'm choosing a chart with approximately the same number of stitches as the hexagons I'd already knit-up! (I'm pretty sure my original hexagons were about 45 stitches, and the mistaken hexagon was 55 stitches ... wait for it ... this is per side, so I was out by 60 stitches. It was huge.) I still don't understand why some charts have 45 (or 49, or 48) and others have 55, but I'm moving on.

Most Time Spent On Hideous Accessories: The winner is Uncle Stashley who knit a scarf and a shawl for one of his cast members (in his spare time Uncle Stashley runs writes, directs, and produces musicals for his group The Broadway Chorus). She played Dryer Lint Debbie, a woman addicted to collecting dryer lint, spinning it into yarn, and knitting garments from that. Using Bernat Blanket Big I knit this nifty scarf in about 25 minutes, which is fine ...

and then I spent a month knitting this shawl, using Bernat Blanket regular-sized.

(She's wearing it inside-out, incidentally, but I suppose at this point that doesn't really matter). I'm glad I did it. Now, when I watch Leonard DiCaprio survive a grisly bear attack, or James Franco cut off body parts in order to escape a tight squeeze, or Scarlett Johansson hold her own for three hours amidst some of Hollywood's hammiest actors, I can think "So? I've survived worse. I knit an entire shawl out of the world's ugliest and most unyielding yarn, and some of it was in an actual lace pattern too!" (Not much of it, as it turns out. Once I got to that part I was pretty much busily trying to think of all the ways I could hurry-it-up a bit more, and concentrating on a challenging lace section was the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish.)

The "He Stuffed It Up" Special Acknowledgement Award: goes to Uncle Stashley, who, when knitting a second "Buster" doll by Susan Claudino-Aguilar, attached one of the limbs without stuffing. Sadly, I could not for the life of me figure out how to un-attach it (whiny voice: "it's hard!") so I pried the space between the stitches open, stuffed it from the outside in, then smushed the stitches back together and hoped for the best. My 16 year-old nephew, who I'm assuming is enjoying the gift ironically, doesn't seem to mind.

Project Most Doomed to Failure: and the winner is Uncle Stashley, who has already purchased a whole bunch of dark yarn for a new sweater. There are a few problems. Problem 1, there's no pattern. Problem 2, this is the inspiration photo:

if you look closely, you will notice that the lines (e.g. the columns and rows of knitting) are all-over-the-place--there are diagonals, curves, asymmetric hems, there's a lot going on. I went on the internet and begged people to pleeeeeeeeease help me figure out how this might have been assembled, and I got heaps of assistance. I'm still almost entirely confused, of course.

(Problem 3 hardly bears mentioning, but it's the expectation that if I do successfully finish this sweater, I will somehow magically look like the model, despite being thirty years older, half a foot shorter, less muscled, fatter, and not as attractive—I know intellectually that it's not the sweater making up the difference, but in my heart I hope that once I too don such a sweater, all discrepancies between he and I will melt away).

Ravelry's H Thomas suggested I could complete it like so:

Start in reverse order (at H, which likely wraps around the back and becomes C), then knit G, F, there is no E, D (which adds stitches, becoming B), and then add the sleeves. I mean sure, why not? It's basically just a big dishcloth that wraps around the body, has shaping, holes to put body parts through, what could possibly go wrong?

Worst Value for Money: oh, you know I'd already won this months ago, when after about $500 I finally managed to turn an attempted throw for my sister into a large, odd bag. I mean, while it was happening, I would cheer myself up with an "Oh well, at least I'll win a Stashley for it."

Off the Needles:

  • Decemberist Shawl (for Dryer Lint Debbie)—much, much altered from the original pattern.

  • Buster #2

  • Persian Dreams Blanket Hexagon 9, 10, & 11 (11 being far too large)

On the Needles (and actively being worked on):

  • Loosey Goosey (adding the final ribbing at the waist, not in the original pattern)

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (round 20 of Hexagon 12)

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

  • Shard Scarf (just gettin' started)

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