May 8, 2012

May is UFO Month!

It all started at the end of April.  Crystal, a cool lady from my knitting group, suggested that for the entire month of May we do the unthinkable:  We don't cast on anything new.  Every knitter has a pile of unfinished objects in the shameful corner of their craft stash.  We all do it.  Cast something on, get a few rows, maybe halfway, into the project, and then some new pattern or colorful yarn catches our eyes. Then wooooosh!  Project abandoned in the corner.

Let's be real honest with ourselves for a minute, shall we?  This happens all the freakin' time.  So Crystal started an Unfinished Object Knit-A-Long!  I won't lie, it's been tough.  Like the yarn junkie I am, I relapsed on the first day.  I blame Alex Tinsley's Hat-A-Long.

That button looks really familiar...
Don't confuse the smile on my face for happiness.  
There is  SHAME welling up inside me.

But a relapse doesn't mean you have failed!  I just got back on the wagon...  Wait, is the wagon sobriety in that metaphor?  So falling off of the wagon would be falling into a sea of yarn and new projects.   It's a confusing metaphor.

Ahem.  Anyway.  After that initial slip, I dug out a project that has been hiding in my closet for over a year.  This is my Howarts blanket!  It's the Olive's Afghan from the book Knit-A-Long (which is fitting since I'm picking this project back up for a knit-a-long!).  It actually made the move with me from my old closet to my new, much smaller closet where I am forced to interact with it daily. This UFO KAL has made those daily interactions less awkward.

See how ugly and unfinished everything looks?  
No wonder I put it away.

I am knitting my strips in the house colors from the four houses in the Harry Potter series.  I finished the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw strips before I put the project down last year.  I may have had a mental block against Hufflepuff and Slytherin since they are respectively boring and evil.  

The biggest problem when picking up an old project is that you are dealing with Past You. Past Ashley did not know how to properly weave in ends so she just left them running through the stripes like so:

My first order as a new UFO-knitter was to cut those running strands and weave them in as God intended.  So far I've only managed to fix one set of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw strips before I got bored as hell.  Then I moved on to stitching together the strips I want next to each other.  The planned order is Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, then repeat.  

First I thought crocheting the strips together would be the easiest, but that wound up taking up precious strip real estate and puckering, which I did not like:

Plus, you can't even see the rad purple yarn I used
which is supposed to represent the school color. 

It doesn't look bad necessarily, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I ripped it later that night in a craze. You know that delirium that sets in when you are awake much later than your body feels is appropriate?  Yeah, that's when I got the great idea to rip out all that crocheting and whipstitch these two strips together.  The result actually looks quite wizardy.

Ignore the ugly red end popping up to say hello.
I'll sort him out later...
For some reason I like the messy look better.  Plus, it's nice and flat like a blanket should be.  No ugly puckering in the back side.  This way the wrong side of the blanket still looks and neat too (if you can get past the crazy whip-stitching...).

Now that I've fixed at least one set of strips, I moved onto knitting the Hufflepuff strip.  I've only finished one, but here's how they are lining up:

Look at all those strips!  It's kind of nice coming
into a project that is already half done...

Not too shabby, if I say so myself.  Initially restarting this old project was a pain in the ass. Figuring out where I left off with no notes to myself (Thanks, Past Ashley!  You're a jerk!) and weaving in all those ends I had tried to hide by running them up the stripes.  But now that I've got a game plan and I actually like the look of it, I feel in control.  The UFO bag has moved from the shame corner in the closet to my yarn chest in front of my bed.  I am no longer mocked every time I see it.

It feels pretty good.