Thorny Thoughts: A Finished Object
January 23, 2013
Fresh off the blocking wires is the Thorn shawl, first finished object of the new year. I have been wearing it constantly, collecting compliments from Green Bay Packers fans at coffee bars (not really but at least I’m ready for next season), and thinking about my experience with this project.
This project is an excellent lesson for me. A perfect yarn and a perfect pattern do not always combine to create a perfect finished object. I say this a little nervously, because I don’t want you to think for a second that I have anything but the deepest admiration for both this yarn and pattern. They are splendid. It’s MY choice to combine them that was the problem.
I knew shortly after I started this that the yarn was not the right choice for this pattern. Pretty soon I knew that the shifty color was going to compete with the stitch pattern, and not in a way that would let the cleverness of the pattern shine. Thorn is beautiful because of the interesting thing that happens as the increases make the shawl grow in an irregular and pretty way. It’s a pattern that works best with a solid color. Take a peek here if you’d like to see a Thorn in its pure glory. Beautiful work, butterfly67!
In fact, if you look at all of butterfly67’s projects right here, you will see my fantasy of a lifetime of gorgeous knitting.
Isn’t that a breathtaking pile of projects? I’m seeing a 5:1 ratio of gray projects to color. That’s about right.
Such unity of aesthetic!
I loved this yarn, this Alisha Goes Around Zeal of Zebra, and I liked watching the color shifting with each stitch. I guess it’s a measure of how gone I am as a knitter that I would finish a shawl that uses the wrong yarn.
Once the second skein revealed its flashes of light and increased the light/dark variegation even more, I knew for sure that this was going to be a star-crossed project. I was surprised, actually, that I kept knitting when in the past I would have probably freaked out, ditched, and done something else.
But this merino/silk yarn, this elegant pattern–they were enough for me.
The redemptive and mighty power of blocking cannot be overstated. If anybody out there craves a moment of delightful transformation, knit a shawl, then block it.
(The blocking wire wounds are still healing!)
The lesson here: A perfect yarn may not be THE perfect yarn for a pattern.
Special thanks to staff photographer David Shayne for documenting shawl on human.
PS I’m now obsessed with looking at Ravelry project pages, seeing how a knitter’s taste shapes what s/he chooses to make. Would welcome links to knitters who are making interesting choices.