Oh, the trials and tribulations of knitting!
Okay, I know that knitting is supposed to be relaxing. And fun. And for me, and all that. It is, believe me. However, there are some aspects that cause me some angst. I’m not a perfectionist about much of anything (although I do like to do things well…it just doesn’t eat at my soul if it doesn’t always happen). But, when a knitting project is not toeing the line, I have problems. I don’t need it to be absolutely perfect. I do, however, want it to be useful. I don’t want to waste time and energy on something that just will not get worn or used. No matter how awesome a concept or cool a stitch pattern, if it gets stuck in the back of a closet somewhere and forgotten, it’s wasted.
The Slow Fashion movement makes me believe this even more. I don’t want to get too precious about things, but there’s no sense making something just for the sake of making it if it then goes on to be a burden to its owner. Even if I keep it, I then have to find something to do with it, or somewhere to store it. If I gift it away, the recipient then has that responsibility, along with a measure of guilt for not keeping it or not really wanting it.
So, how do you know if a project has ceased being a labor of love and started being an exercise in futility? My current example is my Color Dipped Hat. I decided to make this for my SIL’s boyfriend after much collaboration with her about pattern, color choices and size. It’s a fisherman’s rib hat knit for the first few inches in two colors then finished with just one color. The adult large size is supposed to measure about 22″ around and 12″ tall. My dilemmas are first measurements and then yardage.
Since it’s on a 16″ needle, it’s tough to know how wide it is. I do know it’s at least 22″ and probably a good bit wider. This ribbing, being chock full of yarn due to the construction, stretches like mad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would accommodate a 30″ head without too much difficulty. It does have a good bit of spring and recoil and it is going to someone with a more than average amount of hair, but I’m worried it will be too loose.
Next, it currently measures about 5 or 5.5″ long. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but…it’s on the edge. I just took stock of things and realized I’ve used 50% of the yarn I have. So, it might not quite make it to the allotted 12″. Short and wide. Yeah.
I have some options, as follows:
- Rip it back, start again with about 20% fewer stitches.
- Carry on and knit it as tall as possible with the yarn I have. Use aggressive blocking to go for tall and skinny instead of short and wide.
Each option makes me feel a little ill. Since this pattern is slow going, I’ve put hours into this hat already. It would hurt a lot to rip the whole thing out and start over. However, now I’ve really got this pattern down. There are a couple of places where I made small errors that, while no one else would ever notice them, I’d have the chance to do it right (dropping stitches and redoing them up the column is not a great option here–it’s really, really tricky to get it right). The second option is great unless I end up with something that resembles a coffee filter more than a hat. If I double the time I’ve already put into it and come up with something unusable, that would suck even worse.
Guys, this hat is cool. I mean, really cool. The way the colors work with each other is awesome. It’s reversible and each side looks great so you can wear it either way. I really want it to work. This project seems like it will either be an epic win or a total flop and I just can’t predict which one.