Thursday, March 01, 2007

There's Frogs In My Pond

Not to worry, I’m not actually frogging any of my current projects (emphasis on the “current”). I was thinking about the act though and I’ve come to a couple of interesting conclusions. Only a few crafts render the results re-doable if you aren’t happy with it for whatever reason. Not only can you easily frog knitting (and crochet) but you can also reuse the yarns again, sometimes more than once. The only time this becomes impossible is if you’ve steeked (stitched and cut) for armholes or cardigan fronts. You would only have short lengths if you frogged after cutting through your knitting. Maybe that’s why I’m not a big fan of steeking? Or if you felted your knitting. But still you could cut and stitch your felt so it might not be a total loss.

In other fibre crafts such as weaving, kumihimo and bobbin lace or in beadwork, you can undo to a certain extent if it’s only a short distance. But undoing farther is too tedious to contemplate. Often you make a bigger mess trying to take out a mistake. In beadwork, you can rescue the beads but usually not the thread and it’s even harder to take square stitch apart because the threads go through the beads many times. In sewing, you can unpick stitches but if you’ve cut something too small or off-kilter or it just looks wrong on you, they call that a “wadder”! I suppose you could cut it up further and use it for piecing or appliqué.

But knitting and crochet are forgiving. If you make a mistake or it’s coming out the wrong size or you just don’t like the results, riiiiipppppp…and out it comes. Wind up the yarn and start again. Currently I’m wearing a hoodie vest that I made out of my handspun mohair and wool yarn that I recycled from an old oversized tunic from the 1980’s. This version isn’t perfect (it could have been a little longer or I could have left off the pockets which hit at the wrong part of my body) but it’s warm and fuzzy and I actually got the zipper sewn in smoothly. I wouldn’t be wearing the old sweater so this one is kind of a gift. Anyhow the yarn was essentially free. Then there was my Not-So-Granny-Square cardigan that I made recently. Apart from the granny square borders, that was also recycled handspun and then overdyed. I have more of these “vintage handspun” sweaters in my stash so I should see what else I can make out of them.

Do you skein and wash your frogged yarns before beginning again? I would definitely do that if it was “vintage” yarn. I prefer to work with unkinked clean yarns. But if I was only frogging a part of a garment before reknitting it up again, I would just rewind into a ball. The kinks do come out when blocked or more precisely, they re-kink in the new shape. But I think it makes my knitting a bit uneven if I knit with crinkled yarn. It’s uneven enough already without helping it along. I haven’t really had to concern myself overmuch about my knitting tension in the past because I knit almost exclusively with my handspun yarns which already are a bit uneven. The texture hides a lot of inconsistencies. Recently in the past couple of years I’ve been knitting with commercial yarns where my sloppy knitting technique shows a lot more. Thick, smooth, even, multi-plied yarns are the worst culprits especially in fibres other than wool. Fine sock yarns aren’t too bad because the stitches are small and fancy yarns hide a multitude of sins. Nope, it’s those plain-jane DK or worsted yarns that show every wobble and join. Either I’d better work on my technique or stick to my handspun! I prefer the latter most of the time anyway. Socks are the exception to my usual rule. Handspun socks are pretty much a waste of my time because they get holes much too quickly to be worth the effort. I have a bag full of holey handspun socks to prove it! And I’m too darn lazy to darn.

In crafty news, I’ve been utilizing my row counter bracelet to work on my Pomatomus socks and it’s working wonderfully. Now that I’m on my 3rd repeat of the pattern on the second sock I can finally knit without looking constantly at the chart. Heh. It makes a good case for actually concentrating on a tricky pattern until you finish it because then you don’t have time to forget how it goes before you pick it up again. Same reason I work on two socks at the same time alternately. Less mistakes and more matching pairs. I’m also getting a chance to listen to more podcasts as I knit, though I swear I’ll never catch up with all my favourites. That’s ok. As long as I still have hard drive space to store them, they’ll wait for me. Although I’ll never be up to date on the topics so there’s no point in leaving comments on their blogs. Sigh. They probably think I don’t care but that’s not true. I talk back to them all the time (especially the hilariously raunchy Lime & Violet) but unfortunately since they aren’t in the same room with me, they can’t hear my pithy commentary.

See T-Man’s sparkling footprints he left as he headed to work just after 5:30 am? Of course it was dark when he left, but when I photographed them the sun was out but it was still snowing a few little flakes. As you might notice there was a bit more snow today than just a skiff. But as usual it’s warming up and melting. This routine is supposed to be repeated tomorrow except that instead of sun it will turn to rain and so warm up more. And of course we’ll be back to dark and dreary. It’s March now people! I want some spring!

1 comment:

Nadia said...

The ability to rip is so much more important when you spun the yarn yourself. It's not just money to be lost, but handspun!