January 22, 2012

UFO's: Not Just For Intergalactic Space Travel Anymore

Annie's never ending Potato Chip scarf. I
don't recommend making one of these with baby
yarn. Takes FOREVER! This one is now done.
 When you clean up a huge mess like a yarn stash (or a mobile home surrounded by mountains of unknown materials...I've had to do both), you never know what you might find. In the case of the mobile home, you might simply encounter things that prompt you to contact Hazmat or animal control. But in the case of the yarn stash, you might come across things long unaccounted for--and much missed--like knitting needles or tiny stitch holders you thought were lost forever. You might find a missing hank of yarn that was intended to complete the yardage needed to someday create the perfect sweater. And you might find some of those perfect sweaters in unfinished states. These projects are good examples of "UFO's."

UFO's are not the traditional unidentified flying objects (well, I guess they could be if they were cabled cardigans thrown across the room in frustration...). To knitters, UFO stands for UnFinished Object. Most of us do not have one UFO. We have many, many, many UFO's.

Take my stash mess, for example. I found much-needed needles, to my relief, in many sizes and styles as I cleaned. I found my share of missing skeins of yarn that I didn't even know were missing until I cleaned. And, of course, I found several UFO's.

Mostly, the UFO's were mistakes. I had a legwarmer that would fit around my thigh, but was meant for Amy Rose when she was 1. I muttered to myself that at least I had only made one. I had a single Mary Jane bootie that I remember struggling through when I didn't know how to read a pattern very well. I must have stopped in frustration.  I had a poncho that I had tried as an experiment--even before the booties--a pattern out of a Debbie Macomber book. It was my first try at reading a pattern and I didn't understand about weaving in ends. Consequently, each time I added another color (it was a free form, change-colors-whenever-you-want- poncho), I tied in the new yarns and cut them short, leaving little nubs of shredded yarn sticking out all over the place.

Not even a child can get
a leg in these

Dorm Booties, from Rhodes. The closest pattern I have found
is here: http://www.tropicalyarns.com/index.cfm?PID=22&ProdID=307

Then there was the category of "what the heck is this and who does it belong to?" These items included a pair of unmatched "Dorm Booties," so-named according to the pattern that was with them. It was from a store called "Rhodes," which, upon some research, turns out was a local department store that distributed patterns for the Red Cross during WWII. These were not from one of those patterns. But were interesting nevertheless. They were typed on what was typical "onion skin" type paper with a manual typewriter. The ink is now nearly invisible after all these years, but I am trying to decipher it.

I think the booties were from my grandmother's things. It would be shocking to think she would not finish a pair, so I concluded that my mother must have been the single-booty culprit. My grandmother was always complaining that my mom didn't finish what she started. And there was another cabled sock that was so tightly knit that it would fit no one's ankle. Also likely mom's.
Next on the growing list of projects to toss or complete were a couple of unfinished projects of my own. There was a tank top that had too-narrow shoulder straps that I had intended to frog months before, some scarves meant to be gifts and an uncompleted sock design. I wanted a tornado of Harry Potter lightning bolts and worked on this pattern as I knitted up the leg of a sock in inexpensive yarn. I have since figured it out. I will be frogging this sock, too, and working it up properly.

Harry Potter lightning socks, coming soon
This was all very frustrating since cleaning out your stuff also makes you feel anxious and empowered to start whipping out some huge project. But, alas, I feel I must put on the brakes. I have decided to complete what I can, gifts first, then work out the faded writing on my grandma/mom's mysterious pattern for adult booties. Finally, I will complete that Harry Potter design, hopefully in time for Halloween.

Turns out that riding UFO's is not really that fun. The trip usually winds up taking longer than you think. And that idea that they travel faster than the speed of light? That's a myth.


Deb said...

The Dorm Booties were the first thing I learned to knit (some cough cough 30 years ago when i was a kid). My mom and grandma just 'knew' the pattern and it's been stuck in my head ever since. Just the other day I was thinking that I should write it down so *my* daughters can learn it, since it's so easy. Fun to see it come out of the woodwork.

The Knitting Muse said...

Deb, I love that your mom and grandma made these--and out of their head! And I am envious of your experience. I love meeting and knowing people like you who have 30 years of knitting behind them. I could have been that way, too, if only I had kept it up instead of quitting when my own mom and grandma showed me how. I really feel behind, skillwise, most of the time! I hope the link to the pattern is what you use for the boots! I am going to try it out, too, and I would love to hear your ideas/comparisons! : ) Happy Knitting