Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not a good team

Note: I wrote this post before reading all of the comments (note within a note: bloggers, this is a very bad idea. Read the comments first so that you can learn from them!).

Now I'm dithering all over again. There has to be a good compromise…

Sometimes things that are perfect don't work well in teams. The one person that polarizes a group. The one, gorgeous color that throws off the rest. The person singing well, but simply singing too loudly. The one sentence that is pure genius, and yet destroys the flow of your writing.

Sometimes the best team is not composed of the best people. We all know this. We've all been in situations where we're working with a bunch of great people, and things just aren't coming together.

Because it's not about the people; it's about the team.

This happens in knitting, too. I was just talking to Jocelyn via email about her Elektra shawl. She has a bunch of great colors, and one is just not fitting in with the rest. It's a beautiful color, but in this combination it's not what she's looking for.

As we had this conversation, I thought back to the times that I have worked with color, usually in quilting. It's very easy for me to walk into a fabric shop and fall desperately in love with a pattern or print. I spend hours finding other patterns that match, building a team around this one player. And then I stand back and look at it. And very often, the team works better alone than it does with my star player. I have built an entire collection just to highlight this one fabric, and then I realize that it no longer belongs.

I try to deny it. I try to find other things that will make it belong. I rail about the injustice of the universe. I make Branden listen to all the reasons that I like the first fabric, and why it should fit.

And then I bite the bullet, and I cut it out.

I whimper and whine, but once I've done it, cutting the one piece lets me begin again and find something that is perfect for the team. Something that makes every member soar.

Teams are about working together, not standing out or showing off. They're about cooperating, working seamlessly in unison.

And if something's not working, then it doesn't belong.

Even if I love it.








The rick rib is not playing nicely.

Or rather, it's doing all that it can do to fit in, but it cannot mesh flawlessly with the waving lace.

See there? At the join where the column of rick rib meets the column of faggoting? See how there's a break in the pattern?


There's nothing I can do about it. Or at least there's nothing that I know of that I can do about it.

The problem arises because the rick rib columns are made with yos and slipped stitches, while the faggoting columns are made with yos and k2togs.

Doesn't seem like a big deal, does it? But it means that the threads between the open holes cross without touching in the rick rib, while they wrap around one another in the faggoting.

Here's the rick rib:







And a slightly less blurry, less stretched version:

A zigzag of not-overlapping strands, a beautiful relative of the brioche stitch.

And here's the faggoting:


Here, we have rounded triangles, where the yos wrap around and through one another to hold each other open.

At the transition, we switch from a two-stitch pattern to a four-stitch pattern, and from crossing to wrapping.

I can line them up, but I can't make them perfect. Maybe this isn't the best team.

I've been fighting with myself about this all week. It goes something like this:

Rational self: "It's not perfect. I'm sorry, but it has to go."

But-It-Was-a-Great-Idea Self: "But I like it, and it's fast and easy to knit."

Rational self: "Yes, but a faggoting stitch would be just as easy, and would have a better join."

But-It-Was-a-Great-Idea Self: "But I like the rick rib. See the herringbone? It's all tilty and zigzaggy and I love it."

Rational self: "I know. But it's not working well here. It will work somewhere else, but it doesn't work here."

But-It-Was-a-Great-Idea Self: "But, but…."


I'm not going to rip back. I don't mind the imperfection so much, and it would probably damage the yarn to rip it back again. And, I'd have to rip all the way back to the cast on.

But, when I knit this again (and I will), I think the rick rib has to go. I really really love it, but it's just not perfect in this team.

And after all, that's what matters.