That Thing We Do
April 26, 2006
Remember how we used to do that thing with the sticks and the yarn? Gosh that was fun.
Do you ever think about taste? About how it’s so specific, and everybody’s is different? And how it matters so much even though it has nothing to do with function or craftsmanship?
Last week, when I realized, sadly, that I had knitted up every miter for the No Sew Mitered Blanket, and that I had reknitted all of the icky ones that I didn’t like any more even though I liked them the week before when I was knitting them, I needed to start another Road Knitting project. I mean, I am not going to be riding around in a car NOT KNITTING–that would be NUTS. Because I would be riding with you, and therefore talking at you without pity, the project would have to be easy. Babies are being born all the time, and I am way behind in my handknit baby gifts. At Angel Hair, I saw Charisse knitting on her version of the Baby Moderne blanket in Rowan Calmer. I was gobsmacked by how her change of the apple green to pale blue — just one of the four colors used in the version in the book–changed the whole look. Suddenly the sage green went more sage than green, the cream was whiter, the teal was grayer. I wanted to cook up a new colorway for the Baby Moderne. I also wanted to try some of the Araucania Nature Cotton I picked up; it’s a wonderful yarn, so light for its gauge, so soft for thick cotton. Chenille-like.
The thing that was really exciting me was that to make the same size blanket in this yarn, I could downsize the number of stitches and rows by one-third. And the fabric is really soft and drapey, very baby-blankety.
So I set to work, in colors that I really liked when I picked them out. (Ominous music here–‘when I picked them out’ being the key phrase.)
Right from the get-go, I was not loving the way the colors went together. But I thought, maybe when I add another block, it’ll come together. Then another block, and another. Then, and this was what did me in, the word ‘beachball’ came to mind.
I can’t stand it. I picked out these colors. I like these colors. I like this yarn. But I really, really don’t like this blanket.
I started thinking about bleaching it to give it more fade and more mottle.
I started thinking about overdyeing it.
But I kept knitting. Hoping, I suppose, for that pony of yours to drop from the sky. Maybe when I got the BORDER on it, I’d like it. Right.
Hey, by the way, hon. Most of the time I was knitting on this, you were driving the car in which I was the sole passenger. Certainly the sole knitting passenger. Didja not look at this thing I was knitting, and wonder a little? Didja not think, this thing does not look like something Kay would like?
Mind you, I can’t think of anything really wrong with it. I could find a tiny bathing suit to accessorize it, call it a ‘baby beach blanket’, and send it off to that baby girl in New Hampshire, who surely needs a beach blanket. It’s, um, cheerful.
But that’s the thing about taste. It’s hardheaded. It will not be reasoned with. I really couldn’t stand sending this blanket out into the world with my name on it (not actually ON it, but people saying, “Kay made this here….beachball shmatta”).
Then the answer hit me. It hit me in a yarn store. The answer is that schoolyard favorite, the Do Over.
Now. Isn’t that better?
The beachball schmatta? It’s going to get bleached and start its new life as an ultra-cozy bath mat. The baby in New Hampshire? She’s going to be styling in a sophisticated blankie that does not look at all like a beachball.
P.S. Stay tuned for Adventures in Not Sewing: