No, no, I have a better idea!

I heard this phrase many, many times during my nephew’s recent visit.  For example, he loves sleeping under the slanted roofline up in our attic, so different from a Texas ranch house.

“But wouldn’t it be cool if you had a flat screen tv that came down on ropes from the slanted part so you could lay in bed and watch it.  No, no, even better, it would connect to your brain waves so when you went into dream sleep it would turn itself off.  No, no, I have an even better idea. It would have a touch screen that said ‘if you don’t press this, the tv will turn off in 2 minutes’ so when you are too tired to reach up, it just turns itself off. ” (He has no television in his house, so the tv itself is all part of the fantasy.)

I was reminded of this when several people asked me how I came up with the idea for Coquille.  It didn’t come to me in a dream, like the Dishcloth Dress.  As many of my patterns, it was born out of a failed project and many “No, no, I have a better idea!”  moments.

I wanted a replacement for my sadly lost Forest Canopy Shawl, to wear with a lighter jacket in fall and spring.  I thought Gaia would be perfect, all the cool kids were making it, so I bought some Kuryeon Sock and cast on.

Gaia required  actual concentration.  I do much of my knitting while doing something else – watching a movie, talking with friends, sitting in meetings.  So, I’m not really paying attention.  I need something to yell, “Pay attention right here!”–  like a marker, or the end of a row.  I kept missing the color changes that signal a stitch pattern change.   I ended up switching rather haphazardly, and frankly, it looked like total crap. (Why don’t I remember to take pictures of the total crap?  Does anyone want to see pictures of  total crap?)

I gave up, ripped it out, and cast on for another pattern.  I tried a variety of small mindless knitting  triangles. None were exactly right, but I kept having the “No, no, I have a better idea!” response.   I tested the small needle/large needle combo based on a Barbara Walker stitch pattern and made a triangle that started on a few stitches and increased.  Nice, but still not exactly what I wanted.  Neither was the yarn, really.  Fantastic Noro colors, but not soft enough.  That’s when I tested the Mini Mochi and began thinking about vertical stripes and more of an oval.  Several “No, no, I have a better idea!” trials later, I decided I had it.  It was so much fun, I made another, and then a large size in the beautiful Swans Island. Just then, I got an email regarding Knitty’s First Fall and figured what the heck, it seemed to fit the issue guidelines.

I was amazed and quite happy to have it accepted.  What has made me even happier is seeing all the “No, no, I have a better idea!” moments on Ravelry and across the blogosphere.  In order to accommodate yarn quantities and gauge variations, people were taking out gussets right and left (and center.)  SophieBegonia wanted to use up yarn, so  she added a few extra gussets in each set and an extra set of garter repeats at each segment.  (She isn’t sure about its usefulness as zombie protection, however.)

Stardiver skipped some large gussets and used the yarn she had left to make icord and tassels.   Plus, she taught me a new word, Aequipecten, the queen scallop.

Julia made her very first shawl by using up leftover sock yarn.

Janine left out a couple of gussets so she wouldn’t need a third ball of Mini Mochi.

And Deenags didn’t adjust anything, but finished with 3 inches left of her chosen yarn.  A real cliff hanger.

The most over the top, or under the sea, version is Yarnlots.

Do go to her blog and look at the other photos.  Not only is the shawl gorgeous, but the photo styling  is really something.  I mean, who has a giant clam shell just waiting for its moment of glory?  Heck, check out all her posts.  They make me want to get on the next plane to Belgium.

The comments have been so nice, especially the “easy and relaxing knit” type – music to my ears.  Thank you for making me look good.


6 responses to “No, no, I have a better idea!

  1. How very cool to see all the wonderful interpretations of your pattern!

  2. You are awesome and so is your nephew. He isn’t, by any chance, an ENFP?

  3. Thanks for the photos. Your shawl will become a classic.

  4. Oh, how fun to see all of those versions together! I love a pattern that encourages the “I have a better idea” line of thought in everyone who comes in contact with it. Excellent work 🙂

  5. How cool, all those gorgeous spinoffs of your idea!

    I for one, would love to see the total crap pictures, if only to know that I am not alone. I try to post my egregious errors for a) the laughs and b) because mistakes get made. It’s why frogging was invented.

    Mind you, I’ve made way more mistakes than I’ve posted because I’ll rip it back before my courage fails and before I remembered to photograph it. Whoops.

  6. Thank you so much for complimenting my version so nicely! The pattern is addictive, I am making another Coquille and I am not the only one…

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