As a knitter I spend far too much time trying to match up the right yarn with the right pattern. After investing so much time in picking the yarn, picking the pattern and then knitting it is tough to admit you made the wrong choice.
I had been working on my Stardust Mitts for months, starting way back in November I had picked out the Ailbe Pattern from the Winter 2009 Knitty (which is the same issue my Winter Moustache Cowl had come from). I love this pattern, the delicate cabling, the use of sock yarn, it seemed just perfect. I chose to use the absolutely stunning Handmaiden Bess in Stardust for the project. I swatched, and I counted, and I cast on with size 1 (2.25mm) needles, ready to go.
Then things got challenging. The tiny needles, combined with the frequent cabling made this project feel more and more like a dead weight around my neck. I dropped them for a while over Christmas, more enamored by my spinning wheel and a lace project to be bothered by these mittens. Finally, as part of my New Years Plans I decided to take them back up. After almost two more weeks of fighting and knitting I made it past the thumb gusset only to discover that it was too big! All that swatching it was too big.
So I spent two or three days deciding what I wanted to do, do I tear back to the cuff (which fit great and rejigger the number of stitches to make a smaller palm, or do I forge on and convince myself that they aren't too big or do I frog them completely and find a new project for the yarn and remake the mitts in the summer with Mal Sock (as the pattern calls for) in the correct size.
In the end I decided to frog.
For those of you who are not fully intergrated in to the ridiculous lingo of knitting, frogging is to tear back a section of knitting. Or rather to ripit, ribbit, out. I generally don't frog, I rarely use lifelines, and I am terrible at finding all my stitches, I am much more likely to tink (knit spelled backwards) which is to un-knit each stitch until I am back where the error was made. I can correct the error and move forward again. Tinking is best if you only have a little ways to go, but if you are like me and don't use lifelines (I never remember to put the damn things in) it is the "easiest" way to fix a mistake. I am so adept at tinking at this point I can tink almost as fast as I can knit (well not really, but I am a great tinker).
So, with the decision made to frog, I decided rather than ending up with my usual tangeled mess, I would use my niddy-noddy and re-skein the ball and then frog directly on to the niddy-noddy. This system managed to get the mitten frogged and the yarn skeined the easiest yet.
So fare the well my stardust mitts, you were beautiful, but with your superwash merino and your 12% cashmere content you were never never truly destined for my hands, you need to be around my neck. And to that end I have found you a new pattern, a Twisted Rib Neckwarmer (Ravelry Link).
I know things get better after frogging. I had some gorgeous Malabrigo Lace in Vermillion, I wanted to make it into the fantastic Butternut Scarf by Anne Hanson. I adore Anne's patterns and I am avid reader of her blog, Knitspot, however the pattern and the yarn never "clicked" for me. After nearly six months of agony, I decided to fully frog the pattern and start over, it felt great!
So I got to change my Cherrywood Scarf into my Grannie-bel Shawl, the Ishbel Shawl designed by Ysolda Teague, who also has a fantastic blog.
I gave it to my grandmother for Christmas. It was so nice to see something I had caused me so much angst (ie. the Cherrywood Scarf) could be remade into something so nice.
I can only hope that my Stardust Mittens will be as happy in their second life as the Cherrywood Scarf is in its.