Yarn Along, or Is This Mystery KAL Right For You?

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Hello and happy Wednesday!  This week finds me still chugging along on my Fiddleknits Mystery Knit-A-Long, Earth.

The first Earth Clue was released during the first week of April, and we’re now up to Clue 3, with the fourth and final clue being released Friday.

I’m almost done Clue 3, and by Friday I should be all set for Clue 4 – woo hoo! This may be done in time for Mother’s Day, and wouldn’t that be easy peasy!

I love how unique this design is, how the branches grow and spread across the fabric. Love it!

But, the question really is, how do you know you’re going to love a Mystery Knit-a-Long MKAL before you start it? You just don’t, it’s a crap shoot.

My first MKAl was, I thought, called Spring Surprise – or at least I thought it was, because when the first clue arrived in my box it was called Spring Suprice – because English was not the pattern designer’s first language.  The pattern was rife with errors (some of which were translation problems, but most of which were editing problems), and the second clue ended up being a lace pattern I abhor, with really complicated, unrewarding lacework on both sides.  It was a long time before I jumped on an MKAL bandwagon again.

And that bandwagon came to my door several years later with an Ysolda Teague MKAL, Follow Your Arrow.  I was confident dipping my feet back into the mystery pond because I love Ysolda’s patterns, and I had confidence in her steering the ghost ship safely to shore.  An,d the concept was fun and fresh – two clues each week, you pick which way your shawl is going to go.  I ended up with two fab shawls, and itching to do another KAL.

So, I found this group on Ravelry, KAL Fanatics, which has a calendar, and a forum post for every KAL and CAL out there.   Ok, so I found the list – now what?  How to choose?  I started sifting through my choices, looking at the KAL designers previous work, and asking myself the following questions:  had she hosted a MKAL before? did I like her previous patterns?  In her MKAL forum, did people seem to have problems with the previous pattern? In the shared photos section of her forum, did people seem to be finishing her projects?  The bottom line – could this designer deliver a successful KAL?  And then, if the answer was yes, I evaluated the description of the project.  No mystery sweaters – that was a total nonstarter.  Did I have the yarn in my stash or was I willing to buy something similar?  Lace or cables?  Miles of garter stitch, oh no.

In the end, I went with Fiddleknit’s Bonnie’s Wish, based on her active forum,  her previous patterns. and the description of the techniques used in the project, along with the fact I had yarn in my stash that would work fine.  No investment, other than time.

And, yeah!  I loved it!  There was a bump along the way – the yarddage requirement varied (f you didn’t swatch) – and I couldn’t blame the designer for my failure to swatch.  A lot of people ran out of yarn, I among them.  Luckily, I found a perfect contrast to my discontinued yarn, and my finished shawl was beautiful, and kept me warm and snug all winter.

So, when Fiddleknits advertised her Elements Series – which will be this one, Earth, the next one Water, followed by Air, Fire and the Philospher’s Stone, I knew I was in.  And now that I love Earth, I’m up for Water.  I even know what yarn I’m going to use – another Quince and Co. Yarn, Finch, in Peacock. It’s such a great color!

And that about wraps up the knitting portion of the post.  Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend, and I’m plotting my shopping strategy, which involves Miss Babs, so of course that’s always a duke ’em out at her overcrowded festival booth.  More on my purchases next week!  But, if you are interested in my buying plans, or what happened to my purchases from last year, I talked about it extensively in my video post here.

Now to the crochet.

No Sophie this week. This week, I pulled a project out of the WIPS pile. At Christmas, I crocheted a bunch of Elsa’s, and got really overloaded with crocheting stuffies. So, I had started a bunny for my newest niece for her first Christmas. I did the head and the body, and went uch, not another stitch, and back in the basket it went. With her birthday approaching, and no clue from her parents what to get her, I pulled out Miss Bunny, and finally finished her.

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How cute is she. She’s the basic Lalylala pattern, with her free Bunny modifications. I already made a Sheepy, so I had the main body pattern.

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Once she was finished, and I had to part with her (sniff), I put her in a box, and wrapped her up. Here she is unboxed and with her little girl –

First, there was a get to know you process –

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And then she went straight to trying to rip her eyeballs out:

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When that failed, there was a sweet hug, but she was turned away from the camera, and I missed it. Sneaky girl!

As far as what I’m reading – I haven’t made much progress on A Little Life.  Last week, I was signing it’s praises because of it’s fine writing – but now, I’m bemoaning the fact that there’s all there is – rich sentences, no plot.  Nothing has happened.  Nothing.  I feel like by next week, it may have gone into the hibernating pile, we’ll see.

And that wraps up my yarny adventures for the week! Make sure you drop by the Yarn Along!

7 Comments

  • Donna

    April 29, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I always hesitate to join in on mystery KALs. I only had one that I didn’t care for. I’m about to start another one this weekend. The one you are working on is a winner for sure!

  • karen

    April 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    beautiful knitting and I love the leaves and they way they twist about. Interesting construction. I have done a few mystery knitting projects but I guess I don’t like mysteries that much , ha ha. I want to see what it looks like before I knit it up and that is not a mystery!!

  • Evelyn

    April 29, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    What a beautiful shawl design 🙂 I’ve done a few MKAL’s but only from designers where I’ve knitted other patterns by them in the past so I know I like their writing style as well as their style of designs too

  • Stella Lee@ Purfylle

    April 30, 2015 at 4:27 am

    How very brave you are to take on a mystery Kal! It will be interesting to see how it comes out :o)

  • Lisa

    April 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    I have to admit I’ve never participated in a KAL, but now that I’m armed with so much KAL info (thanks for sharing that Rav group), I may just have to give it a go one of these days. 🙂 Love the dolly! I knit one for my granddaughter and have had her sent home with me more than once for eye and mouth repair. So distressing to my little grand!

  • Becki

    April 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I’m always a little afraid of mystery (for me it would CALs), but your post makes me want to reconsider. I can see how getting to know the designer (becoming acquainted with his/her work) could make all the difference between a good KAL and a regretful one.

    I love, love, LOVE the pink bunny. And her little girl is adorable, too. ;^)

  • erica

    April 30, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    your knit is just gorgeous Wendy!!! love the style and design!!!

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