Wednesday 30 July 2014

WIPaholics Anonymous

Still catching up with the week before last....

On the 17th, after we got back from Blackpool, I went to the Huddersfield branch meeting of the Knitting & Crochet Guild.  The theme this month was unfinished projects - we all brought along an unfinished project that for some reason we were having trouble finishing, and talked about it.  Hence, the title of the meeting, WIPaholics Anonymous  (WIP = Work In Progress).  Marie, the convener, acted as a kind of Alcoholics Anonymous facilitator, and had even compiled a 12-step plan for us to work towards completing, or otherwise dealing with, our problem projects.  The stories of the unfinished projects were often very funny, and occasionally sad.

So what was my unfinished project?  It featured in this blog in 2011 here, and it had already been unfinished for more than 25 years (!) at that point.

I had kept it for all that time - the piece I had already knitted, and the rest of the yarn.  When I wrote the previous post, I couldn't find the pattern, and thought that I had lost it, but I've since looked harder and found it.   So in theory, it could be completed.

Patricia Roberts' Dolly Blue design
But the previous blog post was right in explaining why I didn't go any further with it all those years ago - the back turned out far too small, and there's also a problem with the cables:  when the white and yellow cables diverge from each other, they pull a hole in the background fabric, and I can't see how to avoid that.

I have had this project hanging around for a serious chunk of time, but I think it had just become one of the fixtures in my life - I rarely thought about it, and never thought about it hard enough.  But it was an obvious project to take to the meeting (and would have won the prize for the oldest WIP, if there had been one).  And in listening to other people talking about their unfinished projects, I got to thinking properly about mine.

The photo doesn't show the design very clearly because of the jacket over the top (it's a sweater with a collar and a buttoned front opening).  I can see why it appealed to me at the time, and I still like it.  I love the colours that I chose, too, though I don't wear black as much as I used to.  I showed everyone the pattern, and what I have knitted so far, and there were lots of helpful suggestions for completing it, and general encouragement to do that.

However.  If I wanted to finish the sweater, I would have to start again, and rip out what I have done so far, and I hate doing that.  I'd have to figure out why it turned out so small the first time, and fix that - maybe adjust the pattern.  And there would still be the problem with the cables dragging holes in the fabric.  And most of all, I now realise that it just feels totally stale.  I don't even want to use the yarn for anything else - it would just remind me all the time that it should have been this sweater.

So I am abandoning it.  I left what I've knitted so far with someone else at the meeting who wants to try felting it, and I'm going to give the rest of the yarn away.  And I think I feel better for having made that decision.  For me, it was a very helpful evening.

Of course, I've got a few other unfinished projects too.....


  1. Barbara,

    Sometimes projects are just not meant to be, and it's so freeing to rip them on or let them move on out of your life.

    Cables, particularly cables in different yarns, do tend to pull little holes in the fabric. One thing you can do about this is to take a latch hook or crochet hook, do a make-one at the bottom of the cable, and work an extra stitch all the way up the ladder on either side of the cable. It doesn't take very long to do, and it can snug things up significantly.

    If you're going to wear the garment over a blouse, you can also just leave the little holes. They aren't that noticeable once the garment has been washed a few times.

    Knit on!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Heather. I can see that your suggestion would help in filling in little holes - but actually these are quite big holes - the gap between the two mohair cables is about 2 cm. and there is just one (black) stitch in the gap. Even if your suggestion would work in this case, it doesn't endear the project to me! Sewing up is my least favourite part of knitting, and having to fill in holes that shouldn't be there would be even worse. So I'm sticking with my decision, with some regret.

  2. I feel a bit sorry as I like what you have done so far. Lovely pattern and like to colours as well, they are glowing.


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