Crafty Manolo » Quickie Question: What Project Made You Want to Bang Your Head Against a Wall?

Quickie Question: What Project Made You Want to Bang Your Head Against a Wall?

By Twistie

It happens to us all. We sit down to what promises to be a beautiful, fun project and everything goes cattywampus. Threads break, dyes run, blades snap, and our composure shatters.

In my case, the most frustrating project ever was one I was not only having every kind of trouble possible, I got to make all those mistakes right out in public while trying to tell people how fun bobbin lace is, and that it’s really not as difficult as it looks.

For some reason passing all understanding, I chose to use a pattern I hadn’t done before and didn’t do a couple repeats just to make sure everything worked before the demonstration. For an entire day I sat there making and then unmaking the same single repeat when one pair of threads just wouldn’t go anywhere at all. I had to rewind half a dozen bobbins over the course of those hours when the very fine linen thread I was working with also turned out to be remarkably fragile. I figured out what I was doing wrong about ten minutes before the fair closed.

Yeah, I didn’t pick up too many converts that day.

So what about you? What was the project that caused you the most heartburn?

14 Responses to “Quickie Question: What Project Made You Want to Bang Your Head Against a Wall?”

  1. Zelma Says:

    It was a sock monkey that Knit Picks put out last year. There were all kinds of errata that were noted AFTER many complaints from other knitters. I was so frustrated with the project that I “quit it”. I never quit a project no matter how difficult. But I was so glad that I wasn’t alone in my frustrations with the pattern. Thanks for letting me share!

  2. Twistie Says:

    And you know what, Zelma? I think Sock Monkey Errata would make a great name for a band.

  3. dinazad Says:

    The scarf I’m weaving right now. I know I’m still a beginner, but I’m pretty good nevertheless and quite capable of weaving a tablet-woven band into my twill or something equally exotic. But this complicated pattern combined with a rather antiquated loom is driving me barmy. I won’t be beaten by a loom or a pattern, so I’ll finish it, but it will NOT be a good-looking piece, since I can’t seem to keep up regular tension throughout either. I’m close to crying every time I’m at it….

    And yes, Sock Monkey Errata would be a great name for a band!

  4. Twistie Says:

    You are very brave, dinazad! I’m rooting for you to win.

  5. Sarah F Says:

    Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. My mother commissioned me to knit 2 before my first niece was born. She finally got them last summer, after her first birthday, and after my sister-in-law announced number 2 was on the way. It took me 4 re-starts to finish the first sweater, and 2 for the second. I was pulling my hair out by the end of it, and more happy than I can say when I finally finished them!

    I see Sock Monkey Errata as an alternative group that writes catchy songs about puckered fabric, dropped stitches, and tangled threads.

  6. Twistie Says:

    That sounds like quite the heart(head)breaker, Sarah F!

    I do believe that Sock Monkey Errata is now the official band of Crafty Manolo. Perhaps we need a lyrics contest.

  7. Rosecampion Says:

    I spent weeks knitting the Copperplate Raglan by Deborah Newton only to discover at the end that the shoulders were way too big for me. Though I ripped back several times and tried to fix it, nothing could be done to make it work. It was so beautiful but it just didn’t work. The shoulders were down on my arms like a Marilyn sweater and it’s not supposed to do that. There were some real tears shed over that sweater.

  8. Margot Silk Forrest Says:

    The worst for me was trying at attach fine chain mail in a long “bias” swathe to the side of a boot. AAARRGH! I thought I could simply stitch one edge to the top of the boot and… Noooooooooooo! It wouldn’t stay straight, it kept sagging between the stitches and if I weren’t so stubborn I would have given up!! I ended up using a leather binding around the edge and gluing the whole thing on. When I went to put a different gauge of chain mail across the toe, it was easy to glue it, but cutting a straight line around the bottom was (%*&#$# impossible. Still, it got done. Photos at if you want to see the apparently serene result….

  9. Twistie Says:

    @Rosecampion: Wow, that sounds frustrating. I feel your pain, especially since I am less than broad of shoulder.

    @Margo Silk Forest: I can certainly imagine the pain of doing it, but those boots are FIERCE!

  10. Whitney Says:

    I hereby claim triangle-playing rights in Sock Monkey Errata!

    The worst for me was my own durn fault because it was my own durn design. As a gift for my husband I took a photgraph of his father (see and ran it through my cross-stitch pattern design software. One of the many things you can do is choose the total number of colors in the palette available to the computer as you work the design and tweak away. What you can’t tell from these photos is the incredible subtlety of the different shades of brick and before-and-after paintl. So when I chose a 50-shade palette, the design used all 50 flippin’ colors. We’re talking a cross stitch design that’s 15″ x 15″ on 18-count. Even with bright red grid threads I can’t begin to tell you how much frogging I had to do. If it wasn’t my husband’s father and I didn’t have a bunch of barn fanatics waiting to see it, this would’ve hit the never-to-be-completed bin. But it did get done (took over a year of on-off work), and is proudly framed up on the family room wall. But ohhhhhhh did I learn my lesson about palette size!

  11. Whitney Says:


    Can you delete my previous post? This is the actual picture I used – I can’t win for losing!

  12. Twistie Says:

    @Whitney: All taken care of, m’dear! And wow! I’m impressed by the project and completely unsurprised at the hair-tearing. I’d love to see the finished project, if you ever feel like sharing a photo.

  13. TropicalChrome Says:

    I’m still in the middle of it – it is a plush elephant pattern that I bought to make for my friend’s baby-on-the-way. Given that I’m reasonably competent at sewing, I figured it would be a nice, straightforward item to make. Hah. I’ve basically had to redraft the entire pattern and rewrite the directions.

    I need to suck it up and finish the thing. It’s going to be cute, but man, I am not happy with this whole situations.

  14. Whitney Says:

    @Twistie: I posted a shot of the Mail Pouch design here:

    It would’ve looked better if I’d used a darker fabric, but given the literally dozens of shades of grey and lilac and mauve that went into the bricks there was no way I’d’ve been able to see what I was doing.

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