To Frog, Or Not To Frog, That Is The Question

Howdy, knitters! Welcome back to this week’s installment of the Knitting Daddy blog. If you’re a returning reader, thank you so much for enjoying the content to keep coming back. If this is your first time reading the blog, I’m thrilled you found it and I hope you enjoy what you read. Go ahead and add the feed to your favorite RSS reader and/or use the form in the sidebar on the right to sign up to receive new posts directly in your email inbox.

This week, I’m finally going to pose the question every knitter eventually finds themselves asking: to frog, or not to frog? Before talking that question, though, let’s take a look at the other things that have been happening in my knitting world over the last week.

Blueberry's Adaline

This cardigan has been my nemesis for over a year. Should I frog it?

This Week In Podcasts

As of the writing of this blog post, my “knitting podcast” playlist is actually completely empty. I’ve been able to keep up with my podcasts by shifting my listening time to when I’m working on household chores. We’ll see how long that continues to last. This week, I listened to episodes of 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade (2 episodes!), Ewe University, Fiber Hooligan (2 episodes!), Knit 1 Geek 2, Knitmore Girls, Knitting Pipeline, Knotty Girls Knitcast, and Yarn Thing with Marly Bird (2 episodes!).

In 2 Knit Lit Chicks 72 (The Word of the day is “Cool”), Barb and Tracie talk a little more about their new feed for the podcast. If you haven’t been getting your 2 Knit Lit Chicks episodes lately, check your subscription and update the feed! They talk more about their Mother Bear KAL/CAL, which sounds like it’s going great. Lots of knitting and book talk, as usual. I really wonder how these ladies find the time to do all that they do!

In Curious Handmade 38 (Getting Tangled), Helen is coming to us from Australia. It really is fun to hear her podcasting as she travels the globe lately. In Curious Handmade 39 (Aussie Update), she is still in Australia and talks a bit about Australian TV, which was interesting to hear about. Helen also talked about several projects she is currently working on, including some upcoming design work.

In Ewe University 27 (Chemistry of Wool Yarn), Dr. Kelly takes us on a fascinating study of how wool works at a chemical level. Wool is truly nature’s wonder fiber! She also talks about her trip to Stitches, which made me want to go to a Stitches event some time. Additionally, I was surprised to hear my name mentioned near the beginning of the episode, when she talked about the Preemie Hat Charity Drive that I’m currently heading up in the Ravelry IBK forum. Thank you so much, Dr. Kelly, for helping to get the word about the charity knit along I’m hosting this month! Ewe University is this week’s must-listen podcast, and that’s not just because she talked about my charity — the discussion on wool chemistry is fascinating, reminiscent of the discussion I so often enjoy on the knit.fm podcast.

In Fiber Hooligan with Veronica Van & Steve Elkins, Ben and his guests talk about some upcoming charity knitting opportunities. In Fiber Hooligan with Rick Mondragon, Ben and Rick give a preview of the fun that is had at a Stitches Expo.

In Knit 1 Geek 2 93 (All the News Of… A While Ago), Maggie and Karen totally geek out about the new J. K. Rowling Harry Potter short story. There is also talk about a dramatic frogging that broke my heart just a little bit when I heard about it.

In Knitmore Girls 294 (Wealth of Experience), Jasmin declares herself to have won Stash Dash, even though she didn’t officially enter. The most interesting part of this podcast was the discussion about how to properly curate your yarn pantry. This segment is seriously worth listening to twice.

In Knitting Pipeline 179 (Stitches Midwest 2014), Paula talks about her adventures at Stitches Midwest. She’s joined by Bronwyn, which is always a treat. Again, it’s another podcast that makes me want to go to a Stitches Expo. Maybe next year?

In KnottyGirls Knitcast 32 (Crumpleated (Or Laura Is Decidedly Not Psychic)), Laura talks about frogging 2 projects in 30 minutes. It sounds like this is the week to talk about frogging! Jen and Laura also talk about their stashdown goals. It’s always inspiring to hear other talking about working through and loving the yarn they have.

In Yarn Thing with Marly Bird: Kathy Merrick Crochet and Color Expert, Kathy talks about Color. I especially enjoyed the discussion about making conscious effort to avoid “completing the rainbow.” In Yarn Thing: Lace Knitting Expert Anna Dalvi (Mystery Knit Alongs), Anna talks about how the very first mystery Knit Along she hosted as well as talking about the beautiful lace shawls she designs.

This Week In The Preemie Hat Drive

I’m absolutely blown away by the donations that are coming in for the Preemie Hat Charity Drive I’m hosting this month. So far, I’ve collected over a hundred hats, and more are coming in. In addition to the hats, folks are sending me board books that FSNCC will be able to hand out to new families in the NICU. The kindness and generosity of knitters is truly amazing. Thank you all for supporting this drive!

This Week On My Needles

My needles have been busy with secret projects this week. Mom’s birthday knitting is about 75% done, so I think I’ll have it finished in time for her birthday. Unless you’re my mom, feel free to check out the in-progress pictures on Instagram.

I’ve also been working on my ornament for the IBK Ornament Swap. I’m trying my hand at coming up with my own design. I’m a little bit over half-finished, and I think it’s coming along pretty well. We’ll see how it turns out in a week or so, probably.

IBK Ornament Design

For the IBK Ornament Swap, I’m trying my hand at something of my own design.

Ravelry Project Page: IBK Ornament
Pattern: [redacted] by KnittingDaddy
Yarn Used: Quince & Co. Finch in the Carrie’s Yellow colorway

To Frog, Or Not To Frog, That is The Question

A few weeks ago, something happened that finally pushed me over the edge and has me seriously asking myself if I’m going to frog one of my projects. The project in question is my Blueberry’s Adaline, which I cast on over a year ago and has been my nemesis ever since casting on. Before getting into what happened a few weeks ago, let’s have quick review of this project.

Last July, while on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I stopped by a lovely yarn store. I had a great time looking at all of their beautiful yarn and shop samples. It’s where I bought the wonderful buttons for Blueberry’s way-to-big sweater. While there, I saw a great shop sample of Adaline in Spud & Chloe Fine that really looked like it would be a super-cute cardigan for Blueberry. So I bought the pattern and yarn for it. It was about a month before I cast on, but I got going on it.

I sure didn’t expect the knitting to go as slow as it was going. But when you’re knitting a baby cardigan on US 1.5 needles, nothing goes quickly. I’d work on it some, put it down for a while, pick it back up and work on it some more. Lather, rinse, repeat. It seemed like I was making no progress. Then, after I finished the lace pattern (which I really enjoyed knitting), I got to a part that called for knitting about 17 million rows of stockinette. OK, maybe not 17 million, but that’s what it feels like. Miles and miles of stockinette, and I’m just not enjoying it.

It’s taking forever to get this project off the needles, and with every passing day it stays on the needles, Blueberry keeps growing. I’m starting to think that it’s going to be way to small for her when it comes off the needles now, even though I intentionally was knitting it larger than it needed to be for her. A year ago, when she was a smaller girl than she is now. This, of course, does nothing for my motivation to get it finished — what is the fun going to be if it comes off the needles and Blueberry can’t even wear it?

Months ago, my mentality with working on this project shifted to a mentality of obligation, of drudgery. Even more so since I declared that finishing it was one of my 2014 Knitting Goals. Simply put, knitting this has no longer been fun for me. However, I carried on. Each row brought me closer to the end of miles of stockinette. I was starting to see the pay-off. I thought I could actually finish this and love it.

When I went to San Diego a few weeks ago, I took it with me, thinking that it would be a good project to work on in the evenings when I holed my introverted self up in the hotel room and recharged after spending the day surrounded by people at the conference I was attending. As it turned out, I made some friends at the conference, and didn’t have much time in my hotel room that I didn’t devote to sleeping, so I didn’t do any knitting on it. I should have left the project at home, because when I opened my suitcase after arriving, I discovered something had spilled and got half the stuff in my suitcase wet. The casualties included the project bag that housed Adaline. The project’s bags colors ran, and some of the red stripes bled on the cardigan.

The Bleeding Project Bag

This is the project bag that bled red all over my pretty pink in-progress cardigan.

Look at how those pretty red and white chevrons are tainted with pink. You better believe the bleeding wasn’t contained to the bag, the yarn in the cardigan took its share, too.

Stained

Here’s an example of where the color from the project bag bled in the sleeve.

There are a couple of spots on the sweater that are stained like that. Here’s how it left its mark in the lace work, e.g.

Staining The Lace

I really enjoyed knitting the lace pattern, but will the stains in it drive me crazy whenever I look at it now?

When I saw the damage, my first thought was that this was finally the straw to break the camel’s back. It was the perfect excuse to frog the project and repurpose the yarn for something else. Anything else.

But I had hours and hours and hours in that cardigan. And I really did love the lace. And, even it it wouldn’t fit Blueberry, I knew I’d enjoy looking at the cardigan when it was done. So I packed it all back up and set it aside. I thought about trying to address the staining, but I was in a hotel room on the other side of the country. I didn’t have time to go get special cleaning supplies and try to clean it out, wash it, and dry it — especially since it was still in-progress on the needles, without a good way of taking it off. So back to the back-burner it went.

I started thinking about it again recently and have been wondering what I’m going to do. I don’t like having this project in an unknown status. I want to finish it, one way or another.

I had pretty much decided that I’d just go ahead and frog it. But I still had a tiny bit of doubt, so I put a few pictures of the damage on my Instagram and almost immediately started getting helpful suggestions for attempting to clean it, or — even more exciting — to overdye it. Additionally, there was a decent amount of discussion about how the stains weren’t that noticeable (maybe so, and maybe they’ll be more or less so after blocking), and how it would probably be just fine for a child’s garment, as children are tough on their clothes. All very good points. Good enough to have me waffling again. I’m especially intrigued about the possibility of attempting to overdye it. It’s just that there are still hours and hours of knitting left before I finish the project — should I fish or cut bait?

It has me massacring classic English literature:

To frog, or not to frog, that is the question —
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of some knitting mistakes,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by frogging it end them? To tink, to rip —
No more; and by a rip, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
that Wool is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To tink, to rip —
To rip, perchance start new; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that frogging rip, shall we cast on,
When we have shuffled off this misplaced stitch?
Its gives us pause. There’s the respect
That makes a tangled mess, a kinked up skein:
For who would bear the WIPs and knits and purls,
The Wrong yarn-over, the Knitter’s arrogance,
The pangs of despised errs, the Yarn reveals
The insolence of Mistakes, and the Spurns
That patient meet of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his FO make
With a fresh needle?

Also, it has me quoting classic English literature, without a massacre:

Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

I’m still on the fence. What say you — to frog, or not to frog? Vote in this poll and leave a comment discussing why you think I should frog it or keep going.

We’ve all faced the question of frogging before. Join the conversation by leaving a comment about your favorite frogging story. Let’s all find comfort and solace in the frog pond together.

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

12 thoughts on “To Frog, Or Not To Frog, That Is The Question

    • Thanks, Ber! That has definitely been my thought for a while. But I must say the idea of attempting to dye it when it’s done does have an appeal…. I haven’t decided yet.

      Maybe if my yarn told me what it wanted to be, it would be an easier decision.

    • Hi, Melanie — that is certainly a popular opinion on the blog. I wonder if sharing more of the backstory on the cardigan explains why I’m getting more calls for the frog pond than I did on Instagram….

  1. Frog it, overdye the yarn, and make something RED for her! Or even just a darker pink. At her age, a cute pair of mittens and matching hat would be pretty cute…and maybe a matching set for Mom with the extra yarn? 🙂

  2. I had to make a similar decision not long ago, so I frogged a couple of rows to see how it felt…. and it felt great so I kept on frogging it! So try that method, frog a few rows & see how you feel about it!

  3. Well, on the one hand, it once took me four years to finish a pair of socks. On the other, the poor choice of yarn that caused the problem made frogging them impossible; and my feet didn’t grow.

    I suggest, if the needles can get wet, try to clean it now, while on the needles; then frog it, give the yarn another bath and a rest, and knit something else with it. You know exactly where the spots are now, but if you frog it first, you’ll lose some of them and they’ll show up unexpectedly in the next project. If the spots don’t come out, you can overdye the yarn after you’ve frogged the sweater.

    If Blueberry weren’t growing, I’d say to keep at it; or send it to me. I’d happily do the miles of stockinette and send it back to you for finishing work. 😉 But I don’t think either of us will knit fast enough to finish it in time for her to wear it – you because you’d rather knit something else, and me because I’m just slow. And you probably won’t want to give the cardigan away as a gift unless the spots come completely out.

    I think you should take that lace pattern and design it into something else for her – maybe something with an overall lace pattern similar to EZ’s February Sweater. 🙂

    Just accept that you enjoyed the knitting that you did, and you are releasing yourself now to continue enjoying knitting for Blueberry by allowing yourself to spend the time on other projects that are more fun. 🙂

    • That’s a great suggestion, and if I were “feeling” the cardigan overall, I’d probably try that. It just seems like a lot of work for something that I’m not really feeling anyway. I’m much more interested in the overdying suggestions. As far as Blueberry growing, that’s the other thing — I’m not even sure she’d fit in it now if it were finished. I started this last year! Mittens and hats are sounding more and more attractive.

      I will keep you in mind for future projects that require miles of stockinette. 😉

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