The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

I can’t have a list of monster movies without including something featuring a Ray Harryhausen creature, so today’s horrible movie is The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. This is one of those movies that I’ve watched a thousand times with my mom and kind of grew up with, but today while looking it up before I wrote this post, I was very surprised to learn that this is credited as the first live-action movie about a monster rampaging a city. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms came out in 1953, a year before the original Godzilla movie. The rampaging monster has become such a cliche that I never would have guessed that Harryhausen’s stop-motion lizard creature was the first!

The plot is what you’d expect, although perhaps it seemed more original at the time. Nuclear testing in the arctic awakens a giant reptile monster. Why was there a reptile living in an icy climate? Who knows! The creature starts moving south, and the strange news reports attract the attention of Lee Hunter, the smart paleontologist who spends a frustrating amount of time bringing the men coffee and sandwiches despite being more perceptive than they are. She works with the witnesses of the creature to help identify it and confirm that it is real. Attempts to capture the monster fail, and it eventually makes its way to New York where it stomps around the city before the final showdown on Coney Island. It’s a fun, cheesy movie with great, quirky special effects.

Penelope Resources


I’m taking it easy with my Penelope because I’ve got another WIP on my needles with a deadline, but many of you are speeding along with yours! Now seemed like a good time to share a list of previous blog posts I’ve written that could be helpful while knitting your sweater.



You’re getting two posts today because Thursdays in October are Month of Horrible Movies day! Every week in October I share goofy horror movies to knit to. For the last couple of years, I’ve been doing themes, and this year’s theme is creature features! Get ready for some silly monsters.

My first pick for this month is a horror-comedy called Grabbers. It’s about an invasion of tentacled creatures that begin attacking a small Irish town, and when it is discovered that the creatures hate alcohol, the police decide to get everyone in town drunk while they try to make it through the night and fight the monsters. It’s light, funny, and because it takes place in Ireland, you can spot some great cabled knits on some of the townsfolk in the background.

The Top Five Reasons Why a Sweater Goes Wrong

Sweaters take a decent chunk of time to knit, so you want them to turn out perfectly and have it look great on you. A lot of knitters spend time worrying over the small details like using the exact same CO method and the exact same increase method as the pattern sample but miss some of the bigger details. The sad truth is that you can knit a sweater following the pattern instructions to the letter and still have it be a flop if you didn’t make the right choices before casting on. Here are the top five reasons why I see sweaters not get worn and loved.

The Top Five Reasons Why a Sweater Goes Wrong

1. Gauge. If you don’t check your gauge to be sure that you match what the pattern requires, you don’t know what size your sweater is going to be when you’re done. That’s the truth. Skipping a swatch might save a few hours, but it’s not worth it to save a few hours there and then waste many, many hours knitting a sweater that doesn’t fit. Too big, too small, too long. You never really know until you check. Knit a five inch square, wash and block it, and then measure your stitches and rows over a four inch square in a few places and take the average.

2. Yarn Choice. A bad substitution can also ruin a project. Swapping 100% cotton for 100% wool when a design relies on the elasticity to keep its shape can result in a sad, stretched out sweater. And using something with too much bounce when you really need drape can make for an equally disappointing finished project. Thankfully there are a lot more resources out there for making yarn substitutions than there used to be. Look up the recommended yarn on Ravelry and read up on the fibers it contains. Use a book like The Knitter’s Book of Yarn to find out what fibers have similar properties and would make good substitutes. Or if there are projects added for a pattern on Ravelry, take a look at what other yarns have worked well for other knitters.

The Top Five Reasons Why a Sweater Goes Wrong

3. Wrong Size. Picking a size to knit is secretly more complicated than you might think. Different patterns list sizes their own ways, you have to know your own measurements well, and then there’s the tricky subject of ease. A sweater designed for 2-4 inches of negative ease isn’t going to look like the photos on the pattern if you knit it with 2-4 inches of positive ease. Spend the time to really take in all of the fit information the pattern gives you, have a friend help you measure yourself, study the schematic, and then choose a size. Don’t just guess based on what size you knit for a different project. For more information on choosing a size, take a look at this blog post, “What Size Sweater Should I Knit”.

4. Custom Fitting Needed. This is a hard one that I don’t see talked about enough. Handknits have a lot of give to them, so the level of custom fitting that sewing requires isn’t always necessary, but many knitters aren’t close enough to the standard sizes to have their sweater turn out well without some alterations. Take a wide variety of measurements to compare to the schematic, and really get an idea of how a size will fit. You might find that you need to blend together more than one size or adjust the length here and there.

The Top Five Reasons Why a Sweater Goes Wrong

5. Style and Color. This isn’t one that I can give much advice on, but it’s something that I’m sure has happened to us all. Swayed by beautiful pattern photos or the gorgeous color of a yarn in the ball, I’ve knit sweaters that aren’t the best styles for me or are colors that I don’t really wear. Sometimes that can make sweaters that are attractive but almost never get worn because they don’t go with anything, like the sweater above, and sometimes that can make sweaters that are truly unflattering. It can be hard to think of a knitting project like adding new clothes to your wardrobe, but that’s often what is necessary if a sweater is really going to get worn.

This list isn’t just based on mistakes I’ve seen but also mistakes I’ve made! My first two sweaters fell victim to many of the issues on this list, and hopefully this post will help spare some frustration when it comes to knitting sweaters.