Saturday, June 18, 2005

Second thoughts & second chances

A friend of mine is getting married in a few weeks, and I wanted to make her something festive in honor of the occasion. I decided to make a Koigu beaded bag (we have one with copper beads hanging by the Koigu shelves at Rosie's; the pattern can be found in a relatively recent Interweave Knits issue). The bride is wearing a pale gold dress, I'm told. So I found some gold beads at Foreign Bazaar and picked this yarn:

Karabella Breeze, a silk/cashmere blend, in cream. This is an incredibly soft, lovely yarn that comes in muted pastels. It’s a little heavier than Koigu, but not much. I got gauge, then strung what seemed like a gazillion beads and began to knit.

I didn't like it.

For a little while, I tried to ignore that it just didn't look right to me. Sometimes when I start a project and am just a little underway, I get knitter's remorse: I start to second-guess my yarn choice, or become paranoid about gauge, or convince myself the recipient will hate it. Often it's irrational and goes away. But this time, I came to realize it was more than that, and if I kept knitting, I'd only have more to rip out later.

So I presented it to Dorlynn for some knitting 9-1-1. Her diagnosis: too much of a contrast between bead color and yarn. She prescribed either paler beads, or brighter yarn. Effortlessly, she plucked a skein of Koigu out of a bin and said, "Here. This is what you need." It was this.

A pale, lovely green, but green just didn't fit in with my mind's eye view of what I wanted to make. I murmed about going for more beads, maybe in a pearly ivory, but that didn't seem right either. My friend is chic and elegant and sophisticated – hardly a blushing bride all poufed out in white -- and anyway, I had hoped to use the gold beads since her dress is gold. But the more I looked at the gold beads against the pale green Koigu, the more I liked it. There was something about the way the beads and the yarn complemented each other that worked, and the yarn certainly didn't shout leprechauns or lime Kool-Aid or Astroturf. Quite the contrary; it looked fresh and chic, and neutral enough to accessorize many different ensembles. Then I started thinking how green was the color of spring, renewal. According to that prestigious research source, the internet, Asian cultures view green as the color of eternity, peace, family and harmony. Even Kermit the Frog eventually came to grips with being green.

So I started again, and this is the result:

Dorlynn felt strongly that the bag deserved an elegant black velvet background, so here you go:

I love the finished bag, and I'm pretty sure she'll like it, but I don't have any illusions about her carrying it down the aisle with her. Maybe she will, and I’d be thrilled if she did, but if it doesn't match, or she already has Aunt Patty's heirloom clutch or whatever, I'm still happy to have made it for her. She can bring it along on her honeymoon, or put keepsakes in it, knowing that each bead strung, each stitch knit, was full of love and hope and good wishes from an old friend.

1 comment:

Magda said...

Thanks for the lovely story and the lovely sentiment. I've had a beautiful skein of Koigu (full of reds, oranges, and a touch o'green) sitting, with red beads prestrung in a basket for about a year. I am now ready to get going, get it finished and send it off to my dear friend because she is a dear friend. Of course there is the the issue of gauge. I see 00 or 000 needles in my future, eek!... Thanks!