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Let Us Give Thanks (For UFOs)

Dear Ann,
If as you read along you start to feel a little woozy, please bear in mind that this was your idea. It took the better part of the morning to rummage, rifle, and ransack my various hiding places, bags, baskets, and cubbyholes in a good-faith effort to locate unfinished projects. I layered them all on the bed and started snapping away with the KayCam. The KayCam, being digital, informs me that it now has 18 pictures on it. These are pictures of unique items, or parts of items, that are in my current WIP inventory (whether I know it or not).
I was actually kind of disappointed it was only 18. When you subtract out the things that just need a small amount of finishing–a fringe here, a few buttons there, a steamy blast from Rowenta — and then if you subtract out the things that are Dead In The Water and never to be heard from again, I have a pretty manageable pile of work to do before the coast is clear to start opening up my Old Rowans to pages longingly marked with Post-It notes. As bad as I like to think of my bad self, I am not all that bad.
But you be the judge. Here’s the bird’s-eye view:
What the heck, you say? Is this a window into a disordered mind? Certainly not. Here, mixed up with a lot of junk I wish I’d never started knitting, we have a few very interesting items, on the very cusp of being finished (perhaps even in our lifetime). For example, I’m quite proud of the front cable panel of Salt Lake City, a beauty in Jaeger Trinity that I started last summer. Maybe by next summer I’ll pick it up again, and maybe by the following summer I’ll have figured out where I left off on the chart.
And then there’s the Dolman Updated, a UFO so poppin’ fresh that it appears in the current issue of Interweave Knits; it seems kind of unfair to call it a UFO, doesn’t it? Using Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim Aran, I’ve finished knitting all 4 of the nearly-identical parts, and I’m a-rarin’ to block and sew up and see if the thing fits. Who knows—this could conceivably happen by the end of the current calendar year. Unnatural, I know.
I have high hopes for this sleeve from the Checker jacket from Tadpoles and Tiddlers. It’s in Rowan Denim, it’s tedious as can be to follow the chart for the zig-zaggy squares, but the woman who won it at a charity auction and selected the pattern is calling me up and asking about it (can you spell ‘chutzpah’?), so it will be done by Christmas, no matter what. It’s adorable–I’m going to hate parting with it.
There are some some things that I haven’t finished because I simply can’t stand looking at them anymore. Here’s a scarf in Noro Iro and Noro Cash Iroha, which is based on a shawl pattern in Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s Noro book. I really can’t stand it. It needs to have a fringe put on it and its evil spirits cast out, and be sent to the knitting table at the school craft fair before I do it bodily harm. Unfortunately, I have enough yarn for a second one. Ewww!
Here’s another scarf that seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s in Noro Lily, in a 3 x 1 rib. It has a lovely feel and a nice drape. I actually like it. But off to the knitting table it goes as soon as I attach a beaded fringe to it. Why? Because I have enough Lily to do two more, in different colourways.
So sorry, honey — we’re not done with scarves yet. There’s Rupert, which makes me wonder if you’re feeling all right every time you chirp about the fun you’re having with the Fine Cotton Chenille for Sassy; there’s Munchie, a color block scarf in All Seasons Cotton for my niece Kristin of Pod Person fame. There’s a child’s scarf in Big Wool, and then there’s whatever this thing is–an experiment in a Noro silk tape and Noro Lotus–which have wildly different tensions, for one thing. I think this falls under the category of ‘Do Not Resuscitate’. Don’t know what I’ll do with the yarn, but it can’t be worse than this idea.
Finally, a few Creative Curiosities. As you know, I like to play with squares, and I fancy myself a Sincere (if Minor) Folk Artist. Here’s a square in three shades of Denim, constructed using the outside-in method from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s Noro book (she uses it for a patchwork blanket and cushions). I don’t like it. It’s too wobbly, too unsquare due to the un-springy Denim yarn. But it was interesting making it, as a comparison with the log cabin method. Here are a bunch of stripey squares. I got the idea of making a throw from knitted cotton squares from one of Kaffe’s needlepoint books. He described it as a great project for a beginner knitter. What is the matter with him anyway? Don’t wait up for this project.
And here, perhaps, is the piece de resistance–the very top of the What Was I Thinking pile: the start of an intarsia overlapping squares cushion in a zillion colors of Handknit DK Cotton, using a chart from Kaffe’s Glorious Interiors book (the original is in Lightweight DK wool). Yowza. I’ll let you know the very minute I finish this one!
Ooopsie! Almost forgot this one. Inspired by your inventive David, I started a garter-stitch rug made of cotton finger-knitting on aluminum #15s. Don’t know yet what I’m going to do with all those shaggy ends, but I have plenty of time to figure it out. I average about a row every two weeks.
I’m sure there are some I’ve left out, but I have to go have an Alka-Seltzer now.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. Love, Kay



  1. You have a gorgeous collection of UFOs. My most recent UFO looks like a dead animal of some sort! Keep up the good work.

  2. There is NO WAY I’m joining you in the confessional.Allan would have me committed !
    What the heck.I’m having fun. :0)
    The real talent is in knowing when to give up,ditch and dump !

  3. Kay–OK, when I proposed this little stash exercise, I didn’t realize you have EIGHTEEN PROJECKS on the go. Good lord, woman, you must knit as fast as you type. If I’d known this sort of quantity was afoot, I’d have suggested an outline format, or bullets, or shorthand.
    I love seeing all your stuff. Here are my impressions:
    1. Variety! So many yarns, so not stuck on one size needle. Very ecumenical, very impressive.
    2. Excellent color all over the place.
    3. Stay with your square fixation. I love your squares, all of ’em, especially the zillions of Handknit DK Cotton. (You know I’m on a color binge right now, so I envy this one.) I think your denim squares are intriguing–can’t figure out how you did that. Sorry it’s too wobbly; smaller needles, maybe? Make a cushion out of it and fuggetaboudit?
    4. Salt Lake City. Freakin’ awesome. I think you hit a wall on the exact row I gently put down my cable-heavy Pearl and said, “Someday soon, dear. Not now.” We could have a nagalong next year and try to at least get to the armhole shaping.
    5. Inside-out Dolman. Very cool. Finish that one right up, y’hear?
    6. Charity auction knitting-for-hire: PuhLEASE make this your last effort in this department. These women have no clue. Tadpoles before swine! Feh!
    7. David is touched and moved that you are knitting up some finger knitting. He said, “Hey–she’s knitting like mine!”
    Must go konk out, but I have to tell you, I am awed by your prodigious output. Who knew?

  4. Thanks Ann. As always, you are kind and I feel better. I’m glad you like the squares assortment because squares just have a special pull for me. I have a couple of other squares projects at an off-site storage facility. One that is intriguing is 6 x 6 Manos squares, knit real tight with doubled yarn, that I’m planning to felt very lightly after crocheting into a rug. I’m trying not to get all Type A and plan the colors, and not to worry if I have to mix 2 colors in one square–they’re all leftovers and I’m resisting the urge to buy yarn especially for this project. The other is the Maysville Rug Filler (aka Mop Yarn) squares, that flash in the pan from late spring. They will rise again. And I confess I didn’t have the heart to drag out Deco….but you knew about Deco….
    Love, your oversharing pal

  5. Thanks for sharing … I don’t know how many UFO’s I have, but I do know that it’s going to take more than an afternoon to haul them all out to photograph! I love that Trinity top… did I have tea with you the day that you bought the wool? Yvonne and Sue were here too.

  6. Dear Kay, I miss you anyway, never mind that we’ve never met.

  7. Kay: Well, I can freely confess to 15 wips but I don’t have the fortitude to put them in one place and face them all at the same time! Brava! Seriously though, you’ve got a lot of fun, creative stuff going there.
    I really chuckled over the scarves-off-to-the-craft-table. I went into a burst of knitted “smalls” (scarves, hats, mittens) early this year, thinking I would be so clever come Christmastime when aha! I would have lovely gifts for the kids’ teachers, etc., and now I have a stack of knitted smalls and no idea who on earth I will give them to. (The fog of enthusiasm lifted and I realized the teachers would rather have Borders and Starbucks gift cards.) I strongly suspect the smalls will get tired of waiting (especially now that winter seems to have decided it is time to make an appearance) and migrate of their own volition into the hat/mitten/scarf drawer in the front hall, with bus seats, sidewalks, and lost & found bins their ultimate destination…

  8. Stephanie (apologies for lack of accent)– My Becassine photo was snapped in my dermatologist’s office. Yes, Elle Who Must Be Obeyed(Because She Is Holding a Laser) is French.
    I have loved Becassine for many years. We have a Becassine doll that was famously forgotten on an airplane until after the friend who was bringing her as a gift was already in the Immigration area–a kind stewardess rescued poor Becassine and her parapluie. It was just the kind of thing that would happen to Becassine, don’t you think?
    Here at Mason-Dixon, we leave no object unblabbed. You can always read about the provenance of our found objects, by clicking on the dates at the bottom of that column. It is up to our individual readers to decide whether they have had enough blabbing already, or can tolerate a smidgeon more.
    Congrats on your newborn blog, by the way!!! Kay

  9. Dear Stephanie–
    I never knew this about Becassine. Bretons understandably resent the stereotype, even if it is a stereotype from a long time ago. Since my own Grandma Mabel left the countryside to work for people in the Big City (Omaha, not Paris!) during the Depression, I am even fonder of Becassine now.
    Fun fact: If you take off her clothes (which my daughter has done many times), she looks just like Olive Oyl (Popeye’s wife)–another cartoon character who reminds me of Grandma Mabel (Olive Oyl’s shoes are Vintage Grandma Mabel–she kept that 1930s vibe going well into the 1980s!).
    Sorry for touching any sore spots, Kay

  10. Oh Kay – you are a woman after my own heart clearly ! An impressive array of UFO’s indicating an advanced stage of “starteritis” – I strongly recommend the 12 step programme Lis and I are both working on … doesn’t cure you but sure gives you a good excuse ! Yeah, like you needed one …

  11. Kay, I am in awe. What a beautiful lot of unfinished stuff! Salt Lake City is unbelievable! Look at all them knots. It’s all gorgeous.
    Also, glad to see the Courthouse Steps over in the fos. Hope you’re having a fantastic Turkey Day.

  12. I left my comments about UFO’s under the velvet revolution. I still have a lot to learn about this writing in someone else’s journal. Thanks, Mary


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