Monday 25 January 2021

#LooseEndsMAL: RIP time!

At the start of the year, I launched the #LooseEndsMAL, a MakeALong (MAL) to encourage you to go and unearth some treasured works in progress (WIPs) and turn them into precious finished objects. If you’re not in love with the WIP any more, now is the time to let it go! You can read all about the MAL here.

This week I’m going to share the projects that didn’t quite make the cut: the RIP pile. For knitters, RIP isn’t Rest in Peace, it’s rip, where you unravel the yarn back to yarn. There are many reasons to rip a project: the yarn isn’t as nice to knit with as you thought it might be; you got distracted so long ago that you have forgotten what it was you were making; your gauge changed over time, and whatever you were knitting no longer has the right gauge; you didn’t knit a swatch and the finished project comes out tiny or enormous! I think we’ve all been there! Sometimes I just lose interest in whatever I was knitting, usually distracted by shiny new projects that take priority.

Here are a few projects that didn’t quite make the cut.


1. Fruit-tastic stripes!

You met these last week: my watermelon socks. I cast these socks on about 18 months ago, and they were an experiment in two ways:

1.      The yarn is cotton, so this was going to be my first pair of hand-knitted cotton socks.

2.      They are shortie socks, so can be worn in the summer.

I misjudged the row gauge so the socks got put to one side as I made the first foot too long. I have absolutely no enthusiasm for them now, so they have now been ripped back.

Yarn: Regia Cotton Tutti Frutti in Wassermelone*


2. Pond Street

I picked up the kit for this shawl at Yarndale a few years ago. I love the colours, but not the yarn: I find alpaca too prickly to go against my neck, so this is never going to be worn. Add to that the fact that the chevron pattern isn’t something I enjoy knitting (I have an amazing talent for going wrong when knitting things that are seemingly simple), this isn’t a project that I want to finish, even as a gift, so this one has been unravelled. I’ve reclaimed 20 stitch markers in the process too, so that’s a definite win!


Yarn: Baa Ram Ewe Titus


3. Blue toddler jumpers


I think I cast these on for my nephews before the youngest was born, but got distracted and didn’t finish them in time. Both boys are now too big even for the bigger of the two jumpers I had planned. Yes, I could have finished them off for other children (there are always more babies!), but I didn’t find what I’d already knitted terribly inspiring, so they’ve been ripped back.


4. Owl mitts, sort of…

In my tidying, I found a bag that contained three flip-top mitts. No combination of the three created a matching pair, so I’m not quite sure what happened there! I didn’t unravel them, but put them straight in the bin! There was a pile of spare yarn too, but the colours really aren't my thing, so they've been rehomed.

5. Flamingo socks

This is another pair of socks I introduced you to last week. I love the yarn, I love the sock, but I used a really cheap set of needles and I cannot get the gauge to match between sock one and sock two!! The needles have been put in the bin, and I’ll try to make some socks from the spare yarn later in the year, but I can't quite bring myself to unravel the sock, so I might do experiments with that later in the year...

Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply* in Pink Flamingo and Sarsaparilla.


What do I do with unravelled projects and spare yarn?

Once I’ve unravelled a project, it’s very rare for me to go back and re-use the yarn, so what do I do with it? First up, I offer it to my mum! She likes to knit blankets from squares, so scraps and oddments are perfect for using up in striped squares if they’re small, and plain squares if they’re larger. I send any other oddments, and partial balls left once I’ve finished a project, to Knit for Peace, a charity that distributes finished knits (e.g. blankets and hats) to places they are needed, and will find a good home for any yarn and knitting supplies to places where they can be used (I tend to send spare knitting needles and notions from magazines to them as I already have plenty of those things). What do you do with your leftovers and oddments?

If I have larger amounts left after I finish a project (usually because I overestimated how much I needed to make the sleeves and body of a jumper longer), or larger quantities of yarn I realise I am not going to use, I tend to list them on eBay as auctions. I set the minimum price I am willing to accept, and then take it from there. I love that the auctions have a finite end point, so I’m not stuck in limbo with the yarn for ages. If you do this, do bear in mind that eBay take fees on both the sale price and the postage, and PayPal take a cut, so it’s not generally worth selling anything that’s worth less than about £5, especially if yoy have to make a special trip to the Post Office to post it.

After all that clearing out, I got rid of a grand total of 768 g of yarn, which feels pretty good! How is your project sorting going? Have you found any hidden treasures?


If you have long-abandoned WIPs that you need a push to get finished, why not join me in the #LooseEndsMAL, either on Instagram or Ravelry,** or let me know in the comments below what WIPs you want to get finished this year. The #LooseEndsMAL runs until the end of February 2021. For full details on how to enter, read this post.

*Affiliate link.

**Ravelry link; may cause issues to people with photosensitivity.

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