Yarn Revolt


Here is my current progress on the Serenity Shawl:

IMG_2166

Yup. I frogged it.

Sometimes yarn can be very vocal as to what it wants to be and what it does not want to be. The yarn will express its thoughts through common signals, such as tangling, splitting, or having the ball fling itself off your lap and fly right on into the recently used fireplace, for example. When odd and slightly passive-aggressive events begin to happen in the vicinity of your work-in-progress, you know that your precious yarn is clamouring for emancipation.

In the case of my not-so-serene shawl, I discovered I was ripping back all the time. I have been knitting since my age was a single digit. I have been teaching knitting, and lace, and shawls, and sweaters, and fixing mistakes, for about a decade now. And yet here I was, with an admittedly easy shawl pattern, and for the life of me, I couldn’t seem to do anything right. I made little mistakes, counting mistakes, big mistakes, dropped yarnover mistakes, using the wrong slanted decrease mistakes, all of it. I valiantly kept trying, because I was enchanted by the idea of a shawl named Serenity being knit in a yarn hand-dyed by a sick friend. Also, I kept telling myself that this rip-out session would be the last time I ripped out, because all would, of course, go smoothly the next time.

Because, after all: This was me we were talking about. Sandi the Knitter. Able-to-knit-a-sock-in-a-dark-movie-theatre Sandi. Designer-of-a-rather-fancy-arse-circular-shawl-pattern Sandi. Sandi- who-has-never-met-a-lace-stitch-she-didn’t-like Sandi.

No WAY that Sandi would make that many mistakes in an 8-stitch lace repeat pattern. (Oh. Wait. It’s only a 6-stitch pattern. Even more embarrassing.) And so The Great Knitter Me would rip back, carefully put all 200 or so stitches back on the needle, and begin again. I knew what I had done wrong, so no more problems, right?

No such luck. I just kept flailing, not only in the lace parts, but in the stockinette parts as well. (I can’t bear to tell you that I messed up the garter sections. I purled. Yes, really. Oh, the shame…)

At some point, I held up the in-progress shawl, and realized with chagrin (and perhaps an extra-spicy word or three) that my shawl-in-progress had earrings.

mistake with stitch marker.png

See the charming wee shawl earring? Silver ring, with a shiny blue bead, just left of center at about ten o’clock. Lovely.

Such lovely shawl jewelry!

Except, of course, they weren’t earrings, they were two of my favourite stitch markers, knitted right into the work, securely strung onto the yarn. I love my little sparkly markers, so no way I was cutting those suckers apart to get them out. That’s when I admitted that I could hear the yarn screaming, and decided to put all that lovely yarn back into the ball. The yarn clearly wanted OUT, so I released it back into the wilds of my stash.

IMG_2160 (1)

A handy reference photo, which ought to help me avoid permanently adorning future lacework.

Ripping it out was quite a relief, actually. I found that I would rather work on projects that do not annoy me. Go figure.

This, of course, begs the question: What would I rather be knitting? Turns out that, even when I have all of my stash to play with, even though the internet is my oyster as far as shawl patterns go, and even though I have spent an unconscionable amount of time on Ravelry staring at pretty stitches, I am stumped. None of the patterns are reaching out their greedy little grabby hands from within my screen. All the patterns look more or less the same to me at this point. I find myself looking more at the photography background, the lighting, and the model’s hair than I do at the actual Knitted Thing.

That was last night. Today, I would love to say “All Better now, look what I have knitted overnight!” but I am still stuck. My usual solution for stuckédness is to Just Do It. So I picked the #1 sock pattern on Ravelry, Hermione’s Every Day Socks, grabbed Random Purple Yarn, and cast on.

hermione socks dreamsinfiber

These are by Dreamsinfiber on Ravelry.

*Tolerable. However, my hands positively ITCH to be working on a shawl.*

What do you knit when you want to knit everything? Have any pattern suggestions for me?

Random Cute Internet Animal

puppy with jammies and duck slippers

It would appear I am not the only one who loves being in their jammies and duckie slippers…

 

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About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. 2 year-old kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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14 Responses to Yarn Revolt

  1. I have a few projects go that way recently. Yarn can be very vocal!

  2. babywren says:

    It’s a killer when the yarn clearly does not want to become what you want it to become. I was in a “nothing appeals to me” mood for about a month. In desperation, I bought some cheap acrylic yarn and cast on an afghan for my son (who requires easy care, throw in the washer with a pile of random laundry yarn). Lo and behold, I became mesmerized by the feel of the yarn (acrylic!!) and the flow of the pattern and finished a queen size blanket in barely three weeks. I guess I just needed a total departure from my usual knitting. The pattern is Bounce from TinCanKnits. It is for a baby blanket so required a small swatch and refiguring before I cast on. I am knitting one for myself now.

  3. Marjorie says:

    Check out the shawls by Melanie Berg

  4. Sara M. Weidman says:

    Well. Thank goodness! There is a baby sweater that I can whip up in a long knitting spell. I have ripped back this worsted weight sweater so many times, miss counted, knitted instead of purled. It as if I had never knitted a stitch in my life.
    There are about 5 little mistakes that only me and Spirit know about, it looks fine to the untrained eye. But, they mock me, those blunders. I have told myself not to be a dogged perfectionist and bear those snags. I am about to, or as Southerns say,” I am fixing’ to” rip that sweater back and use the yarn for what it is longing to be… which is fixing’ to be a ball of yarn!
    Much respect and affection.
    Mimi Weidman
    Fortson, Georgia

  5. Sharon says:

    You did what I do and cast on some socks. I work on them for a while and generally start to get interested in something else fairly soon. However there are times when I want to change it up and start doing some crocheting instead, so I go with that impulse. I’m currently making filet crochet window valences, while still knitting slippers and other knitted projects for a Create Along in one of my Rav groups. So maybe you should go to another of the crafts you love and not stress about not wanting to knit right now. You are a multi-talented person as we all know. 🙂

  6. When I’m looking for a simple shawl, I go for the Oaklet shawl.

    I have had a similar response to using yarn that has sentimental value. That precious yarn has to first, honor the person who gave it to me and it has to second, show my level of appreciation. Sometimes getting those two things in sync is hard. I put it in my mind that just using the yarn will make the donor happy.

  7. I love the earring. I thought I was the only one who’d done that before! When I can’t seem to get a pattern right and continually get frustrated, I put it away and work on something very easy…like a sock…until I’m in the right mindset to tackle the more difficult project. Hang in there.

  8. Donna says:

    I try to catch finishitupitis when nothing is singing at me to be started.

  9. LynneW says:

    Oh Sandi! How I feel for you. When I want to knit a shawl and have no brain with which to do it, I cast a bunch of stitches in sock yarn onto a 10-1/2 (9 mm?) or 11 (10mm?) circular and just knit exploded garter stitch. Over and over and over until I run out of patience, time, or yarn. Bind off and make it a present to someone. They’ll love it!

    And even then sometimes I have to rip back – I realized that sometimes I knit into the stitch below when I’m not paying attention and it makes funky stitches!

  10. Barbara says:

    I recently put a shawl (a MKAL on Ravelry) into “time-out” after frogging the 2nd clue twice for not having the correct number of stitches I should have had – and had NO idea what I was doing wrong. I moved on to finish a pair of socks and began the first of 2 baby sweaters (twin boys due in July). I will probably pick up the shawl after a while, but right now I have almost zero interest in it! I have seen the pictures of the final shawl and it is quite lovely (5 clues total). But right now I’m kinda “meh” about it.

  11. eremophila says:

    Oh you have given me hope! I had almost given up knitting because last winter I kept making mistakes in such a very simple pattern that I gave up on that item…. Now I have hope – thank you!

  12. leslieileen says:

    You are SO not alone! I have maybe 6 balls of yarn that used to be cakes sitting on the shelf mocking me whenever I look at them. They did not want to be what I was attempting to make them be, and the fiber gods listened to them. When that happens I pick up some of my worsted weight machine washable stash and knit a couple of hats or hat and mittens sets for the Community Center to give to homeless people or kids. Since I’ve assuaged the gods they let me do something else after, but (it seems) I am never to use “that yarn” again.

  13. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your “humanness” with us all. It is always comforting to know others have had experiences like ourselves when we feel like we are the only ones who are experiencing projects that just aren’t working. You continue to be a great inspiration and I am so happy to have you posting more often. Keep on keeping on…..something will want to be created with that yarn—maybe not just now.

  14. Sandy Strickland says:

    My go to project when I’m overwhelmed or feeling bad is a crocheted baby blanket for charity. I’ve made thousands of the squares so it’s totally mindless work. It always seems to settle my brain and heart.

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