Sometimes a knitting project is just too far gone to save. Sometimes we don’t figure that out until the project is complete, the ends are woven in and we’ve worn it a few times. In my case, that usually leads to an extended time-out until I’ve come to terms with all that misguided effort. Then, after weeks or months have passed, out comes the doomed project and the frogging begins. Frogging is one of my favourite knitting terms: when we undo a knitting project, we “rip-it, rip-it, rip-it”. See? It sounds like “ribbit”, the sound a frog makes! Thus, frogging. I love the pun.
The Castle pullover was the first (and to date, only) sweater I knit. It took me a month and a half, and I remember having to start over a couple of times because I couldn’t get gauge. Ironically, I was too impatient to swatch. This was a bad move because even though I tried on the sweater as I knit (top-down, in the round) to make sure it fit, it grew several inches as soon as it touched water. It ended up far too big for my tastes, roughly 4″ too much ease, although I gamely wore it several times. Finally I got fed up and stuffed it in the back of my closet. That was two years ago!
It was a perfectly lovely sweater, just too big. Also the gauge was a bit loose (thus the size), so it was starting to pill already.
As you can probably guess by my use of the past tense, I decided on the weekend that the sweater’s time had come. I spent several hours on Sunday finding and unravelling the ends (it took me 20min just to find the first end!), then ripping out the whole sweater. At the end, I had this:
For reference, this is NOT how I recommend frogging a sweater. If you decide to do this, definitely wind the yarn into a ball as you go. These piles of crimped yarn got so tangled it took me all evening just to get them wound onto my swift. It was a nightmare. Note to self: untamed yarn will always tangle. ALWAYS.
I don’t have a niddy noddy, which is the tool spinners use to wind their freshly spun yarn into skeins, so instead I wind my frogged yarn onto my swift. It works well enough, although the skeins aren’t completely even. Once a skein is wound onto the swift I tie it in four spots roughly equal distances apart. Then I take the skein off the swift and laugh at how it looks like curly hair!
It took several episodes of Hawaii Five-0 to get to this point, and it was completely dark out when I was done, which is why the colours are funny in this picture.
Once the skeins are wound they have a nice warm bath (not hot though, that would trigger felting) where they can relax. It is amazing how different the yarn feels when it hits the water, all the tension just disappears. I soak them in a big plastic bowl so I have to do them one at a time, but throwing them all in together would have worked too (if I had a bigger bowl/tub). Then they go over the towel rack in my bathroom to dry. I fold them in half over the rack and then tie a small weight to the hanging ends to help pull the yarn straight; this works for wool but I would be more cautious with cotton, which is weaker when wet. Acrylic yarns don’t usually have memory, so you could probably knit right from the ripped out yarn without too many issues.
After drying overnight (actually two nights, I got busy), I had lovely straight-ish yarn all ready for knitting:
I’ve got to get better at photography, I have no idea why there is such a glare in this photo.
It’s a bit late now, but tomorrow I plan to wind one of these skeins up and get knitting! I started the re-knit of this sweater ages ago with the leftovers from the first attempt (there was quite a lot leftover, another indication that the thing was on-gauge), and I’ve already made it past the armholes. The rest of the sweater is just the lace pattern, no shaping or anything so it should fly off the needles. Hopefully then I’ll finally wear the thing; after all this work if it doesn’t fit I don’t know what I’ll do!