Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Donegal Debacle

Have you ever found a yarn that just reached out to you from the shelf?  I have.  It was a beautiful wool in soft colors of tan and light grey.  Enhancing it further were little bitty donegals -- those tiny bits of yarn that excite the senses, and cause all kinds of possibilities to dance through your knitty brain.  I had a pretty good idea which pattern I would use: A cardigan with strips of elm leaf going the whole way down the fronts and from top to cuff of the sleeves.  I already knew the gauge was right because I had had this pattern circling the mental listings for quite some time now.  So I bought all that was on the shelf.

Still pleased with my selection and pattern being perfect for one another, I quickly finished up a couple of things that were going on my needles already.  Casting on excitement was making me giddy, but I knew there was still a long way to go.  So I settled comfortably into the lovely elm leaf instructions (not as easy for me as a chart, but I was willing to challenge myself for the beauty of the end result.)  

The two fronts being laid nicely on my bed, pride was tickling my knitty heart.  Yes, you heard it right -- I just couldn't wade through the plain stockinette on the back, and chose the more immediate satisfaction of working the fronts first.

Now the back.  Cast on, k1p1 rib, and noodling along in stockinette -- all is well in sweaterland.  Wait.  Can it be?  I couldn't, no, I wouldn't do that!  Does that label really have a slightly not-so-matching little number on the label?  AAAAACK!  A different dye lot?  How could this happen to me, an experienced knitter who loves my craft more than almost anything else?  But, there it is, halfway up the back of my sweater, the slightest delineation in shades of grey and tan!  What can I do?

Well, not to be outsmarted by a fluffy sheep's seasonal fashion change, or a dyer's bad hair day, I pressed on.  I finished the back and sleeves in the new dye lot.  The sleeves just look like there's a bit of a shadow on them, but the back begged for a creative answer.  I cast on a few stitches in k1p1 rib, and made two belt sections to overlap.  I sewed them into the side seams and tacked them down right over the dye lot line.  Then I placed two buttons, matching those on the front of the cardigan, to tack the "belt" into place.  No one has ever guessed the seriousness of the mistake or the fix I managed for it.

Nice ending, huh?  But wait, there's more...  I soaked the cardi in a nice sweater compatible wash and laid it out to dry.  Now I was really cruising down the last lap to a scrumptiously-woolly finish.  Time to try on my lovely labor of love.  The only way I can say this, with all the tact I can muster, is that it was scratchy.  Scratchy!  How could this be?  You see the models in knitting magazines wearing garments made from these yarns and cuddling up to them like it was their beloved Yorkie.  Can the yarn companies really get away with selling wool that is scratchy?  Or did the guy in the yarn plant responsible for spinning their luscious yarns get the hiccups and accidentally lose a steel wool pad in the loom?  Maybe it was plying those darn tiny bits into the mix that caused the donegal debacle?

Whatever the case, I refuse not to wear something that cost so much in time and effort.  I just wear something soft underneath it and still get the oohs and aahs over the finished product.

Some of our relationships can have scritchy little bits that keep things from going smoothly.  And some actually have a great chasm of differences difficult to overcome.  I think I may be stubborn, because I work hard to keep the relationships, especially family, that have hiccups and prickles working.  Sometimes it takes drastic action to overcome flaws that cause pain to us, but the more creative we can be in finding ways to cover over problems with love, the more we can enjoy the beauty in the 'beast'.


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