Thursday, February 5, 2015

An almost perfect sweater, and a story about a rug

I'm going to spend a moment processing my angst about this sweater. I have lain awake at night, wondering why I am so incapable of seeing value contrast, and feeling crabby about how well--how perfectly--this sweater fits me now that it is finished, blocked, and dry.
You see beautiful Kate there on the page, in her finished sweater, and I swear to you, that's what mine looks like too. The fit, I mean. She is so good at this knitwear design thing. Meanwhile, I went off on my own with yarn and now my yoke looks like little robots, bisected by a strange sun flare, and while there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you're aiming for, it makes me a little sad to think what could have been. Why did it have to fit so beautifully? That makes it harder to start over. Sigh. I think I'll wear it while I figure out what to do differently after I rip it out to try again.
Want to see my new rug?
I have a recurring dream where I have suddenly discovered the perfect junk shop and there, in the furthest dusty corner of the secret room in the back, is exactly what I'm looking for, but then I wake up and sadness follows me around for awhile as I think about what might have been. And then, a week ago, it happened while I was awake, and in the way back of my (new favorite) shop, so far in the back that there is no longer any heat or Taj Mahal music and you need an escort to proceed [I am not exaggerating] and where they keep the enormous Texaco signs and purple velvet fainting couches and pump organs, Ethel saw this rug, rolled up and lying on a teetering stack of crates. "Hey, aren't you looking for a rug?" she said. The guy unfurled it for me, creating a huge cloud of dirt. He gave me a good deal, so it came home with me, and when I unfurled it again in the living room to vacuum it, a hundred pounds of sand fell out. So I took it outside and shook it until the snow was brown, then slung it over the clothesline and hit it with a broom until my arms fell off, then *filled the bathtub with warm water and half a bottle of shampoo and chucked it in there. The water turned the color of black coffee. I let it soak, drained the tub, stood on the rug to squeeze the brown water out, refilled the tub with black coffee again, repeat from * ten more times, during which I began to despise the rug for being so dirty. I rolled up my pantlegs and got in the tub with it, agitating it with my bare feet. I drained the tub again, and filled it again, and jumped on the rug in the tub, sweating and cursing. The water eventually began to look like cafe au lait, and then just regular dirty, and then mostly clear. I planned to throw it out the upstairs bathroom window and onto the patio where I was going to squeegee most of the water out, but I couldn't lift it that far, and then it snowed. We let it drip into the tub overnight and then spread it out to dry the rest of the way in the morning. We rinsed half the Sahara down the bathtub drain. I don't recommend this method. But it's clean now, and all kinds of colors appeared, and now I am going to lie down on it and bemoan my poor sad perfect sweater. I have to unravel it.
 
 

 

36 comments:

  1. I see no robots! I think you have been staring at it up close for far too long, it is lovely, Wear it and enjoy it, I say!

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  2. Do not unravel it, I repeat...DO NOT UNRAVEL IT What a gorgeous pattern and color story. You need to listen to Lee and wear it and enjoy it. Start another project like a scrap quilt, I sure enjoyed that last one you made. :)

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  3. I also make the same mistake over and over again with a yoke sweater. Its all in the colours to choose. I pick colours I like, but mostly they don't match with each other.
    I follow your blog since a long time. You give me lots of ideas. And I enjoy reading it. Greetings, Stuyvesant

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  4. I think it looks amazing. If you would just not wear it, I could understand starting over, but I'd wear it anyway and then make another sometime.

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  5. "Fair Isle Style" by Mary Jane Mucklestone has a great section on selecting colors and testing them against each other (including ways to do so without knitting up a swatch). I highly recommend it : ) .

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  6. I know the feeling; once I see something "wrong" in an item I made, even if that's the way it was supposed to be, I just can't stand to wear it. In your sweater's case is a real pity, because it looks amazing, but if you don't like unravelling is probably the only solution... : (
    Great rug you found btw, though it cost lots of trouble to clear up!

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  7. Its amazing! if it fits that well, I'd keep it. But ultimately you have to be happy with it. still, its beautiful. Good work!

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  8. I think your sweater is beautiful just as it is! It's amazing, in fact. But if you feel you just HAVE to rip it out, ugh. Can't you make another one in different yarn colors at least? I don't see any robots, really!

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  9. How sad not to wear it when it fits you so beautifully. The rug looks delightful, a great find and well worth all the hard work to get it clean. Fingers crossed it doesn't take too long to dry.

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  10. I have a beautiful rug from my parent's house. I'm waiting for hardwood floors so I can unroll it. I was wondering how to clean it myself. I'd watched a show where they made these rugs in some Eastern country and they hosed them down on a paved courtyard with the water hose, and everyone walked all over it in bare feet squishing the soapy, then clear water through the finished rug. I figured my driveway would work with a plastic tarp over the asphalt. Your rug is lovely and worth all that hard cleaning ... especially now that it will comfort you in your sweater dilemma. Do you really need to rip it out? It looks lovely to me, but I'm not wearing it. I don't see robots, even when I stand away from the screen. Do you know you can buy a piece of coloured plexiglas that you can buy to see colour values. They're used for quilting, but imagine they can also be used for yarn. I have the same trouble, and seem to often miss the "punch" that others find so naturally. I hope your final decision is a happy one. Wendy

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  11. I think your sweater is just gorgeous and can't imagine ripping it all out, especially with a perfect fit. The rug is gorgeous too. A good thing after all that work!
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  12. I second and third all the comments that the sweater is lovely as is, and please don't rip it out. That said, if you really hate it, could you duplicate stitch over one or two of the colors to change them? Sounds tedious, but far less so than starting over!

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  13. I love your sweater! but that probably doesn't help. I understand how you can see only a mistake or a might-have-been and it doesn't matter what other people say. . . .

    I love your rug, too! And except for the "repeat 10 times" part, it sounds fun to clean. Almost makes me want to get my vintage Persian rug out of the living room and try. My kids adore beating the front porch rug with the broom - they get so many stares and comments as people walk by on the city street - haha.

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  14. Quilters supply places sell a red plastic piece, sometimes called a "ruby beholder". Looking at color pieces through the red filters out their true colors, but very much shows you the amount of contrast in colors. This might help you get the contrast you need in your yoke. Here's a link: http://www.shopmartingale.com/ruby-beholder.html

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  15. Have you ever done that thing where you take photos of your yarn choices and then turn them to black and white images to check out the contrast. I read it in the book Knit nordic and it really works. You'll figure it out. Jo x

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  16. Well then! I'm sure you'll agree the arduous rug cleaning operation was well worth it and such a success because the rug looks fabulous...very Moorish!!! As I do not know how to even cast on I am in awe of your knitting talent and that sweater looks smashing to me!!!
    keep well

    Amanda xx

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  17. oh my....the rug was definitely worth all that effort....it's gorgeous!!!! I really feel your pain with the yoke.....i have a tremendous amount of trouble choosing yarn for fair isle designs (I think I'm going to invest in Mary Jane's book recommended above in the comments)....but I really would set it aside for a bit (out of sight) because I'm thinking you might be reacting to the fact that it isn't Kate's sweater; some distance from the knitting and you might find it just fine. (It looks lovely to me.)

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  18. The sweater looks great- just like it is!

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  19. I don't see robots or sun flares, either. Your 'new' rung is gorgeous. More pics, please.

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  20. All I see is a very beautiful sweater and of corse a very beautiful rug.
    Hugs,
    meredith

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  21. I LIKE your sweater, especially the yellow!

    An alternative to the black/white photo thing above is to lay your proposed yarns on the bed of your copier and do a black/white copy.

    Mary Jane Mucklestone suggests auditioning color combos by knitting I-cord worms with the colors and the order you propose to use them. You can try out different orders of color and roughly map out the relative amounts of each color also. And all without a huge investment of time/materials.

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  22. I don't understand why you are so unhappy with your sweater, although as a perfectionist myself, I can empathize with unhappiness over less than perfect based on your vision of perfection. I would wear that sweater proudly with a turtleneck! As for the rug -- LOL!

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  23. I can understand your frustration. I'm just starting to frog a shawl that I started in the begging of the week... Worked all week on it just to find out I did it all wrong ... I was tempted to leave it and go on but I would always feel bad that something was wrong and I'm going to try to use the time as a learning period ... Enjoy the journey ...right ? That is what they say ... And I'm toting to try it ....I know you will be so much happier when it looks just perfect ... Just the way you envisioned . As for the rug ... That was a crazy endeavor my friend ... At least it seems like you had some fun ... Playing in the sand :)

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  24. I didn't see robots either, it's lovely and I would just wear it!

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  25. It is beautiful, wear it, and make another one!

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  26. Your sweater is perfect and you're perfectionist ! The yoke is well done and the effects are there ! Maybe you have been working on it closely for long. I use to knit such sweaters and believe me you should wear it and enjoy it and not rip it out !!!

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  27. What about duplicate stitch? A lot less work if the fit is good. Helen

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  28. I think your sweater is terrific! I wish I could knit like that. Scarves and the occasional egg cosy are the biggest things I can do. Hopefully someday I will move on to mittens and possibly hats. I got the biggest laugh over you describing your cleaning of the rug! Not laughing at you, just the way you washed it! Poor thing! (you, not the rug)!

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  29. I have this with a crochet shawl - deep down I know I should rip it out and start again but after so much work and it is so close to being right....

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  30. Kristen, I'm a long-time reader but rare commenter. I really love your knitting, especially the fair isle-style things you've done lately. Could you tell me what resources you recommend for learning fair isle knitting? I've seen a lot of books out there, but am wondering which is the best, if you know, or any youtube videos, etc. that were helpful to you? Thanks so much. pammysue8 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. I can't help but recommend the expert of experts--if you want to begin where I did, you can have a look at "Knitting Without Tears" by Elizabeth Zimmermann. There's an easy hat to start with, and you can move to garments when you're ready. She's the best. Good luck! :)

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  31. Judith - in OntarioFebruary 6, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    When we purchased our rugs - a million years ago, we were advised by the salesman that the best way to clean them was to place them face down on snow and drag them around. Wouldn't have worked for your rug the first time, but it will be fun in future years. Believe me, it is fun, once you get over feeling really silly.

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  32. Your rug story is both entertaining and exhausting. I can just imagine how heavy that thing must have been soaking wet. It cleaned up beautifully.
    Now for the sweater...do what you must, but really from here it looks like a keeper :)

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Sorry for deleting my original comment, it was so full of spelling mistakes! I shouldn't post late at night without my glasses!

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  34. What a wonderful rug-story. It will be a favorite thing of yours for years I' m sure. Because of the hard work making it your own...

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