Friday, January 21, 2011

A Whole Lot of Frogging Going On

I've been doing lots of knitting and unknitting this winter. This post will cover the unknitting. I was going to write about the knitting, too, but writing about the unknitting bummed me out and I need to go do something positive to cheer myself up.

I have written about unknitting before. Last March, I ripped out a silk sweater that I had knit 6 or so years ago. It was the first time I had frogged an entire knitted garment like that, and I was surprised at how well it went. A good soaking got rid of the whole ramen-yarn effect. I did end up with a lot of small skeins, but they should be perfectly usable. As I explained last year, this sweater had been an epic fail in so many ways: the design was silly, it was not flattering for my body type, and the fit was horrible because I completely ignored gauge. This gorgeous yarn clearly wanted to be a shawlette or something like that.
Jaeger Silk reclaimed
It has been several months since this yarn's return to the stash, and I still don't have a plan for how to use it. But that didn't stop me from ruthlessly ripping out some more of my epic fails of the past. In fact, you could probably say that I got carried away.
I don't even want to think about how many months worth of knitting were undone in making the pile in the above picture.

Let's start with the worst and work our way up, shall we?
Southwest Purplexed
This was once a tunic style vest from Vogue Knitting. I have no picture of it. You'll have to take my word for it: it was very ugly. The design was questionable to begin with, but my execution was pretty crappy as well. Everything from yarn choice to my failure to finish the front properly resulted in an FO so bad that it had not seen the light of day since, oh, 2006? I had forced myself to wear it a few times, but when I realized that the weight of the yarn streched the armholes so much that I had to wear a shirt underneath to keep from giving everyone a clear view of my bra, that was pretty much the end for this garment.

This is a variegated ribbon/tape yarn made from 100% soy. It ripped out very easily. But I don't know what the heck to do with it! It's not like I was dying to have this yarn back in the stash. I got it from the sale bin at a store that went out of business years ago. I have since learned a couple things about sale bins at yarn stores. Yarn ends up in those bins generally for one of two reasons: (1) the store no longer has enough for you to be able to make what you really want with it, or (2) no one has any idea what to make with it, so it did not sell and now the store just wants to get rid of it. This yarn was in the bin for reason #2.

Catgirl wants me to "make something" for her with it. But what?

Does anyone remember this little number from 2008?
Woodland Shawl, in progress
This is the only picture I have of it. I was so annoyed with it, I never did a "finished" picture of it. The lace is pretty, but the project ended up being incredibly small, even after blocking. Blocking only added a couple inches to it, but it never held the block anyway, shrinking bit by bit every day. I tried wearing it as a neck shawl with the ends tucked into the front of my coat, but it was not even a good enough size for that. Then I decided it would be a nice decoration for a table, and it has spent the last 2 years stretched over Nana's coffee table... and it was not long enough to reach the ends.

Now it looks like this.
Rio de la Plata yarn reclaimed
The soaking and hanging softened the ramen factor, but it did not come out as well as the other things I have ripped. I managed to save about 80% of the yarn from the shawl, the end was too felted together and I had to cut a couple inches off. But what do I do with it now? It's not like I loved this yarn and was yearning to knit is again.

And now we come to piece de resistance:
This sweater was well made, with nice yarn--a great basic cardigan that I made at least 5 years ago. The yarn is Noro Silk Garden, an interesting silk/wool/mohair blend. Unfortunately, when I made this, I was not sure I would have enough yarn, so made it a little too short. Although I wore it a lot, I was never happy with the length. For the past couple years, I hadn't worn it because I was that unhappy with how short it was. It was very frustrating, because I loved the look of this yarn knit up in simple stockinette.

Under the influence of my crazy frogging frenzy, I got a crazy idea. What if I ripped it out and made a vest instead? The yarn reclaimed from the sleeves would help make the body of the garment long enough to make me happy. So I grabbed my scissors, and started pulling.
Noro Silk Garden reclaimed
Now it's a pile of skeins, and I am an idiot.

This was, quite honestly, a huge mistake. First of all, this yarn has MOHAIR in it. What was I thinking? Ripping back mohair is a knitter's idea of torture. And secondly, I had forgotten how difficult this sweater had been to knit. There were several knots in the skeins, and sometimes the knots interrupted the long color runs so I had to cut and try a different skein to match it up. It's hard to rip when you have ends wound in among the stitches, so that caused lots of problems. And, because of all the breaks in the yarn, I now have a dozen little skeins of this yarn, but matching them up in the long color runs is going to be extremely difficult.

So what to do with all this "bounty"? I think I can see making it into some hats, maybe a cowl, maybe some mittens. I think it's only going to be any good for small projects like those. So much for my dreams of a long vest....

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