Monday, January 26, 2009


"Be afraid of skydiving. Be afraid of wild boar. Be fearless with knitting." - from At Knit's End by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This quote is quite amusing to me... does it really need to be said? I've seen this talk of "fearless knitting" a lot in the past year. Maybe it was just last year's buzz-phrase, but it would seem obvious to me that knitting is not frightening. However, I did just read an article about a woman who was walking into her knitting group when she fell and stabbed herself in the heart with a knitting needle, nearly killing her. So maybe the fear is justified.

At any rate, I believe knitting and other crafts to be safe hobbies. So I am not afraid to share with you some of my recent craft failures. In the end the knitting failures are harmless because they can be stuffed into boxes where they're never seen again. House painting failures, on the other hand, are much more painful.

1. Chirstmas card holder
For Christmas, I really wanted to make something to hang on the wall that can hold all those cards that arrive in the mail. I bought some red wire and attempted to knit it into garter stitch. The idea being that it would hang on the wall and the corners of the cards could be pushed into the spaces of the garter stitches. However, it became clear quite quickly that wire is difficult to knit, and making a rectangle big enough to hold just one card would take a week.

So I tried using some gold crochet thread that I had sitting around from a previous failed knitting experience (trying to make fake gold jewelry for a toga costume). The crochet thread is knittable... but it creates such a delicate little fabric that it would take forever to make anything big and then it wouldn't have the strength to hold cards :(

The cards simply sat on a table in a pile all month.

2. Cabled hat with mohair yarn
I bought some gorgeous hand-dyed mohair months ago and have been waiting to come up with the perfect idea for it. I found a great hat pattern. The only problem was that there are cables in the hat pattern. I assumed that cables in mohair would be rather uninteresting... but I didn't realize that they are nearly impossible to knit (stitches dropping everywhere, impossible to see how many stitches are being slipped) and then the cable looks really terrible. So I had to pull that out and find a simpler pattern. That hat turned out great (bottom of this post)!

3. Card holder
Here's another failure turned success. Here's the post (the blue thingy) about the finished product. I want you to know that I actually made this little thing twice. The first time it was totally the wrong size despite my careful calculations and I thought of other little adjustments to its construction that resulted in the near-perfect finished item the second time around. I'm glad the size was so wrong the first time. If it hadn't been, then I would not have re-done it with those adjustments.

4. Pink bathroom
Our bathroom has pink and black tiles surrounding the shower, possibly from 1951. We are not removing those tiles anytime soon, so I thought it would be fun to give the bathroom a retro look. I painted the walls pale pink and bought black & white geometric patterns for the shower curtain, bath mat, etc. That pink is killing me. I tried to buy an even paler pink to sponge over to give the walls some texture... but they were nearly the same pinks. So I got a darker pink and sponged over again. Now it's a 4-year-old girl's dream room. But I'm really tired of painting, so I'll suffer with it for now.

Fyi, this post was 4 days in the making due to intermittent and irritating network failures. I may need a new modem.

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