Roving Reporter: Finishing Forsaken Sweaters and Frogging Knitting
I’ve been working on end-of-the-year fiber ablutions: mending well-used textiles, finishing lingering sweaters stuffed into my closet, and the like. It’s a way to literally tie up loose ends and face the New Year with renewed energy and hope. Do you have a sheepish project in your fiber closet that needs some love—or is it time to start frogging knitting?
Last year at this time, I was plying scrap skeins with all of the year’s singles dregs and finishing a sweater that I hated. I had started this particular top-down yoke using leftover skeins, just working in simple stripes. “It will be a quick project,” she told herself. This normally would have been the case for me, but never underestimate how unproductive we are when it comes to a loathed project. But I persevered, and during the last few days of 2016, I finished the second sleeve, worked the button bands, and selected a handful of mismatched buttons from my great-grandmother’s button box. This has miraculously become my favorite sweater to wear—and wear it I did, from California to North Carolina, in 2017. Will this year’s unloved sweater be equally successful?
To Rip or Not to Rip?
How do you decide when to begin frogging knitting-in-process or to just finish it already?! This is a very personal decision, but here are three questions I ask myself:
1. Honestly, does it fit? If the item in question is a garment, it’s time to put it on some scrap yarn and try it on. If it is in pieces, quickly baste the pieces together or use locking stitch markers to connect the pieces. Then, if you find that it doesn’t you (and be ruthless), send it to the frog pond. If it does fit you (or someone you love), proceed to the next question.
2. What’s the problem? Color? Texture? Knitting ennui can often be alleviated if we see a positive way forward. Love the drape of your scarf WIP (work in progress), but hate the color? Consider overdyeing it when it’s off the needles. Love the fit of your cardigan WIP but find it too itchy? Consider a lining, as was common with Fanatroyer in Norway. But perhaps the problem is that you are . . .
3. Bored? This happens to most fiber folks at some point. Faced with endless garter or stockinette stitch, we sometimes just move on to other projects. But this is just the kind of project I enjoy at year’s end. Grab that forsaken sweater project and a handful of chocolates, find a cozy spot, and tie up 2017’s loose ends.
(In case “frogging knitting” is a new term to you, just consider this: When you take out your knitting, what do you do? You rip it, rip it! Just try not to sing Devo’s classic while you do.)
Featured Image: A cardigan’s finishing touches. Photos by Kate Larson.