Happy Tuesday everyone!
I want to share a story about my holiday weekend. It involves yarn. Wonderful yarn, beautiful yarn handspun from wonderful fiber that had been dyed by a local artist. I really really love this yarn.
It had originally been intended for socks, but this yarn is far too nice for my feet – I don’t want it to be hidden and get worn out. I thought about a nice hat and mitt set, but those can really only be worn when it’s cold. My standard use for yarn I love is shawls/scarves/cowls – some sort of thing I can wear around my neck or shoulders to keep me warm and show off. I spent some time on Ravelry and asked a few friends for input, and settled on In the Garden– a beautiful lace capelet pattern. I swatched and had gauge, which I took as a sign everything would be perfect (I almost never get gauge on the first try).
We were heading to my inlaws for the Easter weekend, so I downloaded the pattern, grabbed my needles and cast on in the car. The lace pattern was intuitive, the stitch count was steadily increasing, I figured I’d have the capelet finished in the weekend. All was well. Except for the colours.
You see, I don’t know what to do with colours. Most of the knit pieces I wear are either solid, intentional stripes/colourwork or subtle heathered or variegated yarns. I don’t often knit with my handspun because I’m drawn to beautiful, colourful hand painted fibers, and then once they’re spun I’m never quite sure what to do with them. I knew this yarn had striping colour – I had intentionally spun and plied it so the colours would be distinct rather than running together. Since my plan had been socks, that made sense. For a lace capelet, however, not so much.
It wasn’t a yarn problem – the yarn is lovely and was giving me nice stitch definition. It wasn’t even that I don’t like the colours – they’re beautiful and remind me of a landscape in spring – grassy hills and blue sky and just a touch of pink on the horizon – it’s just the colours and the pattern didn’t quite sync up together. I couldn’t follow the flow of the lace because of how the stripes blocked things off.
At first, of course, I thought it was just my general fear of colour that was causing the problem. I continued on, finished the first chart, then the second. I realized partway through the first chart that I had a problem with the cast on – it wasn’t stretchy enough to block out as much as I’d like, meaning the capelet neckline would sit higher than I had intended. No worry, really, it would be easy enough to pick up the backside of the stitches, upick the cast on edge and do a stretchy bind-off. Not ideal, but a fixable situation. I switched to a longer cable (so that I could use the shorter one to pick up the neckline) and was excited to see the lace spread out a bit more.
Only, it didn’t have the effect I was hoping for.
You see, the lace pattern (which I think looks like a row of bluebells) is completely lost. You can’t follow the lines and find an image. You can tell it is lace, but the overall effect – the bigger picture – is completely lost. I wasn’t happy.
Still not sure if it was just me, I took more pictures and asked some friends. The yarn was beautiful, the colours were lovely, the pattern was really nice, but they weren’t all playing well together. Fixing the neckline (which as you can see is quite high) would have been a bit of a frustration, but totally worth it if I loved the overall piece. The reality was, I didn’t.
It would have been easy to finish the last chart, fix the neck, block it, and have something that would hang on a hook. Eventually, I’d likely have given it away because I have a lot of neck things and I don’t like keeping things that just sit around and aren’t used. I didn’t want this to go unused. I adore the yarn, and I wanted a finished piece I loved as much as I did the yarn.
And so, ripped it out. All the hours of knitting was undone in under 20 minutes, wound back onto the ball. I’ll find something else to do with this yarn, something that I do love, something that shows off the colours, something that I’ll wear and love and treasure. I’m not completely sure what that will be yet, but I’ll find it, and it will be perfect.
If you’re curious, I do have a project page on Ravelry for this – I made a couple small modifications to the lace pattern, and I’d suggest casting on with a bigger needle if you want a lower neckline.