S.O.S. Someone send me a lifeline!

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Do you allow UFOs into your life??

Don't worry, this is not some extra-terrestrial, sci-fi loving post. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

No, I'm talking Unfinished Objects of the project kind.

This sweater is fast making me want to throw it into a UFO pile.

Recently I encountered this problem in the process of knitting the front/back of my sweater.

The mother of all holes smack bang centre front.


And yes it took me several more inches of knitting to even discover this monstrosity.

Dropped stitch? Nup, all stitches accounted for.

The most frustrating annoying yarn known to man? Yep, that'd be it. See how you can see the stitch, it's just super fine? That's partly user error and partly the most annoyingly thick-and-thin yarn ever. This is already a lace-weight yarn (even though it often listed as DK, and it's recommended to use DK sized needles) and over the differently dyed lengths of yarn the thickness does vary. Particularly in that light grey yarn where the hole appeared. The grey lengths are particularly fine.

I truly do not know how I missed this, but miss it I did and a solution was needed.

Call in the lifeline!

In knitting, a lifeline is a temporary thread inserted through a row of stitches below an error. It "holds" those stitches so you can remove your needle/s and rip back past the error in order to fix it. This means you don't risk dropping any stitches and totally making a mess of your work. When you rip back to the lifeline row you simply pick all those stiches back up onto your needles and start knitting again.

I used waxed dental floss for my lifeline. Yep, dental floss. It works really well as the floss is finer than the yarn being knitted and has a bit of body - this means it doesn't simply collapse  and go all floppy when holding the stitches, making it much easier to slip your needles back in.

You can see its "body" in the shot above.

It can be a little difficult to pull out after you've reinserted your needles as it can snag or stick to the yarn due to its waxed properties, but it's well worth using and I've had greater success with this than using regular sewing thread or a contrasting coloured yarn.

This sweater is still making me feel like UFO-ing it. It really is.

I purchased this pattern and yarn in a rush of newfound adoration. So pretty... so cropped/high waisted! I don't do high-waisted! I'm long-bodied and a low-slung hipster wearing girl! I'm lengthening the body by 2 inches and its still looking short.

I've had several problems with the lace sections for totally unknown reasons and tinking (un-knitting) this yarn is a bitch. It kind of felts and gets sticky and makes the process thoroughly miserable. This sweater is taking forever!!!

I've only had one UFO in all the years I've been sewing/knitting. I was working on a gorgeous vintage dress from the 1950's, with acres and acres of material (it was one of those awesome swooshy skirted ones) when it all went terribly wrong...

I cut right through the centre front bodice whilst serging some seam allowances. *GASP*. There was just so much fabric to handle! I was rushing along! It was the most heartbreaking moment of my sewing life...

I ran screaming from the room and didn't return for several days. On return I sadly bundled up my half finished dress and shoved it in the back of a cupboard. I can't bear to look at it.

I have no room in my life for more UFOs. Finish this I will.

Do you have a pile of UFOs sitting shame-facedly in a cupboard somewhere or do you finish everything you start?


  1. Praise be for the life line! Goodness the frock drama sounds heinous indeed.... Sadly I have an ironing basket that currently contains a couple of sewing UFOs plus things to be refashioned plus ironing. And the damn knitted kombi is still yet to be finished (my mother in law has crocheted wheels for me - it's the husbands birthday in July so I'm aiming to have it done by then!). I have no qualms about putting down something that I'm not enjoying creating. Is it worth hibernating it for a while?

  2. Its awful when your pleasure becomes a nightmare. I went and got thos pattern after reading about it on your blog, so pretty. I just finished it ready for blocking. I found the wool odd. Also found the lace at the neck challenging, so many stitches and nit easy to see how the pattern us forming. I had to count and count ..... I also knitted 4 extra rows at the neck and thus decreased extra so my bra didnt show! Not my favourite knit, but should be blogging it next Tuesday.

  3. Danielle Krivan21 May 2014 at 21:58

    Oh, that's heartbreaking! But thank you very, very much for the lifeline tip - I've never seen that before and will be filing it away in the memory for future, grateful reference. Even with the hole, that progress shot is just beautiful, so I hope determination wins out over frustration for you!

  4. Such a bummer! I haven't used a lifeline before--I've just unravelled without one more times than I'd like to admit. Next time I'm in that situation, I'll have to try your tip. I just moved, and in the process of packing, I unearthed 4 unfinished sewing projects. I looked at them all and decided that my sewing skills were significantly better now. Each one had some issue--either it was something I would never wear, or it had a serious sewing error. So, I just threw them away! I felt a little guilty about it, but honestly, I think it was the right decision to make. I do have a half-knitted lace cowl waiting for me to pick it back up at some point . . . but, I think it's nice to have a shorter project like that to grab between bigger projects. Oh crap, I nearly forgot, I have a half-finished queen-sized quilt top that's been half-finished since . . . gasp . . . 2007. It's a goal of mine to finish that this year.

  5. Praise be indeed! A knitted Kombi? You rock! I really need a sweater so I think I'll soldier on instead of hibernating. I am not knitting as often as I'd like and starting something new would probably mean no new sweater/cardigan this winter. I just don't have the hours of knitting time I used to seem to have.

  6. Oh that's so cool! I can't wait to see yours. What is your blog? It doesn't appear linked to your Disqus profile. I've heard the yoke is a bit difficult from a few makers, so I'm not looking forward to it.

  7. Happy to help with the lifeline! I always hope I'm sharing something someone else can benefit from. I think I'll make it through this project... Just

  8. Oh you are game unravelling without a lifeline. That would just about frighten the life out of me! I think you're right about having a smaller project to work on in between, but my time is so limited I think perhaps I'd never get back to the big ones :)

  9. I admire your determination! The kombi is a pattern he bought me oh 2 years ago! I'm making it in vile acrylic and there's probably only a couple of hours left in it. I'm so selfish though! You'll be excited for me, I've started my cape cod, just finished the first lace repeat! So exciting.... Wishing you extra hours in the day!

  10. Gabrielle Corbett15 June 2014 at 00:17

    Oh wow, lifelines sound terrific! That jumper sounds like it needs an awful lot of patience - I think I'd be telling it to start behaving or else! Naughty projects in my house become UFOs, unless they're extra cute or someone else puts in a good word for them (like "please mum"). So I have lots of UFOs in my life! Yes they're a mess, but sometimes (often) cracking open a new project takes a lot less energy and self discipline than persevering with the current project (which I may have started to hate... ).

  11. I really started to hate this piece, I don't believe in making my life a misery. It had to go! And I actually doubt now that I'll ever go back to it.


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