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 Becoming Desensitized to Frogging (Long!)
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knittykat
Seriously Hooked

USA
710 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  10:08:06 AM  Show Profile Send knittykat a Private Message
I think I need knitting therapy. The last couple of projects I've worked have been hard. I have the back and one front side done of the Lavold Ljod cardigan. All those teeny tiny stitches and all those things happening at once are getting to me. Not to mention it's warming up here and I'm not exactly interested in sweaters right now. I'm also worried that after all that work it won't fit (hardly anything I've ever knit has fit at the end).

The other project is a short sleeved sweater from Vintage Knits. I'm doing it in Microspun, which is a pain in the booty to work with. It splits like crazy no matter how careful you are. On top of that, I made an error in the pattern--it has an 8 row repeat but I didn't realize that the rows were different so I did it on a 4 row repeat for a while, then changed to the 8 row when I discovered it, then did shaping for the armholes and was back on the 4 row. It doesn't look too bad as long as I do it exactly the same for the back. No way do I want to frog this--it's on size 2 needles which I positively hate and although this yarn feels beautiful knitted up I hate working with it.

My solution has been to work on kind of 'junk' projects. A basic pattern, the first yarn I grab, and the first needles I come across. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. If it doesn't I just frog it and I really don't care. I've become completely accustomed to ripping more than half of the projects I complete. My husband thinks I'm insane as I calmly finish a project and then rip it all back. I'm so used to things not turning out I'm starting to lose my taste for projects, although not for knitting. I've turned out scarves and little easy projects like a madwoman. I have an entire drawer of scarves. I require the motion of knitting and the rhythm of the needles but I dislike almost everything I turn out.

Once in a while I get a good one: the fisherman sweater I designed and it turned out beautiful. The socks I made for myself and my husband. The slinky scarves and fun hats I made for my friends. The afghan I made for my mom. The teeny tiny felted tote.

It seems like whenever I find a pattern I like, the yarn is way out of my budget. So I always end up trying to substitute and rarely succeeding. I made a sweater for my husband from yarn that cost more than I usually spend (but still relatively inexpensive) and it took me forever (he's a big guy) and it pilled on the first wear. It's not going to make it more than one season. I know some folks will say I should have used wool, but he's always hot and would never wear wool. I hate knitting with cotton so that's not an option either. I'm pretty much stuck with acrylic but the stuff that's in my budget is crappy. I feel like $30 for a sweater is an investment. I'm on a limited budget and I knit very fast, so I can't spend a lot of money on yarn or we wouldn't eat or pay the mortgage. There's no way I could spend $200 on a sweater. Especially when I never like how they turn out!

So lately I found I have been knitting crappy projects from bad yarn, without checking gauge or measuring, and simply frogging them when I'm done. It's starting to feel like a real waste, like I'm running on a hamster wheel. At first I thought "well, at least it was knitting and I was amused for a while" but now I'm starting to think it's a self-defense mechanism. I don't want to pay a lot for yarn but I want to make nice projects and I have trouble remembering complex patterns but I get bored just knitting straight back and forth, and I do measure and I do check my gauge but by the time the garment is knitted it's not the same anymore and so I've been just knitting things I don't care about because then I'm not disappointed when they don't turn out. I frog the doozies that haunt me and then I knit other things with the yarn that don't turn out, either. I'm starting to feel all the yarn is cursed!

I'm feeling extremely uninspired! I want to knit but I don't know what I want to knit. And I'm tired of the cheap yarns but I don't want to spend a fortune. One small skein for $10 is NOT happening with me! I need to feel confident that I'm going to love the final product before I can venture beyond the cheapo yarns. Because the way I see it now is I can knit things I don't like out of cheap yarn or I can knit things I don't like out of expensive yarn.

I'm thinking of doing a few projects like the felted bag from Stich & beach or the felted clogs from Knit 1 Felt Too. They don't take too much yarn so they don't cost too much, and how badly can a bag turn out? Does anyone have any suggestions or wise words?

Kat in Illinois

achrisvet
Permanent Resident

USA
5986 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  10:26:19 AM  Show Profile Send achrisvet a Private Message
Have you been to Elann? In the next week or so they are putting up a very inexpensive very soft yarn, I think it's a microspun type thing in lots of colors. Get on their email list and they will tell you when it's up. I am definitely getting some. I think it was less then $3 for 158 yards, but don't quote me on that.

You might want to get a book like Sweater Design in Plain English which teaches in detail how to make a sweater taht fits. It's $17.95 full price, but I'm sure you could find it at a discount.

You are a process knitter. You are more interested in the process than the product. And that's OK if you're OK with it. But it sounds like you want to start actually producing more usable things, so I would say some type of training is in order, either self taught or a class.

Anita

See my completed projects!
http://www.picturetrail.com/achrisvet
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purlewe
Permanent Resident

1921 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  11:17:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit purlewe's Homepage Send purlewe a Private Message
some other ideas.

i like the idea about the book from anita. see if they have it in the library. a friend told me she borrowed the sweater workshop from her library and it really changed her knitting life (she was a crochter who only knit scarves. now she knits sweaters all the time)

i understand your need to knit even if it doesn't work. perhaps places like elann and yarn.com can help with more varied yarn choices. sometimes they even have free patterns to go with your purchase. do you have a friend who also knits? someone you feel is a good enough knitter to help you figure out when things go wrong. (i would love to have a person i could call up for knitting emergencies) sometimes it just takes reassurance and all.

also have you thought of this? the items that worked.. are they items that "go" with other items in your closet? I love reds and golds to look at, but on me.. well I look wrong in them. I need more blues and blacks. I love somethings in design or color that do not fit me. (as much as I try to make them) perhaps a friend could tell you that sweater design is just not as flattering as another. my best friend went through my clothes at a major point in my life and said yes no and give to me. :) who knows, maybe you are just knitting the wrong garment.. maybe you are knitting me a garment!! :)

Cats always feel underestimated, underappreciated and underfed. ~Jon Carroll

http://www.livejournal.com/users/purlewe/
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jade
Permanent Resident

USA
1543 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  11:28:43 AM  Show Profile Send jade a Private Message
Kat - I've been there so I know how you feel. During my poor student days I would buy some yarn I could afford and knit something vaguely resembling a pattern. It usually didn't fit but I carried on regardless. After a period of feeling frustrated, I stopped knitting until I realized that I needed to put more effort into it.

My suggestion is that you go back to the beginning and start over. Scarves or other small projects are fine, but with every new item make it a point that you have to learn one new technique. It might be a texture stitch, it might be a different cast-off, or a blocking or shaping technique. When you finish that project you should have more confidence about going forward to the next one.

Make it a point that you always knit a gauge swatch - keep them in a notebook with information about the yarn. You will enjoy looking over this after a while, even the ones that didn't turn out well.

The point of this is to relearn the basics of knitting. Gauge, technique, shaping, fibers are all part of the tools knitters use, and you should have them at your fingertips. Once you have a few good results you'll feel better about your craft and the joy will come back.

There's nothing wrong with $30 sweaters. I'm making a jacket for my SO (man's size XL) which will cost less than that, and it looks like I'll have plenty over. It's undyed handspun Jacob wool which I found on ebay for $3 a 4oz skein. It's knitting up beautifully and no-one will ever guess it cost so little. Check the sales both in your local stores and online. With warm weather coming up you can find great bargains if you keep looking.

Cheryl
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Wovenflame
Seriously Hooked

Canada
812 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  11:37:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit Wovenflame's Homepage Send Wovenflame a Private Message
Hi Kat. Your frustration comes across very clearly. ((((HUGS)))

If you don't like your projects and can't afford better yarn, have you considered knitting other people's yarn for them? Not far from where I live there is a Red Cross building where they always have handmade articles on display in a window. The knitters (as well as other crafters) donate their time and often there is donated yarn that can be used. The finished articles are sold to raise money for the Red Cross.

I believe they only meet once a week and it is generally very elderly seniors that I have seen there. If you don't want to socialize at their weekly gatherings, I am sure they would allow you to knit at home on your own time donating your efforts. At least it would be a way to keep those fingers flying. I have donated odds 'n' sods of yarn and have recognized some of it in creations in their window! Some day.....SOME day, perhaps I will donate time as well as materials, but at the moment I have too many projects of my own that I want to knit!

Another thought.......Could you make simple projects to sell? Those fuzzy scarves are very popular right now, perhaps someone would be willing to donate the yarn if you would knit for them?

-Marlene-
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continental knitter
Warming Up

USA
98 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  3:39:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit continental knitter's Homepage Send continental knitter a Private Message
I also am becoming desensitized to frogging, but my husband is not! He freaks out and apologizes when he sees me frogging! And, no, it is never his fault...

I do have a couple of suggestions for you:
Keep knitting if you enjoy it. The process can be just as important as the product. Or even more important, depending on what is happening in your life.

Try a "Sweater Stone" on the pilly sweater. It costs about $8 but is well worth it. Shortly before my Mom died she knit a sweater of Wool-Ease (mostly acrylic) for my son and he wore it constantly. The pilling was terrible!! The Sweater Stone really made a huge difference.

And..if you want to knit some things where gauge doesn't matter, try knitting some baby things. No matter what size it turns out it will fit a baby sometime! If you don't know any babies there are a lot of charities that will make sure your knitted items go to deserving families. This is also pretty easy on the budget since acrylics are fine (actually preferred for some charities) and baby stuff only takes a small amount of yarn.

Hope this helps!
Blessings,

Susan
www.SpinBlessing.com
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SerMom
Permanent Resident

Canada
6412 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  8:00:03 PM  Show Profile Send SerMom a Private Message
I'm so sorry that you're feeling so frustrated. I agree with a lot of the suggestions others have given you. I noticed you said that your guage is fine in a swatch, but seems to change as you go on (at least I think that's what you said). I think many of us loosen up as we go along, which is one reason to knit larger swatches. But the otehr thing that might help is to meansure periodically. You shoud be able to figure out how lafge your project should be at a particular point. See if what you've done matches. If not, you can make adjsutments before it's too late.

However, if you enjoy the process, there's no reason you shouldn't knit and frog, or make giant swatches. This would be an excellent way to work on keeping a consistent tension. There's no rule that say you have to make usable objects. Do what you enjoy!!

Barbara

Remember, we're self-selecting!

My photos:
http://photos.yahoo.com/sermomca

My new blog:
http://sermomknits.blog-city.com/
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  8:55:34 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Dear Kat,

I understand completely. I am the one who only had one skein of nylon yarn and one pair of needles when I learned to knit and used them over and over again until I wore out the yarn. It was all I had to use for over 5 years.

An inexpensive yarn (acrylic) that wears well is Red Heart Soft. This is not regular Red Heart it is a little lighter in weight than regular red heart but knits to a worsted gauge. It is much softer and I have made a lot of children's clothing with it. I get it at Wal Mart for less than $2.50 a skein.

fran
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celia
Permanent Resident

Australia
2454 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  9:12:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit celia's Homepage Send celia a Private Message
don't despair.. I have trouble following patterns and have always been hesitant about making sweaters. I have found that I can quite easily knit squares for an afghan or scarves. when I am going through a particulaly bad patch, i knit non-thinking items like scarves and hats.acrylic works well for afghans as well because it normally means that the afghan will hold up to rough use.

i love going to markets. I often find cheap yarn there. Usually it's sold by the family of someone clearing out their store room or selling off stuff the granny/aunt/mum/etc left behind.

celia


http://www.imagestation.com/members/celiang
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FROGDANDY410
Chatty Knitter

United Kingdom
178 Posts

Posted - 05/05/2004 :  10:50:51 PM  Show Profile Send FROGDANDY410 a Private Message
I understand how you get frustrated with the project/money/boredom vicious circle: i'm on a strict budget and one of the reasons i took up knitting was i no longer had the means to an expensive lifestyle and i wanted to do something useful to occupy my mind that didn't involve too much money...that was a stupid idea, i know. So when i want to knit and i don't have money for a sweater or to buy the expensive yarns i like i do this: i buy 1 or 2 ball of something desirable as long as it's got plenty of yardage and is the sort of weights i normally use the most (double knitting or 4 ply)....and i always think about the colour so that it matches other stuff i have in my stash. i make hats, socks or patterned little scarves for myself or friends with that emergency stuff. eventually i plan to graduate to gloves. And i try to save my pennies for 'sweater' stuff in the meantime.
Another thing you could try is wait for the sales in the yarn stores or look up the discount websites people mention on here all the time....i've bought lots of linen drape balls at the equivalent of $2.50 a ball in the sales when it was discontinued. i'm stashing it until the right pattern comes along.knitting sometimes is a bit like going fishing: patience, watching and waiting.
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knittykat
Seriously Hooked

USA
710 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2004 :  07:41:26 AM  Show Profile Send knittykat a Private Message
First of all a BIG THANK YOU and God bless to all of you who read through that looooooooong and ranty post.

I am feeling better about it today. I think I am going to take almost every single suggestion in one way or another.

Anita, I hopped over to Elann and checked it out. I could afford almost everything on there. I think maybe I had a mental block--yarns from Wal-Mart are cheap, other yarns are all too expensive. Apparently that is not so. Even some of the 'regular' prices were workable with my budget.

Cheryl, I'm going to make a point of trying to learn at least one new technique every few projects. I've gotten into a rut with doing the same stitches on the same yarn over and over and its time to branch out.

Marlene, when I don't have anything 'on deck' and need to knit, I've decided to buy some soft acrylic and knit scarves and mittens for my church's mitten tree at Christmastime.

Susan, I put a Sweater Stone on my shopping list. I am also going to start knitting some baby things so I can try out new patterns and techniques without the stress of fitting into my own fashion scheme and and without having to buy too much yarn. I'm going to start by making a few things to tuck away for when my husband and I finally decide to have a baby, and then I'm going to make some for my church to donate to babies born under less fortunate circumstances.

Barbara, I'm going to force my stubborn self to knit larger swatches! I will also try to remember measuring as I go along instead of just barging ahead and hoping it works out.

Fran, some of my yarn has been knit and reknit so many times just like yours! I had made a sleevless sweater with a double strand of Lion Jiffy, one purple and one blue. I didn't like how it turned out so I undid it and painstakingly wrapped up each color separately. I made little backpacks for my nieces out of the yarn. They turned out much better than the sweater. I think I will make some sweaters for my nieces from the Red Heart Soft. (Actually, I think that was the first yarn I ever used when I learned to knit!)

Celia, I think when I need some mindless knitting I will try making some afghan squares. There's been a lot going on--so I should have an afghan finished in no time :-)

Froggy, I'm going to break into the pricier yarns by doing just what you do. I'm also at the same time going to try out elann.com....I'm going to order a few skeins for purses. It won't matter if they are a little more expensive and/or they don't feel very soft as I won't be wearing them. If you're interested, I have a vintage glove pattern that seems pretty easy. I can send you a copy if you PM me.

Thank you all! This was official Knitting Therapy! I'm so lucky to have a community of wonderful friends to help me through the rough spots.

Love,
Kat

Kat in Illinois
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SerMom
Permanent Resident

Canada
6412 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2004 :  2:28:50 PM  Show Profile Send SerMom a Private Message
I'm really glad that you're feeling better. Sometimes we just need to get it off our chests, and to know that someone cares. There's always someone here who does.

Do let us know how all these changes affect your knitting.

Barbara

Remember, we're self-selecting!

My photos:
http://photos.yahoo.com/sermomca

My new blog:
http://sermomknits.blog-city.com/
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Julie914
Gabber Extraordinaire

481 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2004 :  2:39:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit Julie914's Homepage Send Julie914 a Private Message
This may sound like a crazy suggestion, but knit lace.

You can use 'crochet cotton' from the craft store that sells at about $2.50 a spool, and these days you can find projects as difficult or as complicated as you want. Gauge doesn't matter if you're doing a doily or a shawl, and barely matters if you're doing something like curtains - just make sure it's too big. Lace knitting is what I did all those 'broke years' when I couldn't afford good stuff. And it's really process oriented and educational.

Hugs on the frustration, though. You aren't alone, I think all of us have been there at one time or another.

Julie

I'd try recreational drugs, but they'd cut into my yarn budget.
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celia
Permanent Resident

Australia
2454 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2004 :  4:37:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit celia's Homepage Send celia a Private Message
glad to see you're feeling better about your knitting:)
just one question - what is a sweater stone??
celia


http://www.imagestation.com/members/celiang
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knittykat
Seriously Hooked

USA
710 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2004 :  07:10:11 AM  Show Profile Send knittykat a Private Message
Looks to me kinda like a pumice stone.

http://www.fiber-images.com/mall/610_SweaterStone.asp

Kat in Illinois
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jade
Permanent Resident

USA
1543 Posts

Posted - 05/07/2004 :  09:14:37 AM  Show Profile Send jade a Private Message
Glad to hear you're in better spirits Kat. This is a great support group. I got a sweater stone last winter - it's abrasive and will scour off pills from sweaters. I've used it on wool and it was easy and worked well.

Cheryl
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