To Frog or Not to Frog

Oh, the trials and tribulations of knitting!

Okay, I know that knitting is supposed to be relaxing. And fun. And for me, and all that. It is, believe me. However, there are some aspects that cause me some angst. I’m not a perfectionist about much of anything (although I do like to do things well…it just doesn’t eat at my soul if it doesn’t always happen). But, when a knitting project is not toeing the line, I have problems. I don’t need it to be absolutely perfect. I do, however, want it to be useful. I don’t want to waste time and energy on something that just will not get worn or used. No matter how awesome a concept or cool a stitch pattern, if it gets stuck in the back of a closet somewhere and forgotten, it’s wasted.

The Slow Fashion movement makes me believe this even more. I don’t want to get too precious about things, but there’s no sense making something just for the sake of making it if it then goes on to be a burden to its owner. Even if I keep it, I then have to find something to do with it, or somewhere to store it. If I gift it away, the recipient then has that responsibility, along with a measure of guilt for not keeping it or not really wanting it.

So, how do you know if a project has ceased being a labor of love and started being an exercise in futility? My current example is my Color Dipped Hat. I decided to make this for my SIL’s boyfriend after much collaboration with her about pattern, color choices and size. It’s a fisherman’s rib hat knit for the first few inches in two colors then finished with just one color. The adult large size is supposed to measure about 22″ around and 12″ tall. My dilemmas are first measurements and then yardage.

IMG_4198Since it’s on a 16″ needle, it’s tough to know how wide it is. I do know it’s at least 22″ and probably a good bit wider. This ribbing, being chock full of yarn due to the construction, stretches like mad. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would accommodate a 30″ head without too much difficulty. It does have a good bit of spring and recoil and it is going to someone with a more than average amount of hair, but I’m worried it will be too loose.

Next, it currently measures about 5 or 5.5″ long. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but…it’s on the edge. I just took stock of things and realized I’ve used 50% of the yarn I have. So, it might not quite make it to the allotted 12″. Short and wide. Yeah.

I have some options, as follows:

  1. Rip it back, start again with about 20% fewer stitches.
  2. Carry on and knit it as tall as possible with the yarn I have. Use aggressive blocking to go for tall and skinny instead of short and wide.

Each option makes me feel a little ill. Since this pattern is slow going, I’ve put hours into this hat already. It would hurt a lot to rip the whole thing out and start over. However, now I’ve really got this pattern down. There are a couple of places where I made small errors that, while no one else would ever notice them, I’d have the chance to do it right (dropping stitches and redoing them up the column is not a great option here–it’s really, really tricky to get it right). The second option is great unless I end up with something that resembles a coffee filter more than a hat. If I double the time I’ve already put into it and come up with something unusable, that would suck even worse.

IMG_4178Guys, this hat is cool. I mean, really cool. The way the colors work with each other is awesome. It’s reversible and each side looks great so you can wear it either way. I really want it to work. This project seems like it will either be an epic win or a total flop and I just can’t predict which one.

IMG_4211So what do you think? Rip it and rework, or keep going and hope? What would you do?

IMG_4212

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32 comments

  1. brooke · October 24, 2015

    I always ripped and reworked. I started crocheting because knitting caused me such angst. lol I love the colors, it is really freaking cool!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · October 24, 2015

    OMG…I totally feel your pain! Why would you rip out such beautiful work? However, if it’s way too huge / not working…why not start over? Would you be faster now that you have worked the pattern and have a feel for it? I’m only at the beginning of a project and feel like ripping it out, because it just doesn’t look right. Too many spaces between purl and knit because of super bulky yarn. I’ve also done an entire hat in sock yarn that turned out too huge (you know that took forever!)…because I just didn’t have the skill to figure out that it was going to be HUMONGOUS! You know your knitting, and you know if you are going to be happy with the final product. Trust your instinct!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      It would probably go a smidge faster the second time around, but not a ton. I’m kicking myself because I got everything right in terms of gauge and swatching, just didn’t consider the pattern measurements were maybe off. I really think a hat needs a little bit of negative ease.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paula @ Spin a Yarn · October 24, 2015

        I just took my own advice and frogged my hat 🙂 I don’t think this yarn wanted to become my first cabled hat 🙂 It sounds like you’ve gotten a lot of good advice from fellow knitters. Frog on, my friend, frog on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

        Ahh, bummer. When it’s gotta be done it’s gotta be done, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. afthead · October 24, 2015

    Give him a reversible, beautiful, reusable coffee filter. If that doesn’t make you happy you have to rip it out. Painful though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      Oh my god…if he actually used it as a coffee filter!!!!

      I think you might have hit the nail on the head

      Liked by 1 person

      • afthead · October 24, 2015

        Coolest coffee filter ever! It would make his morning every single day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

        Ha! I don’t know how I’d show my disapproval, but I’m sure that I would!! Coffee a la Koigu is not what I intended!

        Liked by 1 person

      • afthead · October 24, 2015

        Expensive coffee filter…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Faye Elizabeth · October 24, 2015

    I’m teribble for frogging stuff lol, I do it all the time but I do like to get things right as often as I can and most of the time I go wrong somewhere! Personally, I would frog it and start over, I think you’d feel better if you knew you were getting it right from the off 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      I do frog things pretty frequently. I just don’t usually do it halfway through a project. I knew it was an issue a while ago but I talked myself out of it. I should really know better by now!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Karin · October 24, 2015

    I have to agree with my fellow froggers. It’s so very painful but I’m always glad in the end when I choose that option. The colours are perfect together, a great choice!

    Liked by 2 people

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      Yeah, I think you’re right. I think I knew it all along but just needed someone else to tell me!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sanne · October 24, 2015

    I agree with everyone else! If you hate it already it’s just going to make you miserable. Frogging and reworking it will take less time than the agony you’re left with when it’s done and not right. Plus it might boost your motivation if you know the size is correct the second time around. 😉

    I’m curious, do you ever swatch before you cast on? I always do and it’s saved me a lot of frustration. If you don’t already I really recommend it, particularly with stitches you’ve never done before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      I do most of the time. I did this time too, but just enough to see how close I was to gauge. It’s actually very close to the pattern dimensions, but working with the knitted fabric has showed me that the pattern dimensions are a bit too large!

      Like

  7. Carol E. Herman · October 24, 2015

    I love the colors together. They look awesome! Frogging is such a personal decision, but you might be happier with fewer stitches, especially since it is so stretchy. Love the hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bekki Hill · October 24, 2015

    I feel your pain, but have to agree with the froggers – take it back. It will always nag if you don’t. And, dare I say it, frog a second time if it’s not right. It is miserable, but I’ve always regretted it when I’ve known I should have frogged and haven’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      Yeah. If I don’t, and just give it to him wondering if it’s right or not, I will probably never know. That might be even worse!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bekki Hill · October 24, 2015

        Oh yes, you’ll be able to torture yourself wondering. Well, I would anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. theleaninglarch · October 24, 2015

    That’s a hard choice, I don’t think that its absolutely necessary to frog though, The hat being shorter than 12 inches really wouldn’t be a big deal, I recently made a hat and it had a circumference of 22 inches and is 10 inches long including the ribbing and its quite a generous hat, not small at all (I have a small-ish head and I can pull the hat all the way down to my chin without stretching it).
    That being said I can’t actually see the hat, so if you really feel like its not going to work and you need to frog and start over then make sure you measure your gauge off the hat before your rip then multiply that number by 22 to get the number of stitches you need to cast on, I guess you could cast on a few less than that if you want some negative ease to make sure it fits snug. But figuring the number of stitches that way is a pretty safe bet that you’ll end up with the size hat that you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      Usually 10-11″ would be fine, but in this case I want it to be long enough to fold the brim up. And, with the brim down, I want it to be a little slouchy. I do think that I want it to have just a little negative ease, too. Not enough to distort the rib but enough to keep it from moving around a ton. I think the dimensions I have would be fine except that the rib is much stretchier than I’d anticipated.

      Like

  10. Stefanie · October 24, 2015

    This is a really cool design. I am the type of person who has to do it right, I’m afraid. Otherwise, of you’re okay about those mini glitches and will run out of yarn, would you be willing to gift it to someone who’s head will for it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • alexand knits · October 24, 2015

      I’m okay with the mini-glitches, but I want this to go to the intended recipient. If it were a hat I could make in a day or two, no biggie. But since this whole project was crafted with him in mind and since it is so time consuming, I think I want it to be right.

      Like

  11. Midnight Knitter · October 24, 2015

    Frog, definitely frog.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tamera L · October 25, 2015

    I also voteto rip it and rework. Which sucks. However, judging by the comments here, at least you’ll be in the throes of Froggerland with good company!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Andrea @ This Knitted Life · October 26, 2015

    Frog or not, the colors look great together. So at least you have that going for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Putting in Time | alexand knits

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