The Courage to Count: The UnFinished Objects Poll

Part of my personal UFO collection

Knitters, take courage. Open up your plastic storage bins, throw the closet doors wide open, pull out all those knitting bags, and let's see how much knitting we all REALLY have "on the needles":

Take the Knitting Daily UnFinished Objects Poll. (Update: Voting is now closed, sorry!)

Now, I realize that facing the reality of all your UFOs might be a bit daunting. Perhaps you don't really want anyone else to know exactly how many half-finished hats and solitary socks you have secreted away in your house. The poll is anonymous: I promise, on my honor as a knitter, that we will never tell your husband, mother, sister, or boss how many UFOs you have. (What you tell these folks is between you and your conscience.)

If you have to, fill out the poll in a dark room with the door locked. Shut your eyes as you click "Submit." Whatever makes you feel comfortable.

This is a poll about unfinished objects, not about Stash (that is a completely different daunting subject to be addressed later in a poll of its own). The definition of a UFO for our purposes is: You took knitting needles and yarn and cast on with the intention of Knitting Something— Something Not A Swatch—and you have not currently finished the item.

I decided I had to set a good example for y'all, so I had an extra cup of Refreshing Beverage one Saturday and made a list.

I was pretty shocked at the total: 19 knitting projects in various stages of completion (including my current, work-in-progress project; I am not including my Crochet UFO Count because that makes the number of UFOs look completely out of hand!). I had no idea my casting-on compulsion had grown to such a state. Something had to be done.

I stepped back to assess the scene with a dose of cold, hard reality: Did I really want to finish each and every one of these 19 projects? Were there some that were simply doomed never to be completed? Could I whittle these 19 UFOs down to a more seemly number?


Join me on Wednesday as I try to figure out what happens to a perfectly good project to turn it into a lonely, unappreciated UFO.

Mitered Square Heart Sachet

In honor of our topic of UnFinished Objects, I thought it best not to tempt you with a new afghan pattern, for example, or a sweater worked on size 00 needles with 65 colors. That would only encourage those of us with Severe UFO Syndrome to collect yet more UFOs. So, this week, the featured pattern is lovely, suitable for gifts, fun to knit, charming, AND, best of all, so quick to knit that it is unlikely to add to your lifetime UFO totals: Mitered Square Heart Sachet. (You can thank me later.)

Q & A from the comments…

Question from Elizabeth: Sandi, I am trying to make a sweater that calls for 4.5 stitches per inch. When I swatched, size 5 needles gave me 4.75 st/inch and size 6 gave me 4.25 st/inch. So I used one of each size and got 4.5st/inch. Can I knit the sweater with one size 5 and one size 6?

Sandi: Yes! In fact, I know several experienced knitters who use precisely this method to get gauge. Tip: If you knit with circular needles (whether in the round or in rows), you can use the kind with interchangeable tips—put a different-sized tip on each end as needed to achieve gauge.

Question from Anonymous: I can easily get the correct gauge for STITCHES but I'm always too tight on ROWS. I've asked experts about this problem and the best response I can get is "block it". That doesn't do it for me. How can I loosen up my row gauge without affecting my stitch gauge?

Sandi: If you look carefully at knitting patterns, you will find that the length is expressed as a measurement in addition to a particular number of rows worked: "Work ten more pattern repeats, or until piece measures 13" from cast on." If you can "get gauge" with your stitch count, but not with your row count, then work the pattern using the length measurements (rather than the exact row count) stated in the pattern.

More answers to questions from the comments will be posted later this week.

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? Apparently, a great deal more than I thought was on my needles! Those lace socks I started a couple of years ago are beginning to look downright fun to me again…

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