View Full Version : Your opinion: shrink or frog?

03-06-2009, 05:32 AM
Okay, I've got a minor dilemma.

I'm working on a lovely cardi, Wrenna, from French Girl Knits. I'm doing it in a lighter weight yarn than called for, Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky. I knit swatches, did the math (made my brain hurt), etc. It's worked up beautifully, but as usual my swatches don't quite reflect reality. The weight of the yarn (and how I knit a real sweater rather than a swatch, I suspect) is pulling the sweater a bit big. It's not by much, but enough that the cardi is a touch oversized, by about half a size.

I can give the finished item a hot water bath with no agitation and see if I can shrink it up a bit during blocking. (Judicious steam blocking in spots may also be necessary, but this yarn is known for how well it felts, sooooo...)

I can frog it and start over again.

I can give it to my sister who is a size up from me. ;)


03-06-2009, 06:08 AM
I would either frog, wear it big or give it to you sister. I would NOT shrink. Shrinking, or felting as we call it when it is intentional is controlled chaos. With something like a bag or a slipper it's ok to be a little unsure of the outcome but with a sweater, THAT'S A LOT OF HARD WORK.

I speak from experience. One of my early projects was a cable vest that came out entirely too big. I thought, as you did, I would just "shrink it a little". What a mess. The vest shrunk more lengthwise than width and it ended up a wide squaty mess.

03-06-2009, 07:55 AM
Good point. Hmmm. The swatch pulled in a bit, but my thought is that because it seems to be stretching out it wouldn't pull in enough. I will have to block anyway, of course, and there's quite a bit of lace section on the thing, which is pretty malleable. Perhaps I'll finish it the way it is, block it and see if it pulls in or will block to a half size smaller and stay that way without pulling back out, then decide whether to give it to my sister or to keep it. :) My bet is that since this yarn is known for felting easily, after blocking it'll be almost impossible to frog and have pretty yarn afterwards! (It's really sticky even now.)

Thanks, that gave me a bit of a reality check!

03-06-2009, 12:27 PM
Did you wash or block your swatch? Do that, with measuring before and after. That may give you an idea how the yarn will behave; some of them relax and get larger after they get wet. If the swatch grows, so will your sweater and you would need to start over. If it shrinks a bit, then you'd be fine.

03-06-2009, 02:24 PM
Yes, the swatch pulled in - but I'm not sure enough to make up for the stretching due to weight. Guess I'll find out!

03-07-2009, 10:51 AM
Personally, I don't like the sweaters that strecth all out and get baggy when I wear them. I like them to hold their shape. I think size wouldn't matter, baggy or fitted on a different sized person, if the sweater would just stretch all out.

I think I might frog it. Or, just put it aside and work on something else, then come back to it when I am more motivated to start something else with it.

The frugal knitter in me just keeps me from using up yarn in a project that I am not 100% happy with.

03-07-2009, 11:17 AM
I have recently had that problem. I realised that when you make a swatch that's about 4-8 inches wide (or bigger) then that quarter of a stitch out isn't measurable, but when multiplied over a larger item such as a 44 inch sweater you can end up an inch or two too big (48) - I had to frog and start over - which is a pain when I had to do it on a sweater for a man cos it's miles of boring stocking stitch to redo!

03-07-2009, 05:40 PM
It's only big by about 3/4 of an inch. That may or may not be small enough that a good water bath blocking can fix it permanently. If not...my sister gets it!

This is one of the reasons why I'm mainly making projects for me at the moment -- I'm not quite good enough to be making projects for other people...unless of course it's by accident. ;)

03-07-2009, 08:39 PM
I hate to frog if I'm well into it, even just a few inches.......so I'd say finish it, see if you like it big and if not, then it will be an awesome gift for your sister....:woot:

Lisa R.
03-07-2009, 10:59 PM
I guess it would depend on how expensive it is, how much you're enjoying knitting it, and how much you love your sister! ;)

But for me...I'd hate to rip out a perfectly good sweater, and would rather give it away than re-do it.

Everybody's different, though, as evidenced by the responses. Do what seems best to you.