See, I’ve signed up for the Game of Thrones-inspired Stormborn Shawl mystery knit along . And I’m loving the pattern. It’s clever and geometric and just makes sense. It has unusual shapes in it, and I can understand why they’re there. It’s challenging enough to keep me interested, but not so challenging that I’m spending more time tinking than knitting. I should be having an absolute blast with this.
But I’m not.
All because I’m pretty unhappy with the yarn I’m using.
I don’t like the color(s). In the picture linked above, they’re bold and vibrant. In reality… not so much. The colors are muted and somehow dusty-looking. They also don’t belong in a palette together. Well, see for yourself.
Also, there’s the texture of the yarn itself. It’s 80% superwash wool and 20% nylon. This should be reasonably soft and mildly squooshy yarn. It is not. It actually feels more like a cotton blend to me. (Some of the fiber people will understand this. Cotton feels like it’s literally sucking the moisture out of your hands. I avoid knitting with cotton whenever possible.)
When I started the project (and realized the above re: color and texture), I was on the road trip, and didn’t really have a choice. It was either keep working on this project, or the only other project I had with me, which involves US 11 needles. My hands are so not used to working with needles that large. It actually hurts to use them for too long, and since I had hours and hours a day to knit…. (I will knit the hoodie, because it’s for a friend, and I like the friend, and I want to see the finished project. I will just work on it when I’m not sitting cross-legged on a bouncy foam bed moving 70 miles per hour across the country, ok?)
So I plugged away at the shawl. And discovered I loved the pattern, and besides, need to knit, right?
And now I’m about halfway done with the shawl, and everything still applies. I love the pattern, I hate the yarn. But, I’m halfway done. It seems stupid to stop now.  I already have half a shawl, and it’s not like I have any other use for the yarn. And I do love the pattern. And, as with most mystery knit alongs, there’s a great deal of wanting to find out what happens next, find out what the whole thing looks like.
But, I wish I were knitting this with yarn I loved. I don’t suppose any of you look at the yarn and love it? If so, then this is yours. Because, if you love it, then it’s almost as good as me loving it. I’ve knit things out of some very iffy yarn, just because someone I loved picked the yarn and asked me to. This yarn isn’t even that iffy. So, seriously, if the colors cry out to you, speak up. I’ll be finishing this sometime in the next month, and it will need a home.  Limited time offer. Void where prohibited. Batteries not included.
- For those who don’t know how mystery knit alongs work, it’s pretty simple. A designer designs a project, and tells participants the bare bones of the project: what weight yarn and yardage is needle, needle size(s), and (if they’re feeling really generous) what the finished garment will be (a shawl, socks, hat, scarf, etc.). Then, the pattern is broken up into chunks, and fed out to the participants, usually a week at a time. The chunks are generally involve just enough knitting to get you to the next week, if you have about 5 hours a week to devote to the project. The kicker here is that the participants have absolutely no idea what the finished project is going to look like. It’s a leap of faith. It’s putting your trust, your money, and your time in a designer, and the designer’s skills not only to come up with a pleasing project, but to be able to accurately convey how to create that project. It’s doing a puzzle without the big picture on the box to tell you what it’s going to look like.]
- Whenever I say something like that, I’m reminded of a scene in M*A*S*H where someone is going on and on about how they have to keep going in some battle or other, because they’ve already had so many losses, and to stop now would make the whole thing pointless. Hawkeye loses it, shouting that it’s thinking like this that’s kept them in the damned war for so long, anyway.
- The offer goes to the first person to respond via any medium (Facebook, LiveJournal (remember LJ?), email, my actual blog, whatever). Unlike my offer to give away a cowl which turned into something like a dozen cowls, I will not be offering to make another one of these… at least, not out of this yarn.