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Five unfinished knitting projects. It's okay to not finish them.

It's Okay to Not Finish a Knitting Project

Knitters know the thrill of a new project. We vigorously cast on, filled with optimism that the project will be finished in no time. But, inevitably, a new project comes along and the project gets set aside. 

In-progress projects can easily pile up: a blanket you cast on for a newborn who is now a toddler, a sweater with no sleeves, a sock without a mate, or a project with a mistake that you have every intention to fix. These unfinished projects can weigh heavily as they loom on a shelf, so we are here to officially give you permission: it’s okay to not finish a knitting project. 

But before you hastily rip out a project, but it on hold. 


To successfully put your project on hold you need to do a bit more than just toss it on a shelf:

  • Collect your project supplies, including yarn, needles, and the printed pattern, and put them in a sealed bag. This will keep your supplies in one place and protected from potential hungry bugs.
  • Jot down what row you ended on, what size you are making, and any other notes that will be helpful for your future self. If you’re removing the needles from your project, write down what size, type, and brand you used (because not all needles are created equal) so that you can keep your gauge consistent when you start knitting again.
  • If you want to keep your project on your needles, add stitch stoppers to the tips so the live stitches don’t fall off while they are stored.
  • Keep your “on hold” projects in one place so that you don’t lose or forget about them.
  • If you organize your projects on Ravelry, log or update the project listing in your Ravelry Notebook. Just because you’re not working on it or may end up frogging it, it doesn’t make it any less important to your knitting journey.

Should I rip out my knitting project


Often times you’ll find yourself motivated to finish these on-hold projects (like the sweater that has been on my needles for almost 2 years!), but sometimes the spark will be lost.

So, when do you know if it’s okay to finally say goodbye to a project?

There’s no official rule book on the subject, but here are some things to consider when you’re going through your WIPs:

  • Do you have all the supplies and could you easily pick up and start knitting
  • Is there a mistake you can’t fix?
  • Does it still fit?
  • Can it be gifted?
  • Do you still like it?

If the “nos” outweigh the “yeses” and there is no hope left for you and your WIP, you can either donate the half-finished project with all the supplies to a friend or organization that serves knitters, or you can unravel the yarn and add it to your stash for a future project.

If you choose to repurpose the yarn, before you add it your stash, attach a note to it with brand, colorway, weight, and yardage. There is nothing worse than finding beautiful yarn and not knowing what it is!

We know how hard it is to rip out your hard work, but keeping your focus on the projects you love will allow you to become a more productive knitter. Projects looming in the background will always have a mysterious pull on you and may even keep you from starting a new project that you are really, truly excited about.

If you need some help making your decision, click on over to our Ravelry forum and chat with us. Us knitters are never short on advice and will happily help you weigh the options.

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