Sometimes it’s hard to know when to let your craft projects go. To realise that they are never going to be that gorgeous sweater you thought it was or the shawl on your needles is never going to behave the way you thought it would. You’ve fallen in love with a pattern and yarn, cast them on and lovingly knit those stitches. Now you find that it isn’t what you thought it was going to be and your project is doomed to languish forever in the naughty wip (work-in-progress) pile or what I like to call WIP Mountain.
Why is it that as knitters we find it hard to frog those forgotten projects. There is a reason they are in the wip pile or worse, forgotten for years. I’m not talking about those projects that we love that are slow going, the ones that we pull out from time to time, work a few rows and then lovingly put back until our brains are ready to tackle them again. I’m talking about the ones that frustrated you, that made you hate your craft, that had you cursing everything under the sun and swearing you would never again knit with mohair.
Frog or Finish
Yes at some stage we all have to either frog our wips* or pull them out, grit our teeth and knit on. I’m extending the Frog** or Finish project over on Ravelry until Friday, October 5th so if you need some motivation to attack your wip pile then let it be this. If you want to know how to take part and the prizes up for grabs then head on over to this post and then pop your FO*** or frogged project over in this Ravelry thread here. I’ve extended it due to the holidays and the podcast extended break. Now that we are all back into routines again I thought we could sit, shoulder to shoulder and support each other to climb wip mountain together.
This often leaves me in a little bit of turmoil…I love my wips. Each and every one. I can tell you why I choose that yarn, that pattern and why they are in the wip pile. I can tell you which ones caused me to break more than one needle and which one has my hair (all of them) or my tears (more than I’d like to admit) knitted into the stitches. So this left me with the question:
How do you know when to let go and rip that project back to the yarn it came from?
I won’t lie I thought long and hard about this. The decision to rip doesn’t come easily to me like it does to other knitters. In fact, I can picture at least 4 knitters that I know quite well reading this post, shaking their head saying “Oh, Nadia, what are you talking about just frog it already!” Unfortunately, I’m quite invested in my wips and it takes a lot for me to give up and reclaim that yarn. So for other knitters who may be of a similar disposition as me, maybe the following points might help you decide:
This is one of the things that Ravelry is exceptional for. It keeps a log of the time you cast on your project and some of my wips are 5 years old! I attacked my wip mountain by pulling out the longest offenders first and putting them in order. Please note that when I started I had over 18 wips on the needles. That’s needles, cables and holders that are in use! Now if there are any projects in this pile that I no longer liked I just frogged immediately. Also, your time is precious. We all are time poor and if you aren’t enjoying a project, rip it. Start anew with something that excites you.
If you didn’t learn from my Abalone post how badly handknits can go wrong then let me help here. If you have garments on the needles for a long time, chances are they may not fit you now. I had cast on Abalone and my Paulie cardigan years ago. In fact, Paulie was 2012; that’s 5 years! I have had 2 children since then and I can tell you that as much as I would love to say I am the same size, I’m not. Both of these should have been frogged but I thought because of the Abalone pattern I would have been okay but I neglected to read the pattern comments and realise that this came out on the small side anyway. So, I finished Abalone and I frogged Paulie. So instead of having two garments worth of yarn, I now have a cardigan I hate and will never wear and three beautiful sock skeins that will be a shawl.
This leads nicely on to gauge. Over time our gauge changes. I know I relax into some projects while others I’m a ball of stress and my gauge is tighter than Thor’s abs (I may have been watching Avengers last night). Depending on what the project is and where you are in it, your gauge can make your decision to frog for you.
This applies to some trend patterns. Is the pattern that you cast on something that you would wear now? Has your taste changed? If it has and you love the yarn then frog it. If it has but you can see a friend wearing the project then finish it and gift it to bring a smile to both your faces. There are handknits that I knitted just to learn the technique and now that I have, I would never wear the finished object so I gifted them to others who love them. I also have a project that I wanted to learn the technique and once I did I had no interest in the finished object so I ripped that bad boy out and gifted the yarn to someone who needed that dyelot.
I want you to look at that wip in your hand and remind yourself how much it cost. Then remember how much went into producing that yarn. It deserves to be seen. We so often look at our wips and think of only the time that we put into it but before that yarn came to us, someone else produced it and some of those hand-dyed skeins are literally made with blood sweat and tears. So pull out your project and get knitting!
I often find that I can forget why a project is in the WIP pile. I think I can remember the reason but it turns out it’s something entirely different. I can remember quite a lot about it but sometimes I’ve run out of a particular yarn or beads or it has frustrated me so badly that I have never wanted to see it again. If you start working on it and remembered why it was in the pile and those memories are negative just rip it.
Your craft is your time to relax, for many, it’s a hobby. It shouldn’t frustrate you it should be fun and it should be something you enjoy and be proud of. Craft in all its forms over the years has been handed down in families, generation by generation. It’s something we should treasure. Every time you knit, crochet, spin or make, you are giving a traditional craft new life. What you do is important and you should be proud of it. It should make you smile and excite you to get to your FO so you can wear it with pride. If your project isn’t doing that for you, let it go. Your time is precious. See point 1.
That’s all I have for you today. My little nuggets of wisdom (or inane drivel I’ll let you decide). I wish you all well in your WIP hunting and please do come and join in the Frog or Finish. You can use the tag #FrogorFinish on Instagram or #growcraftlove and I’ll find you but to be in with a chance to win you need to post in the Ravelry board. Do you have any other methods of deciding to frog a project? Did I miss one glaring one – it’s possible I have yet to have coffee this morning!
Thank you all so much for joining in with the blog and podcast for the last, almost 2 years. I’m also deciding what to do with the blogs second birthday, any ideas?
I’ll be back a little later this week with a look at morning routines. I’ve been working on a few things I’d like to share.
*No frogs have been harmed in the typing of this post.
**To the non – knitters who may be slightly confused by the terminology in this post;
Frogging in craft terms means to rip your project back to the start so that the yarn can be free to grow up into something wonderful
WIP – Work in Progress
FO – Finished Object
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