People, there’s still time to enter the marvellous book giveaway, right here. Spread the word!
Meanwhile, have you heard of the sunk cost fallacy? It’s a term used to describe how we tend to make decisions based on time/money/energy that we’ve already invested (i.e. irrecoverable ‘sunk costs’), rather than on what would really benefit us in the future. This generally happens because we don’t want to waste that investment. Fair enough, but that time/money/energy is gone already, regardless of what we do next, so it shouldn’t really influence our decision-making.
Examples? Um, OK: You throw more and more money at the-car-that-keeps-going-wrong, even though you could have bought a newer (reliable) car several times over. Or you don’t leave that good-for-zilch partner because that would mean you’d wasted the last couple of decades. And so on.
And here’s another example: you keep going with a piece of crochet that you know isn’t working, because you’ve spent eleventy thousand hours on it already and you can’t bear to rip it out and begin again.
Yup, I am that stupid.
Before I tell you about my idiocy, let me say this: I do know that when you crochet in-the-round, your stitches will be stacked in slightly diagonal columns, leaning to the right if you’re working right-handed. I’ve made enough in-the-round objects to Know This To Be A True Fact. This, for example:-
Just in case you’re new to crocheting in-the-round, allow me to explain. Crochet stitches are prone to slouching. If you’re working back-and-forth, this needn’t be an issue because the slouch-to-the-right on row one will be compensated for by the slouch-to-the-left on row two, and so on. Overall, your stitches will be stacked up in neat vertical columns, like this:-
But in-the-round, you need to accept The Slouch. This is likely not a big concern if you’re working in one colour, but it needs to be compensated for if you’re trying to create a picture. For example – just to select an example completely at random – if you were working on translating this stranded knitting pattern into crochet…
…you’d need to think about how those stitches stack up.
I know all this, I really, really, do. I knew it long before I began work on the crochet version of my Hiking Reindeer Cowl pattern. And yet some combination of hubris and arrogance meant that I didn’t bother adjusting for The Slouch as I converted the pattern. I adjusted for all sorts of other things, such as the relative height/width of crochet stitches compared with knit stitches, but not The Slouch. Sigh.
Having finished what looked on paper like a marvellous specimen of design, I began to crochet. Round and round. And round. And round. Predictably, my smart upright tree trunks began to list alarmingly to the right:-
I paused. I took a sip of wine. I tugged at my work to even things out a bit. I contemplated frogging. But then I carried on hookin’, regardless.
Of course, the trees began to lean further. They looked drunk. Again, I paused. I muttered some words that I can’t write here because my mum reads this blog. I told myself that a really robust washing-and-blocking can mask a multitude of yarny sins. And since I didn’t want to waste all those hours I’d spent making this thing, I carried on. See? The sunk cost fallacy. Surely the universe must understand the fact that now I’d come this far, the least it could do would be to adjust the laws of yarny physics to accommodate my stupidity?
So I Kept. On. Going. Predictably, my trees leaned further. “Maybe it’s just really windy and the trees are being blown around,” said one of the twinnage, looking over my shoulder at my work. I love that child. It wasn’t good, though. Instead of The Leaning Tower Of Pisa, it was The Leaning Bower Of Trees-a. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)
Anyway, a point was reached. No more sunk costs. I did it. I ripped the whole thing out. I re-designed, accounting for The Slouch.
And now I’m starting again. No more drunken trees!
The free pattern will be available for you very soon, my friends. Just not quite yet.