Thursday, August 10, 2006

Big Failure Reaps Small Victory

A summery top for Rosebud that began as a baby dress, once designated on this very blog as a "design project." Said design project, a simple baby dress was begun with much enthusiasm after finding this stretchy cotton yarn, Gedifra California Color. I wanted to knit a simple sundress for a baby girl, and not finding a suitable pattern, I figured I could make something up, something simple. I made a schematic based on these measurements, and imagined the sweet little sundress with little crocheted scallops I had just learned how to do (and have since totally forgotten.)

Baby dress was knitted, edgings were crocheted. The dress was tried on my fit-model (friend's baby) and looked horrid. The shape was wrong, the length too short, the bodice too wide. I had to reknit and re-figure the bodice of the dress. Rip and try again, right? Maybe consult some books, some other designs. Let me tell you, knitters, there are not a lot of patterns for simple baby sundresses out there. Lots of foofy dresses and cap sleeve thingies with eyelets and lacy confections, but not a lot of simple baby dresses.

We knitters need a simple baby sundress pattern, and I was going to do it, create a perfectly simply baby sundress. All I had to do was figure out the top.

This was when I ran out of steam, my design project deflated. And for two months, this dress languished undone.

This is so typical of me, scrapping something when at first it doesn't work. I was the kind of kid who didn't do anything unless I was instantly good, and hopefully, the best. I missed out on a lot of fun that way, I know. I didn't play sports or keep at a musical instrument. And worse, this is when I feel like a total faker as a knitter. See, in the back of my mind, I felt like if I could not figure out the simplest of knits, a sleeveless, square (or maybe scoop) neck dress, then I should just put the needles away. Or at least call myself a knitter-with-a-lower-case K, not a Knitter, capital K. Just a pattern executer.

This project played right into my human failings and my deepest insecurities about being a simple journeyman, an intellectual and creative pretender. Talking the talk, not walking the walk. Oh, and my issues with math too.

But never one to wallow in failure, except in this self-indulgent, narcissistic blogosphere, I decided to turn yet another symbol of failure (see Labrador cardigan, now sweater) into a small victory.

The skirt of the dress fit Rosebud's tummy perfectly. And as I was cleaning up the yarn room in anticipation of the big visit from my XRK co-blogger Ann and the BackBou, I ran across a pattern in the the Knitting Pattern A Day calendar that served as inspiration to turn the dress into a summery top for my girl.

So, here's the specs:

Pattern: Bodice shaping instructions for the Rachel Top provided guidance and inspiration, but it would be a stretch to say that I followed the pattern. I had a tube of knitting, the Rachel pattern guided the top, but then I added my favorite edging, an applied i-cord, to finish the top and make the shoulder ties.

Yarn: Gedifra California Color, 3 balls. I did quite like knitting with this yarn. The colors are sherbet-y and the yarn is stretchy and takes frogging well.

Things Rosebud likes about it:
"I like all the rainbow colors, and I like this stripey thing in the middle, and I like that its real rolly at the bottom"

The thing I like about it, is that no matter how much I feel like I've failed, she makes me feel like I've knitted the greatest top in the neighborhood.

And with her in my corner, I'm pretty sure I can figure out that baby sundress pattern the next time. Or at least make her another cute top.


Martina said...

Small failure becomes big victory! You got the thought process reversed! If you never try you will never succeed! If you try you learn! All those platitudes...Big K Knitter you are. You reach beyond your scope of knowledge and create! Don't be hard on yourself!

Anonymous said...

a happy customer is a happy customer, no matter the intended customer :) looks cute!

Dorothy said...

Very cute.

You're only a faker in the knitting world if you carry needles and yarn everywhere, but don't knit anything.

Altering a pattern is designing.

aija said...

It looks great. Don't sweat the "K v k"... your creation is great and she looks so happy in it :)

Anonymous said...

rosebud looks VERY pretty in YOUR design.

and YES, you ARE a KNITTER.

remember the wendyknits bad-ass knitters credo....

not only that, you have a FO to your credit!

rock on, liz!

anne marie

Anonymous said...

Sissy, that is one cool shirt!! Rosie looks so sweet in it too, that second pic is absolutely precious!! Rock it.

Hannah said...

Very cute top! Great design. Your very critical eye will serve you well in designing--but when you've finished, it is time to put that behind you and revel in your accomplishment. Your daughter looks so happy wearing the top.

Knitting Granny said...

The top is adorable. And so is Rosebud. You are for sure a "Knitter" - maybe even a KNITTER! Thanks for sharing this experience - I may take a look at some of my projects, put aside because they weren't working - and see if maybe they are destined to be something else.

Lolly said...

"Real Rolly" - that cracked me up! Such a cute model, and a great little top ;)

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Perfectly stated. This is how we all feel when we start out. Do you mind if I qoute you (and link to you) at some point in the future? This fits seamlessly into a post that I want to write in the next few weeks.

You came out with a great piece - really wonderful. Be proud and enjoy watching the most amazing creation of all wearing it.