Out the window!

It happens to the best of us. About a month ago I had convinced myself that none of my works in progress were “right.” This one was almost done, and that one needed careful tinking, and the one over there wasn’t a flattering color after all.

On top of that, I had amassed a significant amount of sweater yarn. Try as I might, the stupid bags of yarn wouldn’t transform themselves into completed sweaters without my intervention. They were occupying my limited space and mentally weighing me down. So, naturally, I cast on for a sweater. Alpaca Twill, to be exact.

My friends, it was a case of rash cast-on-itis. I wasn’t thinking! Such different gauge, entirely different drape, so many numbers to work out! Let’s not forget – the whole thing is basically 2 X 2 ribbing. The uber-swatch? Yeah, that thing. I’m glad I included it in my plans. It showed me that the fabric changed significantly in both texture and gauge after washing. All the calculations were made even more cumbersome. Despite the delectable color and amazing softness of Classic Elite Princess, this project was destined to be a dud.

The last straw came in a somewhat unexpected format – a new book filled with charming projects cover to cover, projects which spoke to me much louder than the lingering Alpaca Twill. How could I invest even one more minute into knitting something I didn’t truly love? Only with a very guilty conscience, that’s how.

Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael of the White Lies Designs fame has been flying under the radar, it seems. Really, there’s no good reason for this :). It’s a stunning book featuring the same publisher and photographer as Knitting Nature. I bought my own copy after reading a review on Jody’s blog, and have already bookmarked a handful of “must knit” patterns.

  • On the left: I agree with Betsy – the chosen color should reflect the vintage feel of the delicate Bed Jacket.
  • In the center: If you can believe it, I contacted 4 (!) yarn shops tonight in hopes of finding a third skein of Wick to match the two already in my stash, so I can make the Fishnet Knee-Highs (color #120 cream, lot #1029 – maybe one of you can help me out!).
  • On the right: A button-down blouse with a nice collar would look fabulous under the Waist-Cincher Top. I think the yarn I was (ahem) using for the Alpaca Twill sweater will work for this.

Just like that, the possibilities of new projects supplant what’s already on the needles. And you know what, I don’t feel bad about it. Not at all! In fact, I feel guilty about wasting my time, not about abandoning a WIP that’s no longer working! How about you?


62 thoughts on “Out the window!

  1. Tam

    I’m with you, sister. Life’s too short to knit something that isn’t knocking your socks off! (pun intended) I have no qualms whatsoever about throwing something to the side or just ripping that sucker right out if I realize that it is not going thrill me. Of course, that means I have 10 UFOs and 5 more active WIPs, but I can live with it. This is supposed to be FUN, damn it.

  2. Lesley

    I recently frogged a few projects that had lost their appeal and it wasn’t until I was free of them that I realized how much they’d been weighing me down. I would feel guilty if I considered a new project or fondled some new yarn, like I was ‘cheating’ on my languishing projects. So I’ve decided to rip more freely in the future. Whatever we need to do to keep it fun! This is a hobby, not a job!

  3. k

    Sounds like a good plan. I also had some exciting projects that have now lost their appeal. Better to have fun with something new – as Tam says above, this IS supposed to be fun. Really like the bed jacket – very delicate and pretty.

  4. nona

    I’ve heard many good things about this book and look forward to seeing a copy for myself. It looks like you’ve bookmarked three excellent possibilities.

  5. Stephanie

    Oh so cute. I’ve been eying that book – I suppose I need to order it because it looks like there are some very nice (read, fitted) patterns in it.

  6. Teenuh

    I am about to frog a sock that I have been struggling with. It has been cast aside no less than 3 times for 3 different pairs of socks. While I was knitting the ribbing on it (I only knit toe up socks mind you), I decided that I really didn’t care for the sock after all and that the yarn was much better suited for a sock that I would:

    1. actually like knitting

    2. actually like knitting the second sock

    3. actually wear

    So yes, no guilt with this one. The naughty sock will be frogged into oblivion come Sunday when I see my best friend (and knitting guru) again.

  7. Brenda

    If a project isn’t working and won’t result in something I want, I frog. When a project is working, I try to stick with it to completion, even if it has become a little dull, and not let the WIPs become UFOs.

    I think this is another book I may need to search out and take a look at.

  8. Karen B.

    “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.”

    I admitted to myself tonight that the tri-color vest I’ve been “working on” for the past 2 years must die. There was no guilt involved in the frogging.

  9. Kim

    Nah – not a button-down…..but a sweet knit cami underneath that waist-cincher…. something delicate that lets the piece take center stage! Love it!

  10. Sarah

    Those three patterns also speak to me. I agree with the sentiment about moving on from knits that do not work.

  11. Sundara

    I’m in complete agreement. There is no reason to keep working on a project that is not destined for greatness.

    But it would be nice if the yarn did start knitting itself into sweaters without our intervention.

  12. monica

    I completely agree . . . I slogged along and finished a scarf that I have never, I repeat NEVER worn. The only consolation is that it’s in ugly, cheap acrylic, so there’s not a loss on the yarn front.

    By the way, I’m proud to share the name of Nona’s sideways socks with you! Perpensockular is hilarious!

  13. Katherine

    I’ve been lusting over that bed jacket, but I hadn’t thought about considering the color to keep the vintage feel. I generally don’t do too well with pale colors, though. Maybe a gray or powder blue would work? According to my season/color chart, at any rate.

  14. Sarah

    Oooh, I really liked Alpaca Twill but I really want to get Knitting Lingerie Style too – I think it’s definitely the best new knitting book out there! There’s so much I want to knit from it too.

  15. Pammie

    The most liberating thing I’ve done as a knitter was *finally* letting go of that 13 yr old UFO and making something else out of the yarn. It’s ok to admit our reality isn’t really keeping up with our vision and letting the vision go.

  16. anne

    Yup, yup, yup, we’re all in agreement here! (What they said.)

    I recently, with great anguish, got rid of almost all of my considerable fabric stash (I sew and quilt). It was the best creative move I’ve ever made. I feel so free and unburdoned by all those projects I never finished and don’t like anymore, and all those fabrics with which to complete them.

    And my new purchases are of fabrics I love right now, for projects I can’t wait to make.

  17. Ann

    No guilt. Frustration over wasted time, yes. But you learned about the yarn and discovered the right pattern for it.

  18. Kate Sanderson

    Does the book have many patterns that would fit a size 2x lady with a 50in bust?

  19. Trine

    I have this absolutely gorgeous 2-ply 45/55 silk/cashmere yarn that I bought after getting my driver’s licence. 3 skeins in the prettiest natural white colour.

    I’d just gotten VLT in the mail a week or so before, and was determined to make one of those beautiful shawls with this beautiful yarn. It’d be a whole lot of beautiful!

    Several months and 4 different lace patterns later, 11 repeats into the Miss Lambert’s Shetland Shawl, I just have to realize that this is never going to happen. So I’m going to frog it, save what I can, and turn it into a short-sleeved turtle-neck sweater instead. Thankfully I’ve only used little of the first skein, so it should be salvageable. πŸ˜‰

  20. margaux

    I am so with you! There is no reason to work hard on something that you are not totally in love with! I am such a happily selfish knitter that way. Plus there are thousands of patterns to try and only two arms… cruel really πŸ˜‰

  21. Carin

    Now I want to buy that book, too! Those projects you picked are really cute. It’s good that you don’t feel bad, you shouldn’t have to. We should all be having fun…

  22. Amanda

    My LYS owner showed me this book last week and I bought it immediately. I also hope to make the patterns that you mention. Especially that gorgeous waist cincher top. I’m glad you don’t feel guilty for being inspired. Abandon away.

  23. Ashley Ingram

    Knitting is supposed to make us happy. Yes, sometimes we take a detour through Crazytown, but ultimatly we end up at happy. Knit for Happiness!

  24. Sulafaye

    Exact same feeling! I was impressed with Lingerie Style too, but White Lies has always had a really unique take on the knitted garment. And my feeling is, if you don’t enjoy knitting it, you probably won’t enjoy wearing it, and either one is enough reason to stop a project.

    I am selfishly sad about your Alpaca Twill (but really, it’s not you, it’s me!). I hadn’t seen that pattern, but as soon as you flashed it I found the back issue! Such a classic, innovative design. I haven’t taken the time to do a lot of research into the yarn, but I have a feeling it may be one of those things that takes the perfect yarn to work. Hmm, have I ever made a pattern with the recommended yarn before???

  25. Marlena

    While I love the cover, I never really thought to look twice at this book. Who knew there were sweaters and socks involved?!

  26. marie in florida

    oh yes, heads are nodding up and down all blogland. frog with a ball winder and cast on again.

  27. Ann

    When I was a kid, I had a shirt that said “Life’s too short to read bad books.” That philosophy has really stuck with me — too short to knit something you don’t love, be in a bad relationship, work at a job you hate, etc. We only get so much time — we have to enjoy it!!

    PS. LOVE the new incarnation for the alpaca-twill. That sweater is fantastic.

  28. Susan P

    I think of knitting like I do with food. Before I eat something, I make sure it is worth the calories. Jelly beans – never. Oreos – maybe. Chocolate Mousse – definitely!

    All of us have limited time here on earth. We need to invest ourselves, rather than kill time.

    Quaker author Parker Palmer in his seminal book “Let Your Life Speak” describes calling as “where your greatest desire meets the world’s greatest need.” When we waste time, we are frittering away our God given potential.

    Do what calls to you and serves the world and you will never look back and say “what if?” That is the very definition of a life well lived.


  29. Pigwotknits

    I’ve got more than one FO than should have been ripped out long before it got anywhere near finished. I’m learning though. These days, it’s not working, it goes, even if it takes me until it’s almost complete to realise it.

  30. Beatriz

    Thanks for sharing the photo of Waist Cincher Top…it looks very flattering and reminiscent of her Krista Tee. Definitely worth knitting.

  31. Amy

    Me? I’m in LOVE with this book. The waist-cincher sweater is on my list, as is the corsety rib cardigan, a few of the camisoles… the list goes on and on!

    I’m so glad you ripped/will rip and work on something you love! And, of course, we’ll all be excited to see where you go next.

  32. joy

    when i started knitting in january, i read about people ripping out and starting over and said, “i hope i never have to do that!” it wasn’t until i ripped something out last week that i knew was going to be too small that i realized the freedom of it all!

  33. lyssa

    good call.

    i know that i rip when something isn’t working. every time i do it, my significant other reacts with surprise “you’re what?! why are you doing that? why would you take it all out! that’s horrible!”

    it’s very hard to convince him that it’s all for the better, and really, truly, the best thing to do. πŸ™‚

  34. Laura

    The book is gorgeous, and I love the information on lingerie history. I think it’s “flying under the radar” because people say “Knit Lingerie? No, thanks!” — not realizing many items are simply lingerie inspired.

    FYI, plus-size ladies (like myself), JMM is known for designing in a wide range of sizes so you will find projects to make for yourself. However, the bras and other actual lingerie type items are only in smaller sizes.

  35. farm-witch

    I love her work and I also missed the book. That would be alarming if it weren’t so usual. Still, the top on the right is VERY TEMPTING. And, as you do, I know I have some yarn somewhere that I mis-directed for another project.

  36. kate

    I’m always amazed at how good the frogging feels, even if the project’s almost finished. Hey, if it’s not going to fit or look good, why waste the yarn? Make it into something better.

  37. debbliz

    Amen sister. All the noise about stick-to-it-iveness, don’t be a quiter, etc. I think that’s just plain stupid. And that’s about the only adjective I can come up with to describe investing significant time and effort into something that you don’t enjoy. Yep, I toss those boring projects aside with a proud and goofy grin. It’s on to the good stuff for me πŸ™‚ Admittedly I was looking forward to seeing Alpaca Twill take shape, but hey, you and that Princess yarn will work it all out in good time πŸ™‚

  38. Connie

    Ummm, in my opinion, the Alpaca Twill was not your usual crisp wonderful project, and I did think to myself at the time “What is she thinking”? I, too, have to be in love with what I’m knitting or else why bother. Glad you’ve found a few fun things to do!

  39. Knittripps

    I have one WIP that I have been debating on abandoning altogether. It is Blue Sky Apacas fitted tank and I have been sitting on it for almost a year. The only reason I haven’t given up on it yet is that it was a birthday gift from my dear sis (yarn, pattern, needles, etc). But it just isn’t working out. Give me the strength to abandon it!

  40. Kristin

    Hey, you’re knitting because you enjoy it, not to fulfill some duty. You should stop and rip out anything you just can’t stand anymore!

  41. Jenn

    My LYS has the Wick in the color and dyelot you needed. Give them a call at 817-732-3099 (Yarns Ewenique is the store name) and they can get it for you. Happy Knitting!

  42. jomy

    I’m proud of you!!!

    Have you checked out some of the magazines Becky from Skinnyrabbit.com uses?

    She finds some amaaaazing patterns. Those Frenchmen…

  43. kaet

    this book is calling my name too! on a blog called yarncrawl, she also did a great review and is starting a lingerie style knitalng that begins july 1 if you are interested…

  44. lifexhistory

    Absolutely agreed. I was feeling more guilty for leaving the illusion scarf I’d started for my husband in the bottom of my WIP basket, knowing I just DREADED the idea of picking it up. Finally, I asked if he minded if I stopped working on it, he said yes, and his new scarf is already half finished!

  45. Min

    I have an extra skien of that color and lot in Wick if you can’t find it elsewhere. Just send me an email.

  46. gsm

    You are a breath of fresh air! I’m 59, but still needed to have folks I respect tell me that it is OK to divest myself of projects I do not love. I have a huge stash with great potential — not likely to live long enough to knit it all — so why don’t start something fresh that inspires me. I feel so liberated now!

  47. TracyKM

    I think those socks would bug me. With the diagonal nature of the lace, wouldn’t they twist terribly?

    But I love the little wrap and lace number on the right. I think it might be just the thing for my new figure!

    PS–I’m not surprised about your Alpaca Twill…I had just been thinking the other day you hadn’t shown it lately, and I did have concerns about all the alterations. Why not just design the perfect sweater for it from the start, instead of altering something so much? There is a program http://www.greatknitdesigns.com that is great for creating your own designs. You can download the basic versions for free, but I know you’d prefer the more detailed versions, LOL.

  48. Dana

    Abandoning something mid-project is much better than finishing it and hating it, or never wearing it. think of the time and the money wasted!

    I don’t often quote Oprah, but “If you don’t love it, and it doesn’t love you, then get rid of it.” (How many pieces of clothing have I kept over the years hoping in vain that love would occur?

    Of course, I’m not talking about the little irritations about projects–that’s normal; just the projects that are always whispering, “blah” in the corners of your mind. I recently finished a pair of socks for my husband that took FOREVER but looked great when I finally cast off.

  49. Tsarina of Tsocks

    It’s a beautiful book with some lovely patterns, but I’m a little wary about those socks. Admittedly I’m a little biased (pun semi-intended), having myself designed a fishnet stocking/sock (“Blue Stocking”) that I like a lot better. Aesthetics aside, though, I see three practical problems with this design. 1) I’m a big fan of short-row heels and toes, but I think it’s a mistake to use the decrease and pick-up method as it creates ridges in sensitive places on the inside of the sock; 2) where’s the logic of making a fishnet stocking in worsted weight? 3) I’m pretty sure there’s an error in the stitch pattern. There’s no way I can think of that the (k1, yo, k2tog) repeat is going to create that single-strand mesh. I looked for errata on the web site and didn’t see any, but I’d be very surprised if something didn’t get posted soon.

  50. Ryn

    Oooh, yummy! I’ve been eying the book for a while now. ’tis a shame to see the Alpaca Twill go, but I think we all understand about it not “clicking” right. That bed jacket is to DIE for! So pretty and feminine… I’m sure whatever you do, it will be fabulous. πŸ™‚

  51. Haley

    good for you for making a decision that will make you happy. knitting is all about doing something you enjoy. the new patterns look fun and i imagine you can complete several of them with the same time/materials you would have devoted to the large sweater. happy knitting!

  52. gina

    Thanks for the little review of this book. I’ll be adding it to my wish list! Ripping is just part of knitting isn’t it? I listened to your guest spot with Guido on It’s a Purl Man just yesterday. You were terrific!

  53. wenders

    “In fact, I feel guilty about wasting my time, not about abandoning a WIP that’s no longer working! How about you?”

    Wow. I sort of feel like you’ve given me permission to move along and just leave some of my UFOs as UFOs…for now. I need to remember that knitting ‘deadlines’ and goals are just that – and self-imposed, so really, my one big knitting goal should be to love what I’m knitting. Thanks!

    And thanks for the recommendation on that book… πŸ™‚

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