They don't always work.
I spent much of October working furiously on Marnie MacLean's beautiful Pas de Valse, thinking it was the perfect solution for a gigantic skein of hand dyed yarn that's become a bit of an albatross as it's been hanging around in my stash for a decade.*
I was partially right. The pattern is perfect for variegated yarn because the design elements do a pretty good job of preventing weird pooling of the colors.
But I was also pretty wrong, and if I'd listened to my gut I would never have gotten as far as I did.
The pattern actually calls for a fingering weight yarn, but it's knit at an incredibly loose gauge. There are good reasons for that - it gives a garment incredible drape, for example, which is key in this type of sweater - but it can also create problems with sloppy looking joins, which is exactly what happened to me.
Here are three examples, which are driving me nuts.
The back of the neck
Elsewhere along the neckline
Truthfully, if I wore this thing in public, probably no one would notice anything.
But I would know, and that's what counts.
Those places where the different sections are joined are driving me absolutely crazy. I finished them, trying to convince myself that it would all work out in the end with some patient finish work and excellent blocking. Big sigh. I was fooling myself. Some types of sloppy you just can't fix. This is a pattern that needs a heavier yarn...wouldn't have to be much heavier, but even a little bit would help.
Plus, I'm not crazy about the fit. Yeah, it would look more like it's supposed to with some pretty extensive blocking (which would hold, given the silk content), but I'd be better off in a bigger size.
So tomorrow I'm going to rip the whole thing apart, and I'm not going to be even a tiny bit upset about that decision. Something better will come along for that yarn, and a better yarn will come along for that pattern.
I don't regret the time spent on this project. It was useful to see how the yarn behaved in an actual project, and I do love MacLean's excellently written pattern. The yarn feels amazing to work with, and the simplicity of the project gave me some much needed stress-relief. It was definitely a learning experience!
*The yarn is Ellen's Half Pint Farm Merino Silk DK (although it's truthfully a fingering weight yarn) in a generous 1,675 yard skein. I actually have two skeins of the stuff, bought before I realized how tough it was to work up variegated yarn into anything even remotely nice. Dumb to have invested in two skeins of the stuff!