I’m not a big fan of Kenny Rogers particularly, but I think we’ve all heard this song. It’s one that has some important life lessons—and knitting lessons as well.
They look just perfect together, don’t they? The rich gold of the solid color sprinkled throughout the variegated skein—I thought it was a match made in heaven. So I cast on.
As I began a section of the shawl that had the 2 colors overlapping each other, I paused. It just didn’t look . . . right.
But maybe a few more rows and it would take shape.
I pushed forward.
But a few more rows in, it didn’t look any better.
Why? What was the problem? The 2 skeins looked so gorgeous side-by-side. Why did they look like mud in my shawl?*
So I had a choice.
Keep pushing and pushing and finish the shawl with my 2 yarn babies—and possibly end up disappointed.
Or accept the fact that the colors just didn’t work together and try something else—with potentially better results.
How many times have you kept pushing with a project that wasn’t working? The yarn was too itchy or didn’t play nicely with the gauge, the colors obscured the stitch pattern or pooled in the wrong places, the sweater didn’t seem to be knitting up the right size?
And how many times did you convince yourself it would work out in the end, only to end up with a project you hated and/or never used because it was ugly, itchy, or didn’t fit?
Why do we do this to ourselves? We trick ourselves into thinking that because we’ve already spent time knitting something, we need to press on because we can’t recoup the time and energy already invested. The sunk cost fallacy.
We need to learn not to view knitting time as a sunk cost. No one likes ripping out a project, and no one likes “wasting” their time and energy on a failed project. But what’s worse: spending 5 hours knitting something that doesn’t work, frogging it, and then spending an additional 30 hours on a usable project we love; or spending 30 total hours knitting something we ultimately hate and never use?
So, I frogged most of my shawl, and started over with a new color combo. This one is working up much better.
No, it’s not my perfect mix of fall colors. Yes, I had to rip out a couple hours’ worth of work. It’s not the end of the world. My new color combo is working up beautifully, which means I’ll end up with a shawl I actually like—and that’s what counts!
(Not to mention, I won’t spend the entire time knitting it thinking, “Is this working? This isn’t working. I bet blocking will fix it. I’m just being silly, these colors are fine. But are they? What if . . . “)
So remember: you are the boss of your knitting. The boss sometimes has to make tough decisions, like letting go of an employee that’s just not working out. So feel free to fire your yarn, hire a new pattern, re-train your gauge, and do whatever it takes to get a finished project you’ll love.
*The answer is that the yarns didn’t have enough contrast; to avoid this problem yourself, try taking a black-and-white photo of your skeins together to make sure one is sufficiently darker than the other. Also, the shades of gold were actually slightly different—the gold in the variegated skein was warmer.
PS: Sign-ups for the Currituck Sound NMKAL are now open! The price increases throughout the sign-up period, so don’t wait!