14 October 2014


A Tangled Teaser

The book I feature today wasn't a current read, but I did have to reread quite a few pages of it to write this post. And this post isn't a teaser for a review, but for the sort of thing you can expect from my blog in the future. It isn't often that I throw a completely new element into the mix, so I find this change exciting!

"A work of art," she sighed. "My knitting always looks as if a cat had nested in it."

Although I hadn't read Madeleine L'Engle's very early novel And Both Were Young in over a decade, I never forgot the random moment in which the heroine's favourite teacher admires a hand-knit sweater made by one of the other members of the faculty. Perhaps it was because I myself was so bad at crafts, though my own nemesis was crochet: having a wonderful, artistic character confess that she couldn't knit to save her life made me feel better about my own limitations.

But now, things are a little different. I wonder what Madame Perceval would say about the new scarf that I completed last weekend. =)

I started with this very easy video tutorial . . .

. . . then decided to go with a wider version of the scarf that I found on the user's blog. And there's a reason why I call it my "learning curve" scarf! LOL!

I really want to show it off now, but I'm afraid that it clashes with the rest of the colours on this post. Brace your eyes . . .











And brace them some more because there are all the mistakes that I made during the first few days of knitting on the left! =P But just compare them to what I had when I finally decided the scarf was long enough to add tassels to, on the end on the right!

I'm not great at counting rows and remembering how many I've done, so it's still uneven on that count, but I'm very happy that I was able to finish something that doesn't look like a cat was nesting in (too much of) it! Madame Perceval, eat your heart out! =D

Image Source: And Both Were Young by Madeleine L'Engle


Brandon said...

My mother, who quilts, always says, when she's discovered that she made a mistake in the quilting, that she was just putting in proof that it was unique.

Sheila said...

I love it!

I am not so good at counting rows either, so I prefer patterns that don't require much of that. The "serious knitters" have little gadgets called row counters to remember for them, so perhaps *no one* is good at counting!

Sheila said...

You know, it's a real sign of humility for the teacher to knit anyway, even though she's not good at it. Proud people never work on something they're not good at, because it will show up their limitations. But of course, that limits them far more than the lack of talent does!

Enbrethiliel said...


Brandon -- The best way to deal with imperfections is philosophically! ;-)

Sheila -- That's a good way to see it! I agree that our choices have more power to limit us than our abilities. (There's a Harry Potter quotation fighting to be recognised in that last sentence. LOL! I wonder if anyone will place it.)

Next time, I'll think twice about using ombre yarn for a project with such defined rows as this one. It makes my scarf look wavier than it actually is.

Yvonne said...

I'm not very creative and can't knit at all. I can appreciate the teaser.

Nise' said...

I like the teaser and the sharing of your project. I do not know how to know, although learning is on my bucket list.

Cleo Bannister said...

Love your tangled teaser and counting is boring but the scarf looks wonderful! Thanks for visiting my TT http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/teaser-tuesday-october-14/

Laura said...

Love the teaser. I can't knit well at all so all of my knitting looks like a cat nested in it. I can crochet, but even so, new patterns often end up looking that way first time around. Thanks for sharing. Lovely scarf!

Enbrethiliel said...


Yvonne -- There are lots of ways to be creative! Maybe cooking is more your thing? =)

Nise' -- It's super easy! And even the tricky parts are not so tough once you learn how to use the Internet to find the answers. Good luck!

Cleo -- Thanks for your kind words about the scarf!

Laura -- I've learned not to pressure myself too much to get things absolutely right the first time around. =) Thanks for visiting!

fredamans said...

You did a great job on the scarf!

Greg said...

That's funny, nice quote. It's funny how creative people can be so good at one endeavour and perhaps not so good at a different artistic outlet. As for the scarf- it turned out pretty well!

DMS said...

Great job! I think it must be a hard skill to learn and I think your scarf looks super! Plus, it will still keep you (or someone else) warm. :)

I am not sure how I never read this book. I can't even recall hearing of this one- even though I read and enjoyed other books by the author. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the teaser.

Itinérante said...

It's beautiful Enbrethiliel =)
I think the fact that one finishes a work given to the best of their intention and talent is what counts really ♥

Enbrethiliel said...


Freda -- Thanks! =D

Greg -- I'm sure that every creative, talented person has one cute Achilles heel! Thanks for returning the visit. =)

Jess -- And Both Were Young is one of L'Engle's earliest novels and it never became as popular as those with the Murrys and the Austins. In fact, I think that it has only ever had two covers: the one in this post and the one on my ancient copy!

Itinerante -- I'd argue that intention is nothing if the output isn't so great . . . but there is a correlation between my halfhearted intentions when I was ruining all my crochet projects and my shining determination with this knitting project. So maybe you have something there! ;-)

Lizzy said...

Great teaser! I haven't read this one by her, but I adore this teaser. So, I'll definitely be checking it out. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Paul Stilwell said...

I like that scarf. Liked it as soon as I saw it.

There's some philosopher who said (paraphrased): there is such a thing as a perfect imperfection, and likewise there is such a thing as an imperfect perfection.

I don't think he was just being heady when he said that. Nor was he advocating substandard craft.

I often come to the analogy that we are like the matter in going to the sacrament of confession. The priest - Christ - is the form. Because it is Christ, he makes something even of our faults that otherwise never would have been.

The ultimate perfection lies in restoring and redeeming what is most imperfect (which is beyond our capacity of course) - not in attaining perfection as a form. Art incorporates this redemption-as-new-creation on a deep level.

Pastiche on the other hand...but I won't go there. There's a big diatribe lying in wait, and I've taken enough space as it is. Forgive me. :)

Sheila said...

The makers of Persian carpets used to incorporate one deliberate mistake in every carpet, as a sign of humility because only God is perfect.

I don't think it looks all that wavy, really. And it certainly won't once you put it on. I really like the yarn, by the way -- what type is it? (Synthetic? Cotton? Wool?)

Enbrethiliel said...


Lizzy -- I hope that you like it! =)

Stilwell -- Thanks. It's definitely not as "perfect" as something a machine would produce, but for all that, it's not bad! But like my cooking, it doesn't seem to have an "audience" among the people in my current circle. =/

Sheila -- This is where I hang my head and say that I'm working with acrylics. What I used for this is Lion Brand Babysoft yarn. I've been longing for natural fibres, but they're really expensive. Now I'm settling for finding the softest acrylic blends available.

Sheila said...

Acrylics are nice and easy to work with, and they have the advantage over wool of being easy to wash. I actually bought some Babysoft years ago to make a blanket for Marko. It ended up finally being a blanket for a friend's baby ... six months ago. That's how much I procrastinate! But I did like it; it was nice and soft and a pretty color.

Enbrethiliel said...


I'm sure that your friend appreciated it! =)

There are so many simple gifts I'd like to make if I could only find decent yarn. The crafts store that my grandmother patronised has gone out of business and the stores which sell craft materials as school supplies only have the worst acrylic. (I tried making a scarf with some of it and realised about a foot in that it might be better off wound around our Christmas tree later this year--LOL!) But one of my aunts in the US said that she'd be happy to get me some yarn for an early Christmas present, so I hope that I could ask you some questions! =)

Since I started with Lion Brand, I've been looking up the rest of its product line and think that Lion Brand Wool-Ease seems okay. Would you recommend that I stick with this brand or is there another that I should consider first?

And for when the imported stuff runs out . . . One American brand that's widely available here is Red Heart. ("Widely available" meaning, it's the only one that you can buy by the kilo--which is a great deal--but you need to travel two hours to the big warehouse by the bay to get some. =P) Red Heart Super Saver is definitely the most affordable--but lots of people online have complained about the feel of it, as has my sister, who considered buying me a ball or two. Red Heart Soft seems like a good compromise, if I want to go with that brand. What do you say?

Sheila said...

I really have no idea. I rarely buy yarn and when I do, I just feel everything till I find something soft enough.

I *can* tell you that wool is very, very warm and some people find it scratchy. You may prefer cotton for your climate. With synthetics, just read reviews -- they can be anywhere from plasticky to super soft.

I think you need to email me your mailing address, though .... as well as your favorite colors and the yarn weights you're interested in. No reason. *whistles*

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, Sheila, thanks so much! =D I'm drafting an e-mail to you now.

You're right that wool would probably be too much this close to the equator. I actually have a sheepskin hat that I really love and wear during the cooler months, but boy, does it turn my head into a furnace! LOL!

I've found a local supplier who stocks Red Heart Heads Up yarn, which is an acrylic-wool blend. I figure that I can knit a quick hat with it and see how it feels. But first I need to get some circular needles. Gosh, who knew knitting could be so complicated? ;-)

Cotton, I'm not too sure about. The reason I hated crochet the first time around was that I used my grandmother's threads, which were all cotton (well, to be accurate, mercerised cotton, if that changes anything) and its lack of elasticity hurt my hands. I'm handier with knitting needles than with a crochet hook, even when trying to crochet with acrylic, so perhaps a bulkier cotton yarn or a cotton blend would still be okay. But I'm really not sure!