Focus and Satisficing
Every so often I really focus on one knitting project, I mean I currently have four different projects on the needles, two waiting for final finishing touches and one waiting for a good blocking, but I am making conscious effort to only work on one project – the project with a deadline – my grandmother’s scarf.
See way back in early 2003 when I finally learned to crochet (after 2 previous failed attempts) I decided to make my grandmother a scarf. My brand new shiny crochet book (The Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donna Kooler) had this seed stitch scarf done in chenille that I thought my grandmother would like and then I found what felt like the perfect yarn, a fawn colored chenille. So I set about to make this scarf for her; I think I finished it in time for Christmas 2004. This past December I was visiting my grandmother and she showed me her scarf and told me how much she liked it. Well, I was inwardly dismayed that I hadn’t yet made her a replacement. You see this scarf has stretched and wormed a little and was no longer the silky drapey scarf I remembered giving her. (We will ignore the possibility that it was awful to begin with.) I resolved to knit her a scarf, but I knew I couldn’t get it done in time for Christmas and so I decided to get it done for her birthday in early February. Meanwhile I knit gifts during the month of December and brought along sock yarn for my travel project. I poked around a little bit for patterns and yarn but didn’t think about it enough. Right after Christmas I find the perfect pattern, lightweight, drapey, a little bit lacy but it doesn’t scream LACE and I start thinking about yarns. I do a swatch of the pattern (in sock yarn) to make sure it is doable and like the results I’m getting.
Suddenly it is the middle of January and I realize I am short on time and I can’t find a yarn I like anywhere near my budget. I don’t mind splurging a little on the fiber, but I’m not going to drop $75 on yarn for something that might get felted and shrunken. And my LYS is out of colors that would work for my grandmother plus I’m worried about my ability to finish two skeins of sock yarn in essentially two weeks. So I start satisficing. I bought Classic Elite’s Wool Bam Boo because I thought she’d like the color and it would match several of her regular outfits. And I started looking at patterns calling for DK weight yarn instead of thinner stuff (I am too attached to the above swatch done in thin yarn with three pattern repeats) and I settle on making the Drop Scarf, Kpixie’s modified version of Clapotis. And I’m quite close to copying another Raveler’s project, her finished object lured me to this pattern (she made her scarf wider and longer than the pattern specifies). I cast on last Monday or Tuesday and finished the first skein last night.
Instead of using stitch markers I am purling the dropped stitch columns and that tricked my brain into thinking I was knitting a rib instead of stockinette. Somehow I completely forgot one of my scarf requirements was that it wouldn’t roll/curl badly and somehow my brain forgot to notice the severity until I was 3/4 the way through the first skein.
I was sorely tempted to rip it out and try a new pattern (or try the original pattern with two repeats instead of three – it is a scarf, I’m not overly concerned about gauge – actually I don’t even know what gauge I’m knitting at). But I didn’t. I stayed strong and continued satisficing because it will be a lovely color and it will be done fairly close to her birthday and I will block it the best I can. (Hah, and now I think blocking will cure all that ails my knitting).
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