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I'm a Failure (Hurrah!)

Wow, I must be gaining maturity or something. I spent months on a project—and quite a bit of money—and it's pretty much a write-off and total disaster, and I'm fine. No tears, no hysterics, no throwing things (I've never been much of a thrower—once in 1982, and never since). Why? Because I learned some valuable lessons, and I love learning (hence the "hurrah!").

What did I learn? Well, let's start by revealing the disaster, and in case you think "It's not that bad" I'll include some close-ups later. Here it is, the Loosey Goosey sweater by Stephen West, as interpreted (and modeled) by moi:

So, lessons learned:

1. When a designer says you can mix and match any old yarn, it'll be fun, don't believe them. I made a sideways scarf once with a bunch of random yarn, and it was fine, but that's because the thinner yarn doesn't have to hold up a sweater's worth of the weight of heavier yarn, not when it's a sideways scarf. The same thing, in a sweater, knit up and down, means the weight of my sweater is dragging my finer yarn down:

2. Gauge swatches are important. When it's impossible to do a gauge swatch (because the design calls for randomly grabbing different weights of leftover yarn), DON'T DO THIS PROJECT. My first cast-on resulted in a sweater that would completely fit a post-transformation Bruce Banner. I frogged it, made some adjustments, cast-on again, and was fairly certain it would be too tight. Not wanting to frog again, I kept knitting but added increases until it got to about the right size.

3. BTW, when you add increases, yes, be symmetrical. It matters, it shows. When you're not symmetrical, it's weird. I thought it wouldn't matter because (a) large, (b) loosey-goosey, (c) random weights, but I was wrong.

4. Recycled Silk that's been twisted up tight and bound with thread and "turned into" yarn is not actually the kind of yarn we're used to. It's basically a weird rope that will not soften, relax, felt, or allow itself to be blocked. I'm sure it has several uses (though I don't know what they'd be, maybe plant hanger?), but "sweater" is not one of them. It makes my sweater look like it's hosting some horrible alien viral disease that will eventually turn the whole thing into granite:

5. If you don't quite understand the pick-up-and-knit neckline instructions, ask someone, because otherwise the limnal area betwixt body and neck will terrify all who look thereon:

(Although I think the neck itself turned out rather prettily. Pay no attention to the horrors immediately beneath it).

6. If your project notes on Ravelry contain sentences such as "confused by front instructions: i’m to k2together once per RS, 12 times, and decrease from 27 to 19 stitches. The math doesn’t work." then you are probably off-track and should stop immediately.

7. If the designer suggests you use a smaller yarn and needle for the ends of the sleeves, there may be a reason for that. Unless you want giant flaring funnel sleeves, you should probably mind the designer.

8. If the designer suggests you make their sweater out of odds-and-ends from your stash, maybe make your sweater out of odds-and-ends from your stash, instead of carefully buying expensive hand-dyed one-of-a-kind skeins from a special yarn festival that happens once a year in Hastings Park called "Knit City."

9. Three strikes and you're out ... don't wait for 8 things to go wrong with your sweater (and then check if blocking will save it), no, after the third major issue just stop, unravel, set it aside, and move on to your next project.

My next project: an easy entrelac hat! The perfect palate cleanser. This is Slouchy Entrelac Tam by Lindsay Ingram:

I enjoyed it so much (the lovely thing about entrelac is it makes great public knitting, you always know where you are and can hardly make a mistake without effort) I immediately started a second Slouchy Entrelac Tam which is almost complete. I also doubled-down on making Persian Dream hexagons, which is virtually comfort knitting at this point as I have been off-and-on working at it for two years.

As soon as I'm emotionally read, I will dis-assemble the Loosey Goosey sweater into its component parts, and hopefully re-use the yarn to some better purpose. Wish me luck!

Off the Needles:

  • Loosey Goosey

  • Slouchy Entrelac Hat

On the Needles (and actively being worked on):

  • Persian Dreams Blanket (round 30 of Hexagon 12)

  • Docking (Sweater by Martin Storey, just beginning the initial ribbing)

  • Bow Tie (Cloche) Beanie/ Chemo Hat (for a colleague, just beginning the ribbing)

  • Slouchy Entrelac Hat #2 (almost finished! on 4th rectangles)

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