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November 27, 2005

The Grumpecuey: all things Grumpecue

Well. Sigh. Sigh of relief!

The Grumpecue is done, and I love it. I. LOVE. IT!

Montse was right - six sections fit perfectly together, and there is NO puckering. Mind you, I did not block this severely at all - it's machine-washed and dried, that's all! If you can even call that blocking :).

The regulars know that this project has been a long time in the making. I started by challenging myself to knit Oat Couture's Curlicue, but abandoned the project when it became clear that the overall design of the pattern was flawed. I took the aspects of the pattern that I thought were good, and combined them to make a simpler, more colorful blanket, which I called the Grumpecue.

Pattern: Although it may seem like I came up with a whole new pattern, I just simplified the original Oat Couture Curlicue design. I put my modifications in the extended entry in case you want to make one of your own.

Yarn: Hand Work Cora, 60% cotton/40% acrylic, 1.5 skeins for each of the six wedges (9 skeins total). Although the yarn is very soft and squishy after it's washed and dried, it's pretty crappy overall. I elaborate in the extended entry.

Numbers: I used Boye circs, US 6 (4.25 mm), which gave me a gauge of 21 sts/4 in in st st. The finished Grumpecue is 38" in diameter, and as far as I can tell (contrary to my initial predictions), it is a perfect 360° circle :).

It was a struggle, but I'm SO happy. The Curlicue was a bitch, and I had no idea whether the Grumpecue would even work when I conceived it. I'm relieved, I'm pleased, and most importantly, I think my coworker will love this blanket for her baby girl, due to arrive in mid-January.

I'll even take this one step further: I'd knit another Grumpecue, but with a better yarn next time :).

More detailed pictures in the extended entry - enjoy!

Noteworthy details:

Scalloped edging

Spiral center

Color transitions (including the yellow-light blue transition, which was grafted)

A sense of scale

Since I don't have a baby of my own, nor a stuffed animal or doll that could serve as a baby, I substituted the next best thing - a pillowcase stuffed with yarn wearing sunglasses to, you know, indicate where I think the head would go. (Shush! This is much better than my original plan to wrap my Dooney & Bourke bag in the blanket!)

Gift tag

There didn't seem to be a good place to stick one of my typical custom labels, so I just made a nice tag. Yes, the artwork is a Grumperina original :).

To make your own Grumpecue: (schematic here)

1. Buy Oat Couture's Curlicue pattern.
2. Using a provisional cast-on, CO 89 sts. Turn work, p89. Work Section One of the pattern until 20 scallops are formed on the outside edge (i.e., repeat rows 9-16 19 times more). Row 105: when making the 21st scallop, if you wish to switch colors, BO 4 sts with the first color, but knit to end while picking up wraps with the second color, and continue using it throughout the second section.
3. Work Section One as described a total of six times, switching colors on Row 105 if you desire.
4. When working the last section, switch to the color used in the first section for Rows 105 and 106. Remove provisional cast-on and graft the last and first rows together.


While I'm ultimately happy with the way the yarn looks and feels in the finished object, it didn't provide the best tactile experience while knitting. There were at least two knots or other imperfections in every skein, which led to a whole lot of unwanted ends, but that's only half the story. It feels like paper when you're knitting with it - stiff and dry and very unpleasant - and it seriously chafed my hands. Furthermore, all the colors differ in texture: the darker colors are softer and fluffier, but the plies separate very easy, while the lighter colors are stiffer and thinner. The dark blue bleeds like nobody's business, and I am grateful that June held my hand during the blocking/washing steps. With her coaching, I first tested colorfastness on a swatch, then machine-washed the blanket twice - first in hot water with Synthrapol, and then in hot water with Tide - followed by tumble-drying. Suffice it to say that although the sticker price is very attractive ($1.78/skein), I'm not sure I'd use it again for such a large project.

Posted by Kathy on November 27, 2005 02:33 PM


Thank you! Thank you! I orginally bought the Curlicue pattern because of your posts, and now that I know it doesn't work, I can't wait to make the Grumpecue! It looks beautiful and with the color changes, the possibilities are endless.

Thanks again!

The finished product is wonderful -- even if there was a whole lot of anxiety to get there. I'm glad you gave the Cora review because I've been tempted to buy some myself (with the impending niece/nephew in July).

Synthrapol -- is that readily available? I've heard about its color-setting properties but I've never seen it in a store.

Fabulous! You did such a lovely job getting this to work out. The colors look great together, the scalloped edging is lovely. And I snorted at the pillow with sunglasses. Very cute.

Fabulous! I love the Grumpecue! I want to make one too - just as soon as I find a yarn that I like. I like the faux-baby too!

aww, what a cute baby! um, i mean blankie, of course. great work!

The Grumpecue looks wonderful! I like the scallop edges. That yarn sounds horrible to work with though. It felt like paper? Yucko!

Absolutely beautiful! I'm so glad the blanket worked out for you in the end, after all the pain you went through with the original pattern. Any thoughts on a better yarn to use for this pattern?

It was so interesting to see this project grow. You did a wonderful job, and I love those scalloped edges.

How different is what you knit from the medallion blanket in Montse's book? Does her book give the pattern, or is it just the diagram? I love the blanket, it might be just what I've been looking to do with a ton of Cotton-Ease, but I have been planning to get the Knitter's Handbook for awhile now so...don't know which way would be best to go. Thanks!

It's perfect! I'm so impressed. And thank you so much for posting your pattern/revisions. I'm still tempted to try the original Curlicue, but at least I know I have something to fall back on if I decide block out the puckers. Congratulations on your success.

Just gorgeous, I love it. I'm constantly amazed when I stop by!

I enjoy watching your knitting projects so much.
Especially with this baby blanket.
What impresses me is that we have to buy the Oat Couture pattern to do your beautiful rendition, which I've already done.
You are a classy lady!

it looks wonderful!
i'm tempted to try this for the next baby... but i'm still recovering from the curlicue experience!

but it's great to see no puckering at all! congratulations on your succesful experiment!

wow. It is amazingly beautiful. You are an inspiration. Thanks.

I'm impressed! The Grumpecue is gorgeous. Congratulations on successfully analyzing a pattern you liked that didn't work, and re-working it to get a FO that you can gift with pride!

I love it too! You did such a great job. I think I may actually do this one day. Just need to clear my plate a little.

Congrats. It appears you conquered your Mount Everest. Looks awesome.

Oh, Kathy, it is gorgeous! What a perfect baby gift!


Your blanket is lovely and I sure will be cherished by the new chick and the new parents.

I have a question tho...if the Curlique pattern is so terrible that you were unable/unwilling to complete yours, WHY are you promoting it??
If you don't want to share the *your* pattern that is your perrogative but why encourage readers to purchase a pattern that's crap? Doesn't increasing sales of the pattern say "it's ok to produce designs that don't work well, cause we'll buy em anyway?"

speechless.....it's amazing!

Beautiful!!! Congrats, Kathy!

You never cease to amaze me with your skill. That's an awesome blanket!

Yowsa. That is beautiful, and thank you for sticking with it. I'd make it, absolutely. I was waiting to see how it would all pan out, though, and now I can buy the pattern with abandon and get a good end result. Yay, you!

Beautiful! I love the colors you chose as well :) Nice job once again!

Wow, really beautiful work! Congrats and great job sticking with it and designing your own work around...wonderful ideas.

Finally, I have decided I need to knit my first blanket. And it will be this one.

I'm curious, what other yarns would you consider/suggest?

Looks good!

That is beautiful, Kathy!

Lovely! I'm impressed with your analytical skills, it appeals to the mathematician in me.

It's very disheartening to see so many comments about how this pattern "doesn't work" from people who have not knit the blanket. I finished a Curlicue last week and was pleased with the effect. I had minimal puckering all of which resolved in the blocking.

I am really dismayed at the number of people who have said that they have discouraged others from buying or knitting the pattern based on your experience.

Way to go on making the Curlicue concept work for you. I think your blanket is awesome and it's clear that the original pattern gave you tons of trouble. I just wonder if people are giving Oat Couture too little credit.

amazing... as always! i will not have the patience to 1) knit this blanket, 2) modify the pattern. love your version of it.

Kathy, it's really gorgeous! You are such a brave knitter. :-)

While you may have had doubts, I knew it would work out perfectly. It's a lovely baby blanket and another win for you.

Terrific! Thanks for sharing your modifications, and hurrah for your beautiful fo.

Grumpecue looks great! I love your faux baby. The pillowcase blends into the background so it looks like an invisible swaddle baby (nice touch with those shades!).

I'm surprised you're suggesting one buy the pattern, as well. Yours looks nothing like their finished product, and while you borrowed the basic idea, you changed a LOT. Plus, since you found nearly the exact same schematic in a well known and older book, it's not as if it's a previously unheard-of idea.

I love both versions of the blanket, but I think yours is significantly different from the pattern that inspired you.

So lovely! Your friend is SO lucky!

You know when I came and saw this yesterday I wondered off in such a daze of happy grumpecue thoughts that I completley forgot to comment. I lay in bed last night fretting about my failure to say - WOW!! Now I have to figure out whether to risk trying the original pattern in wool and hope that any puckering is blockable or whether to use your gorgeous variation. I have some time to think about it...

I, too, think it looks great and that you should take full credit for the pattern, with perhaps nods to Oat Couture and to Montse. But now I'm wondering what Oat Couture will tell you when they're done troubleshooting the Curlicue you sent them....


I'm transfixed by this blanket. I'm feeling a little sleeeepyyyyy... Maybe it will hypnotize a baby as well.

Wow, your grumpicue is fabulous! A good knitter combines passion, technique and a mathematical mind!!! I can't wait to make my very own grumpicue. I may even make it larger....

Beautiful! I've been trying to find something different to make for my nephew to be...I think I've found it. Thanks for sharing your process!

It's a beautiful blanket. I love it. And it surely will warm a cute little baby.

Best wishes from Germany

Amazing work, I'd say!

it's so whimsical and beautiful. your problem-solving skills are fantastic!

It looks great! I like this mod a lot better then what the original pattern SHOULD turn out as.

I've never commented on a blog before, but I sure enjoy yours. This is a blanket a baby would love to live in! I wonder if the bumpiness of the Oat C. pattern wasn't due to the stiffness of your yarn which must've differed from the designer's. The stitch count can match but the bendability of the yarn affects the row gauge. A stiff yarn will insist on being a rounder u-shaped stitch, where a floppy one, which is willing to bend sharply, will be v'shaped. So the same length of yarn in the stitch would be taller in the limp than in the stiff. The most extreme examples would be mohair vs. cashmere. Blocking probably solves the problem, anyway, in natural fibers, as wet wool, etc, are pretty biddable.
Anyway, I think it honorable that you start with the O.C. pattern, as you do build on it. More power to ya! Being generous with your own intellectual property and respecting others'right to their own--wow, what a concept!

Congratulations!! It is so beautiful!!!

Wow, your Grumpecue is gorgeous, and I love the colours! I just finished my Curlicue (pictures in my blog, writing in norwegian though....) and I'm very satisfied with it, the "bumps" dissapeared after blocking..... But I will definately try your version next :o))

Thanks so much to posting your modifications to the curlicue pattern. I saw the curlicue on a website, and I thought "how cool" and ordered it. Once I got it, I decided to browse the web to see people's versions of it. Fortunately, I found your site, because I will now do your version. The original seems to be an excercise in frustration and I don't need that! I was going to knit it in different colours anyways, so your version inspired me even more. Thanks again.

Thanx alot for this nice pattern! I've finished my Grumpecue today :)

I love this! it's so cute! i'm going to run out and get this pattern!

and i love how you wrapped the blanket around a pillow. lol.

i dont have kids either, but i love baby knits. so i went out and got a mannequin for this exact reason...sizing, photos, etc. ppl think it's creepy...i think it's practical! i dont wan to ask ppl "hey can i borrow your baby for a min. so i can test out my knitted items?" hehehe.

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