Frogging Liquid Silver

There comes a time in the life of every knitting project when you contemplate frogging it (this is what knitters call it when we take our needles out and rip out many rows of stitches.  It’s called frogging because we rip it, rip, it.  Get it?  Ribbit).  Perhaps it is boring.  Perhaps your original reason for making the project is no longer relevant.  Perhaps you have come to an obstacle that you don’t know how to overcome.  Perhaps you didn’t swatch or your swatch lied and the combination of yarn, needles, and pattern aren’t working together.

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I’m not afraid to rip out my work and ‘lose’ the time I put into the knitting so far.  Many people try to classify themselves as either a process knitter (a person who picks projects based on the skills involved in making it) or a product knitter (a person who knits to get the finished object).  I don’t see this as an either / or proposition, but as a continuum.  I very much enjoy the process of knitting — and this includes the entire process of knitting, including swatching, purling, cables, lace, blocking, etc.  You will never hear me say I hate any component or skill in the knitting universe, because I see it all as one part of the whole that is knitting.  Even when I’m ripping out.

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While I am invested in the process, I also care about the finished object.  I pick projects based on a number of criteria.  Sometimes I pick them for function.  Sometimes I pick them because I want to learn the skills that the pattern incorporates.  Sometimes I just need something mindless or quick.  Sometimes I’m trying to use up a particular yarn in my stash.  Whatever the reason I pick it, I want it to be beautiful, useful, and functional.  I want my work to exemplify craftsmanship.

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My attitude towards frogging is also informed by my experience as a cake decorator.  I’ve made many beautiful cakes that people are afraid to cut.  I take the knife and hack away, obliterating many hours of work in a few moments.  In the case of cake, destruction is the only way to get to function — the primary purpose of cake is pleasure in eating.  The decorations are beautiful while they last, but should not be an obstacle to the function.  I can’t be attached to them or the primary purpose of the work will be lost.

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While frogging isn’t always required to get to function in knitting, there are times when it may be necessary in order to achieve beauty, usefulness, function, and craftsmanship.  And it is just another part of knitting.  So I’m pretty Zen about the whole thing.  If it needs to be done, I’ll do it.

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Still, there’s no need to be rash.  When I get to the point where I’m contemplating frogging, I will set the project aside for a while.  When I come back to it, I’m no longer in a moment of frustration and I might be able to see a different way to solve the problem.  This is what I did with Liquid Silver.  I first noticed the problem with it a couple weeks ago, and wrote about it in a WIP Wednesday post.  You might recall that this project sat for several years.  The problem I noticed was that my gauge has changed in the intervening years.  You can clearly see the line between the old knitting and the new knitting.

This is not a problem that will be solved by blocking.  The only solution is to frog it and start over.  This is particularly challenging because there’s so many beads in the shawl.  Every wrong side row has 6 or 8 beads.  I estimated that the shawl has 300 to 400 beads in it already.  I didn’t want to lose the beads because I plan to cast on again.  So I came up with a solution that would be relatively quick while keeping the beads from flying everywhere — frog in a box.  And I made a video so you can see how I did it.

So it’s done.  I’ll cast it on again sometime soon.

P.S. I hope you enjoyed the frog pictures.  I love frogs, as you may have guessed from the fact that my Ravatar is always a frog.  I personally took all the pictures in this post in my own backyard.  We have lots of tree frogs around here, and during the summer they are always on our windows and sliding glass doors.  There’s something so vulnerable about their soft little bellies and I find this adorable.  I’m always trying to get good pictures.  It’s a challenge because the frogs are usually out at night so natural light isn’t available and the flash bounces off the glass that separates me from the frogs.  The pictures in this post are among the best I’ve gotten so far.

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WIP Wednesday: March 25, 2015

I thought I hadn’t done much crafting in the last week, since I’ve been working with my husband on making tools for weaving.  Then I took the pictures for this post and discovered that I’d done more than I remembered!

Dishcloth Tree

I finished all the leaf-shaped dishcloths.  I thought I had woven in all the ends, but when I was assembling them for this picture, I found one end that I’d missed.  Usually woven in ends = finished for dishcloths.  However, these leaves come out a little bit concave in the center and the designer recommends blocking them.  I’m going to run them through the washer and dryer to see how they come out.  If they don’t flatten out in that process, I’ll block them properly.  Since these are part of a present, I think they are worth the extra attention!

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Slytherin Houndstooth Scarf

I got quite a bit of weaving done on this scarf.  I’m just about finished with it.

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It’s so hard to show progress on woven projects because the working surface always looks the same.  I tried taking a picture of the finished cloth wound onto the cloth beam.  I still think it’s hard to see the progress!

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I didn’t notice until I posted the picture that you can see both my spinning wheel and my floor loom in the background of this picture. Yes, my world is made of fiber!

 

Liquid Silver

This continues to be the project I work on at Wednesday knit nights.  I only got through 1/2 of a repeat tonight because I was chatting so much.  I discovered that I was doing something wrong on the double yarn overs.  Turns out I’ve been wrapping my yarn overs the wrong direction around the needle.  I did it right before.  I’m not sure when or why I changed my wrapping direction.  You can clearly see the difference in this picture.  I was going to keep on knitting, but looking at this picture, the obvious difference is bothering me.  I do believe I’m going to frog several inches of this project and reknit it correctly.

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Travel Planning

Last week, we found out that my husband has to go to India in April for work.  And I’m going with him!  In the last week, we’ve renewed his passport, made our plane reservations and hotel reservations.  I’ve filled out paperwork to participate in the TSA Pre-check (I’ve been meaning to do that anyway) and Global Entry (this allows for faster processing when coming through customs upon our return).  Both programs require in-person interviews.  I’ve booked the TSA Pre-check interview and am waiting for preliminary approval on Global Entry before I can book the interview.  I’ve researched visa requirements, done some online research to see what is in the area where we will be visiting, and through Ravelry I’ve made contacts with local knitters.  I seriously love the internet.

We’ll be in India for two weeks, home for one, then in Chicago for a week.  Chris comes home from Chicago, but I’m flying from Chicago to New England to attend my cousin’s college graduation and visit friends and family.  Since I only have a week at home between trips, I’ve got to have everything arranged for those trips also.  I still need to book flights from Chicago to New England and New England back to Orlando.  I’ve got to weave the Dr. Who scarf for my cousin’s graduation gift.  And do taxes.  And get immunized for Hepatitis A  and Dengue Fever.  And so much more.  Most importantly of all, I need to plan my travel knitting!  It’s 25 hours of travel from Orlando to India and 31 hours of travel from India to get back home.  That’s enough time to knit a couple pairs of socks (although I guess I’ll have to sleep some in there).

The trip to India is scheduled at the same time I was planning to be in Indiana for The Fiber Event.  I already had a plane ticket for Indiana, and I’m still planning to go at some point.  I need to change that ticket once we figure out new dates.  Oh, and I registered to attend the TKGA Conference in July.  I haven’t made travel arrangements for that trip yet, and need to do so ASAP.  The first room block already sold out and there’s a limited number of rooms in the second block.  It’s going to be a whirlwind around here for the next few months!

WIP Wednesday: March 11, 2015

I have been getting a little crafting done.  I’ve been focusing on getting non-crafting projects done, so I haven’t had as much time to play with fiber as I’d like.  But I have made progress on several projects!

MAPLE LEAF the Ninth

I’m just about finished with this shawl.  I’m on the very last corner, and will probably finish knitting it tonight!

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Emergency Scarf

I finished knitting the scarf that I started when I needed something to knit during a midnight visit to the emergency vet with Pepper.  I just need to weave in the ends.

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Liquid Silver

This shawl was the oldest UFO that I found when I did the UFO Inventory in January.  It’s been an UFO since Fall 2010.  I was shocked to find that I still had the pattern in my Knit Picks magnetic pattern holder, and the magnet was still on the right row!  I’ve started working on it again, and have done 1.5 pattern repeats.  This is the project that I’ve been bringing to Wednesday night knitting group for the last couple weeks.  The pattern isn’t as difficult as it looks, and I’m less likely to have beads spill all over the place at the yarn shop than at home, where I have 3 furry hazards.

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UFO Inventory

UFO stands for “unfinished object.”  I personally distinguish between WIPs (works in progress) and UFOs, though some people use the terms interchangeably.  A WIP is something that I’m actively working.  An UFO is sitting around waiting for me to get to it sometime.  I don’t like to have a lot of UFOs.  I do like to have multiple projects in progress, so I always have an option for a project that fits my current attention span and activities.  But UFOs lurk in the back of my head, sucking up small bits of energy and sometimes making me feel guilty for abandoning them.  I used to have a number of unfinished projects, but in January of 2013, I inventoried my UFOs and addressed all but one of them.  Either I finished them or I frogged them.  Since then, I have tried to finish up projects within six months or so of starting them.  Despite those efforts, I have accumulated a few UFOs and I’d like to finish with them.  Today I took the first step towards finishing them by taking them all out and determining what needs to be done to finish each one.

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