Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dugly-Ucks

I'd like to once again thank my very generous readers for their extremely kind comments about my socks over the last year or so. Several people have commented about how I *always* find such nice colours to knit, etc. I think you're really saying that our tastes coincide, and it's nice to be able to share with people who have similar likes. However, I assure you that I do not *always* find nice stuff. This was brought home to me the other evening when it cooled off a bit and I dug around in the sock yarn stash, looking for something to knit. As I was doing so, it occurred to me that while I do have some nice yarns, there are others that I keep passing over.


You know how sometimes you buy a yarn in a YS and you get it home and wonder what the heck you were thinking? I have some of those.

You know how sometimes you join a sock club and some of the colours they send just don't quite do it for you? I have some of those.

You know how sometimes you buy a yarn off the 'net, but when you get it the colours don't quite match what you thought you saw on your monitor? I have some of those too.



The first time it happened, I thought to myself, "Well, it's just an Ugly Duckling waiting for inspiration." The second time, "Aw, the Ugly Duckling has a nest mate -- that's nice; it won't be lonely." Eventually, the cute aspect of it wore off entirely and, in Criminy Jickets fashion, the Ugly Ducks began to be called Dugly-Ucks. Doesn't sound quite so cute. I'd be digging in the stash and, "Crap, there's that Damn Ugly Yuck again."

That's not a very charitable attitude, I know. I also fully realize that my Dugly-Uck could very well be someone else's favourite colours in the whole wide world, and that's a good thing. However, it also occurs to me that I could be using that yarn as a challenge to either try to make it into something I like, or, conversely, or perhaps perversely, to celebrate its Dugly-Uck-iness and make some blatantly Dugly-Uck socks.

In the cool of that evening, I cast on six new socks. I'm under no pressure to finish them by a certain time, and they'll be there when I feel like knitting on them. Some of them I quite like, and others, well, they're Dugly-Ucks. I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet, but I will do them, just because I felt guilty that they were being left behind.


I can't be the only knitter with a few skeletons in the stash closet. Anyone else have Dugly-Ucks? Want to take up the challenge and knit some Dugly-Uck socks? I think it would be interesting to see how different knitters handle something that takes a bit more inspiration than usual. It could be a great way to try out a new technique without "sacrificing" something you really like. I'd love to see other people's Dugly-Ucks and what they do with them. Brace yourselves, because eventually you're going to see mine.
(Disclaimer: This post is not intended to slam yarn companies, dyers or sock clubs. I definitely believe in, "Different strokes for different folks." )

35 people had something to say:

Kristy said...

I totally get what you're saying. I try to thin my stash of those as much as I can-- I feel like I should always be knitting with stuff I love (unless it's a specially requested gift). So I send those ugly ducklings off to live with their swan family :)

Dave said...

Kristy, I generally agree with you that life is too short to knit with yarn you don't like. I'm going to use this, though, to challenge myself a bit ... maybe dig out of a rut. (Unless you're offering to take my Dugly-Uck yarn, in which case .... )

PurlingPirate said...

I recently gathered up all my dugly-ucks and took them to knit night. Turns out quite a few of them were swans to other people. So, I got them out of my hands and into some others. The ones I'm left with? Well, you're right, it will be a challenge to find something to knit out of them. Maybe you will be my inspiration?!?!

Charity said...

Hmmm, interesting thoughts, Dave. I know I have some Uglies hiding in my sock bin, and with fall coming (yikes, how did that happen?) it might be just the time to cozy down and try something different.

bradyphrenia said...

i honestly don't have any sock yarn i dislike. but that might be just because i tend to like all sock yarn.

my problem is more the opposite...i have skeins in the stash that will never be knit up because they are so lovely and i don't want to knit them in case they turn out to be ugly in disguise.

pat said...

Oh yes, I have some ducking ugly sock yarn!! Maybe, just maybe I'll knit it up into socks....or maybe it will sit there for awhile longer...(I tend to knit with the "middle of the road" yarn - The "absolutely gorgeous" yarn I'm afraid to ruin, so it stays and the "ugly" tries to hide - so I'm left with the rest for real knitting! - and there is plenty of it) - can't wait to see yours!

HPNY Knits said...

oh yes. been there, done that! we did an ugly duckling exchange in my knitting group. each of us brought our least fav, and passed it to the right. the challenge was to make something of it. the person who got my skein ( some kind of eyelash chenille!) adored it and made a polar bear stuffed toy with it. go figure!
sometimes combing two (as in the chevron scarf) can bring out some loveliness.

sgeddes said...

I like the idea. I'm going to have a look through the stash and seperate my Dugly-Ucks this weekend. I know I have some. Once I know the quantity I'll be able to determine a resonable course of action.

Karen said...

I haven't been knitting two years yet and I already have dugly ucks I think! It is just that there is so much wonderful yarn on the market something is sure to get left behind I think.

KnitNana said...

EVERYONE has different tastes in colors, and different dyers do things so differently! (Now how many times can I use some form of that word?) I have some, and you're right - they should be given a whirl - or destash..hmmm...
maybe I'd rather go that route!
Cute cartoons!
(((hugs)))

Nora said...

Oh, gosh! I don't think I can bring myself to knit with my uglies.

Dave, do you remember all that Lornas Laces and the horrid pooling? And the Opal Zebra?? I'd forgotten about it, until this post...

lexa said...

I've kinda lucked out so far in the line of sock yarn and don't really have anything too bad. I did get some hand dyed on eBay once that was like flourescent green but did not look that bright at all on the listing. I did make Hederas with it for me, and they're super comfy. Great for wearing in the fog or dark.

I do have some other yarns in the stash, though, that are like, "What the heck was I thinking when I got that?" Luckily some of it came from the store, and I switched it for other stuff.

Terri said...

Hi Dave, I just love your take on yarn that just doesn't tickle your fancy. I can't say I have any Duckly Uggs (hmmm, that's not right, but hey it amused me)in my stash yet, but then my stash is pretty small compared to many I've seen online. I'm really looking forward to watching your Dugly-Uck socks appear over time. :o) You could give them away as gifts you know?! :o)

Debi said...

This is exactly why I don't join socks clubs, I'd rather pick my own yarn and patterns.

A friend and I refer to these as "low lying fruit" - something we've all picked when we we newer, or poorer or less obsessed :)

Sadly, I think many of these "low lying fruits end up as contest prizes! I once won a contest and my prize was the fugliest skein of black brown and grey sockotta -- I mean could she be any more obvious that she couldn't wait to unload that dugly uck!

Gina said...

I have fugly yuck sock yarn. Even worse, the fugliest is a skein of Lorna's Laces that I was gifted. I just wound it, well tried to wind it, and found 3 breaks in a single skein. That fugly lived in someone's stash for a while before it came to live with me! I was frustrated just trying to wind the damn thing, never mind actually knit something with it.

monica said...

I have a pair of ugly Meilenweit socks. From the ball , one would think they would have been green with a hint of brown, kind of woodsy looking, but knit up...... not a pretty site. It reminds me so much of baby poo, sorry to all the readers, but it does. And to make matters worse, the second sock looks totally different from the first, but equally as ugly.. I love the feel of them though, they are very warm, and I do wear them, but not very often.

Acornbud said...

So funny to hear you talk about dugly-Ucks. You know how long it took me to figure out your blog was Criminy Jickets and not Jiminy Crickets? It struck me one day in one of those "big duh" moments. I have dugly ucks that go way back. Sometimes I give them to the thrift store, heh.

Bells said...

I don't have Dugly-Ucks so much as just colours I am a whole lot less taken with than i thought I would be. They are the ones I overlook constantly. Maybe I should try them?

Meg said...

You know I have the opposite problem, I love all my sock yarn so much (including the lusciousness you gave me Dave!) that I have trouble finding just the right pattern for it. I want the pattern to sing with the yarn! Maybe what I need is some Dugly Ucks!

Jen said...

Yup I have some ugly yucks! My monitor lied. Thankfully my husband will wear almost anything, as will his brother, so those uglies will have a foot someday. ;)

fleegle said...

Oh yeah. I found this awful brown sock yarn in my stash the other day. I didn't order that color, but the pictures on the HipKnits web site showed a lovely, variagated toasty color. There's no way I'm going to knit with that stuff. Into the charity bin it goes. Nasty-feeling yarn, too.

marjorie said...

For me it isn't just sock yarn. I've got lots of yarn that I bought decades ago for sweaters that was wonderful then but only mediocre now that there are so many more beautiful yarns available. And there is nothing really "wrong" with the yarn other than it is not exciting to knit with. I've been trying to mix in a project from time to time with one of these just to reduce my stash. I do get some psychic pleasure when I finish something from these yarns. It also helps me rationalize the purchase of new yarn.

marjorie/primetimeknitter.typepad.com

Dina said...

Oh my ... I wish I could wave a magic knitting needle and chant a quick bippity-boppitty-boo and turn them all into pretty Cindersockyarn ... or perhaps I'll join you and we can all compare our Dugly-Ucks :)

This could be fun, if not scary!

Helen said...

I recently participated in an "Unloved Sock Yarn" swap.
It was such fun! I sent my unloved sock yarn off to someone, and someone sent me sock yarn she didn't love. I LOVED my new sock yarn, and promptly whipped out a pair of Pomotomous socks with it.

If the Dugly Uck Socks KAL doesn't pan out, I'd do that again in a heart beat.... as I have some sock yarn that I wonder a LOT about...

OR, perhaps we could donate the Dugly Ucks to Dulaan or something?

Julie said...

Ooh! I could be in for that! In fact, I just cast on with some Dugly-Uck yarn last night - gift socks...recipient's favorite colors, but totally not my thing. :P

~Kristie said...

Am I the only freak here that doesn't have Dugly-Ucks? Then again, I usually don't realize I have a Dugly-Uck until I start knitting with a yarn I *thought* I liked.

knittingbrow said...

What a good post! Yes, I have some dugly-uck yarn too. Most of mine was when I first started knitting. I didn't know better than to not buy some of the stuff. And since I've started sock knitting, I've been fortunate to like *most* of my yarn. I've had some yarn look wonderful in the skein but not knit up. I have purchased sock yarn from a large internet store but really disliked how it knit up. I've been able to gladly move on the other yarn to new knitters to become chevron scarves. I'm glad it has a home. I also like to challenge myself and use the yarn for something else...like a baby surprise.

(just blogged about this before coming here) I've been thinking about joining another sock club, but I've like all the other sock yarn from Interlacements.

Janelle said...

I have yarn that I don't exactly hate, but I know that the wrong pattern would send it well into dugly-uck category. So I sit on it, afraid to cast on and have it turn out badly. I think I'll join you in just getting started and see how it goes.

Love the little ducky pictures!

Carrie K said...

I just recently bought some yarn for a mittens and a scarf to match yarn I had when I realized - this yarn is HIDEOUS! I think I'm going to keep it as a testament to my idiocy.

I am looking forward to seeing lots of Ugly Duck socks though.

Sheila said...

I jsut knit the yarn up, then dye it. The Dugly-Ucks are then swans.

Teyani said...

love that last photo.... hmm, yes, I definitely have some ugly ducks - and as I continue to unpack, I'll set them aside to take up this gauntlet :-)

Jennifer said...

I've got a few skeins of this too. I may have to dig through the stash and take you up on the challenge.

mehitabel said...

Oh I have so many dugly ucks--I seem to be the designated "heiress" to people's mothers/aunts/friends unused yarns. I keep moving the things along but then I keep finding more and more and more of them. Do you think they multiply in the dark? Like Tribbles?

Opal said...

I definitely have some Dugly-Ucks in my stash. In fact, I'm knitting some up right now! So I'm more then happy to take up the challenge. Now all we need is a button. :)

Adelle said...

Great idea!!! I wish I read this before I knit something from my sock club this month (I was not too into the color of the yarn but loved the pattern).