how to make favorite yarn last longer

I read about a woman who took her knitting on a long road trip, and made a great big afghan. When she finished it, she ripped it out, and then made the whole thing again. She did this several times over the course of the trip, to save both money and space. I suspect it was also because she knew that the journey of the knitting was more important than the destination of the finished piece.

I reminded myself of this story recently when I finished a shawl I'd made with some beautiful, beachy-colored yarn I'd picked up in a weird little out of the way cafe/yarn store in Ocean Park, WA. (Do visit Adelaide's if you're ever in the area. For me, it's a field trip I plan to take fairly often.) The yarn is Tangier, by Cascade Yarns, out of Seattle. It's a silk/cotton/acrylic/rayon blend that feels just perfect for our northwest coastal spring and summer. And it comes in so many colors, I had a hard time choosing, so I used two instead of just one.

I made this scarf, planning to wear it as both a scarf and a shawl. I love an asymmetrical shawl, but as you can see, this one has the point way, way, way off center. I tried to love it, but really couldn't come up with a way to wear it that made me happy. So I thought, Oh hell, somebody will love it. I'll just sell it.

But then I thought, If it doesn't make me happy, why would it make someone else happy? I set it down for a while, and then started playing with it, finally folding it so the point was more at center. Hey! That's better! I can call it the Origami Scarf, and keep it because now it's wearable! Yay me! I crocheted the top edge together, tried it on a few more times, wove in the ends, and declared it finished.

Next morning, I looked at it again, and thought, Well... really... I still don't like it... It just isn't making my heart sing. So I sat down and made this out of it...

Here's a tip for you: If you are in any way the slightest bit uncertain about a finished bit of knitting, do not weave in the ends (really, really well) until you're 100% sure you're not going to rip it out. I'd done such a good job I ended up having to use scissors, which is never ideal in a yarn situation.

I won't bother sharing the pattern I used. I didn't create it, and obviously, I didn't like it. I searched some more and found this nice, simple, semi-centered shawl called the Châle Facile (Easy Shawl) on Ravelry. It's a free pattern, and after you click the link to the pattern page, scroll down for the English version. Unless, of course you want it in French.

Off I go again, same yarn, different journey, and hopefully, a very different destination. I'll show you what I come up with soon. Even if it's just two more balls of yarn.


  1. I knitted a really complicated shawl-collared sweater once. Took forever! Finished it, blocked it, put it on and it was HORRIBLE. Made me look even more like a manatee than I already do. I was going to pitch it into the thrift store pile when it occurred to me that I could just take it apart. That took forever as well. I made myself a simple cardigan to replace one I'd worn for years that was all pilly. I've also made a couple of hats from it, and have tons left. Chop wood, carry water. Sigh.

    PS-- Stupid pattern didn't have pockets anyway. Sigh.

  2. I love your commitment to getting it "just right" to make your heart happy. I thought your second creation was lovely, but what you've come up with for the final version is even more so! Oh boy, can I ever relate to having to take the scissors to my projects.


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