Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Project of Shame

Projects of shame. We all have them. It might be those cans of paint originally purchased to brighten the kitchen walls, now permanently taking up shelving space in the garage. Or the still empty stackable storage containers right next to them on that shelf - the ones that were meant to hold your kids' keepsakes that you haven't quite got around to sorting. Speaking of kids, maybe you have a dozen shoeboxes full of family pictures that you have been promising yourself to sort and put into proper photo albums. These are just a few examples of how intention and action don't always go hand in hand.

My particular project of shame was started the week we moved to Kamloops, which will be five years ago as of May 9. It was my gift to myself for surviving what had been a very stressful move. I enthusiastically started knitting a Log Cabin Blanket (Ravelry link) from the Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines book. My initial excitement and thoughts of, "so many colourful yarns and stress-free garter stitch knitting" lasted about two weeks before changing to "too many colourful yarns and mind-numbing dull garter stitch." The project eventually got stuffed into a basket and I was very successful  at pretending it wasn't there until recently.

I'm not sure what exactly motivated me to pull the thing out and finish it. Maybe I was just sick of averting my eyes every time I walked by the place it was stored. Maybe it was our long drawn out winter and the fact that even though it was April we still had cold weather- not cold enough for a wool sweater, but chilly enough to want to curl up with a wool blanket in the evening. And the only wool blanket I had was still on my knitting needles and only big enough to keep a Barbie doll warm.

It took just one night of knitting to remember all the reasons I had abandoned the project in the first place. I was determined to finish but knew I would never stick it out until this item became a proper blanket. Then it dawned on me. What I really needed it for was when I was sitting at the kitchen table using my laptop in the evening and a proper blanket would be way too big anyway. What I needed was a lap blanket! With those scaled down expectations I managed to stick with it. Presenting my Laptop Log Cabin:

There's just one small problem with this. I am a loose knitter. Not morally, but in terms of my knitting gauge. Gauge is how many stitches you get per inch. As a loose knitter I get fewer stitches per inch than normal (if there is such a thing as normal). Well, remember how I said it had been a stressful move? Apparently my stress got transferred to my knitting and when I started the blanket I was getting way more stitches to the inch five years ago than now. Which is why my wee blanket looks like a parachute.

I have one remaining project of shame. It is a sweater that I haven't yet knit the sleeves for. If this blanket is any indicator I think I might have to donate the sweater to the primate section of a zoo when (if?) it ever gets finished. It is surely destined to end up with gorilla arms.


  1. Well done Kristie! I have a sweater vest in my closet that just needs the left side to be finished.....Shame, Shame!

  2. The parachute effect will work well as you knees can go in the centre, kind of like a turned heel. It's perfect for sitting at a desk and surfing!

  3. Hmmm, I wonder what a morally loose knitter would look like....

  4. @Jacquie - Maybe it's time to take the vest out of hiding!

    @CraftyCripple - You're right! It is perfect for going over my knees. Maybe I should just consider it a design element. :-)

    @kate - That would be hard to gauge. Ha ha!

  5. It's beautiful! I really like your color choices!

  6. Crafty beat to the punch--I also thought it simply appeared the blanket had a niche for your knees. It's very pretty.

    Your mention of paint and pictures gave me the sudden urge to whistle, avoid making eye contact with anyone, and walk away. So you're not alone.

    The Caps are out of the playoffs. I think they were relieved TB beat Pitt and then weren't prepared when TB punched them in the face. Next year!!!

  7. @Jesse - Thanks! I like the colours too, just not the "poof" factor. :-)

    @Ric - Sorry if I made you feel guilty. It will be interesting to hear if I inspired enough guilt that you stop whistling and looking the other way.

    And I thought of you first thing when my husband called up the stairs from our TV room to say that Washington had lost. I would say from the look of things the Canucks might be joining Washington on the golf course if they don't shape up.

  8. I have a couple of blankets to hidden away somewhere...
    Even though your blanket looks like a "parachute" it has some really great colours :)

  9. I really like the colors of your blanket, parachute be darned.

  10. @Hege - I guess it is a colourful parachute!

    @abby - I was happy with the colour choices, and since I made the blanket smaller I have lots of leftover yarn to make some other colourful project.