So I have this project that I actually input on Ravelry. It’s a shawl. I started it almost a year ago and had thought I’d finish it by SOAR last year, but… well, didn’t.

So let’s just step through things a bit here.

3 July 2007:

4 July 2007:

5 July 2007:

6 July 2007:

I mean, so far, progress looks fine, right? And it keeps looking fine. Here’s 8 July 2007:

It’s 2 feet across! And even bigger by 9 July 2007, when I took it outside for photos to see if you could see the beads it’s acquired:

11 July 2007, with the help, who helped the ball of yarn too much:

But see the beads?

By 15 July, I was bitching and moaning about rows taking 15-20 minutes:

But by 25 July, I was clearly distracted and doing other stuff:

But then on 7 September, I said it was nearing completion. And in fact it was. That’s why I thought I’d have it done for SOAR. But that didn’t happen.

And then, honestly… I found I was enraged by the stupid shawl, staring at me from a wadded-up pile of beaded merino-tencel and a ball of rewound yarn and a little container of beads and an itty bitty crochet hook, mocking me for not just finishing it. I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up and spent the hour at a stretch it had grown to needing for EACH STUPID ROW with 800 zillion beads on it for the last repeat. It wintered on my desk, glaring at me and mocking my lack of stick-to-it-ive-ness. I know I flipped it off a few times. I even gave it the two-handed flip-off at least once. I really don’t understand why that wasn’t enough to teach it what’s what and go F itself (where F stands, in this case, for “finish”), but it didn’t.

About a month ago I moved it to the table by the slothing chair, where the Pagoda shawl rests in that one photo above, near kitten and beer. Surely no shawl could languish long there unfinished; perhaps my desk was just not the right place, as I never have an hour at a time free (or free-ish) when I’m at my desk. And that move has helped. On several occasions since then, I have forced myself to work on the thing. About an hour plus a few minutes for each beaded knit row; 30-60 minutes for a purl row, depending on how densely beaded the preceding knit row was.

Allow me to show you, briefly, the sight which has enraged me so with its mockery lo these long months.

By last night, I’d reached the point where I said — and yes, I said it, out loud, multiple times, to the whole family — “I hate this stupid project! I’m so sick of this! I was sick of this last fall! Well I’m forcing myself to finish it! I can’t have a beer till I get to the stopping point I’ve set for the night! No beer till I finish this row! I’m half an hour into the row and I want a beer but I can’t have one! I hate this shawl! Watch, I’ll finish it and it’ll be a huge piece of crap. Man, I want a beer…”

When I got to the end of the row, the manchild stopped building things with K’Nex, and ran to the fridge and returned with a beer. Now that’s a good kid.

So now I’m on the horns of a dilemma: how to handle the beaded cast-off I have envisioned.

See, those leaves each need a bead at the tip there. The beads are like, uh, they’re like drops of dew. Falling of this cheesy, annoying, pissing-me-off-to-no-end stupid project from hell which is probably going to be total crap when I’m done, because even though really, it’s okay right now, I’m bound to thoroughly screw up the beaded cast-off somehow. You know, once I’ve figured out what I think I mean by “beaded cast off” in the first place.

Maybe I should put a fringey tassel with beads on it at each leafpoint.

When I block it, are the leaves going to be the only points, or will there be intermediate points in the dead space between?

What if I did some sort of crochet chain with beads in it for a cast-off, ala Marianne Kinzel except, as noted, with beads?

Of course, my wiseacre alter ego (okay, that’s my real ego, not the alter ego) is sitting in the back of my mind saying, “What if I threw this across the room and left it there another year?”


I have leftover yarn. I could do whatever the heck I want.

But no, I can’t leave it unfinished for another year, tempting as it is. I’d never be able to look myself in the eye knowing I’d left it with nothing needing to be done except binding off.

Maybe a sewn bind-off. With a knotted fringe with beads on it. Nah, that would look stupid.

So, yeah, this is the dilemma. I can’t decide what to do. Yet tonight, when my work day is over and I sit in the slothing chair, there the project will be, demanding that I finish it. And finish it I must. I want to see how it came out, I think I want to wear it, I want to be blocking it… but most of all, you know, I just need closure with this project (and then to not look at a bead again for a while).

So throw me a bone, O loyal readers. Speak to me of bind-offs and send me some moral support and tell me I’ll make it. Make fun of me if you must, and manipulate me into finishing the thing one way or another by forcing me to channel my rage into a spurt of amazing finishing energy. Light a candle for me in prayer that the shawl won’t be awful. Amuse me with a funny story of your own vicious beaded project like this. Something! Help me not succumb to my baser instincts and throw this back in the UFO pile hoping it’ll solve itself.

P.S. Don’t tell my dad I haven’t finished this yet. He’d never let me live it down.

44 thoughts on “Dilemma

  1. Abby,

    Once I had a gauge problem on a vest- the back was like 7.5 st/inch and the front was 6.5 st/inch. I thought the difference was huge and glaring. Now the vest was intarsia with 26 colors and a complicated Kafe motif so frogging was unbearable. I showed it to one spider and she just looked at me and said, “Sew the damn thing up no one will notice”. She was right. I wasted more time fretting than was warranted. I also smile and send positive thoughts everytime I wear it…. In ten years no one has come up to me and said, “OMG you so suck at gauge look at the difference beteween the front and the back.”

    So, have a beer, relax, do the finish that your gut tells you to. Then wear it someplace spectacular. Channel your energy into productive things….

    btw – I loved the Bosworth. Thank you so much.

    I am up for knitting socks….


  2. so heres how it goes……..

    o.k. o.k. o.k. …Deborah and Ann (from the comments) bump into one any other….hmm where am I going here? Oh yeah, both Ann and Deborah’s idea together. use them both….

    You need to cast off and finishing will involve sewing beads on with a threaded needle. suck it up.

    The cast off should not “cut off” the pattern of the leaves, so Ann was right about the “E Clark” way. You can do it.

    Then block the crap out of it, picking up the the points of the leaves along the edges with the blocking wires,(mmm pointy edge), these are the same leaves you will sew some beads off of, just a few as Deborah said and yes to a wee tear-drop bead at the end.
    Yup, you need to go buy more beads to be done. Deal with it. Buy the “good” beer at the same time.
    You can always to this part later, or send it to me and I’ll do it. You can wear it this weekend after the blocking. But it does need a beaded finish, you know it does.

    you can do it. keep knitting. you can do it, you can do it.

  3. also Rachel H, is correct…….. step away from the “beaded fringe” bad look. no really, bad.

    And the other one…….. do as I say. kidding,sort of

  4. oh, we want the pattern now please. no hurry, in your spare time. thank you.

  5. Wow – gorgeous, I can’t wait to see you wear it at SOAR this year.

    I love a two stitch applied I cord edging for shawls and adding a bead at the tip of each leaf should be simple.

    A crochet bind off would probably be faster and make just as nice of an edge.

    Good luck!

  6. Ummm–might I humbly suggest finishing the pattern repeat (with the beads) and then bind off on the wrong side with the same basic bind off as the kiri shawl? (K2, slip them back on the left needle, K2tog, *K1, slip 2 back onto left needle, K2tog, repeat from * until done) I understand wanting to get the row over and done with–really I do. But I think that would make the simplest, cleanest edge, and doing it on the wrong side will “fold” the little “chain” down on the back, leaving the pattern uninterupted.

  7. Slog on! It’s lovely! I do agree about the fringe, though … not so much.

    Maybe you could use some good Single Malt after finishing this beauty?

  8. Now think. Think of all the hours you’ve spent on this shawl. Think of the time you’ve spent threading those beads on one by one and taking the time to knit it right. You have in your hands a part of your life that at this point you feel is tortuous and horrid. It’s your Mt Everest and you are Tenzing Norgay. You’re so close to the top but you’re gasping for breath. You just want to lie down in the snow and give up.

    Don’t. Don’t give up. You have in your hands a flower ready to bloom. You are a creator of beauty. Beauty doesn’t come easily. It comes with pain and misery and rewards you with something so sublime it leaves you speechless.

    Pick up your needles now. Don’t think of what you have to do to finish the entire thing. Finish a row. And another. And another. You will finish it. And after blocking it be extraordinarily rewarded.

  9. First choice egg-sucking Catherine, second choice Janine — while lacing on my sprinting shoes. Beause while agreeing with Rachel H and Denny that fringe is a non-starter, I have to whisper here that it wasn’t a level playing field. Denny, I happen to know, shows a marked lack of enthusiasm for the crochet-hook/knit bead technique. Prejudiced, that’s what she is. And do you really want to seeeeeewwww when you could be knitting? That said, I’m sprinting before she reaches me…

  10. Oh my, this is so beautiful! You can definitely finish this, using several of the suggestions for a simple edging with one bead per leaf point. Anything more elaborate would take away from the lovely fabric itself. Too close not to finish, so just do it and smile. Your skill inspires awe. If you don’t love it after all that, give it away because someone will adore it.

  11. There have been many suggestions so I figure you don’t need more, but I will offer…

    Carrot: Plan to allow yourself two, no.. Three! beers when you finish and wallow in all the glory and praise from all your admirers.

    Stick: No more spinning/ dyeing/ weaving/ fibre/ beer/ fun till it’s done!! Get to work girl!

    General Consolation: Just think how much worse it would have been if you’d threaded all those beads beforehand instead of hookin’ them 😉

    It’s loverly. And worth it 🙂 and all things have an end, even if it’s not in sight right now.

  12. Firstly, step away from the tassel (just way too folie bergere for words).

    I am still stunned that Denny did not suggest using satan’s own tool.

    Pulling myself together…i agree with Deb and Denny- get it bound off, add some teeny beads (not liking the tear drop idea- sorry Denny!) that will add a little but of weight, and, um well just finish it!

  13. I’m dumbfounded at being able to contribute something here. I’ve often said I would like to be able to follow you around for a few weeks, just to be able to absorb some of what you know about spinning and traditional textiles.

    This kind of pattern sort of demands a scalloped or pointed edge, and binding off in pattern, even right at the tip of the snowdrop, tends to produce a straight, solid, sort of pedestrian edge. If you use a small crochet hook to manipulate the yarn as you bind off, (probably you’d have to use one larger than that used for placing the beads), you can add ch1’s at each YO location which will let the edge begin to shape. Then right at the tip of the snowdrop, ch3 and slip stitch back to the bead, creating a tiny picot that echos the snow drop shape. If you want true drama, place an extra bead or set of 3 there.

    then when you block the shawl, pull the shaping out and create the impression of sharp little points or a fine tiny beaded fringe. (Hopefully this isn’t too awkward an explanation.)


  14. send me the left over yarn and I’ll crochet something nice for Sarah…hee hee

  15. *drool* oh, excuse me while I am gawking at your gorgeous work. You should have packed that sucker up and made each of us work on it at TNNA for you 😉 then again, what with all the beer and other alcohol, that may not have been such a good idea. Sadly, I have no words of wisdom, as my own beaded lace shawl is languishing on the bottom of my WIP pile on my own couch….Such a pleasure to meet you at TNNA 🙂 I’ll be playing with some bison blending soon I think – in hopes of coming up with something as gorgeous as that niji fiber!

  16. Ok, it’s now the 9th, you posted this on the 2nd, hopefully some sort of progress has been made. I was toying with the idea of the luna moth shawl with beads, but after reading this post… not so sure… The yarn is very pretty though, very very pretty.

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