Tuesday, April 14, 2015

When It's Just Not Working

I fell in love with this yarn years and years ago.

I remember being drawn to them from across the yarn shop....three perfect skeins - 1,500 yards of a mohair, wool blend in the beautiful colors of a forest in autumn...or of a turtle shell.  They were the colors that a fairy queen would wear, and I wanted them desperately.  However,  I didn't have a plan for that yarn, and it was too expensive to justify as a 'just because' purchase.  So I touched it gently, and walked away.  Several times.  Then, magic.  I popped a balloon at a sale, and found a 40% off coupon inside.  My fairy queen yarn came home with me that day, and I rejoiced. 
If only the yarn had retained it's magic.

Instead, it has become an albatross.
Lord knows I've tried.  For a very long while I worked really hard to find a pattern that would show the yarn and its glorious color to full advantage.  It was a tricky proposition...it needed to be a basic pattern, free of detailing (like cables or lace) that would be lost in the color, but with enough texture to break up the typical pooling problems that happen with varigated yarns.  Try as I might, though, I never could figure out that particular puzzle.  There was always a problem - usually with gauge and yarn quantity - that couldn't really be overcome.  I tried and tried...and then gave up.
The yarn has been tucked away in my stash, largely untouched, for years now.  The albatross has weighed on me as yarn that isn't being used is a financial burden that I don't like living under.  For quite some time now I've only purchased project-specific yarn, and I deeply regret the stash building days.  More than that, I long ago lost any love I once had for variegated yarns.  The few that remain have become a problem that perplexes me every time I open the drawers and am reminded of their existence.

Recently I did an old fashioned stash "toss."  I pulled all of my yarn out of the drawers so that I could lay hands and eyes on each and every skein I own.  It's fun...and it's inspirational.  I decided that day that my fairy queen yarn would be one of the first challenges I took up in my attempts this year to work down the stash.
As I was knitting the baby turtle shell over the weekend, the wheels started to spin.  The hexagon I based my turtle shell on is part of a sweater that I'd once briefly considered as a match for my gorgeous greens and golds.  The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea....so I decided that I would swatch this week.
This morning I worked the two pieces in the picture above - a single hexagon and a sample of the sand stitch used in the sweater.  I went for the needle size I thought would work best with the yarn, knowing full well I'd probably have to make some pretty major adjustments to the pattern.  It was a delight to work with the colors, the yarn felt good, and I was pleased particularly with how the sand stitch worked up....but something about the process bothered me.  Once finished, I sat down at my computer to look up the yarn and the pattern on Ravelry. 
Sometimes the truth is hard to face.

The problems with the hex sweater I could face.  There were enough finished projects to show me that with some care and consideration - and a few adjustments - it would be a nice sweater on me.

The yarn though, oh goodness...my albatross.  As I browsed through pages of finished projects made from this specific yarn, I had to own up to the truth.
I hate variegated yarn.  I despise it with a passion, and I really don't want a sweater made out of it.  No matter how you knit it up, the colors in variegated yarns pool and do disgusting things.  It's amazing when still just a skein of possibility - but I've never liked what it does when it's worked up.

The worst?  There is one hex coat made of a variegated yarn in a similar weight.  The knitter was delighted with it - and for that I'm glad - but I could not in a million years imagine myself wearing something similar.

I don't have many yarn related regrets, but friends...this is one.

I'm going to go ahead and wash and block my swatches.  Maybe I'll change my mind.  Probably not.  I would still love to find something to do with this yarn...but I no longer believe that a sweater is going to be the answer, and I'm not sure that I want to waste any more time trying to figure it out.  My mother has offered to take some of the other variegated yarn I have for weaving purposes, and I think I'm going to let her have it.  Perhaps I'll go ahead and list this for sale on ravelry again.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, but I do know that this yarn just isn't working for me...and it may be time to let it go.

(This particular yarn is impossible to photograph correctly, and I am NOT someone who can manipulate photos well - mostly because the attempt to gain accuracy makes my little OCD brain go more than a bit crazy.  This is the closest I managed before I made myself stop.)

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