Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Knitting Tip: Clip ‘N Save

Dear Ann,
So glad to hear the news of a new baby girl in Shaynetown. Just the other day I was thinking, “How awesome are those Shaynes, and why aren’t there more of them?” Very glad that’s been taken care of.
You know how I’m such a technical whiz at knitting, right? I am always looking for the Better Mousetrap, the trix n’ tipz, the StepSaversTM. The other day I unvented an awesome new technique. I cannot re-create my thought process, for it was far too rapid and brilliant. (Quicksilver, honestly.) But I want to benefit mankind, so I will share the step-by-step directions.
The Situation
silkshawl.jpg
1. You are more than 10 hours and half a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk into a homebrewed shawl variation on Veronik Avery’s lovely lacy rib scarf.
2. Your variation sucks.
3. The yarn, at least at the loose gauge you are knitting, is floppy and unappetizing.
4. Life has lost its meaning.
5. You have thought of 9 other things you’d like to cast on right now.
The Solution
1. Slip the stitches off the needles. (I know that makes you nervous because when the stitches are off the needles, they can unravel. That’s OK. Stay with me.)
2. Unravel the dang thing.
3. All the way back to the first slip knot.
4. Put yarn back in stash.
5. Put needles back in the Ready position.
6. Carry on.
silkshawlgone.jpg
I cannot tell you how good it felt to do this.
Ripping out is so contrary to my nature. My nature is stubbornly optimistic but ineffectual. My inclination is always to put something aside and wait for “mojo”, or perhaps for a fashion for ugly floppy shawls. If I had followed my nature, I would have shoved this thing into a dark corner, where it would become dank and creased and horrible, and a year from now, I would come across it in a fevered hunt for a pair of size 4 circulars. After wondering what the heck it is and how the heck it came into existence, I would rip it out.
afghanshawl.jpg
Ripping it out freed my mind and needles for the project I really felt like knitting. A shawl for Afghans for Afghans’ latest initative: a drive for rectangular shawls for women. It’s a great project, with room for creativity but very specific requirements. (I love it when a charity has specific requirements. Here, the requirements are based on Afghan custom and what women there actually can use.)
I cast on 318 stitches in Rowanspun 4ply, knit 9 garter ridges, and then started working alternating 18-row strips of stockinette and reverse stockinette in Noro Silk Garden Light and the Rowanspun. It only measures 60 inches long at this point, so I am going to add some length to the ends when this portion of the knitting is done.
Ask yourself: what can I rip today?
Love,
Kay

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. I love how satisfying (and stress-relieving) a good frogging can be! Just reading about it actually lowered my stress level, I think. :)

  2. Just saying: to see you blogging about both Sea Silk AND Rowanspun 4ply in one entry has blown all my circuit breakers.
    Loving it ALL. Especially relieved to see that your Sea Silk survived its harrowing journey. A better day will come . . . and besides, that stuff is PRICEY. Can’t just use it willynilly.

  3. I have a beret that I’m going to frog like nobody’s bizness or, perhaps, bidness. Go team rip out!

  4. I was gasping at your boldness. Ripping is not something I do lightly; indeed, not much at all. You think I should take it up?
    Now I must go check the rules for the shawls — thanks!

  5. I am pro-frog! Every knitter has the right to choose WIPs they think they are realistic to keep. I refuse to let society pressure me into forging on with a WIP that I know is way beyond my skill level.
    Thanks for the link to the Afghans for Afghans project – I’ve had some impulse purchase yarn staring at me from the corner of my stash….

  6. Hi Kay! I have two hanks of the sea silk and started and ripped out 2 projects that didn’t knit up as easily as I thought it should (k2tog tbl, not so good with the sea silk) and the other one, well, the fabric wasn’t so nice. But I have just started Sivia Harding’s Waves in the Square shawl and it is knitting up BEAUTIFULLY! I think the third time is the charm for me! I hope I have enough to finish!

  7. Hey,did you happen to notice that in the bottom third of the shawl page there is a picture of a woman in a Nina Shawl? Dude . . .

  8. I hear ya, sistah! It’s that little voice saying, “Are you kidding me? What ARE you doing?” There is something so satisfying about listening and then ripping the heck out of it. I’ve never regretting a good rip!

  9. I hear ya, sistah! It’s that little voice saying, “Are you kidding me? What ARE you doing?” There is something so satisfying about listening and then ripping the heck out of it. I’ve never regretting a good rip!

  10. I hear ya, sistah! It’s that little voice saying, “Are you kidding me? What ARE you doing?” There is something so satisfying about listening and then ripping the heck out of it. I’ve never regretting a good rip!

  11. Just to see how this grabs you –
    I’ve made two Hanami “scarves”, each taking one skein of Sea Silk, by modifying the stole pattern found here: http://pinklemontwist.blogspot.com/2007/02/hanami.html
    I shortened the repeats to (I believe) only two full repeats wide, cut out some of the eyelet repeats towards the end, and didn’t use beads – but otherwise knit as written. One scarf even used the same Ivory colorway you’ve got. They both turned out fabulous, and were a fun project to knit as well.

  12. ye gods, woman – did you buy the entire shipped-from-England stock of dark blue Rowanspun?
    What can I rip today? Nothing, because I did it yesterday, hurrah!
    Did you make that picnic?
    B x x

  13. Frogging is so good for the soul! Congratulations on your bravery. Ya done good.

  14. Thank you for the push. I keep looking at a sock that is obviously too small and postponing the inevitable. If only someone in the house and circle of friends had smaller feet. Off I go to rip….

  15. I will confess to only ripping back for gifts, virtually never for myself (wasn’t it the Navajo who put an intentional error in every rug to prove it was handmade or something). Love the rectangular shawl though, could try to work that in.

  16. Oh, yes, it’s so wonderful, isn’t it? I hosted a “frog and slog” afternoon in which I’d invited knitterly friends to come over and either work on UFOs or just frog them completely (a ball-winder works wonders with the latter), all in the company of sympathetic knitters and a decent bottle of wine. It was lovely!
    Oh, and should you want to wander over the my knitting blog, you should check out the post, “An Idea Whose Time Has Come” because it’s all about how things should be when we have to completely undo a project.
    Big hugs and good knitting to you!

  17. Oh, yes, it’s so wonderful, isn’t it? I hosted a “frog and slog” afternoon in which I’d invited knitterly friends to come over and either work on UFOs or just frog them completely (a ball-winder works wonders with the latter), all in the company of sympathetic knitters and a decent bottle of wine. It was lovely!
    Oh, and should you want to wander over the my knitting blog, you should check out the post, “An Idea Whose Time Has Come” because it’s all about how things should be when we have to completely undo a project.
    Big hugs and good knitting to you!

  18. It’s usually hard for me to frog something I spent time on, but when I really think about it, the yarn is still good, but if the project isn’t looking like something I’d ever wear/use, frogging is the best option.

  19. When school gets out each year, before I start teaching my summer knitters, I pull out lotsa projects. (Needless to say, I am one of those people who donate clothes I have not worn in a year.)
    The UFOs mock me and slow me from finishing other things. Once they are frogged, I have a long summer of productivity in front of me.
    If I still like the yarn, I carefully ball it up and put it into my stash, but it I am lukewarm, it goes right to my classes and little knitters get to knit on some really nice yarn. (they always knit on nice stuff, actually…life’s too short for cheap yarn)
    I love to frog almost as much as I like to rearrange my stash.
    xo

  20. Good for you, on the shawl! When I saw the “call” I thought I’d knit one, but the pattern/yarn/lace-or-not questions on ravelry made me realize that I would be wondering (fretting, more like) all through the knitting process whether or not the shawl would meet the requirements…not fun. So I wimped out and decided to stick to my itsy-bitsy a4A sock-knitting. But I’m looking forward to seeing your shawl!

  21. i do not knit with wool but i am going
    to try alpaca with a mix of silk to
    see if can with out wheezing
    i ripped up ribbon yarn its at rest in
    a basket with a lid and goody for it
    ann when you suggest a yarn on line
    it really sells it self out

  22. So true. I ripped out something just the other day and it DID feel better than stuffing it in a basket!

  23. Would I be banned from the blog if I answered the “what can i rip today?” with the most obvious answer?
    (hint: how would joseph answer that question?)

  24. Hello! I read your post with interest and the link for the shawls. I am wondering if there are colour restrictions for appropriate/acceptable(?) dress for these women?

  25. I had just pulled out the pieces of the 2 “Monica” Ruffled Tanks (knitty.com) that I knit last summer and then put away since it would be too cold to wear by the time I got them seamed anyway, and the 7-1/2yo fashionista ooohed and aaahed and then said “I hope one of them is a halter. I’d really love that” (batting her incredibly long-lashed Bambi eyes). Of course, neither was so I pulled out a ball of (slightly less garish than Ann’s) Sugar and Cream and adapted the pattern to knit in the round (don’t quite share your love of mattress stitch- maybe when I get a little faster at it!). I added a k1p1 rib to the top of the back to hopefully prevent some gap-osis due to incredible skinniness on the part of the 7-1/2yo (I knit the 2yo size with the 8yo length), started the front straps on 9st and decreased them down to 3st for long Icord ties to tie in the back and had the whole thing whipped out over the weekend. I should have done the whole back in rib AND reduced the # of st on the back since it still gaps!! As satisfying as ripping stuff can be, I’m just going to add elastic to the back. And that psychic knitting connection Ann had with the baby knitting? I was on the A4A site downloading a baby cap pattern (I do so love a good hat pattern and thought a matching hat to go with the new mom shawl would be cool) just before I clicked on your blog. You must have been sending out some pretty intense “must knit new mom shawl” brain waves. Kind of like AquaMan calling in the fishy forces…or the Bat signal…

  26. What a timely post – this weekend, I ripped out two FOs and a WIP. Quite cathartic. It was a tough decision to rip the FOs, but I thought of all that good yarn trapped in the wrong project and took heart. I’m afraid I am on a ripping rampage now!

  27. I’d completely missed Ann’s post about a new NEICE, and my first thought to this post was, “I didn’t even know Ann was pregnant!!” Now, that would have been a pleasant surprise, no?
    I just love your color variations in your shawl! It’s so sophisticated! Beautiful work.
    I’m in a frogging mood myself lately. I have some gorgeous Cascade 220 Heather in Amethyst tied up in a completely finished, terribly disappointing version of Mr. Greenjeans (a gauge catastrophe, I’m sorry to admit), and the appearance of the February Lady Sweater over at flint knits has inspired to me to rip and re-knit into exactly that sweater. You must see it if you haven’t yet. It’s cropping up like crazy all over Ravelry. Gorgeous! I can’t wait to get started on it!!

  28. Sea Silk is a special yarn, one that may require much experimentation before stumbling upon the right pattern and right needles and right needle size. But when all the pieces come together, it results in a lovely fabric. Now I am going to look into my UFO basket and see what I can frog today. Thank you for being brave!

  29. Linda, I wasn’t sure if your question got answered, so here’s what I found on the website. There aren’t actual restrictions, but there are strong recommendations that it be in dark (non-white) colors due to the limitations on their washing facilities. If you poke around about on the link to A4A in the post, you should be able to find the specifics.

  30. Gee, I don’t seem to have much trouble frogging at all – maybe it has to do with being mostly a *process* knitter. When I finish something I’m always pleasantly surprised that it IS something, so if it’s unfinished and I don’t like it, well – out it goes. And yes, THANKS for the shawls-for-Afghani-moms link and idea. I’m about to start a Dr Who scarf, and that looks a perfect “alternate” project, and a mitzvah to boot. Perfect!

  31. Doubled, that Seasilk can become a fabby cowl. Be a cowlgirl. You want all that seaweediness right next to your skin, dontcha?

  32. I so love this post! I hate ripping, too, but sometimes, it just must be done! And, yes, it feels good to wind that yarn back into a ball knowing that you can make something infinitely better with it in the future.
    Love your blog, read it often, laugh frequently. Happy knitting!

  33. I think I am totally opposite. I am too quick to rip. If something languishes in my stash too long I rip it out. If a project just isn’t suiting my needs I rip it out. This week I ripped out two projects already and abandoned them to lack of knitting mojo. Too fickle? I don’t know. Maybe? I just get anxious seeing projects sitting around that I know I will NEVER finish.

  34. It is better to have knit and frogged, than to have never knit at all… *wipe tear*