Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Strange Joy of Frogging

Frogged Yarn
Originally uploaded by Project Pictures
What is this, you ask? An ephemeral, deep-sea coral? Some strange spaghetti monster? A steaming pile of yarn vomit? No. This is, or rather this was, my Diamond Fantasy Shawl, now gone to the happy frog pond in the sky. This was my first shawl, back before I really even understood what a lovely thing a shawl could be. But it never really worked.

First off, it was too small. A single skein of sock yarn can yield a respectable kerchief, but really two are necessary for a good wrap. Second, it was rough. I don't know if it was my washing, or my finishing, but soft Merino yarn that was usually a joy to touch became harsh and twine-like in this piece. And lastly, the colors of the yarn warred with the lovely diamond-pattern of the lace. When worn, all the detail simply disappeared.

Now that I've been knitting for a bit, I've come to recognize that not every project works. Sometimes it's obvious when you finish--it's too big, or too small, or your skeins didn't match and it has a horrible stripe right at the wrong place. It could be more subtle with a fit that doesn't quite flatter no matter how you gently block or tug it into place. I started to notice that once I had more than one of a couple of types of knitting, certain projects ended up in the back of the shelf or the bottom of the pile, never to see the light of day.

I decided to frog the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. It was a hard decision. It was my first. It was pretty. But it wasn't getting worn when all of my other shawls and scarves were seeing frequent use. It's time was done. And the yarn is just too pretty to languish in a project that didn't make me happy.

Washed Yarn
Here that mess is, again. It is amazing what a nice, hot, soapy bath can do for unruly yarn. Gone are those crazy kinks from blocking. Gone is the sproingy mass of curls. Instead, I once again have a smooth skein. And even better, it's softer! And even with a few yards of scrappy bits to deal with, I'm really looking forward to seeing this yarn become socks or some other project where the unique handpainted nature can shine, rather than compete with the stitch-pattern.

But, it is not the only thing that has visited the frog pond this week. Oh, no. I also had the almost-lovely Versatility. Versatility wanted to be a great project, it just never was. I'm almost afraid to share a picture of it because, well, Ugh.

Versatility, Cardigan
Versatility wanted to be versatile! It was a scarf. It was a shrug. It was a vest. It was a hood. It was cables and lace and bobbles. It was lovely.. and terrible. No matter how I arranged it on me, I looked smooshed into it like a sausage. The beads I used to replace the bobbles tarnished quickly, and they were cold against my skin when I tried to use it as a scarf. It had a huge stripe in the middle where my third skein of yarn didn't match the original two I purchased. It just didn't work.

Manos del Uruguay
This one was actually even more fun to rip out than the shawl. I had a deep sense of satisfaction knowing I wouldn't have the project looking at me reproachfully from its shelf in the closet for never bringing it out to wear. Every line that I pulled out of its knitting made me a little bit happier. By the end, I had three orderly balls of yarn that should probably still be skeined and washed, but will do so on my time schedule, whenever the whim may take me.

Until then, happy knitting everyone. Or happy frogging!