Friday, September 4, 2009

The Art of Starting: Again and Again

So I've tried to start this blog entry a few times and it seems everytime I do, I get a little stumped.  Beginnings seem to be problematic for me as of late. 

Speaking of trying to start again, I've been off and on trying to get back into a strong running routine.  Much like my blog entry, I seem to be constantly restarting a routine that I can stick to (only to get sidetracked, and have to try to start a routine again).  Some weeks I'm right on target with getting my mileage in, but most weeks I'm not.  I think I really have to start looking at my routine as though I'm a beginner runner all over again and go from there. 

I've written a schedule down so it's a bit more concrete.  I have a race on Monday, but after that, I'm going to start again by trying to stick to this schedule.  We'll see how it goes. 

Running isn't the only place that I've had problems with starting.  Beginnings seem to be dogging me even in my knitting.  Case in point:  my Wicked sweater.  I bought this sweater pattern and the yarn from the Miss Babs booth at Sock Summit.  I met Miss Babs herself, and she was super-nice and tried to make sure my two skeins of Yowza yarn matched as closely as possible, but we were under unatural lighting, and it proved to be more difficult than we first realized.  More on that as the story progresses...

While at the Summit, I decided to ship a lot of my yarn home to make room in my luggage, but shipped one skein of the Yowza yarn and kept one with me so I could start my sweater as soon as I got home.  When I got home I did start, but realized that the medium size was too big for me after trying it on.

I was able to complete all of this knitting in just three days, so I thought if I had to start again, it wouldn't take me too long to get back to where I needed to be.  In fact, when I decided to start over, UPS showed up at my door with the yarn I had shipped from Portland, so I thought I'd start the next sweater with the other skein and compare sizing and make sure I was on the right track.  I went ahead and started working on the smaller size.  After finishing the shoulder shaping, I realized something...
Hey!  This sweater is lighter!  Crap... 
I didn't think I would need to alternate skeins.  We were so careful to try to match them in the booth, but alas, we were under unnatural light, and most of the lightness in the yarn seemed to appear only after I had wound the skein into a ball.  I would need to start again and knit from both skeins of yarn, switching them every other row, in order to blend the colors properly.

A note for my nonknitting readers:
  Many knitters these days buy yarns from independent dyers (like the lovely Miss Babs).  Their operations are much smaller and therefore, their hand dyed yarns often don't look exact from skein to skein (unlike most commercially sold and dyed yarns).  This usually isn't a problem unless you are making a larger project and need to use multiple skeins of yarn.  Otherwise you can have something that is mismatched on the same garmet.  I found this scarf on Ravelry and the knitter was saying that the two skeins of yarn were from the same dyelot.  This can happen with hand dyed yarns, but it is also this same quality which draws us to buy it.  These yarns are unique and beautiful, even if we have to go through the trouble of alternating skeins from time to time.  Here is a picture of the two skeins of the Yowza I got at Sock Summit:
After looking at them side-by-side, it is obvious that I need to alternate them..
So, in the end, I needed to frog both sweaters and start again, but this time, alternating skeins so that the colors would blend.  I have already restarted the sweater for a third time.  I am hopeful that this will be the last time I have to start this project again.  It would be nice to finish something after starting it.


Anonymous said...

I find there is nothing more demoralising than having to frog a whole heap of knitting and start again... but I know it will be worth it in the end. Can't wait to see the FO.

Good luck with the running program too. I also run (sporadically) and I know what you mean by trying to keep to this routine!

Mark said...

Going out on a limb here with my worthless $0.02. Why don't you just chuck all the workout regimes and just run? Run because you feel like running. Run because you love the smell of flowers or fresh cut grass. Run because you enjoy it.

Even though I've had a great season I look forward to the de-stressing of off season where I do what I want when I want with no guilt. There will be plenty of time to plan every mile and every split. Maybe you just need to set up a course, leave the watch at home and just run at what ever pace you feel good at.

Oh and I take it to Frog something has to do with taking apart, and not carefully making your way through traffic and over logs to the other side? ;-)

Kate said...

Very pretty! It will look gorgeous on you!

Laura said...

Thanks handmadeandpretty, and Kate! :) I'm chugging right along. It is fitting much better now.

Mark: Eureka! Just run. I really think that's what I have to do. I need to have a heart-to-heart with my trainer. I probably do need to get back to the basics.

And yes, frog means to rip something knitted apart. "Rip it" sounding like "ribbit" hence the word frog. :)

mel said...

Starting is the toughest part of anything for me (continuing comes in a close second!) Your wicked will be lovely, third times the charm! ;)

Best of luck with the running, and your race!

Sharon said...

Thank you for understanding the small indie yarn dyer's challenge with color consistency! As an indie, despite my best efforts, I get subtle shade and intensity variations with my kettle dyed yarns. It has been frustrating for some of my customers - completely understandable. I just wanted to say I appreciated reading that a knitter thinks our hand dyed work is beautiful even though it isn't "perfect". Thanks - Sharon aka Stitchjones