For my entire life, I’ve enjoyed making things: crafted gifts, hand-knit sweaters, homemade clothes, and even computer software. In fact, I studied computer science in college, and was a software engineer during the early part of my career.
The process of writing code sometimes yields unexpected results. If you don’t like the results, you can go back and edit your code until you get it perfect. But, sometimes you like the results better than what you planned. Or, you decide the code gets the job done, even if it isn’t doing exactly what you set out to do. Computer scientists have a phrase for this: “It’s a feature, not a bug.” It’s a nice way of celebrating the finished code, even though you didn’t set out to build it exactly the way it turned out.
“It’s a feature, not a bug.”
I was thinking of this phrase as I finished knitting a Clapotis scarf. This free pattern is one of the most popular on Ravelry, with over 20,000 projects. It’s knit on the bias, with bands of dropped stitches that make the scarf lacy and downright beautiful. I had been thinking of making a Clapotis for years, and I finally cast it on as part of a challenge to use up stash yarn. In my collection of yarn leftover from previous projects, I had 2.5 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. After doing some research on Ravelry, I decided I had enough yardage to make a Clapotis.
However, as I approached the final section of the Clapotis pattern, I realized I was going to run out of wool. Because it’s knit on the bias, I couldn’t just make it shorter like I would with a normal rectangular scarf. Instead, I decided to knit to the end of my yarn and cast off, creating a blunt edge where the scarf should have continued into a nice point. (Look at the top right corner of the photo below.) This doesn’t sound too bad, but by not finishing the point, I also wasn’t able to drop some of the columns of stitches. I had a blunt edge AND a wide band of solid knitting that should have been filled with bands of open, dropped stitches.
At this point, I declared the wide band a feature, not a bug. I’m happy with this unexpected result. It makes for an interesting asymmetrical design, which in turn makes my Clapotis unique from the 20,000+ others that have been made.
I may make another Clapotis to donate to a charity auction. If I do, I’ll have to decide if I want to incorporate my “feature” again. We’ll see!