Return of the Dead

I like to pretend that all my "works in progress" are actually works in progress, but truth be told the survival rate for a knitting project that falls of my radar is pretty horrific. A project that goes out of rotation and lands in one of my baskets might make it, since there’s a chance I’ll see it enough times to care about its fate… but a project that lands in the back cupboard has likely been given a terminal diagnosis.  It might be ugly, it might be gauge…  it might have a yarn problem I can’t solve, a pattern error that I don’t feel like messing with, but for whatever reason, if a UFO (UnFinished Object)  goes into there, it’s like a doorway to the seventh dimension.  Kiss it goodbye baby. That cupboard is a one way trip to goodbye land.    I’m happy to announce that against all odds, a  project has struggled its way back from the abyss.  

It’s the Beaded Bells Kit.  I was knitting this a while ago, really loving it, making good time…. and then totally misplaced the pattern and absolutely couldn’t find it no matter what I did.  I’d always meant to reverse engineer/fake them to finish, but somehow it ended up in the cupboard with very little hope of ever being seen (or at least admitted to) again.

Then, when I was pulling together my self-directed sock club, I found the pattern (totally by accident) and then found the socks (totally on purpose) and tossed them into the sock club,  making them April’s socks because I knew April was going to be hairy, and these were half knit already. So there you have it.  Me and a pair of socks that almost didn’t make it to sockdom are grooving in the Vancouver airport and I bet they’ll be finished socks by sundown. 

In the face of all the projects in all of our cupboards that don’t make it, I thought you’d want to hear about a brave little pair of socks that beat the odds.

(Admittedly, all they’ve survived is my incompetence and powerful ability to misplace things…  but there you go.)

124 thoughts on “Return of the Dead

  1. I love the idea of your own personal sock club. I may be a mid-year joiner to this idea and create my own as well.
    Happy travels!

  2. “The Pretty Green Socks That Could” – can’t you just hear them: We know she will… we know she will… we know she will… So glad their destiny is almost secured. Have a great time at Sock Camp!

  3. They’re so pretty I’m really glad they survived!
    Also glad I’m not the only one with a cupboard (closet in my case, but still)

  4. Glad they found their way back into your knitting heart again, they’re stunning

  5. I just bought a new book, Knit One, Bead Too and now I want to dig into it and start some pretty socks! Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. I’m just letting you know I am here and I will let someone else speculate what else (??!!!!!) might be hiding in the cupboard.

  7. I’m glad you found the pattern and the socks! I despaired of making a certain dishcloth, because I’d lost the pattern, but then one day, while poking through Ravelry, I found the pattern again and made the cloth, at a later date! The first dishcloth was terminal, because I reached a point where I just frogged it, because I couldn’t relocate the pattern.

  8. Wow, such an inspiring story of a brave sock! I’m afraid too many of my projects have gone into knitting limbo when I just got bored with them. Also, I discovered that I really do not enjoy doing entrelac. So there.

  9. Yay for the “little socks that could”. I am sure they will provide much hope to those UFOs that remain in the cupboard. Pretty socks-glad they will make it.

  10. Hurrah for the Little Socks That Could (Be Found, that is)! Who among is not bedeviled by incompetence and a powerful ability to misplace things, I’d like to know?!

  11. I started two-at-a-time-toe-up socks in Sept 2009 using Holiday Yarns Candy Cane self stripping red and white yarn. I didn’t like the way they were turning out so I just frogged them, They sat for a long time. I was half way done with the leg – I started again. Maybe I’ll shoot for Christmas 2010.

  12. Very Pretty – but why would you wear beads on your socks? Ignorant about such things, I wonder if they would be comfortable… ??

  13. Now I feel terribly guilty about my UFOs. I did hit the pile a few weeks ago and finished up a few things but then got distracted by a really pretty and fun sweater. I promise, I’ll finish something (anything!) this week in honor of your socks.

  14. I thought I recognized that ugly carpet. Lucky socks. I believe that they may have been hiding until you could give them your full attention.

  15. But … but … but … you TOTALLY forgot to tell us WHY you were at the airport…!

  16. It’s kind of like a symbol of spring, like the snowdrops peaking their little heads through the snow, the daffodils breaking out, the birds singing, the sun shining…. (sorry, I got carried away.)
    Congratulations to the socks. Mine is the Cosima sweater with yarn handspun to look like Berroco Cuzco. Been sitting forever and now finally getting finished – just in time for 80 degree temps but finished nevertheless!

  17. Back to yesterday’s post. Wow. How did you get those beautiful colors/designs on those eggs. Those are truly works of art. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Yay sock club! Recently I went through my sock yarns and was astonished how much of it there was, so I am going to start my own sock club too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. I’ve been wanting to ask for a long time but have been hesitant to bring it up: Whatever happened to Joe’s gansey? Is it gone? Should I give up on it and put it out of my mind completely?

  20. Out of the WIP stash and into the sock drawer! Woohoo! Pretty green, isn’t it? And those beads are like a bit of sock jewelry Ü

  21. Sounds good to me.
    As the months have progressed with your personal Sock Club the idea has more and more appeal. When I first read about it on the calendar, and then the blog I had some reluctance.
    Moths are in the air here, and as the credit card bill came with more purchases of yarn than ever before I am feeling a little flighty myself, so much so, that I got out the vacuum cleaner yesterday (not a regular occurence around here) and did some very non-Buddhist things with it. I need to be more thorough before taking a shake and better packing to the expensive stash.

  22. I used to think I misplaced things a lot, too. Then I realized that what’s really happening is that there’s a little wandering wormhole in my house. How else to explain putting something down right where it belongs only to have it turn up in another (usually inconvenient) place entirely?

  23. Great socks for spring — and I agree with everyone else, these are the little socks that could.
    However, I’d be very afraid now. The little socks that could have blazed a trail out of that closet. Who knows what else is going to coming crawling out and lie in wait for you?

  24. I once knit a very pretty sock of cotton Easter-y, pastel variegated yarn. Then I packed for our move…and completely lost track of the other ball of yarn needed to knit the other sock. Three years later, while searching for something else, I found the AWOL ball of yarn. So I knitted the second sock. Guess what? My sock skills had gotten so much better and my gauge so much more consistent, that the second sock fits so much better than the first that they don’t really function as a pair. Sigh…good thing my popsicle feet require bed socks year round to keep my marriage intact!

  25. Yay for the happy green socks! (which reminds me of Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ new green. Which I don’t need. Really…)

  26. Yay for the socks! I remember liking the green and the beads the first time, and I still think they’re pretty great. Makes me wonder what other awesomeness is floating in the seventh dimension…

  27. Time to ‘fess up: there’s a F & F stole, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport that’s already got almost 4 hanks knit into it, which got put into hibernation because I broke the needle — like a needle can’t be replaced! And now I’ve thought about it so long, and made so many changes (all in my mind, of course) that the first thing I’d do if I saw it again would be frogging. If I’d only known then what I know now…

  28. That’s a gorgeous color! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
    I wonder if there should be an expiration date for WIPs… after 18 months in a closet, perhaps, mandatory frogging?

  29. So just before putting them down you wrote “I might have overlooked the complexity of working a beaded knit in restaurants, airplanes, cars …”
    Am I missing something here?

  30. I just wanted to let you know that you inspired me. I spent Sunday organising my stash and came up with my own club based on your Sock Club. I don’t do socks (yet, it’s my goal for 2010), but I put all of my stash that I bought with certain projects in mind, printed out the patterns, put them in baggies, and lined them up on my stash shelf. I’m all ready to go!
    Thanks for the idea!

  31. This post makes me feel way better about the number of projects I have lost interest in, stuffed in bags and denied they ever existed.

  32. I’m always wishing my UFOs would either magically finish themselves or disappear. Either would probably make me very happy. These cute green socks, however, deserve to be finished. After all, you were loving them when you accidentally lost the pattern. Serendipity to find them when you need a fast April project , I’d say.

  33. I think that’s awesome. Maybe I should try that kind of club for myself – a UFO club. Like you, most of my abandoned UFOs are ones with some sort of problem that I don’t want to deal with. The UFOs that are going well usually end up in the closet, they just hang around on my bookshelf.. well, forever, or until I pick them up again. I should start assigning myself a UFO from the closet of doom every month and either rip it or otherwise solve the problem associated with it.

  34. Beads bring to mind Sivia Harding whom I know you’ll see at sock camp. Her Harmonium Rings cowl pattern has cropped up so many times in the last week that I assume it wants me to knit it. However, I’m more product than process and I’m hoping my March sock kit will reach Sudbury SOON. If Australia, Hawaii, England, and the US have their kits, what’s wrong with Ontario? I don’t have UFOs, I just have an interminable list of downloaded patterns. Enjoy sock camp. Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  35. Does April know you called her hairy on the blog for everyone to see? 🙂
    I have an ALice Starmore vest that I am ready to hand over to someone else. It’s been in the basket for years now and I probably won’t ever finish it.

  36. Gorgeous socks. I made a modified sock club for myself in Jan. with only 4 projects (since I’m very slow and very distractible, but I couldn’t pass us the genius of the idea), but I think next year my daughter and her MIL and I might do a little sock club to entertain each other. Have fun at Sock Camp!

  37. HOORAY for the socks! I have a few of those projects and am thinking about trying to finish them off, amidst the new projects that come on to my radar screen from ravelry daily. Every rescued project is a victory!
    Have a great time at the Sock Club, and remember to tell us ALL about it!

  38. Calling Dr. Seuss: the (not-so) pale green socks with nobody inside them chasing after the back of your mind are finally made friends with!

  39. I’m so glad you found the pattern, because those are some bee-yu-tiful socks!

  40. It’s sad when you totally can recognize an airport from a picture of the carpet…. hooray for the little socks that could.

  41. Well done. So if you do finish them today, can you go on to the May socks, since there are 24 days still left in April, or would that be cheating? If I send you a pair of socks on the needles that have been in timeout since just above the heel while I tried to figure out what to do with the leg, will you finish them?
    You needn’t answer that second one. Well, for that matter you needn’t answer the first one either, but it’s a slightly more sensible question.

  42. Hey, I am just glad to hear that you don’t finish everything you start. I mean, on some level I know this (ie Joe’s Gansey – still waiting for you to pipe up about that one), but on another, I know you knit fast and end up completing a lot. So it’s just good to know that you are human. hehe Cheers!

  43. I love the socks. I discovered that I had 26 skeins of sock yarn and 2 socks on needles. But after seeing those, I need more sock yarn. The plastic bin is only 2/3 full. I’ve got room!

  44. They are as lovely now as they were then. Congratulations on making incompetence work in your favor. Now if you could just teach politicians how to do it…..

  45. I hate it when I know I have something but can’t find which “safe place” it has been stashed in (my husband HATES it when I say “I put it in a SAFE PLACE because he knows it may never be found again!).
    But it is always serendipity when I do find that “safe place”!

  46. I just added a ball of yarn to a sweater back to knit one row before I put the thing on holders. The muses must be gigggling.

  47. It’s the little pair that could! I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! Way to go!

  48. Well, I am delighted to see the lovely socks. But I’m with Leta from a few posts up…please let Wild Apples and Joe’s gansey be ok!

  49. ‘…all they’ve survived is my incompetence and powerful ability to misplace things.’ But isn’t that what defeats us so very often? We fight against exactly that over and over. Props to you, for your triumph! May it be an example to the rest of us.

  50. I made a lovely dk weight cardigan a few years ago, then forgot about it. Don’t know why. One day I was going through my stash for something and came across it. It was sewn together (the worst part), only lacking the buttons. Which I had. Geesh. I put them on and it was lovely, fit well and was perfect for Phoenix winter weather. Still don’t know how it ended up in the ufo state missing only buttons that I already had!

  51. I LOVE all things green…green beer, green eggs and ham…
    But those Green Bell Socks are the sack(s) on a Leprechaun!!!
    Kudos to YOU!!!

  52. Happens to me all the time. Although, mostly it’s because I’ve lost the pattern or I’ve had a major meltdown over it. LOVE THE SOCKS!

  53. Glad you found the pattern. Those are gorgeous socks. I gives me hope for my WIPS that make it to the “baskets”.

  54. looks like you discovered Maryann’s law – You can always find what you’re not looking for.

  55. wow! they’re beautiful. maybe … maybe … i’ll go dig out that pink shawl …

  56. Lucky, lucky socks! The last three socks I knit never became pairs. I ran out of wool for the first, the second was socknapped by my nephew for a toy, and the third, suffering gauge problems, bad color, and being the wrong size entirely, was handed over, heel complete, to the LYS owner, who kindly refused to allow me to carry on. My fourth, on the needles last night, met up with the sock knitting fairy, and finished themselves while I was tending a sick child.

  57. Thanks for such a sweet inspirational story! Love it–and the socks, too–oh, and the creator!

  58. Great feeling of accomplishment. Fitting resurrection, considering the season.

  59. I have one UFO to get out of my basket now. The one I am working on now is a pair of all white socks for a son who has feet the size of air craft carrriers. That was why they became UFOs. I just could not look at them anymore!!
    Congrats on being able to complete a UFO that you actually liked.

  60. I would love to start my own Sock of the Month club, but have been too busy knitting for the Baby of the Month club that my friends’ children have started. There is a population boom in the Pacific Northwest.

  61. The Pretty Green Socks that Never Gave Up…. Sounds like a great title for a children’s book. All about faith, self confidence and knitting. I love it.
    Nice to see them return from the frog pond. I look forward to pictures of the finished product!

  62. The little green socks showed the way – can Joe’s gansey be far behind??????

  63. Oh, I’d say they survived a lot more than that – weren’t these the socks that travelled across the country with you once before? I seem to recall you mentioning that beaded knitting was not the best choice for working on an airplane? Didn’t they almost meet a sea monster? I remember that because I loved these socks! I can hardly wait to see them finished!

  64. Yay! Gives me — and my half-a-linen-closet full of UFO’s — a happy little shiver of hope!

  65. All I could think of while reading about the brave little socks that could, are my UFO’s languishing in the abyss of my home. Yikes! Now I feel like I need to take a look into that black hole and see if I can find anything as cool as those socks! Someone hold my feet. I’m going in head first!

  66. It would thus appear that hope still exists for the rhuana all in knit stitch that I began two years ago and shoved in a basket because I had to tidy up the den quickly…said basket went to a different house with a friend –if hope does exist, the friend will discover the thing and the book with the pattern, finish the garment and give it to me for my birthday later this month…hope may be futile, Stephanie!

  67. Well done! I’ve been trying to keep up with the post-Olympic knitting spurt to get some UFOs done. So far, so good. Finished one pair of socks and am currently working on ‘Francie’ [and hoping to discover where I ‘invented some part of the sole last time and had to re-invent some of the pattern to have it make sense….].
    I should do a sock club too to help whittle down the stash. I’m already envious of the Christmas stash you are developing.

  68. Me again. So I used the word ‘stash’ as in ‘Christmas stash’… but upon further reflection that seems wrong. ‘Stash’ usually refers to the unknit ball(s),[drawers, hampers, closets, rooms, storage lockers…] of unknit yarn goodness.
    What do you call it once it is knit and awaiting gifting??

  69. i’m just so shocked, amazed and grateful to hear that other people (even people that knit ALOT more and ALOT better than i do) have projects that never get finished!! whew! this means i must be “ok” as a knitter too, then!

  70. I started a personal sock club on my birthday – it’s not all socks, but all sock yarn. Thanks for the inspiration!

  71. Since you have brought up WIPs and UFOs, I have been wondering, but hesitated to ask about one of your works in progress – namely Joe’s sweater. (Did I miss a post that you finished it?) You have cleaned wool, spun, knit, cleaned wool, spun, and knit on it several times. Has the newly spun yarn matched the older yarn? One of my UFOs is in the same stage – needing more yarn to finish the sleeves. Am spinning like crazy – a 3 ply no less – and hoping for the best.

  72. Hurray for the socks, and Stephanie too of course!!! I really like your idea of a personal sock club, but I’m so fixated on color-work mittens right now that the socks don’t have a chance. Of course when winter comes round again (oh perish the thought, we haven’t even had summer yet lol!!) I’ll be seriously bumming in the wool sock department. Bad planning on my part, but it sounds like your planning has been perfect!

  73. I would love to resurrect some of my ufo’s if only I could locate them.I was looking just last night for a shawl that I wanted to pick up and knit upon. But she is still mia. So I wound up another ball of sock yarn-just in case!

  74. What an inspiring tale! And the socks are beautiful to boot. I love happy endings.

  75. I have two words to say to you “photocopier” and “scanner”. Actually, make that three “favorites”. :o) Since I absolutely dread the thought of losing a much-loved pattern, I always make a working photocopy and only ever carry that around. Now that we have a scanner, I’m tempted to scan the working copy and hold it electronically somewhere safe.
    For patterns I love on the internet, I save the link in my favorites. I also print out a working copy AND save a scan of it. If it’s something I have to paste into Word first before I can print a workable copy, then I’ll include a citation and paste in the URL. If anyone wants a copy, then I’ll direct them to the original website.
    My working copy gets covered in notes and then gets filed in a binder with the swatch and a ball-band or two, when the project is finished.
    Maybe I’m a bit anal, but it works for me.
    – Pam

  76. Ah, the joy of near biblical proportions on finding the pattern again. Every time something like that happens to me my day is SO made (especially if I have managed to refrain from accusing other members of my household of misplacing whatever I misplaced so I don’t have to go and find them and humbly eat my words). And of course I’m very thrilled to find that I share at least one of your impressive abilities, even if that would be the ‘powerful ability to misplace things’ 🙂

  77. I, too, am soooo happy for the Little Socks That Could!
    I have a serious UFO problem. My solution is to hold annual “Frog Fests.” The downside is that it’s difficult coming to terms with dashing all the hopes I’d had for a project (if I can remember what those hopes were), and lamenting all the time spent on said project, only to have it end up stuffed in a bag, never to be seen or touched again.
    The “Frog Fest,” however, is also liberating. Suddenly, I have all sorts of ‘new’ yarn to work with. I have no projects mocking me. I even get to liberate needles from these projects. It’s truly a wonderful thing. It takes awhile, but it’s worth the effort.
    Have a great time at Sock Camp!

  78. Happy Happy! Yay little Beaded Green socks! Safe travels, Stephanie!
    I too, have a UFO ..uh..’storage area’.. You are NOT alone! haha!

  79. Hurahh for the socks being saved, Anything that hits my box on a one way trip to goodbye land never gets out. which reminds me to get another box as this one is full and has to go on a trip to goodwill. the land of the knitter is interesting to say the least .

  80. Given how long it takes to actually get off the ground these days I’ve no doubt you’ll have those socks finished up before you land again. They look lovely and well-worth the rescue effort.

  81. Reading your post today was like reading my own diary. That is exactly what happens to all my WIP’s. And – yes – in the cupboard are all the ugly orphans missing yarn, pattern or attractiveness. So true!

  82. So happy to hear that I’m not alone with all of my UFO’s,left in bag’s or in container’s for one reason or another. I just wish I’d stop seeing something else I want to knit and then maybe I’ll finish all of my UFO’s!

  83. It is definitely reassuring to know I’m not the only one with a black hole where projects go to die. Every once in a while my husband will give me that meaningful look and say wouldn’t you like to finish something right when I’m contemplating either buying more yarn or starting something new.

  84. Heh…I have a sweater-which isn’t even my WIP, since I got it half-finished in a bag of yarn- that has been languishing there for ten years. The problem- I misplaced the pattern during a move. And I’m absolutely convinced the thing is going to turn up as soon as I give up and frog the sweater. Which I should totally do, because it’s wool and nylon fingering weight…sock yarn…and the sweater won’t fit me or pretty much anyone I know even if I finished it. But still I hesitate!

  85. How lovely to have a knitting resurrection for Easter. Horribly mixing metaphors, I now hear the rumbling of the ghosts of my own projects past.

  86. OK, OK. You’ve shamed me into digging out that pair of socks and “kitchenering” the toe on the SECOND ONE for a completed PAIR!! Thanks for the “gentle” push.

  87. This is why my projects stall so often. I don’t allow UFO’s for either my sewing or my knitting – so if I get stuck I may not sew for a couple of months until I can force myself to finish or officially give up on and get rid of the failed project. 1 sewing project and 2 knitting projects is the absolute limit.

  88. I have a lot of projects that are half-finished, but I’m rarely aware of them because (here’s the trick) I just don’t put them up on ravelry! I have about 5 WIPs on ravelry, but probably about 15 UFOs just floating around the house. It lightens your conscience a lot if you don’t admit they exist. 🙂

  89. Hey, incompetence and a powerful ability to misplace things are heavy odds to overcome! At least at my house, they are.
    It’s always so fun to “rescue” a project. And the socks are beautiful. Enjoy!

  90. Lovely socks in my favorite range of greens, that being the true, mossy, ferny, living greens.
    I adore the Pacific Northwest. It contains 7,435 more shades of green than South Louisiana. Last time I was up there, I counted.
    This winter I also finished a pair of languishing socks. I was working a pair of socks in New Orleans Saints team colors for my Dad and had 1.5 socks finished when he passed away, right before Katrina. I hadn’t the heart ti finish them. The week of the Superbowl, I remembered the socks and thought Dad might want me to finish them, and wear them. I ripped back the foot of the finished one so it would fit me, finished it, then finished the second one. I’m glad I did.

  91. I actually went through all my stuff and wrote up a nearly comprehensive list of all the items I have started and not finished – 45, not including the ones I remember but have no idea where they are. I already knocked three off that list, but I have also added one since I am in a sock club. The whole list is here:
    I am focusing on finishing projects. I guess that turned out to be my new year’s resolution this year.

  92. Would it be totally cruel to ask after the health/status of Joe’s gansey?

  93. I have high hopes for my ufos….that’s my optimistic side…..truth is, they’ll probably die a sloooow death….that’s my pessimistic side.

  94. ohhh…. I have so many socks that have not beaten the odds, but have joined one another in the single sock club (deep in a drawer). Congratulations on your success!

  95. Yay, little socks! Congratulations for making it out of the cupboard! I know how hard of a struggle that can be. I’m currently working on a sweater that was having a great deal of trouble making it off the *coffee table* for several months! (Note to self: deal with all the UFOs on the coffee table before starting anything new.)

  96. Beautiful green beaded socks, perfect for spring. I’m so glad they got their chance. I have decided to finish unfinished projects this year. I have a UFO-club, very much like your sock club. But then things have a was of jumping into line, cutting in as it were. Mt #1 sister gave me white laceweight and my #2 sister asked for a bridal shawl for her son’s bride, sigh, now that’s a lot of knitting time for a non-UFO. But is is so beautiful and exciting, I forgave it.

  97. Geez they didn’t languish that long if the July 09 post was their last moment in the sun. Please do not request an audit of what we all have in our goodbye lands in knitting years–it will make those beaded socks look like speed knitting. It’s much more fun to audit what fibre related things spinners have in their freezers.

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