Monday, December 12, 2005

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  • The Kitchen Sink

    It's like when coal becomes diamond. It doesn't afterwards retain the possibility of change. Squeeze it as hard as you like, it won't turn into a rubber ball, a Quattro Satgione pizza, or a self-portrait of Rembrandt.
    It's done. -Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet

    It was a long, dark winter in Rhode Island last year. A lot of snow days (which I preferred over my psychiatry rotation), a lot of quality time hanging out with my yarn when my car was buried under (at one point) 38 inches of snow. I had an inspiration. A brilliant thought. I was going to experiment, to explore uncharted territories, go off into the wilds of Magic Ball Knitting. The Knitter's Review commenters encouraged us to "Let yourself grow." OK, I can grow.

    Magic Ball Knitting, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is a *creative* way of using up leftover bits and pieces of yarn. You take all your pieces and tie them into a ball (this would be the magic) and then knit something wonderful and unique and special out of it. There exist particularly gorgeous examples of this, such as these socks (scroll down to the bottom), and pretty much anything by Kaffe Fasset. I was paging through knitting magazines, came across the pillowcovers in Interweave Knits, Summer 2002, and thought this would be a brilliant use of leftover yarns. Because I am just so clever, I decided to use only feltable yarns so that I could have a felted pillowcover of leftover yarn scraps.

    Where I went wrong:
    1. Does "felted pillowcover of leftover yarn scraps" not sum it up?
    2. I am not Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably, or anyone else with a gift for color coordination.
    3. Size of scraps. Instead of using 18-36 inches pieces of yarn as most experts recommend, I decided I had better uses for those longer pieces and I should save them for something really special, like a pattern from Sally Melville's Styles. Instead I used anything I could tie two knots into. See all those ends on the back? It's like a shag carpet from some 1970s swinging bachelor pad.
    4. Color scheme. Instead of searching my (sizable) stash for compatible colors/values/whatever people talk about in color theory, I only used scraps. And I used every avaiable scrap. Not only did this result in horrendous color choices, but it also has distinct bands of color to it, as I would weave in all the ends from a single project at once.
    5. Felting. There are some lovely bright snatches of color here and there, but the felting process just made everything blend together. Not only does it look like a shag carpet, it looks like a shag carpet that has been darned. Over and over again.

    What did I do right?
    I stopped.
    Felted it. And forgot about it. It's done - there's no going back.

    Anyone have good Magic Ball experiences?


    Blogger Chris said...

    Vivid imagery! And strangely, I have no desire to try the Magic Ball technique after that - I am not one of the color gifted folks!

    12/13/2005 8:15 PM  
    Blogger Kristen said...

    wow! I've never tried it simply because it sounds like a lot of work (that magic part). Right now I'm using my extra scraps in charity hats - an extra color around the brim, or stripes. I admire your creativity and I'll admit that I liked the refrence to the psych rotation....

    12/18/2005 7:48 PM  

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