Optimizing, not indecisive

I like to change my mind. A lot.

Some might say that it’s a sign of weakness — vacillating between ideas as I do, starting out one way only to rethink and try again in a different direction. Rather than calling it “indecision,” I prefer to think of this tendency as “optimizing” the situation/project/event. I’m just trying to make whatever I’m working on the very best it can be. And if that means tearing it apart and restarting, I’m fine with it.

This is why I enjoy knitting so much. Nothing is quite as forgiving as yarn. I can knit some gorgeous yarn into a shape that I think will make me look willowy and ethereal but that really ends up making me look like a bloated Sasquatch with a penchant for the color blue. When that harsh reality dawns on me (and eventually it does dawn on me), I can always reclaim the yarn for another try. No harm, no foul.

Sometimes I realize that I’ve married the wrong yarn to the wrong project. Remember this cowl I started?

frogged cowl in progress

Fourth Quarter Cowl

It’s a fabulous yarn — a scrumptious DK-weight Malabrigo Silky Merino in the color Azul Azul. And it’s a wonderful project that I really want– a chunky cowl. But together, they are all kinds of wrong.

I was chugging right along, holding the yarn doubled to give the simple stockingnette-stitched cowl enough heft to be warm, when it hit me: this yarn is far too gorgeous to be a plain cowl. It’s a lightweight marvel — glorious sheen in a slightly variegated cobalt blue with a floaty quality that would be lost in a chunky knit. It was crying out to be something else.

Off to Knitty I went where I found Unleaving. Now that’s what this yarn wanted to be. I didn’t even bat an eye. I ripped. I reknit.

After two weeks of evening-knitting in front of the TV, it was done. I dropped it into a bath to soak out the kinks.

blocking unleaving

I blocked it using my high-tech blocking mat (read: a couple of beach towels).

blocking unleaving scarf

And then I asked E to stretch it out for a quick picture.

long unleaving scarf

A few outtakes from our little before-school photo shoot:

unleaving scarfunleaving scarf photo

And the artsy, draped-over-the-ancient-glider shot. Note the return of the green grass in the background.

finished knit unleaving scarf

I’ve worn it on Friday and Saturday to take the edge off the cool, damp chill. I had hoped to wear it to the First Communion of my friends’ daughter, but Sunday turned out to be too sunny and warm for it (shocked me!). Now we’re sliding back to the cool temps this week, so I’ll be wrapped up in it all the time. The color alone can take away the rainy-day blues.

So tell me: are you an “optimizer” too?ย 

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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4 Responses to Optimizing, not indecisive

  1. Glad to see the green grass! we still have a bit of snow in our backyard but it’s slowly leaving us (today it rained all day) & I love it, the color is beautiful and the scarf is very long just like I like them! (even if I’m short) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes, when I start working on something I’m indecisive too but unlike you who doesn’t mind starting all over again, I get upset at myself, I put everything away and maybe one day I will come back and try to save the project! ๐Ÿ™‚ often, it takes me days to make a final decision! Unfortunately, I’m indecisive not an optimizer! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you are having a great week Joan!

    • Lately, if something I’m working on isn’t working, I’m fine with changing it. That’s not always been the case. There are those projects that I stubbornly keep on going even though I know they aren’t working out. I once knit an entire green sweater that I thought was going to make me look like Katharine Hepburn. It didn’t. But since it took me a couple of years to finish, I couldn’t quite bring myself to rip it out immediately. I gave it a good long time-out in the closet and then frogged it and reclaimed the yarn. And I felt much, much better.

      The more I knit (or sew or make), the more I realize that if it’s not exactly working or not exactly what I envisioned, it’s okay to ditch it. If I can hang on to that attitude, I find I get less frustrated (because, MAN, can I get frustrated when it’s not working as I thought!) ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think you’re an optimizer — taking your time to make the final decision is just making sure you’ve weighed all your options. (I know because I do the same thing. Drives my husband crazy!)

  2. I don’t know what category I fall into but let me tell you my basement is filled with unfinished projects that I didn’t like the way things were going. Some things sit down there for a few months until I rethink how I am going to go about fixing them and others have been down there for years!

    • I know what you mean — and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with putting a ornery project into “time-out.” I’ve done it and I’ll continue to do it. But I usually do come back and give it a chance to redeem itself by becoming something better (which I hope people do for me when I’ve lost my patience or screwed up royally). ๐Ÿ™‚

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