A Sheepish Little Blog.

Wool and whimsy in the frozen North.

The Saga of the Mug-Cozies August 12, 2009

Monday night, I was thinking over the details of our trip this coming Friday. I am bringing knitted gifts for everyone that we’re visiting, for one reason or another, and it had occurred to me a few times that it would be in profoundly bad taste to bring something for everyone except my step-mother.

Now, I’m not especially close with my step-mother– my dad married her when I was already a teenager, and I’ve only visited them three times since they got together. She’s a nice lady, but I really don’t know much about her at all. I decided to make something for both her and my dad as a “thanks for letting us stay in your house” present, sort of a thing, and since they both drink tea, I chose a nice, fast tea-mug-cozy pattern.

Little did I know how much trouble I was in for.

I cast on Tuesday evening as soon as I got home, and settled in with a dvd of looney tunes cartoons to entertain me. I increased, got to the body, and chose the “plain” eyelet pattern for Martha’s (using a nice heathered dark purple wool). I knit, and I knit, and I knit, all the while checking and rechecking the pattern. “Ten inches from the increases?” I thought. “Are you sure, pattern? That seems large, for a mug, but ok, I’ll trust you.” At ten inches I did the decreases (noticing that I’d accidentally doubled the increase rows at the beginning by doing only two per row rather than four), the final tab, and bound off. Satisfied, I blocked it and reached for some heathered dark green wool to start my dad’s cozy.

I did the increases correctly this time, and chose to do the nice square check pattern. I carefully read the pattern errata, noting that the numbers had been incorrect– it said to increase to 23 stitches, but the square check pattern required 24, so I ought to increase one more stitch in the middle. I dutifully followed these instructions, began the pattern, and… had the wrong number of stitches.

It didn’t match up at all. I read and reread the errata, getting frustrated, when I finally decided to read the first line of the repeat again.

k2, *p8, k2, repeat from * once.

That’s 22 stitches.

22. Twenty- TWO. Not 23, and certainly not 24. Sighing, I tinked back and this time decreased one stitch, rather than increasing. I continued on with no further problems, until I realized that I had done the recommended four pattern repeats… and I only had about 6 inches of fabric past the increases. Hadn’t the other version said to knit ten inches? I checked again… yes, ten inches. Well, that had seemed sort of large, so I’ll just knit up to 9 or so inches and see how that works. I did six repeats, decreased, knit the tab, and blocked the thing. It was exactly 11pm– bedtime!– so off I went to bed.

This morning, I got up and was delighted to find both cozies dry and ready to get buttons sewn on. I picked up the purple one… and it immediately struck me how HUGE it really was. I got out a smallish mug, and tried the thing on. It was… big, but it was supposed to be an adjustable cozy, right? I could just put the farthest button there! Yeah! So I tried it on a medium mug. Hmm, still big, but maybe…. ok, how about a big mug? Hooray, it sort of fits! …loosely! Um. Oh, oh wait. It was also so tall that trying to drink out of the mug would give you a mouthful of wool.

Well dang.

So I cursed, picked up my purple wool and needles, and went to work. While at work I started knitting a new one for Martha, in the square check pattern this time since it didn’t curl and I’d already figured out how to fix the number problem. I won’t deny there was a lot of grumbling and sighing, but I knit on. As I knit, I occasionally tried it on the medium mug that I have at work for tea. I got to three repeats; definitely not enough. Four; well, closer, but not quite. Five; …oh dear.

Five fit perfectly, with just enough leeway that I could add a third button to snugly fit a larger mug. Remember how dad’s cozy had six repeats? Remember how the 10 inch first cozy had been WAY WAY too big and the second one had only been an inch smaller? All I wanted was a lousy host/ess gift for my dad and step-mom! I just didn’t want Martha to feel left out! HOW COULD A ^(*&%%^&%^ MUG COZY BE THIS DIFFICULT?!?!

After noting my quickly developing eye-twitch, I finished the second purple cozy and resolved to fix the green one when I got home. Honestly, the fix took 10 minutes– tear out the old bindoff to the fifth decrease, re-knit the decreases and tab– but after three other times knitting this stupid pattern, it was agony.

They’re both done now. A testament to perseverance and stubbornness that the recipients will most definitely not recognize, but at least their tea will be hot and Martha will have her knitted gift.

They might notice the twitch, though.

twitch.Sorry for the awful background. They’re blocking on a placemat. If the buttons give me any guff, I may burn the things and pick up some iced tea mix for Martha. In any case, the pattern’s listed above, and they’re both knit in cascade 220 heathers.

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