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 Balance between effort and ends
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Jeanine
Chatty Knitter

248 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  2:19:46 PM  Show Profile Send Jeanine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Last weekend I went away with a gorgeous skein of much sought after yarn and a stunning sock pattern, looking forward to two days of relatively uninterrupted knitting. But the yarn was splitty on the only needles I'd taken, and the pattern was very difficult (in that twisting tight travelling stitches on itty bitty needles with splitty wool kind of way) and after one day and three inches, I found myself uttering the blasphemous words, "It's just a sock," and opening a book instead.

It made me wonder: is there a balance between effort and outcome? I mean, do most knitters place a conscious limit on how much effort they'll put into a shawl as opposed to a sock? Or on a sock that's made from an indy yarn compared to one made from a commercial yarn?

I know it's subjective but I thought it would be interesting to know how you decide to knit something and at what point you say, "It's only a sock/shawl/sweater" and hurl gently lay it aside.

Kelly B
Permanent Resident

USA
2206 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  3:48:50 PM  Show Profile Send Kelly B a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For me it's a hobby. It has to be fun, or interesting, or beautiful, or challenging in that learning-something-new sort of way. If "aggravating" (or sometimes just "boring") describes it better than any of those, then yes, absolutely, it's time to move on to something else. If I really wanted that particular finished object, I'd change something before making another attempt, whether yarn or needles or both; and if it was still more aggravating than anything else, well, there are plenty of patterns out there.

(edited to add more attributes)
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scraffan
Permanent Resident

1844 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  3:55:51 PM  Show Profile Send scraffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with Kelly B when she said fun, interesting, etc.

Knitting is a hobby for me as well. After a stressful day of work I will try to stay with something simple (No changing colors, no cables) you get the idea.
Weekends are for challenges...bring on the modular knits, the changing colors, the cables, whatever.

If I have to frog a pattern two or three times, then the pattern gets tossed.

Knitting is supposedly good for reducing stress and lowering blood pressure - faulty yarn, needles and or pattern will do the reverse. Not worth it!
Karen
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fiberlicious
Permanent Resident

1637 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  7:00:07 PM  Show Profile Send fiberlicious a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm with Kelly, to a point. There is a point after which I have already invested so much time and effort that it would (in my tortured mind) be foolish to give up. Ergo, have spent inordinate amounts of time and quantities of brain cells fixing something that is driving me right past insanity. I can't tell you precisely what that point is; it differs from project to project. But if it's near the beginning of the pattern, fuggetaboudit - I'm done.
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lella
Permanent Resident

9712 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  9:18:05 PM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What a disappointment! Hmmm, I certainly hope the book was good at least.

I will keep at my knitting until it finally clicks but that takes years sometimes. Except once I did chuck out a whole bag of purple chenille yarn that I'd come to loath! There was just nothing left to do, either burn it or donate it, and I was afraid to burn it.. Toxicity.

Pics at Flickr
Zippiknits

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.
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Mocha
Permanent Resident

Singapore
2903 Posts

Posted - 09/12/2008 :  10:38:03 PM  Show Profile Send Mocha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ouch. I can imagine your frustration. How about changing your needle to bamboo and see if it helps.
Generally splitty yarn = bamboo needle (except me. I'll still stick to my Addi, I'm fine with it)
Either that or just switch to another pattern.
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mertle
Permanent Resident

USA
1734 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2008 :  02:23:50 AM  Show Profile Send mertle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great advice so far, but I have one more tidbit. I always take more than one project - even for just a weekend trip. A new, usually challenging one; one or two that are "mindless" or at a mindless stage (such as the body of a plain bag) for riding in the dark or watching TV; and, if I have the space at my destination, some UFOs to finish. It takes a little planning to make sure I have all the paraphernalia required, but that's part of the process/pleasure to me.

I'm already planning for next month's trip to see SIL who is also a knitter. When we aren't eating (a lot) or shopping (a little), I plan to sit on her front porch to knit, yak, & watch the traffic & neighbors. It's a bit of heaven to me, but the current planning is part of it all - a fun part.

Marilyn
My Bags
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Laxmom4x
Gabber Extraordinaire

527 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2008 :  03:36:09 AM  Show Profile Send Laxmom4x a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All wonderful ideas! My first thought was similar to Mocha's, I'd try the pattern on a yarn I loved (now that you know what yarn doesn't work with it) and save the splitty yarn for something else, even swapping with a fellow knitter.


Janet
"Change is inevitable except from a vending machine"
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Chemcats
Permanent Resident

3337 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2008 :  05:20:21 AM  Show Profile Send Chemcats a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I will enter a project with the thought of "yummy, this will be worth it!" Then come the moments, where the yarn with split/to many knots/fall apart/etc. And the moments when I have dealt with to many misplaced yo's/dropped stitches/cables twisted the wrong way/etc. At that point it becomes an effort. I will finish and do the best I can...but there is a cloud on my sunny day.

And when it comes to projects...I get so impatient with socks! I do socks, but not much because I get really fussy. And with all of it...ya just gotta ask yourself "Is it really worth it??" Your heart knows the answer. And when you hurl...err..lay aside make sure no one is around and then have yourself a liberating glass of wine!

Meribeth
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ceecee
Permanent Resident

1896 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2008 :  12:14:37 PM  Show Profile Send ceecee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sometimes a pattern is a challenge in the beginning and then it's gets easier with familarity and repetition. However, if the tools aren't right, then the frustration may be more than it's worth. I don't think of putting more effort, especially when it's not enjoyable, into a project like a lace shawl over the humble sock. For one thing, I wear my socks much more than I wear my shawls, so I guess my efforts are better spent on socks.
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scraffan
Permanent Resident

1844 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2008 :  4:13:28 PM  Show Profile Send scraffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with ceecee about the pattern.
When I first started the Papollion top I thought the butterflies were hard. By the time I did my last row of butterflies I was sad to see that part of the project come to an end

Karen
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eldergirl
Permanent Resident

USA
1802 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2008 :  7:48:14 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know the struggle well, too. I found some lovely muted Koigu (the end of a dye run, maybe?) and started the "hedgerow socks" of KR fame. I had scrambled to find 2.25 mm needles, as the pattern writer says, but couldn't wait and started on my 2.5mms. Then the Hiya Hiyas came in the mail, and I ripped back and started on the smaller ones. I LOVE the needles, and love 2 circs for socks!
BUT, with my earnestness and new, tinier needles, I was knitting more and more tightly for some reason. It started to be a drag, and I couldn't relax. i also realized that they would be very tight on my short and sturdy calves.
So I left it for a few days, and said to myself after a while that since I know and respect the 2.5 size, and seem to be less tense when I use it, why not go back to it? So I ripped back again, and used the 2.5 s, ...And sure 'nuff, things are sweet.

To me this seems crazy, but as Jeanine said, there seems to be a balance needed between effort and outcome, and the right tools have to be in ones hands as well as the right yarn.

My needles make a huge difference to me, and I have a collection that I am aware is huge considerable.

Everything has to work together for a finicky knitter, and it is OK to be finicky!

Anna


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Jeanine
Chatty Knitter

248 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2008 :  11:32:23 AM  Show Profile Send Jeanine a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great advice! Thank you.

I've added a more more reminders for myself, the first of which is not to try a brand new pattern again. Thus is the first time in years that I've started a project without searching the KR forums to find out what others think of it, what problems they've had and what modifications they've made.

The second is that this "giving up is bad" thing has to go! As you say, this is supposed to be fun.

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ajarmstrong
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2008 :  07:30:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit ajarmstrong's Homepage Send ajarmstrong a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jeanine


It made me wonder: is there a balance between effort and outcome? I mean, do most knitters place a conscious limit on how much effort they'll put into a shawl as opposed to a sock? Or on a sock that's made from an indy yarn compared to one made from a commercial yarn?



For me, if I don't enjoy the experience, it's destined for UFOland pretty quickly. If even changing gauge/needle size, doesn't help, then I stop making it. That is not to say that sometimes working through challenges or boring/difficult stitches isn't worth it, but in general I like to enjoy my projects.

I used to get "starter's guilt". I grew up with the mindset that if I started something, then I was obligated to finish it, even if the project wasn't what I envisioned. My years of knitting, and most recently, about 4 years ago, after moving and packing long-forgotten UFOs (which have since been frogged) have taught me that I don't have to.
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purlewe
Permanent Resident

1921 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2008 :  08:00:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit purlewe's Homepage Send purlewe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
sometimes *you* think the tools you ahve are perfect, and then the project (pattern, yarn, needles) tells you something different. Sert one of them aside (pattern? needles?) and start again. If that doesn't work I give it a time out to let the yarn think what it wants to be when it grows up. Sometimes sock yarn really wants to be a shawl.

I have learned that it might be *me* instead of the project. I wasn't ready for something that the project expected me to know. Sometimes it is the project. And letting it marinate gives me the time to know what it really wants to be.

My mother made me a homosexual.
And if you give her some yarn, she'll make you one too. ~quentin crisp

http://purlewe.typepad.com/
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FluffyKnitterDeb
New Pal

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2008 :  11:44:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit FluffyKnitterDeb's Homepage Send FluffyKnitterDeb a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I belong to the Sock Knitters Anonymous Group on Rav. We are currently knitting a stunning "mystery" sock with tons of twists and yarn overs.

Strike 1: my circ cable broke and my stitches went every which way - had to frog the very intricate heel and about 2 inches of foot to recover the lost stitches.

Strike 2: re knit the foot and heel only to discover there is an error in the pattern! Frogged the intricate heel again.

Strike 3: despite following the revised pattern to the letter heel and instep stitches don't mesh --ACK!

And that's when I realized I wasn't enjoying the process any longer so 2 almost complete socks went to the frog pond!

Yeah they were lovely socks ans I'll never get that time back but if it's no longer fun, ya gotta know when to fold em!


PS - I'll bet I can guess both the yarn and the pattern and maybe you've realized that "much sought after yarn" ain't the golden fleece the knitting community/feeding frenzy makes it out to be


Fluffy Knitters are well rounded :)
Read my blog at http://fluffyknitterdeb.blogspot.com
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Deborahann
New Pal

7 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2008 :  05:38:53 AM  Show Profile Send Deborahann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sometimes you just have to frog. I spent close to 3 months on a top-down cardigan using Noro's Cotton Hill. It's a cotton/silk/wool boucle. I've never knitted with a boucle yarn except for a scarf. As I knitted the cardigan it seemed to be growing - I thought it must be my imagination...But by the time I finished it, I had a good extra 6 inches in front - more than enough to make it double-breasted. But the arm holes are too low - and full of stretched out material! It's terrible. It just sits in my closet. I can't wear it, but I can't frog it. I think I will frog it and make a throw and a wrap - these things can stretch...

But it is very depressing....I agree....but it makes no sense to have something in my closet taking up space that I will never wear.
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shar1ford
New Pal

USA
13 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2008 :  06:57:57 AM  Show Profile Send shar1ford a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is WAY to much beautiful, soft and enjoyable yarn out there to struggle with any yarn that twists, splits or "fights back." I've had some like that and it quickly gets put away. A tough pattern is something else. I am dutch and stubborn! I won't let a pattern beat me unless it is written so poorly (many writers think you can read their mind)that I chuck the pattern completely. My Mom has been knitting since she learned in school (she'd Dutch and they teach young girls to knit in school..cool huh!) and if she can't figure it out, I "circular file it." (meaning the trash can) I took out my first pair of socks 6 times!!! My husband kept saying "You could have bought six pairs by now!" But the yarn was wonderful (Jitterbug) and I loved the pattern. I finally finished them and wear them proudly in clear clogs. So, nasty yarn, it immediately gets trashed for something "user friendly" with a note to the manufacturer telling them to do better.
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njzube@aol.com
New Pal

25 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2008 :  07:43:31 AM  Show Profile Send njzube@aol.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A different "take" on the question. I started a very complicated pattern for a family in-law, decided after one row of pattern he really wasn't deserving of that much effort, then decided I didn't want to put any effort into a sweater that might not be appreciated, and put the yarn back in my stash. Some better use will be needed for it. Some of us are pretty stubborn and won't give up no matter how much we grit our teeth...we keep going. I only had one pattern that wouldn't "work", so I sent the yarn and pattern and what I had done to a friend.....she never mentioned the project, and I never asked! I just wanted to bury it in the backyard! I always have several projects going, and work on the one that most suits my mood...and depends on the cooperation of three helpful cats.
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lucysandy
New Pal

8 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2008 :  07:56:29 AM  Show Profile Send lucysandy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think The Yarn Harlot said it best in one of her books. She said that one of the great things about knitting is that we can discard a project at any time, for any reason, without any guilt. I feel that it's my yarn, my time and I can do anything I want with it. Life is too short.
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stitchellen
Warming Up

58 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2008 :  08:07:35 AM  Show Profile Send stitchellen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
After too many years of knitting "disappointments" and UFOs, I learned the many benefits of knitting swatches. Not only did I learn that many swatches grow - sometimes substantially - in length or width when they are washed, but swatching lets me know a yarn's personality. An hour of splitting and snagging saves me countless hours - and yarn yardage - of frustration before I give up and add to the UFO collection. If I'm trying a new stitch pattern or technique, swatching helps me to improve my skill or to give up altogether. In any case, all I lose is one ball or skein of yarn. If the yarn is at fault and I didn't buy it on a "no return" basis, the rest goes back to the vendor.
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