Friday, January 26, 2007

Melissa's UFO Compendium

Here are some projects that qualify for UFO status (as opposed to WIP - works in progress, meaning ones that are in the knitting bag being actively worked on, and WIW -- works in waiting, or those for which their is an idea or pattern and yarn, maybe even a swatch, but no item begun). I believe that it's okay to let go of a project and decide it's not worth doing (I've got some of those too, mostly small stuff like two inches of sweater that I just haven't gotten around to frogging.) I've also got all but the finishing on a sweater for the man who is now my EX-husband... can't decide whether to finish it for my son or trash it. All that said, what I'm putting on this UFO list are the projects that I love but went wrong somehow, or projects which are objectively wonderful but which no longer excite me for various reasons. I'm hoping to solicit some feedback about what to do with these -- rip, reconfigure, or buckle down and finish. Here goes:

CELTIC COLORWORK SWEATER. Pictured to the right, this sweater was started about ten years ago. It is being knit from yarn that I spun, and the design is mine using charted designs from a Dover Celtic Charts book. Two problems with the sweater: the sweater and I are no longer the same size, and second, the handpainted roving that I purchased and spun, and which features prominently in the design, has faded terribly. What was rich but muted berry, green and blue shades is now pastel -- it hardly shows in the picture. This coulda woulda been a real show-stopper, but it's stuck. I'd like to at least rescue the center panel somehow, although maybe I should finish, go on a diet, and forget that the colors have faded -- opinions on this appreciated.

DOMINO SWEATER in Trekking Ombre sock yarn. I was using a knitpicks pattern for this sweater, which called for one of their sock yarns. I love how the Trekking colors change, and was (am) really excited about a sweater in this yarn, but I've run into a problem. The pattern gave gauge in stockinette: sweater is knit in garter stitch. I matched gauge and set off, but I'm pretty sure this is coming out WAY too big -- I know it's consuming yarn too fast, and the sweater was supposed to hit your waist, and this piece comes down mid-thigh (this is half of the back, shown sideways in the picture.) I could make a big oversized long vest, buy more yarn and make a much bigger looser sweater than I intended, rip it out (ouch), just keep knitting and make a shawl (which I'd never use), or....

LACE CARDIGAN in handspun handpainted 100%mohair. Nice pattern (from an old Knitter's Mag) worked from cuff to cuff... wrong yarn. You can't see the lace. Second problem -- I hate the colors. I know I picked the fiber and spun a sweater's worth of it, but it's more pastel-y and grey than I like now. My mind says frog it, overdye the yarn and go on with life. Does anyone want to talk me out of that? That's a fair amount of lace knitting (that is invisible due to the yarn) that I'm taking about ripping. This pattern was shown using a very smooth cabled yarn with ridges of ribbon separating the lace patterns -- what was I thinking to use a fuzzy variagated mohair? Come to think of it, fuzzy yarns aren't really me anyway, maybe I'll sell this handspun on ebay or open an etsy shop.

Those are the projects that are far enough along to qualify as UFO's. I also have a felted bag that just needs the handles, and a mercerized cotton sweater that I've done three inches on and will probably frog and make into sofa pillows or a different sweater... As far as works in progress, all I've got actively on the needles is a spiral shawl in 3/28 cashmere. I'm giving a little class to my local fiber group in February on spiral shaping and it's uses, so I want to get this shawl done to have as an example. I want to make at least one spiral cotton pillow as well, but that's a quick project. I just spun some yarn to make a pair of socks, and I really want to make a wool afgan for my living room -- but I might crochet that. I'd also like a summer weight sweater or two. Anyway, I'd like to get closure on these UFO projects, so I welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Feb. 9th --

I decided to add to my list the items that I consider WIP's -- works in progress -- since they are in danger of UFO status at any second...!!! So here are some more things for ya!

Spiral Lace Shawl, in 3/28 cashmere from Colourmart. This now is, I believe, to the point that I should stop increasing and begin the border (thus, I good place to get stuck -- I've got 512 stitches on the needles, which means a whole lot of sideways edging to knit onto it... lets see, 1024 rows worth if I'm doing the math right). I'm doing a mini-class next month (March) on this type of spiral increase for my local fiber group, so it would be wonderful to have this done by then.

BUT I'm getting distracted... next item up is also spiral, and would also be nice to have done for the class. A spiral pillow top in Cotton Fleece, color "candy apple", which is a warm brick red that I absolutely adore and which will look lovely in my living room. I like the color, and this yarn, and the spiral technique so much that I'm thinking about getting enough yarn to do an entire afgan to go with the pillow.

I came up with the idea of doing a spiral pillow for my living room and as a sample for this workshop, and remembered that I had some worsted weight silk yarn in the perfect color. I went searching for the yarn, and lo and behold, instead of a bag of yarn I found this half finished gansey patterned cardigan! I like it -- it looks like it would fit. So here's another UFO for the list!

Another item that I would like to finish soon, so that I can wear it this season at least once, is this sweater made of handspun yarn. What you see is balls of yarn on top of the back of the sweater, which I've already knit. It's hard to tell how much yarn to spin for a project like this, so I spun what I thought was enough, and started knitting. The back of the sweater used almost half of the yarn, so I need to spin more yarn. Luckily I still have a good sized ball of the fiber. I'm using a commercially prepared multicolored merino/wool roving and plying two plies of that with one ply of a solid medium blue. It's knitting up at 6 stitches/inch -- I'm doing the plainest most simple drop-shouldered sweater you could imagine and letting the yarn do the design work. I'm really pleased with how this yarn is turning out. I'm doing the knitting of this sweater on a standard gauge knitting machine that recently bought and am just learning to use. Not that I'll ever abandon hand knitting -- just thought I could whip up some things in the finer yarns that I like to wear, and maybe make some items for sale, but I'm finding machine knitting is a whole different world unto itself (and proving to myself that you don't HAVE to use those acrylic coned yarns that most machine knitters seem to be in love with).

On to more UFOs. Here's an easy one -- a bag I knitted and felted that needs handles and a lining. I was thinking of maybe needle-felting some flowers and swirls on it, but technically I don't HAVE to do that in order to call it done.

I'm also playing around with some bulky Lamb's Pride and thinking I might want to make a thick wool afgan. Not committed to this as a project yet... it could be a phase induced by the frigid weather we have outside right now, but the children are fighting over a 20 year old wool blanket that I dug out of the closet, so at least momentarily it seems like a good idea (am I kidding myself to think that it would be quick?) Leah said I should put it on the list, so here it is. I also want to dye and machine knit a sweater before a trip at the end of June, and I bought stuff for the gansey knit-a-long in the EZas Pi yahoo group (though maybe I'm nuts on that). So, here's an updated list My next goal should be to get SOMETHING in the "finished objects" category!!!


Elysbeth said...

Wow! okay my flabber is gasted.

CELTIC COLORWORK SWEATER - Might be my size. Hmmn, that never seems to work. With the dye and size issues, perhaps you could use that glorious center panel in a bag with a lining?

DOMINO SWEATER - I understand the love of this yarn and colours. Bigger, looser sweaters make us look fatter. Could you do a partial rip and just scale down the modules? It's very pretty.

LACE CARDIGAN - Ripping Mohair? Wow, that's courageous. Do you have scalpel? Could you finish it and dye the sweater? Could you finish it and give to a fuzzy-type friend?

Where's your class? I wanna come.

Leah said...

Wow Melissa...dilemmas, dilemmas...I don't envy you these!

Celtic design...gorgeous and what a lot of work! I think the faded effect is kind of cool ~ sort of like stained glass almost. BUT if it's too small, I dunno. I wouldn't finish it as a sweater. The center panel would make a delicious bag though. I would probably be tempted to rip it all out, overdye the yarn and start something new.

Trekking sweater...again, gorgeous! But too big is too big and I'd probably rip it out and start over. A long vest might be really cool though...I like those! And it would be fabulous in this yarn and pattern :)

Lace Cardigan...sigh..everything in me says to rip it out, overdye the yarn and find something fabulous to do. If you don't like the colors, and that's the ONLY thing bugging you...maybe finish it and then try to overdye the garment? Now, that can be totally tricky and I'm not sure I would be that brave. But man oh's sure a lot of work you've done thus far.

So...I'm afraid I'm mostly for ripping it all out all over the board. That sucks, eh?

Twisted Threads said...

I love the celtic sweater. I have that same book, so I may have to come up with a pattern of my own.

Leah said...

Whoa're putting me to shame! Can't wait to see some of this totally yummy stuff FO'd!

DeanB said...

Celtic colorwork sweater -- don't think of the colors as faded, think of them as luminous. That center panel is gorgeous