Thursday, February 4, 2016

When good projects go bad

When tension and color differ

The good, the bad and the ugly

What my mind envisions in a project is not always how it turns out. A recent project combined all the wrong elements to result in a truly ugly item. I had seen the pattern for a cute shrug pattern that was cleverly constructed. It was knit in one piece and sewn together somewhat like a fortune cookie. 

I couldn't wrap my head around 'how,' so I bought the pattern with plans to knit it up with some yarn I had in my stash, Araucania Ruca. Made from sugar cane, the yarn is soft with a sheen reminiscent of silk. Nice to touch. Bad choice.
Shrug, back view. 
Note color variation and extreme sag.

I knit and knit and knit....It was a boring project IMHO....ribs and short rows that seemed to go on forever along a  long curved rectangle. I found it a slog, but still looked forward to sewing it together.

But when I did, I  hated it. I still hate it. It is ugly. And it is all my fault. 

The pattern was not the problem. The problem was me. I introduced too many variables and ruined it.

My choice of yarn was the main 'hate.' Although it looked good in a skein, its drapey quality knitted up into a saggy, sloppy-looking garment. In addition, the color variation skein-to-skein was too great. When  the beginning side of the rectangle was sewn to the side of the end of the piece, the color difference shouts. In the photo above and at right, the beginning of the rectangle is on the left. The end is on the right

Oh, there was another problem and, again, it was all my doing. My tension from beginning to end varied. (I confess: I was bored and put the project down far too often.) The variation in tension is distinctly visible in the photo. 

Taken together, the combination of tension difference, yarn with no memory and color variation and does not a pretty picture make.

Play it safe...or not

This shrug is only the last in a long line of misshapen and/or misfitting garments that have failed to live up to my expectations over the years. But as I see it, there is really only one absolute solution and that is to be safe. 

I can buy a pattern and knit it in the recommended yarn to be fairly confident of the outcome. But what's the fun in that? Where's the adventure? 

So, I can be safe or I can try different things. This means that I have to be willing to throw away the mishaps--no donations to charity!--and learn from them. If time is the only factor, I should have a trunk full of lessons learned and make nothing but perfect projects, but it doesn't work quite that way, does it?

I intend to keep trying new ways. I expect to throw some of them in the dustbin but some will be mistakes that lead me in new directions. 

Working with fiber is most rewarding when I can insert something of myself into the process. Whatever you call it the result--personal expression, originality or creativity--I can call it mine.


  1. I read once a long time ago; Are You a Process Knitter or a Project Knitter? It's really about the process anyway, in my humble opinion, and it sounds as though the process was boring for you. Since the yarn is so beautiful, can you rip?

    Every time I read your posts I want to knit again, or get the knitting machines out. xo

    1. I agree with your about the process vs. project point. Thanks for making the point. I was ready to trash the thing, but it is probably worth ripping for use in something for which shape is unimportant, such as a stole or scarf. Thanks for the suggestion.