There are those projects you just know you’re going to love. The pattern picture made you catch your breath when you saw it. The yarn feels like a newborn kitten and knits like butter. And you know when you hand it over to your sister-in-law, she’s going to cry tears of joy and wear it until it’s nothing but threads.
Then there are those projects you just know you’re going to hate. The pattern picture made you do a double take and reach for an aspirin…which is better than the yarn, which makes you reach for bandaids and anti-nausea meds. But you can’t say no to either because it’s better than listening to your annoying, overbearing cousin whine that you never make anything for her, even though the reason you don’t is because she’ll hate it when it’s done and never wear it. (For the record, I don’t knit for those people – this is an exaggeration for dramatic effect.)
And then there are the projects that defy logic. I’m working on one of those right now.
Several months ago, my mom asked me to knit her a shrug for an upcoming family wedding. This was a no brainer to say yes to – Mom is eminently knitworthy. The only big question that needed settled was what she meant by “shrug,” since there are a lot of different looks that fall into that category. So I gathered up a bunch of links and emailed them to her. Since they were just intended as examples of styles, I didn’t pay much attention to the pattern specifications; I figured we could dial down to exactly what my mom wanted.
That was my first mistake. Naturally, Mom fell in love with one of them: DROPS 119-27 lace raglan bolero in Muskat. I know a lot of people complain about the brevity of their patterns – they don’t spell things out row by row – but it just takes reading through the pattern and paying attention. What I don’t like is that this shrug is knit bottom up in pieces and seamed, not top down seamless, which is my preference. Well, lesson learned. It’s a very cute shrug, and Mom and I both really liked the look of it.
Next, I had to pick a yarn, and I decided to (unusually for me) go with the recommended yarn. I’ve never knit with any Garnstudio yarns, so I was looking forward to trying some. I liked the look of it in the pictures, and although I know some people don’t like knitting with cotton, it doesn’t bother me. So, without checking the comments on the yarn page, I placed my order.
Loved the yarn when it arrived–nice color, great sheen, and plenty soft for a cotton yarn–but as I started knitting it, I realized I’d made mistake #2. Muskat is single ply, which can make for very splitty yarn, and its tendency to twist up badly as I knit it is making it worse. I have to let the ball dangle to untwist about once every row, and then it wants to completely untwist which makes it even splittier (that’s a word now – I say so). And when you’re working an all-over lace pattern where the primary stitch is a SK2P (slip 1, knit 2 together, pass slipped stitch over), it makes for slow knitting because otherwise there always seems to be just one tiny strand that wants to catch where it doesn’t belong.
My third and (hopefully) final mistake is one I frequently make…and have yet to learn from, so I’m not holding my breath. I procrastinated. I could have started it before my first Camp Loopy project and I didn’t. Then I could have started it once I finished that sweater and I didn’t, not until a few days before the second Campy Loopy project started. So now I’m knitting on 2 sweaters simultaneously. And it’s really hard to fight the urge to just tuck this one away and work on my Camp Loopy project exclusively. Plied, non-splitty yarn…seamless and top down…quick moving stockinette…
But there will be no surrender. Mom asked for this sweater, and she’s getting it. She will love it, and it will look very cute on her. And I will enjoy the end result and forget this part of the process.
(Not so much that I forget to check the pattern specifications before making a suggestion, though.)