Failure and the need to frog

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work
Thomas A. Edison

Well, I ‘found’ a square that didn’t work for my blanket this week. Actually, calling it a square is wrong – if it had been a square I might have been able to do something with it, but it turned into a rectangle, several centimetres too long. I hate having to frog a piece of work, but this one simply won’t do so there is no alternative.

When you look at my masterpiece blanket, you may wonder why I have chosen to crochet so many of the squares rather than knit them. Well, the answer is that it’s easier to guarantee a square of the right size with crochet because you can work from the centre outwards and add a round of any depth to get it to be the right size. It is possible to knit a square in the same way, but it’s much more fiddly and not so enjoyable.

A rough chart for a dancing skeleton

A rough chart for a dancing skeleton

However, I had a specific design in mind for one square intended to represent one of the designs in my portfolio. The design is about death, so I thought it would be fun to knit a square showing a dancing skeleton (for various reasons the design is entitled A dance with death). So I charted it out on graph paper (quite roughly as I know I can modify as I go along when it’s just for my own use) and set to with the needles. I based the size on the small and slow solutions square – also knitted and also using more than one colour. But clearly a different choice of yarns mucked things up and the result is several centimetres too long to fit the blanket design.

The first attempt - unsuccessful, but proof that the chart is useable

The first attempt – unsuccessful, but proof that the chart is useable

I’m not too disheartened, though. I now know several things: my design looks ok when knitted up; the fingers and toes will be better if stitched on afterwards; and I should use 4-ply yarn. So, it’s true, every failure does provide a learning opportunity. I just hope that I can get it right next time, because I will really lose heart if, like Eddison, I have to make 10,000 attempts… or even just 10.

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  1. I bet you could make a fortune selling knitted things with that dancing skeleton on them. How about a baby jumper for ultra-cool babies? Or a nice scarf or hat? Sell the pattern, come to that! Make use of your marginal stuff!


  2. I’m a big believer that mistakes are learning opportunities. That’s what I tell the children I teach. If you are afraid of mistakes, you don’t take risks; without taking reasonable risks we don’t move forward. šŸ™‚

    Your skeleton looks fab, maybe he’s not suited for this project but I bet there are loads of things you could use the pattern for šŸ™‚


  3. It is great! I am actually quite a minimalist but I keep my samples and “failures”. It is amazing what I have turned them into over the years! Your dancing skeleton is really good!


  4. wscottling

     /  January 18, 2014

    Have you tried double knitting? I have a friend who does it, and it keeps things very square, plus you get the reverse of whatever you’re knitting on the other side. šŸ™‚


  5. The design is DEFINITELY usable. I hope you knit it again very soon.


    • I’ll start the square in finer yarn today and try to work out now what I can do with the oblong… perhaps the end of a scarf? Suggestions welcome – it’s about 6 inches across and seven or eight long.



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