Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Should I? Should I not?



It is a beautiful pattern, and I can see from the look of this WIP that it will turn out just like the pattern.  But there is something about this project that sets my teeth on edge.  It has sat on my WIP pile for several weeks now, untouched.  I only have one sleeve to knit.  It’s not even a full-length sleeve.  It’s a bare three hours work or so, and it’s done.

All I want to do though is rip it out, bury the yarn back in my stash (or perhaps not), and do it again in another yarn.  In a yarn I like better, and will feel better about giving away.

There are a couple of things I’m unhappy about.  The first is the method of increase for the yoke – if you have a look, you’ll see the top-down construction involves increasing evenly across the yoke – but you can see all the increases in those horizontal lines across the yoke.  It’s bothering me.  I had a look at others’ notes on Ravelry, and some have changed the pattern to make it a raglan sleeve and incorporated the increases that way for this reason.  I think I would have preferred to do that – it’s neater.

The more significant reason I’m unhappy with this project is that I think I chose the wrong yarn.

I keep thinking “crepe yarn” (no pun intended) with this cardigan.  Or perhaps a lovely merino cashmere like Zealana’s Willow.  Or something pretty and semi-variegated, maybe something like Madelintosh or Plucky Knitter (from what I’ve heard about it).  Maybe even an alpaca yarn.  Or possum.  All I know is that it needs to be soft, and squooshy, but also durable.

The yarn I’ve used is not scratchy, but it is quite ‘hard’, as in firm.  And I think it’s putting me off.  I actually feel itchy (and not in a good way) just looking at it.  I may also be suffering a small amount of trauma…

I had awful trouble with the bind-off for the hem – the bind-off ended up being worked three times.  The first time, I thought I’d do a proper stretchy bind-off for once.  Oooh.  Yuck.  The hem flared like a peplum, and I knew there was no way on the planet the yarn would block down.  Rip.  Rip. Rip.  The second try, I decided to do my half-stretchy bind-off.  It looked lovely, but it was too tight, and the cardigan would not meet in the middle.  Hmm.  Rip. Rip. Rip.  The third try, I decided to do a variation of the stretchy bind-off, and make it a lacy one.  I have no idea if this is a ‘proper’ method – “someone” was hogging the laptop at the time, and I was too impatient to wait to look up techniques.

I’m reasonably happy with the lacy stretchy bind-off.  It goes something like this:  Purl one, *YO, Purl one.  Purl the last stitch and the YO together through the back loop, then bind the remaining stitch over it*.  Repeat * to * to end.  I purled the bind-off because it caused the bind-off edging to face inwards and you can’t see that tell-tale “hand knit” ugly row of bind-off stitches at the bottom.  It also stretches just right!  It looks a little bulky in the photo, but stretched out, it’s fine.

Then the lace edge of the sleeve decided to be uncooperative on the final row, and despite my efforts to fix it, I ended up ripping back all 12 rows of the lace repeat.  I still haven’t found the quiet space and energy level I need to re-attempt this.

I really do not like knitting lace.  It is gorgeous when it works out, but I must have too many things whirling around in my head to concentrate properly, because I make mistakes, and then it all turns to custard.  Perhaps I’m just not a natural lace knitter.  Cables, gansey patterns, colourwork, it’s all good.  But get me further than a basic lace edging, eyelet or feather and fan, and I struggle.  I find it painful to look at all the patterns for lace shawls that are so popular on Ravelry right now – they give me nightmares thinking about knitting them!

I suspect I would enjoy the knitting a lot better if I was enjoying the yarn.  After all, knitting is as much about enjoying the tactile experience of yarn in hand as seeing the finished product.

So, what do you think I should do?  Grit my teeth and finish the last sleeve?  Or just frog it and start all over again?

I suspect it’s a frog.  I don’t think I could proudly give this cardi away.  After all, it’s meant to be a birthday present, and how can I do that if it is not satisfactory in my own eyes?


Author: kiwiyarns

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27 thoughts on “Should I? Should I not?

  1. The colour is beautiful – edible even. But, I think that down deep you really want to frog it. Can’t spend more time on it – it’s okay! Frog if you want, you have permission ; ) I’m not sure that you’ll ever feel good about this otherwise….although you are trying to talk yourself into it…

  2. Hi!
    that definately sounds like: rip it if you would keep it for yourself.
    my experience with projects like that when one has so many causes of dislike…
    it could help to show it the person you want to give it to… others have a different perspective… my best friend is always happy with what I do ’cause she is very different. she’s not a knitter the way I’m so she looks at projects in a different way…
    if it does not have to be a surprise….
    it might save your work and make both of you happy at the end!!!!!

  3. If you don’t like it – pull it back. Life’s too short…

  4. Hi!

    You are never going to be happy with this piece and will never want to give it away to a friend as our knitting is a reflection of us and what we think of the people that we are giving to ..and a little ego part of us maybe wants people to see what we have produced and the fine yarn we have used showing our expertise and exquisite taste and we want them to oh and ah … a lot in my case!

    I think it would be such a shame to just rip this out, especially as you say there is little left to do and at the speed at which you knit a mere few hours of knitting. So…I would finish it, treat it as a large sample make notes on what I would change or improve on, which you have already done. It could be put into a raffle for a good cause. I would give it to someone through a church or a charity …do you call them goodwill ? … or I would give it personally to a person I knew who would never be able to have such a lovely thing otherwise… and let it go completed and with love. Hope that helps…?

  5. i’d frog and re-do as you’ve mentioned with a different yarn and different technique…that is what will make you happy in the end it seems:) i’ve recently had to slowly frog several wips i’ve had because i just realized i wasn’t into them anymore…i’ve been doing it slowly, but surely and i feel so much better for it:)

    i recently knit a small baby sweater and didn’t like the way my seaming turned out, and i figured if it wasn’t something i’d give away, why keep it for myself? i’ll never be happy with it in my hands or knowing someone else had it, because i know it is a poor representation of what i’m capable of:)

  6. I know what you mean about not liking the feel of a yarn. I’ve been working on a vest with yarn that feels just a bit “stiff” for this particular pattern to me.

    I haven’t frogged it because (a) I’m so nearly done that it doesn’t make sense to me to rip it out before even trying it on, and (b) I’m hoping that a good soak in Eucalan will remove some of that “stiffness” and make it feel softer.

    On the other hand, I haven’t finished it either! If I hadn’t made a New Year’s Resolution this year to either complete or frog all my UFO’s, I suspect it would remain in the back of my closet for a very long time…..

    However, in this case, I definitely agree with Christine: I think you should show it to the birthday girl before you do anything to it. Even though a WIP isn’t living live up to your expectations, it might be just the ticket from her point of view!

    From my perspective in front of my computer monitor , the colour and pattern look gorgeous, and I’d bet that a good soak and blocking will help with the horizontal lines that are bothering you. (By the way, they don’t bother me at all – they look intentional, like part of the pattern – which just goes to show you… )

    Anyway, whichever way you decide to go, that sweater definitely counts as one of your deadline sweaters. You DID knit it, after all, even if you wind up frogging it in the end.

    Good luck with your decision!

  7. I’m sorry, my permalink above isn’t the right one. I’m, and I goofed there. And I don’t know how to change the link after posting the comment! Oh well, just thought I’d let you know.

  8. If you are unhappy with it, then frog it, and use the yarn for another project. You learned something by testing out this yarn in a larger project, and know it just won’t do it for you. If you are already hating the sweater, then you will never wear it. And that’s not good.

    I have the same problem with a gorgeous yarn in a sweater I will never wear. I am going to frog it and make a smaller sweater for my niece and see what else I can do with the Malabrigo.

  9. frog it

  10. I think all knitters face such conundrums. If you give it away, you won’t have to look at it again anyway, and there are many people who would not see the “flaws” you see. But if you can still make another gift for the person, do what makes you feel better. 🙂

  11. RRRRRRIIIIIIIPPPPPPP! I don’t think the yoke increases look awful at all, and I’m sure the intended recipient would be happy enough just to have a lovingly handknit item.

  12. If you don’t like the yarn when you are knitting with you, you will not be happy wearing it. Frog it!

  13. Everybody understands your pain, and they all agree – frog it!!

  14. I’m the same and would not feel happy about giving a gift to a friend I wasn’t happy with. But it would be a shame to rip it all back after all that work, plus it sounds like you don’t really like the yarn so it seems unlikely you would be using it on another project anyway. As your so close anyway, finish it off and gift it to someone else, maybe pay a visit to a local old people’s home or other such charity and see if it would fit someone there. I’m sure they would be more than grateful for such a lovely item, plus you get the warm fuzzy feeling of doing a good deed, that knitting the thing didn’t bring you.

  15. If you don’t like it, I say pull it out! Maybe re-knit & fix the mistakes if you feel like it.

    • Well, the problem is that there are no mistakes. Technically. It’s just that I don’t like the increase method used in the pattern. The mistake is the yarn!!!

  16. If you plan on using the yarn for another project, then frog. But sometimes I find that the yarn is “cursed” and I’d never use it again. In which case I would finish the sweater and give it away. Even if it isn’t to the original recipient. Also, unless the person is a knitter, they probably won’t notice everything you notice.
    I think that the sweater looks quite nice. If you make another, I think a heathered yarn would look quite lovely. Something like Madelinetosh might hide the lace pattern a bit. (It does depend on the colorway though)

  17. I don’t know what to tell ya. A couple of WIPs at my house are in the same state.
    Hate to say, ‘Uncle’
    but maybe it’s time ??????

    • I looked at it again last night. As Audry and Kier and others point out, I’ll probably never use the yarn for anything else. Given I’m so close to completion, I think I will just finish it and see what I think then about giving it away/leaving it at the back of the cupboard.

  18. I haven’t been able to frog my beautiful patterned blanket I’ve been working on for *years* now, but I also seem to be unable to finish it. I feel your pain… but if you’re not happy to give it away to ANYONE (even as a donation to charity) then pull it apart. Alternatively, stick it in a box, stashed away until you need a ‘fill in the gaps’ project and then poodle away at it and keep it for the learning involved. 🙂

    Either way, I reckon redo it with another kind of yarn for your friend.

    Good luck!!

  19. Did you felt like this at the beginning? Is it possible that you are bored with this project? Knitting the sleeves isn’t much fun, especially if you knit them last. I like the color and how it turned out, in my opinion it’s a great birthday present. Making presents is hard because simply good isn’t good enough to give to someone we love. I wouldn’t frog it. Maybe you could start knitting Gemma with other yarn and with some changes in the pattern so you can decide would that version be as much better as you imagine it and if it’s worth frogging.

  20. I hope I’m not jumping into this conversation too late … don’t frog it (yet). Perhaps a nice soak and dry will help the yarn soften. I know that in a recent project of mine, I wondered if the FO would be nice to wear and after I gave it a nice soak and block, it’s become a favorite.

    • I wish that would be true, but I have used this yarn before, and it doesn’t block into shape. 😦 However, I think I’ve pretty much decided not to frog it and I’ll just see how it comes out, but also knit something else to make me happy!

  21. Such true words about the tactile experience of knitting being as important as the finished project!

    You know how I hate frogging, but it sounds like this project has evoked some pretty strong feelings with you! Since you’re so close to the end though, perhaps it’s worth finishing it off and seeing how it looks then. It might surprise you! You can always knit another one in a different yarn, and frog this one later on.