I think there’s still room

I got up this morning and started hunting up WIPs, and do you know, it wasn’t even that hard? I forgot that I had a major culling of the herd at the beginning of the pandemic, when Charlotte had just died and we were locked down and I was possessed of a sudden urge to fling a great many of my things in the bin. (While a terrible time overall, it was a great time for de-cluttering and streamlining. Not many objects or projects seemed particularly important at the time. I have no regrets.)  I looked in my cupboards and baskets and bins and I know there are probably a few more lurking in the stash room, but the semi-annual tossing of the stash is next month, and I’ll worry about stragglers then.  I found plenty for now. Here’s what I’ve got on the needles.  (Please note, I have not listed Ken’s sweater because I am legit working on that and you just saw it – it has two new sleeves now and other than being a little wider they are the same. I’ve also not included the purplish striped sock that’s currently my purse sock. I’ll finish it soon. It’s a purse sock.) This is everything else.

Project: Northern Sky socks.  Reason it stalled: I have no idea, these are totally fabulous and I love them.  They deserve better.   General sense of its destiny: I’m putting them at the top of the queue – they can go into rotation with Ken’s sweater and the purse sock. I honestly can’t imagine what skein waggled its little label at me to make me put these down.

Project: Sea Tangles, knit in Habu stainless wire.  Reason it stalled: Oh, so many.  I love the idea of this project and the way it fits into the “post-apocalyptic matrix my-clothes-are-all-rags but I look fabulous anyway” look I aspire to, but a few things went wrong on my way to greatness. First, this is not a lot of fun to knit. The wire has no give and it’s really tiny and you have to pay attention all the time. Also I think my gauge isn’t right (although how ever could you tell)  and I suspect that while it’s not exactly a fitted garment,  it’s going to be shorter than I like.  I’ve got the back knit, and I’m a few inches into the front and have a had a lingering feeling that I should go up a needles size and make it longer for YEARS. General sense of its destiny: Screw it. I’m going to rip it and start again. I still love it.

Project: Tulips MittensReason it stalled:  I have no idea except maybe it got warm and mittens seemed stupid?  General sense of its destiny: Considering how far along I am I’ll just keep going. They’re pretty, aren’t they?

Project: Some rando pair of mittens.   Reason it stalled:  This is just embarrassing. Do you see that I am 10 rounds of a thumb away from finishing these? What sort of a person gives up then? While I cannot possibly explain why I stopped right then and didn’t finish, I suspect that the fact that there are only three needles present may have played a role. General sense of its destiny? Yeah, I’ve got to find that needle. Winter is coming. I’ll finish them today.

Project: I cannot remember the name and the pattern isn’t with it. Reason it stalled: I think I got really sick of stringing beads onto the yarn. General sense of its destiny: None. I might still be sick of stringing beads and I still don’t know the name. This one isn’t really calling to me this minute – though it is a third done, so I hate to walk away. Maybe it needs a longer time out, and for me to remember the name.

Project: Graphic baby blanket.  Reason it stalled: It’s a little too heartbreaking. General sense of its destiny: I love it, but it’s getting tucked away for now.

Project: Some plain pair of socks for someone big. Reason it stalled: I likely turned on it during midwinter bleakness. Look at that. I ripped the needles right the hell out of it so I could knit something else. Harsh.  General sense of its destiny: I think the world is still a little too bleak for those. They’re getting a ziplock and a shelf.

Project: Rainbow socks! Reason it stalled: It’s not totally stalled, I had them with me at the cottage and my Mother-in-law worked on them a bit.  I’m just really not feeling the toe up thing. General sense of their destiny: Oh, I’ll knit them. Just not…. now.

Project: One of the Colour Stacking Cowls from the Patreon make-along. Reason it stalled: All it needs is an i-cord bindoff on one edge and it will be finished and gorgeous.  You know how sometimes when something only needs a little bit of work you keep putting it off because that doesn’t seem like much and you could do it anytime so you don’t do it at all? General sense of its destiny: Excellent outcome predicted. I’ll just do it. Right after the thumb thing from those mittens.

Project: Autumn Lace. Reason it stalled: I hate it. It was supposed to be fantastic and the pattern and knitting is, but I chose the wrong contrast colour for that green at the outset and have hated it since. I knew it was wrong in the yarn shop and I can’t believe I let it get this far.  It’s 2/3 done and I hate it. General sense of its destiny: I am going to rip it back as soon as I figure out how to rip back brioche lace mohair. Both of those yarns deserve a better future. (Assuming I can rip it.)

Project: I have no idea. No pattern, no nothing.  is it a sleeve? A sock? When did I start it? What was I thinking? Reason it stalled: See above. It’s nice though.  General sense of its destiny: If I don’t know where I’m going I don’t think I’ll get there.  Nice knowing you….whatever you are.

Project: Okay fine I don’t know what this is either. A shawl. That much I’m sure of. Reason it stalled: Again, I have no idea. I remember starting it, and I remember buying the wool, but then the whole thing sort of dries up in my memory. General sense of its destiny: Poor outcome predicted. Unless I can figure out what the hell I was making I’m going to rip it and make something else. Maybe a shawl would be nice.

Project: Some paper and silk jacket thing from Habu. Reason it stalled: Like so many Habu projects I want the garment but knitting the stuff is weird and tricky.  Also it’s a Japanese style pattern so I’ve really got to think about the instructions. General sense of its destiny: I can’t tell.  I thought about ripping it back but honestly it’s half done and I know I’ll like it when it’s finished, won’t I? It’s paper – that’s so cool.  Sigh. I think I’ll knit it and while I do I’ll examine my relationship with Habu stuff since that’s two projects in this roundup that are stalled out in a multi-year way.

There. That’s it. That list (together with Ken’s sweater and my purse sock) means I have 15 projects on the go, which frankly is quite a few less than I was expecting to have to own up to and seems completely civilized and reasonable as long as you start with my world view, which of course, I did.  I’m going to leave all these out on the table for the rest of the day and see if having it all in front of me helps with the startitis. Surely it should scratch some of the itch.

And I’m going to knit that thumb.

85 thoughts on “I think there’s still room

  1. Those mittens might have been for a knitting retreat that didn’t happen in March 2020. I Have a WIP (purple of course) that looks just like them .

  2. What I get from this is that I’m not alone in the total brain fog I seem to have when I pull out a stranded project. I have learned (mostly) to put stuff away with its pieces and pattern, because so many times I’ve not done so. You have the perfect motivation to finish a bunch….Christmas list, and easy blog posts. Cheers!

    • I try to take a photo with my phone of the yarn and pattern and ball band and even the needles. That helps decipher stuff later on. I like her reasons for time out/delays.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these WIPs. I don’t know why, but it’s always fun to see someone else’s. It almost makes me motivated to go WIP hunting in my house. I have no idea how many WIPs I have at present & I’m kind of scared to find out….some of them are probably so old my knitting gauge is now completely different. Finding the missing needle wouldn’t even save some of them!

  4. i just saw on your patreon that you hate ripping back mohair…but i also saw on Andrea Mowry’s youtube channel that she sticks mohair in the freezer for half an hour before frogging it (also freezer if it misbehaves in any other way). Would that work for the Autumn Lace?

    • For some reason, freezing mohair DOES make it easier to unravel! But I usually give it a full day in the freezer, so it understands my position fully.

    • I have no idea about the freezer approach, and I avoid mohair like the plague, but my head keeps saying douse it with fabric softener or hair conditioner, rinse it out, and let it dry before frogging. I have no idea if that will really make a difference. You’d almost certainly have to skein it and rinse it out again before re-knitting.

    • Thumbs up on the freezer – unraveled a whole sweater after a rest in the freezer – had to do it in stages as the mohair “thawed” but saved the yarn and had only a few “thin” bits.

    • You have to wonder why it occurred to the first person who froze mohair before frogging that it seemed like a good idea. Kind of like the first person who made olives. – why did they even think this might work?! I am glad that there are people who give things like this a whirl and and then share their tricks with the rest of us though.

  5. You have no idea how much better this makes me feel. I know I need to write down pattern, needles, size, what adjustments I made but no, this time will be different. This time I’ll remember all that stuff I’ve failed to remember on mumblemumble previous occasions.

  6. This is a brilliant project, and a terrific post, too. It’s so good that I wouldn’t dream of invoking a hypothetical handspun gansy, even though at this distance in time (and with so much less Joe) it might have regained a certain charm. I am inspired to do likewise, though my stash of UFOs is so deep and tangled that I may not be seen again. Still, brilliant.

  7. You are very brave! I do not have the courage to search for all my ufos! I am always wondering why I didn’t finish something when I like it so much – the perfect joining of pattern and yarn.

  8. I remember the project with the beads, but I don’ recall the pattern’s name. It should be somewhere in your blog archive or Ravelry queue. You did have some choice words about stringing beads on the yarn, but I’m sure you’ll have LOTS more choice words if you decide to rip it! Maybe repurpose the completed bit as something else?

  9. So glad to see someone else with a Sea Tangles ufo. Now that layering season is coming upon us, I am motivated to dig mine out and have another go.

  10. I don’t have that many WIPs but somehow I have 2 sweaters where the knitting is done. All they need are the buttons sewn on. I even have the buttons! Can’t figure out why I just can’t finish them.

  11. It is going to feel SO GOOD to have those half done projects finished! I have the opposite of startitis, I slog through something to finish it, and if I don’t like it, I just leave it for longer. I’d probably get more done if I had more than one or two projects on the needles at a time.

  12. This is such a beautiful array of WIPs – I really admire you for this! (As someone who cannot have more than like two, maybe three things on the go at the same time without stressing out, just WOW!)

    I do remember that you made a blogpost about the stash tossing at one point, do you maybe happen to know where you talked about this in more detail? And if so, could you please be so kind as to hint where I can find this again?

  13. The beaded project may have stalled due to a knot in the yarn? At a Ludlow retreat remember you mentioning a knot and then “what can you do?” and I told you my solution? You give me faith to see those mittens ten rounds from the end. Oh, and you probavly will NOT like the metal for frogging. It is metal, and will have memory like the devil, and metal does break after being flexed a lot.

  14. I would say get the Autumn Lace to the end of a row if it isn’t already, even if it’s in the middle of a motif, cast off, call it done, and then go find a willing victim for it. Shouldn’t be hard.

    • I was going to suggest something like this… if it’s big enough to be a cowl just finish as one. And gift it as AlisonH said.
      And find good contrasting yarns to make it for yourself.
      Love you and so glad to have you back! You are welcome to come to Maine and visit us anytime. We’ve all be vaxxed so no worries there!
      xoxo TA

  15. I am so happy you posted this because now I feel like my little bags of unknown knitting, uncounted, are normal. I did just finish two of them so on the right track.

  16. Don’t feel bad, Stephanie. I have a pair of socks that’s completely finished except the last 10 grafting stitches on the second sock’s toe. They’ve been lying on my couch (my knitting nest) for weeks. By now, I think some other things have sorta drifted over them. And they’re lying near a cloth shopping bag holding 6 or 7 skeins bought at a fiber festival three months ago. No two are alike. I think I remember what each was intended for — at least, what category of object it was to become — socks, hat, maybe a shawl.
    So glad to have fresh posts to read (but no pressure — don’t NOBODY need that!).

  17. Well, this makes me feel better about the WIP round-up that I did last week. I found a sweater that just needed to be cast off, ends sewn in and two buttons added (for more than four years now, who am I even?), a few half-done projects missing patterns that I need to locate, and some WIPS that I know I abandoned but can’t remember why and need to sit with for a while to remember. Then there’s the “what the hell is this and why don’t I remember what it was?” pile. I think one is a popcorn scarf (with clearly not enough yarn to actually finish) and the rest, well. They are going back to the stash after I unravel them.

  18. For the ones you really can’t remember at all–maybe it’s like starting a project afresh, except…Hey look, it’s already half done!! The wonderful thing about all of these projects is that they’re truly lovely and inspiring, and worth finishing, even if they have some inertia.

  19. I feel better now that I’ve seen your wips. Ha! Love those tulip mittens. Wouldn’t it be fun to finish each other’s wips? That could be a thing. Round robin knitting.
    I’m about a week behind you, which makes sense since I’m in Minnesota. The chill in the air has sent me looking for my missing needles and counting my pocket money so I can order more yarn.
    Thanks for the inspiration to create!

  20. Ripping back mohair doesn’t have to be so daunting. Put the mohair project in the freezer! After it is frozen the fibres won’t cling to each other and the ripping out will be easy. Credit for this tip goes to is Andrea Mowrey.

  21. I stumbled on your blog searching Google on how to handle self-striping when you knit from the toe up. I’m fairly new to sock making, but I’m not quite ready to follow the directions from the pattern that says to “essentially knit a tube and then put in the heel later.” I’ll figure it out but just wanted to let you know that I loved this post. I have a few WIPs stuffed in zip locks that I doubt I’ll ever go back to finish. Unfortunately (sarcastically speaking), a new yarn store opened up in my area, so you know what that means. So many pretty skeins, so little time.

  22. I have a cardigan , that I am actually wearing, that needs buttons sewn on. Otherwise, I think I just have a cardigan that I am working on, Second version, first was too small, though I did finish the knitting (no buttons there either). I do have some sewing WIPs – a skirt that needs a hem, a bag that needs handles, a quilt that needs to be quilted and bound. I’m sure there are others! Lovely to have you blogging again.

    • Perfect! I have a cardi from 2018 that I am wearing that still needs ends woven in. I did the ones at the cuffs and the hem, but the ends at the neckband and underarms are still there. Who gets this close and stops? Still, it’s wool. They will felt in with time, no?

  23. I am so happy you have so many ufos. I have 9 I think (I’m afraid to count) and one of them is a sweater for my husband, completely finished and blocked, that I need to put a zipper into. I should do that today….

  24. I have a lovely baby sweater that just needs the buttons sewed on. Several years ago I found the perfect buttons (and even the right number of them!) but in the meantime one of them got lost. Since those buttons were perfect (and came from my Mom’s button box so there’s no way to buy them again), I won’t settle for a different set. I think I need to tear the house apart looking for that missing button.

  25. I think I have seven WIPs … (when does a WIP become a UFO?) … if you don’t count that full-sized lace shawl which has only the garter tab beginning done and am just now emerging from a serious case of start-itis springing from a yarn retreat and the purchases I brought home therefrom.

    Then there are the incipient WIPs buzzing around in my brain, unstarted only because I don’t have needles available to cast on with unless I steal them from other WIPs.

    So good to know I’m not alone.

    And boeond good to see you blogging again. You have been missed.

  26. I’ve made a lot of red scarves for a hospital women’s cardiac project, and just decided I’m bored with red scarves. Went to a meeting of knitters who do charity knitting. The leader and othere, started going through bags of donated iyarn, free to us, and wouldn’t you know it, they all started tossing the red skeins they found to me. So I guess I’ll be knitting more red scarves.

  27. Thank you for sharing these WIPs – I’ve got about that many within 15 feet of my knitting chair (aka recliner) and I’m actually trying to finish them, as well as do the baby presents that popped up needing to be done. We moved this last year and I have about 45 large tubs of yarn sorted by weight that needs to be additionally sorted by color. That’s a winter job (I hope) Among those are 2 tubs of “kits” that have the yarn/pattern/needles all ready to grab and go, but they haven’t been grabbed yet. Also there are at least 2 tubs of WIPs that need to be evaluated as you just did. You have strengthened my hope that I can start to get things done. Happy knitting!

  28. Does this post mean that I should abandon my dream of one day seeing a completed gansey? How about a post about whatever happened to the gansey? Please?

  29. Thanks for the post Stephanie. It is always good to hear from you, and I send my best regards to you and family. As to this particular post … Sometimes I get stalled on a project too. I understand getting distracted by other projects, and I understand feeling depressed about something and simply stopping knitting (stopping everything except rereading Agatha Christies). I don’t do a huge amount of knitting tho’ in comparison to most of your blog … one reason being that most of the wool I use comes second hand from Mission Services (where good stuff is rare) or church rummage sales (where good stuff is scant (more frequent than rare), but we’re now into our 4th season of no such events, 5th if you count Christmas bazaars as a rummage sale). What upsets me is seeing your money just sitting around (and it sounds like others have many projects not finished). One skein of quality sock yarn costs more than my hourly wage. I’d have anxiety if I spent money on sock yarn instead of the many bills that have to be met; if I didn’t get the socks finished I’d be in a serious anxiety spiral.

    • Maureen Elizabeth,
      PM me via email (gsrmdrescue@yahoo.com) or on Ravelry
      if you are in the US or Canada. I have more yarn than I could ever use in a lifetime and I’d be delighted to share. Seriously.

  30. I reckon the only reason I know what some of my unfinished items are is because I’ve either mentioned them on my blog, listed them on Rav or scribbled in a notebook I keep with my kit. I’m so glad I have a little bit of organisation, because otherwise who knows what size needles or hook and what the heck the pattern is! I feel your pain.

  31. If it makes you feel any better, I too had a mitten stall out with just the thumb left to knit.

    Except I went and ripped the thing back to nothingness, because I live in Australia and mittens are overkill for winter here. Even when I’m cycling home past dark in the middle of August.

  32. Thanks for the inspiration! I just love your writing. It’s a wonderful gift. I’m actually looking forward to having an archeological adventure thru my WIPs now…it will be like a treasure hunt.

  33. Does my heart good to know we knitters all have UFO’s.
    I will find mine one day soon and do the finish/rip analysis. Thanks for the motivation.

  34. This has inspired me to look at the help of knitting sitting dejectedly on the corner of my chesterfield. Both sweaters and both within seeing distance of the finish line. I use need to focus, dammit!

  35. Pro Tip on the Mohair: Do Not Rip Out. You will be frustrated beyond your wildest intentions. Mohair does not rip out. It clings to itself like it’s on life support. I’d suggest giving it to someone who can show it some love. Give the whole thing, just as it is to a very patient compassionate person into adoptions who can finish it up and rear it into a full fledged thing of beauty.

  36. Sometimes a project is just ‘boring’ after a certain point? I’ve got a few ‘sock and a half’s that need to be taken up and finished. So interesting on the first sock then so, ‘when will this end’ on the second. Yes, I get bored easily, lol.

  37. Pit the Brioche Mohair project in the freezer for a bit, it truly helps the mohair release. Having a second person help you rewind the yarns helps too. Ask me how I know!

  38. Now that I’ve thought of it I’ve just got to point it out: the contrast from the autumn lace would go really well with the plainer fibre from the green object that comes two pictures later. Meanwhile, the marled brown autumn shades from the miscellaneous sock item that is below autumn lace might go pretty well as a texture and colour contrast with autumn lace. Just sayin’

  39. I’d forgotten about the sea tangles, I was very interested to see how it would turn out, and still am, if you can summon the fortitutde now it’s had a good long rest!

  40. Once I got my knitting mojo back after the lockdown started, I concentrated on trying to finish quite a few projects. Of course, there was one slight shock when I discovered that I really have no memory of knitting…there was a project set up in Ravelry.

    Then there was some startitis…but a lot of that got stalled because it requires charts and can’t be done in public (not that I really do that much knitting in public…but…)

    I learned a long time ago with quilting that the pattern needs to be kept with the knitting. If it is in a book or a magazine, I make a copy. My memory failed me years ago (and quilt scraps don’t always fit into another project!)

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