The pattern was a simple stockinette scarf knitted on the bias, with a narrow garter stitch border. After a while, it became clear that those 3 measly garter stitches on each side were no match for the stockinette's fierce determination to roll. A sane knitter would have stopped right then, and frogged, and perhaps started again with a wider garter-stitch border. Moi? no. I went on with the doubts and the anxiety for quite a while. Then I left for my vacation and left this project behind.
When I came home, I had lost my initial enthusiasm for the project. The yarn, however, still made my heart sing. Stuck in a sweater-sleeve swamp, I decided to frog my misbehaving WIP and cast on for a simple striped, fool-proof scarf instead. No, make that a tube, all stockinette. But starting with a provisional cast-on row so I could graft the edge to the other edge, in case I later decided to turn the tubular scarf into a cowl.
I followed the basic stripe sequence of the Knitty City scarf, which is to say, A stripes with B twelve times, then B stripes with C, and so on, but I added a few solid blocks here and there. The actual colors are much more interesting than what appears above: what looks grey is actually a very nice light copper shade, and the darkest colorway is a very deep eggplant. Originally I had a skein of black wool in the rotation, but it was just too strong to blend in with the other colorways, so off it went, saved for a future project.
By now the tube is all done, long enough to make a good size cowl. All that remains is the kitchenering of 80+ stitches, and, most important, a quiet stretch of time, unclaimed by other activities, to get it done. But if I am to be brutally honest with myself, more than the lack of free time, what has stopped me in my tracks here is the nagging suspicion that what started as a funky, wild and crazy and fun striped number of a cowl is in fact a random, poorly thought out, not terribly attractive, err, thing. Letting loose with a whimsical bunch of colors seemed like a wonderful idea at the time. Now I am not so sure. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time studying wild and crazy and funky and striped cowls on Ravelry, and I don't know anything anymore, other than, when in doubt, one should probably buy even more random colors of MadTosh Merino Light -- a philosophy I hesitate to publicize, but...
So, here is another reason for my long stretches of silence on the blog: I just cannot tell anymore. For now, I think I'll throw caution to the winds, bind off, block, and try the cowl on with my boring, not funky, not colorful black down jacket. See if the magic of styling, at my very elementary level at least, works. And we'll take it from there.
If you, fellow obsessive knitters and makers of all stripes (pun intended) have had moments of doubt about the sheer prettiness of your creations, I would love to hear about it. Misery, company, etc.