Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The knitting UFOs

I enjoy knitting and by that I mean I enjoy the act of working the yarn into intersecting loops to create a fabric. I don't enjoy the finishing part. As someone who also sews, you'd think that I wouldn't have a problem with the final construction of a sweater but I do. I can't use my serger to quickly make the seams...well maybe I could but that would require adding seam allowances to the pattern and also the sweater could not be frogged if I hated it or tired of it. Seaming a sweater requires "hand sewing" the seams with yarn. It's fiddly, time consuming, and a major headache for a perfectionist like me who wants the seam to look invisible. And then there are all the ends to weave in. But if I don't finish the sweaters I knit then I don't have sweaters, only have sweater pieces.

I am itching to cast on for a new sweater project, but I am going to try to finish a few of the UFOs I have that are only a seam (or two...or three) away from being completed. Time for an inventory of my knitting UFOs.

1. White cotton sweater from Stitches magazine. This is my oldest project. I knit it on airplane flights and while sitting on console monitoring the health of a newly-launched satellite (the satellite behaved perfectly, hence the time - and need for knitting to stay awake). I picked it back up again a few years ago and finally finished it...well, the knitting part at least. Then I discovered that the gauge was different for the sleeves and being cotton, it won't block enough to make up for it. I don't really like the sweater any more, so this one will be frogged.

2. Liv - this is an Elsebeth Lavold pattern, knitted in Rowan cashsoft. I finished the back and started on the front and have discovered that it will be too small. This one will be frogged and hopefully reknit someday.

3. Clapotis - it's finished and just needs to be blocked. How pathetic is that?

4. Felted bag out of Noro. It's finished and just needs to be felted. I am such a procrastinator.

5. The felted bag reminds me that I have one more cat bed that I knit and never felted. The cats have used it as-is, so the wool will be mixed with cat hair when I eventually get it into the washing machine.

6. Socks for my husband. These were my first, and so far only, toe-up socks. I'm almost to the heel and need to see if it's time to knit it and also I need to see if the sock will even fit. It looks a bit narrow.

7. Jaywalker socks. I ran out of yarn during the second sock so I frogged the toe of the first one, reknit it using another yarn, and used the frogged-yarn to "finish" the second sock. The yarn was a little thin so I doubled it, which made the decreases really hard to work. I'm at the toe of the second sock and not looking forward to fighting with those decreases so the sock sits...unfinished.

8. Blue t-shirt. This was a store pattern for a short sleeve sweater using two different Rowan yarns. I really liked the store display and it was a quick knit. I only have a few more rows to go and then the dreaded seaming to do. I stopped knitting it because summer ended...that would be summer of 2007...and because I'm afraid the sweater will look dumpy on me.

9. Fingerless gloves. I had alpaca yarn left over from the Clapotis and thought it would make lovey fingerless gloves. I started knitting some but the pattern didn't have a thumb, only a hole for the thumb and I want a thumb, which means I have to do some thinking on how to do the gusset. So the gloves sit and my hands are still cold.

10. Capri sweater from Rowan magazine, knit in lime green Rowan Calmer yarn. I knit this last June while sitting on console monitoring a satellite that was just launched. I need to block it before I can pick up stitches for the front band.

11. Lara - I knit this sweater last year and finished all the knitting just in time for the hot weather. I finally blocked it last fall and started seaming it. My frustration over seaming this is what led me to post today. Because the sweater is knit in one piece, from one cuff to the other, the stitches run 90 degrees to what they do in a typical sweater. This means that the side seam is like a shoulder seam - and that means it's bulky. If I had it to do over (and I'm not frogging it so I can) I would have left those side seam stitches "live" so that I could do a three-needle bind off. The good news is that the sleeve seam came out nicely. I have the other side and sleeve to seam and then I need to attach the back collar and it'll be done. Just in time for spring and warm weather. It was in the 70's yesterday - a not-so-seasonal warm spell, but then we don't exactly have harsh winters here anyway. In my search for info on seaming, I came across this nice tutorial. Oh, and one more thing about this sweater - I used Debbie Bliss alpaca silk, the yarn the pattern was intended for, but I have found out (too late) that this yarn pills terribly. All this time (and money) spent creating a sweater that will look raggedy after a few wearings. Great. Well, at least I know this now and will try to treat it gently.

To me eleven knitting UFOs are too many and I need to finish at least the easy ones before I cast on for a new sweater. I mean really...blocking, felting in the washer, and one measly sock toe? I can handle that.

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