December Discussion – When to Stop


I pretty much knit what I want when I want.  I like to have a variety of works in progress to choose from, based on my mood.  As such, I have no problem putting a project down for a while, even months, and coming back to finish it later when I am in the mood for it.  Occasionally, I end up deciding not to finish a project because I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would and don’t think I’ll come back to it if I put it down.  This doesn’t happen often, though.  Of the 123 projects I have logged on Ravelry over the last few years, I have only frogged 13 of them.

From left to right and top to bottom, we have:

  • Socks I wasn’t technically ready for and came back to two years later.
  • A cowl I got bored with.
  • A hat I was going to lose yarn chicken on (I knit the yarn into Lina and Gosai Mitts instead).
  • A shawlette that I just didn’t care to finish.
  • Another shawlette that bored me very quickly.
  • Tulip Tank’s rows were so long that I only put one day of work into it, was bored out of my mind, and decided it wasn’t worth it.
  • A sock that was too big.
  • A sock that I got bored with.
  • Mittens that I messed up the first time, didn’t fit the second time, and by then I didn’t care to try a third time.
  • A design that I never felt like finishing.
  • Socks that didn’t fit (it fit once on, but it was a huge pain in the ass to get the thing over my heel) so I didn’t knit the second one and frogged.
  • A design that didn’t work out, mostly because I got bored of it.
  • Socks I was very bored with.

So the central themes in my frogging history are that I either get bored, the thing isn’t going to fit, or it’s impossible to finish because I don’t have enough yarn.  I think those pretty much summarize the reasons I stop knitting things.


When I set a goal for myself, like Hatamaran, I find that often I invest a lot into it. I push myself to meet my goals, and what is likely to happen is hand strain, not getting enough sleep, and stress from the pressure I’ve placed on myself. It’s a constant struggle for me to learn when to just quit on something, because it always feels like just quitting. But knitting is something I do for myself, and no-one around me is in charge of how I do it, or why. That’s why I’m constantly trying to convince myself that it’s ok if I just…stop knitting for a while. They’re my knitting goals, after all, it’s ok if I accomplish them on a timeline that works for me.

I’m actually currently in a knitting stop! Because I realized I was avoiding certain stressors by doing some obsessive knitting every time I was at home, I made the executive decision to take a little break and get my house back in order, and my work-life back in balance. And right now, it’s going well.  Yes, the break is extending the time it takes me to knit my next few projects, but that’s alright! I will never run out of things I’d like to knit, even if I knit something new every day for a decade.


I’ll often find myself stopping a project because I have just stopped caring about it. When I try it on and it doesn’t come close to fitting. When I get halfway through and it just looks awful so why even bother? While these all sound sad, it usually ends up being a positive experience for me in the end. I talk a bit about this in my post When good projects go bad, but here’s a little refresher of my sweatering woes.

  • You all remember Ranger. I got the whole body done and just needed the collar/band, to find that the dye lots were horribly not-matching and the fit was wrong. That was actually an easy one to stop, because thankfully it didn’t fit.
  • I got the entire body done on what I referred to as a Frankenshirt, as I was using various patterns as inspiration. It had short rows and an open front. Before I started to do the sleeves, I tried it on and it was all over the place. Marked it down as a good effort but not my best work.
  • With the frogged yarn from my Frankenshirt, I started a Pomme de pin Cardigan for the Ravellenics. I did the whole body and one sleeve. The sleeve was way too tight on my upper arm, and I didn’t really care for it overall, so I put it in the frogpond.
  • I modified a See You There to be a pullover, and got the whole body done (do you see a theme?) and there was one skein that was a noticiably different color. Just the one. Right around my belly. Also I don’t like hoods so why was I making a hoodie? Frogpond!
  • With the same yarn as See You There, I had started a Hideaway. With this one, I’m pretty sure I was just knitting the very wrong size for me, as it was going great but I just had too much space! I’m really glad that I had frogged this, as I would’ve run into the same differently-dyed skein and would’ve been sad.

But remember, there’s an upside to these: With Ranger, I now know to do the next size up, and buy more yarn. Frankenshirt gave me good ideas regarding short rows at the back hem, and reinforced that I’m not the biggest fan of open-front cardis. Pomme de Pin reminded me that my constant modifications are not always a bad thing – it would’ve been fine if I had just added increases to the arms. See You There made me remember I don’t like hoodies, because I never ever put the hood up. And Hideaway put great emphasis on measuring and selecting the right size. See, lessons learned 🙂