Why this journey?

I've been retired now for over a year. Husband has been sick but is now doing quite well with new pacemaker. I continue to knit and knit and crochet. Recently I became friends again with my sewing machine so you will see some of those projects, too. Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Experts and Experiments

A good friend, whose father worked many years as a NASA scientist, shared with me her father's favorite scientist expression:  One experiment is worth a thousand expert opinions.

The goal of this experiment is to discover the combination of needle, yarn, and pattern that will result in a comfy and warm shawl for a friend who is going thru some tough challenges at work.  Here's where things settled out but only after an experiment that went awry.
Chunky yarn from Patons.  "Big ole needles" (size US 11) and
an easy pattern which is a variation of Feather and Fan.

The story begins a few chapters previous --

With the NASA aphorism as a guiding mantra, I pick up needles and yarn that speak softly to me, saying, "Yes, we will work in that pattern."  These speaking supplies are sometimes simply expert opinions.  The tale will only be told when I put yarn to needle.

In this case the 'experts' were wrong.  The mosaic knitting just didn't work.  Yarn was too bulky.  Maybe I had the wrong needle size.

See?  It's just not right, though I loved the Mosaic Knitting and had fun trading out colors to make my own series of repeats.  But it lacks serenity and finesse.  Just not right for an item intended to comfort.

Same chunky yarn in cream with forest green.  Same "big ole
needles" and an easy Mosaic Knitting pattern.  But it's just
not right.

So I unknitted both the cream and the green and knitted the lacier version using cream yarn only.  I was able to knit as I unraveled, rolling up the green and using the cream for the new pattern choice. 

It works!  And it's comforting for me to knit.  Remember, I'm a process knitter.  I want to enjoy the process, the making of each stitch.  I want to see the result unfurl as I knit each stitch.  But as much as I love the process, I do want the item itself to be as satisfying as the knitting I put into it.

The lace shows best here.  Those simple, but elegant yarn-
overs to add stitches;  then those handy K2tog to take away the
ones you just added (in the count, not in the fabric.)
It's a both-sides-look-good pattern so there's no right or  wrong side.  This makes it a good pattern for a shawl.  It's a 3 row pattern and easy to keep track of.

After the complex cotton shawl and the tiny stitches on the glubs, I can use a break.  Big needles, chunky yarn, speedy progress.  Reckon there's not an analogy to life here, except the importance of recognizing how we all need a break after complexity and chaos -- just like we need a break, with sun, after a week of snow, freezing rain, slippery roads, power outages, and food spoilages.


  1. I think your experiment will be a beautiful and comforting shawl. And with something like this, the peace and enjoyment you feel knitting it will surely be knit right along with the yarn into the shawl and pass along some of that warmth of your heart to your friend as well. (I'm about 99% sure that's why a blanket I made for a friend was his favorite, even though it wasn't the best work I'd ever done, I crocheted it with my heart, not just my hands.)

    1. A message from your heart, truly. Thanks for seeing thru to mine!

  2. I love the choice of creme. Very serene. Just "discovered" your blog a few days ago, your prjects are gorgeous, love your color choices.

  3. Thanks Marcia. I love colors, and only a few are the ones I try to avoid. Worked many years ago in a needlepoint shop and always tried to persuade customers away from beige backgrounds. So boring. I wanted yellow, or blue, or pink, or magenta or avocado. Anything but boring beige.

    Thanks for noticing.