Bleeding

birdie cardigan

No, not me, silly. I’m fine. It’s the yarn…

Let me start by saying I knew it was a bad idea when I did it. A friend (THIS friend — isn’t she talented?!?) asked me if I could knit her this sweater (adorbs, right?) with slightly rearranged colors. It’s a must-have. Yes!

And then I — in my infinite impatience — ran immediately to my LYS to see what I could find in the right colorway. I was surprised (and horrified) to realize that it was nigh impossible to find one line of yarn (or even two somewhat related lines) with the right quantities of the right colors (in the exact right shades) to make this dream a reality. So I did what any impatient knitter would do: I made the best of what they had rather than waiting to order online. Granted, this is always the better option because wouldn’t we always rather support the shop down the street than a big conglomerate online that doesn’t need our dollars? The LYS needs me; my sale matters. And rather than ask if they’d special order something (which they would probably have done), I went with something off the shelf that I knew was a bad idea. I knew it. I KNEW IT. And I still did it! I have no one to blame but myself.

I knowingly bought the worst possible yarn for the project. And because of that, I agonized over every stitch. I took twenty times longer to make it (because the yarn was miserable and completely wrong for the project) and when all was said and done, the little red birdies ran all over the white sky background — so terribly that there was a mottled pool of pink around each and every one. I’m not even going to show you because it’s just. too. painful.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Even after thirty+ years of knitting, a person shouldn’t feel too high and mighty about their ability to work miracles with the wrong materials. I am not a super hero (most of the time).
  2. Cotton blend worsted for fairisle? Am I insane?!? No amount of desperation can justify that choice.
  3. Cascade Avalon. No. Big fat no.
  4. Red cotton fairisle on a white cotton base? HELL, no.
  5. If you can tell right away you’ve made a bad choice, don’t be stubborn. Go back and get it right. Don’t force yourself to spend six months knitting a sweater you know is wrong.

So now, dear friends, I have a sweater that no one should have to wear and is definitely not worthy of my friend (yes, it looks cute in the photo but looks are deceiving. I’ve been using a bleach gel pen to outline the pink pools around the birdies for two days and it’s still not good).

I went back to the LYS and bought a completely different line of fiber to knit the sweater again (this time much more quickly) with the confidence that not only will the end result look SO MUCH better, but that I won’t have to worry about the yarn bleeding all over itself and everything else.

More than anything, I was reminded of what happens when you are both impatient AND stubborn. Lesson learned!

-M.E.

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