It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Really Ugly

This is a knitting story.

I learned to crochet when I was 5.  I can crochet almost with my eyes closed, without thinking.  I don't need much light and I can skim through a pattern and pretty much have it in my mind. I can pull out rows and rows of crochet and know right where to start.  

I taught myself to knit when I was 9 or 10. Although I made a few cotton dish clothes years ago I am not a proficient knitter.  I would always look at knitting patterns and wish I was better and could produce those adorable little things.  At the 2010 Quilt Festival I fell in love with a little bolero type knitted shrug at one of the booths that featured yarn.  The dear lady working there assured me that if I could knit and purl that I could make this sweater.  So $75 later I walked away with 3 skeins of Baby Alpaca yarn and the pattern.  I fussed at myself for spending so much money on something I would not make.  Yes, yes I will I told myself.  So last summer I got the yarn out and started casting on.  To make this story short, Blossom ate three sets of circular needles and I had to start over even more times.  But I knitted while waiting to pick up Jaydon at VBS, I knitted while the twins were born, and I took the knitting bag along on my New England trip. I realized that I needed two more skeins and tracked some down through a shop in Connecticut.  Just before Thanksgiving I finished and it was cool enough at Thanksgiving that I was able to proudly wear the shrug.

This is The GoodThis yarn is 100% made in America! 

The Bad:  Encouraged by my knitting success I visited the yarn booth again at last year's Quilt Festival.  I bought more yarn to make a small triangle shoulder scarf.  Instead of being one twisted strand of yarn it was composed of a thin thread-like strand with sequins attached, one ribbon like strand and a third twisted strand of multicolored yarn.  After several attempts to start the scarf I was thoroughly frustrated.  The yarn was hard to work with, the three strands slipped all over the place among other problems.  Plus I was having a hard time with the pattern.  Combined together the yarn and the pattern were The Bad.  So I pulled out two skeins of another yarn I had also bought at the Festival (yes, I do buy quilt things, too, at the Festival) and decided to try the pattern with this yarn.  It was a twisted strand so I thought that would make it easier since I wouldn't be fighting with the different fibers.  I was successful, the yarn was easier to work with and the pattern started coming together after a start of two.  But wait, this is where the story twists.

The Ugly, the Really Ugly:

Yes, that is a really soft, pretty looking ball of yarn, right?  It was a beautiful tweedy looking reddish-purple but very soft and light (note that the camera revealed the multi-colors of the yarn, they are not visible with the naked eye).  Half-way through the project I was horrified with the progression of color. Ugh, the yarn got uglier and uglier as I pulled it out.  But I kept going because I wanted to master the pattern.  When I finished I had to shudder because the colors were hideous!  The yarn must have been hand dyed but I can't imagine why anyone would use these colors together.  Lesson learned to ask if the color is the same throughout the skein or if it is hand dyed and varies through the skein.

I love the pattern and the scarf is perfect to put around my shoulders and pin together.  But I will not be wearing this anywhere.

The Really Ugly
But wait, there is a good ending to this long story.  I got the Bad yarn out and started the scarf again.  Now that I have the pattern mastered the Bad yarn is working out much better.  It is still tricky to work with, but I think I will be able to finish a scarf that I will wear.  When finished I'll post a picture to conclude the story.

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