Franklin Habit In Conversation With: This Unfinished Sweater

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Franklin Habit In Conversation With: This Unfinished Sweater

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Franklin: Welcome to “In Conversation With.” I’m Franklin Habit, and today I’m joined in the studio by a sweater that I started knitting two years and two months ago; and which remains unfinished. Unfinished Sweater, thank you for being here today.

Sweater: Well, most of me is here. I’m not all here, since so much of me is still just balls of yarn.

Franklin: We usually save the deeper thoughts for near the end of the interview.

Sweater: I do beg your pardon. Terribly sorry.

Franklin: That’s quite all right. Tell us a little bit about yourself, won’t you please?

Sweater: Certainly. As I recall, you first commented on my colorway at a fiber festival about five years ago.

Franklin: Ah, yes.

Sweater: And you nearly left me in booth, but that friend of yours–what was her name?

Franklin: Dolores.

Sweater: Dolores, yes. Dolores wouldn’t stop talking about how nice I would look on you, and how there was nothing quite like me in your stash, and that really for the yardage per dollar I was a remarkably good deal. Almost a bargain.

Franklin: She was right, of course. So I went back and bought you.

Sweater: You did, and you said the absolute minute you got home you were going to swatch and take measurements and cast on. Do you remember that?

Franklin: I do.

Sweater: Then I sat in the bag from the fiber festival inside a box under your bed for three years.

Franklin: Ahem.

Sweater: I don’t hold it against you. I will say, coming out from under the bed was a shock. The world had changed so much. Everyone had smartphones. The trees were taller. Yet you still had the same bath mat and shower curtain.

Franklin: Perhaps we could move along to what happened next?

Sweater. Oh, yes. The swatches. So many swatches!

Franklin: A month’s worth, if I remember correctly?

Sweater: Easily a month of nothing but swatches. You simply could not make up your mind about me. Swatches for gauge, swatches for drape, swatches for texture and pattern. I know there were at least three cable swatches, and a very wide panel of traveling stitches.

Franklin: That traveling stitch pattern was especially lovely.

Sweater: They were, but then Dolores pointed out that from a moderate distance they appeared to be a linked chain of men’s…well…of…well, it was very inappropriate for a mixed audience to say exactly what they appeared to be.

Franklin: Still, it took me a week to decide not to use that pattern.

Sweater: Did you save the swatch?

Franklin: Possibly.

Sweater: Then, after all that, you decided to do another perfectly plain Elizabeth Zimmermann saddle shoulder sweater.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: Not even a little textural detail on the shoulders.

Franklin: No.

Sweater: And then you did the math and cast on.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: And found out your math was wrong.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: After six inches of knitting.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: Then you started over with the correct number of stitches and knit four inches.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: And you found out you had twisted the stitches when joined to work in the round.

Franklin: Yes.

Sweater: So you ripped out again.

Franklin: Yep.

Sweater: And cast on again.

Franklin: Yep.

Sweater: With the incorrect number of stitches from the first attempt.

Franklin: As our time is limited, shall we move along to version six?

Sweater: Version six…was that the one where you got the rate of decreases wrong, and the shoulders would only have fit you as a toddler?

Franklin: That’s the one.

Sweater: The look on your face when you realized what you had was the talk of the knitting bag the next day.

Franklin: I imagine so.

Sweater: Especially since you had already attached the sleeves, and thought you were almost finished.

Franklin: Yep.

Sweater: Then there was another extended stay under the bed.

Franklin: Yep.

Sweater: Which I suppose brings us to today. What version iPhone are we on at this point?

Franklin: I use an Android.

Sweater: Who won the election?

Franklin: Can we talk about what’s next for you?

Sweater: That ball of wool, my dear, is in your court.

Franklin: I’d like to know how you felt.

Sweater: You mean how I feel?

Franklin: No. I mean I’d like to know…how you felt.

Sweater: Erm.

Franklin: Thank you for joining us today, ladies and gentlemen. Please tune in next time, when a panel of experts will weigh in on whether creating an elaborate amigurumi diorama of the restaurant from “Bob’s Burgers” is a suitable occupation for a grown man.

Franklin Habit

Franklin Habit

Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book (Soho Publishing, 2016) and It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008) and proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. His publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Ply Magazine, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, Stitches Events, Squam Arts Workshops, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with a Schacht spinning wheel, two looms, and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

Visit him at

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  • Once again, you hit the nail on the head! Besides making me laugh out loud, it is just all so true! I have unfinished sweaters …. and there was the mutant raglan….

  • Thank you for starting the morning with a laugh out loud! Knitters everywhere can relate to this column – or they’re not really knitters.

  • This is fantastic! It sounds like the top down sweater I have sitting in hibernation in the pantry because I’m not sure if I can stand to look at it. It fits fine, it feels fine, it just doesn’t look….. fine. It’s my own handspun yarn that’s keeping me from frogging and finding a better pattern for it. So, it shall sit awhile longer while I pretend I don’t see it. 😉

  • Glad you brought up the bit about felting. Keep that yarn in its place, or it’ll get snarly.

  • Oh dear, that reminds me, I have an unfinished sweater in a bag, in a closet… I wonder what it will say when I go drag it out…

  • This is too real. Lol. THE TRUTH HURTS, FRANKLIN.

  • I can’t think of a more suitable activity for a grown man than to build an elaborate amigurumi diorama of the restaurant from “Bob’s Burgers”. And, I absolutely need to see this diorama.

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