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Thursday, February 3, 2005





Over the last couple of years, I’ve found 3 Naughty Knitting Things that really amuse me. These things all have one thing in common: they let you do something you would usually avoid at all costs to your garmet.

3 Naughty Knitting Things:

Felting (where you get to SHRINK the bejesus out of a sweater ON PURPOSE)
Steeking (where you actually get to take a sharp instrument and CUT the garment)
Frogging (where you RIP the sucker right back to its roots)

Now, granted #3 is RADICAL. It is time consuming. It is Post-Production, or post-pro, as we like to say in the video trade.

This is the only activity of the above which de-evolves the sweater back to its main ingredients. And THAT is ususally what you are lusting after.


If I want the yarn, I have to rip out the sweater.

The sweaters above were the latest RIPfest activity I wallowed in. I wanted that Rowan Magpie Tweed! It was not going to sit on the shelf MOCKING me for my poor choice of pattern/execution – this yarn, for the first sweater pattern I picked was just WRONG.

So, off with its thread, so to speak and now I have a Wearable Cardi to play in for the rest of the Winter (did I mention, here in the Midwest, Phil the Ground Hog sez it’s 6 weeks MORE!).

I feel the same way about the yarn in this sweater, the sweater I’m playing with for Alison’s Knitalong

It is NORO! It is, quoting the Yarn Market‘s blurb: Luxury! Cashmere and Silk blend yarn from Noro of Japan. 40% Silk, 30% Lambswool, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon yarn. …

I’ve never owned a non-vintage cashmere sweater – used to have a bunch I grifted out of thrift stores in the day…

But here it is, cashmere, silk, Mocking Me from the Sweater Cabinet, daring me to RESCUE its fabulous little Damson Plum ass…

So, while watching “The Girl with the Pearl Earring“, the RIPfest began.

First, it was imperative that I get the furry neckline off the body of the sweater. This is, besides taking the bold step to rip the thing to begin with, the most challenging part of the task. WHY?

You have to FIND the yarn ends you wove into the garment where you seamed or added collars/button bands. I have a really sharp pair of surgical scissors I use to go fishing with; they can prod and poke and un-tie really well. Luckily, it was easy to find where I’d connected the ends of the fur yarn to the Noro – they left a bumpy little knot.

After teasing the knot apart with my scissor point, I *un-wove* the last row of body yarn knitting from the collar. I really wanted to preserve all the CASHMERE I could.

This is time consuming – you go stitch by stitch and just *follow the bread crumbs* back to the next seam. But it is really worth it if you can’t just undo a cast-off or cut the offending piece right off the garment.

… to be continued – read the Notes here.

21 responses to “Thursday, February 3, 2005”

  1. claudia says:

    Nice. Very nice. Good (re) use of the Magpie Tweed.

  2. Carissa says:

    I totally agree! there’s nothing like that beautiful yarn sitting on the shelf taunting you!
    Love Shazam! love love love it!!!

  3. levis_mama says:

    did you come up with Shazam’s pattern on your own? It’s amazing!

  4. soooo brave! I used to frog more and now i seem unable to undo a project, no matter how poor the fit – i think i hate spending time undoing when i could be just knitting instead. but you are right – good yarn should never go to waste! your frogging courage has inspired me to undo a skirt i made with some beautiful artfibers yarn but it just don’t fit – i need to try again!!!! (will i ever find the time with a newborn????)

  5. Cruz says:

    That Shazam is soo beautiful and so unique. It must feel great to wear something that was made only for you!

  6. jo says:

    I understand completely about the off-the-shoulder thing getting out of hand. I used felting to cure my latest problem with that (caused by knitting Blaze in 100% alpaca; felting helped a lot).

  7. rachelkates says:

    Love it!

  8. Bonne Marie says:

    I hear you on that I’d rather be knitting than ripping – I was overcome by yarn greed though that made me rip out those projects! It seems I’m always coveting SOMETHING yarny that is just out of grasp, even if it’s ALREADY MINE! How kinky is that…

    BTW Cristina – your baby Brendan is PRECIOUS – Congratulations!!! (And, I snuck a peak at your awesome CD cataloging – right down I’m on the music train bigtime and really enjoying any and all playlists I come across…)

    And the band played on…

  9. lissa says:

    The SF Chronicle had a big long article on men in knitting. Funny no mention of the Russle Crow picture…

  10. jane says:

    Your blog today was perfect timing. I made a beautiful Must Have last year that is just too big. It falls off my shoulders and just hangs around. I’ve been thinking about felting it but have hesitated for fear of ruining it. Maybe I’ll give it a try. I’ll look on the internet for some guidance first. Thanks for the thoughts. Jane

  11. Rachael says:

    You are brill-ee-yant.

  12. Julia says:

    Shazam is gorgeous. I seem to remember that it was an original design – is that right? Any chance that you’ll sell the pattern or are you keeping it a one of a kind?

  13. Bonne Marie says:

    THANKS! :)

    I think Shazam is going to be a oneOFaKind because at this point – no time to suss out the details. It is a WHOPPER!

  14. nona says:

    Your Shazam sweater is definately that – Shazam! Well worth the effort of the frog and the redo. Too bad — but understandable — that there will be no pattern. I suppose it gives us all a chance to use our own creativity. The collar, fringe, and zipper add a hip quality to the loyal Aran sweater.

  15. Patti says:

    Great new sweater. I love the change! It is definitely a much better sweater. I think you made the right choice!

  16. lynette says:

    what an awesome fix!! i love the revamped Shazam sweater. the fringe is a lovely finish.

  17. Nancy says:

    I knitted a coat using noro lotus and hated it. Finding strength in reading your blog and others, I frogged, something I thought I would never do nor say, the sweater. Totally different style and I love it. I wish I had a before picture to show off how awful wonderful. Thanks for the condifence.

  18. Lynn says:

    And did you just need to snap your fingers from Sweater A to Sweater B? ;o)

    *Sigh* Colin Firth in Girl with the One Pearl Earring…yes, that’s lovely company…

  19. paula says:

    Shazam is GORGEOUS!

    Please say you aren’t completely opposed to selling a pattern sometime in the future when life allows?

    I know, I’m being selfish, but it’s SO GORGEOUS!


  20. froggy says:

    just amazing! that’s just slammin’!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I love the way you’ve transformed that sweater… and I am really into the rich, chocolatey brown color of your new Shazam. I myself am often too afraid to frog – so thanks for your positive take on the subject!

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