knitting, WIPs, wool
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The Big WIP Rip is coming

On Saturday, 3rd September I will be at Fluph, in Dundee, where myself and the lovely Leona Jayne Kelly are hosting the #bigwiprip!

I have spoken on the podcast before about how we can let UFOs (unfinished objects) overwhelm us. We leave them in the darkest corners of our house and hope that they will either go away or magically become knit, but whenever we happen upon them we get that sense of doom…that, oh! that lovely yarn is just going to waste! Either that or we berate ourselves for not finishing it, thinking about the reason we couldn’t get it finished and sometimes doing ourselves down for not getting it cast off. Well, no more!

The Big WIP Rip
From 11-3 on Saturday 3rd September, whether you can get to Dundee or not, we would like you to join in with us. At Fluph we will be there to provide steadying tea, hand-holding and moral support whilst you rip. If you can’t do it, we will!

Host your own Big WIP Rip!
Can’t make it to Dundee? Get your knitting pals together round your place, or local knitty meet up place and rip together! Rip with wild abandon, my lovelies. You are going to free your yarn up just in time for sweater season! At Fluph we will be asking for a small donation to p/hop and if you are having your own BigWIPRip perhaps you could have a w(h)ip round too – just think of all the hours of pleasure you will have knitting on that freed yarn!

I’m being brave and I want to take part! What do I need to do?
1) Get your languishing WIPs out of hiding. Go now, seek them out, you know where they are hiding.
2) Do a bit of WIP assessing! Ask yourself the following questions…
wips header
You can also have a re-listen to episode 55 of the podcast, to get you rip-motivated
3) If you think you want to knit on that UFO then make a plan to do so, but if you feel that the love has truly gone…
4) Take a photo of your WIP and use the hashtag #bigwiprip on social media. Post it on IG or twitter and tell us what the project was, in which yarn, why you lost the love and – most importantly – what you think you might make with the freed yarn! You can even go one better and blog about it. We’d love to read more about your UFO.

Ripping does NOT equal failure!
Remember, ripping out your projects IS NOT some kind of crashing indictment on your knitting skills – far from it! The Big WIP Rip is about unburdening ourselves of the projects that are weighing us down, holding us back from casting on new projects and making us blue. We love knitting – our craft shouldn’t make us feel sad!
If you feel that there was some technique in the UFO that held you back then don’t think “I’m never going to do that again!” Don’t look at ripping as a failure, think of it as a learning curve. Think of how it kinda makes you a more educated knitter! I often attribute a favourite and oft used quote to Elizabeth Zimmerman, but as I can’t actually find the quote I better not attribute it to her, but I will paraphrase the quote I think is from her; ripping is the knitter’s friend.

Here is another quote, which I can definitely attribute to the right place.


I appreciate that you’re not all as rip-happy as me, but LJ and I want to create and promote a healthy attitude toward frogging those WIPs – ripping can indeed be your friend and it really is ok to do it, despite what the rip-haters may say. (Rip-haters always gonna hate rippin’!)

Free your Yarn!
In addition to the getting together, the hand-holding, tea-drinking and the ripping, you are potentially going to have a lot of yarn to add back to your stash. One thing to think about is what your yarn is going to look like post-rip.
If you’re ripping part of a sock, or a small project it may not matter. But if you are ripping out a large project, then you may need to give your yarn some TLC, as it won’t necessarily knit to the same gauge post-rip. Winding your reclaimed yarn into tight balls isn’t going to unkink it – there are some really great tutorials and videos about how to easily re-wind, re-skein and wash or steam your yarn.

The Knitter’s Review on recycling yarn

Techknitting on Unkinking

Knitty Article – recycle, resuse, renew

Reclaiming  knitted yarn by Cheryl Brunette (video)

Don’t fear your UFOs and don’t let unloved projects fill project bags (which could go to better use) or let great yarn (which will go to better use) live a life half-knit.  Get chatting, get snapping your WIPs and join us for the #bigwiprip.


  1. Lulu says

    I am actually planning to rip out a FO – it came out HUMONGOUS despite a gauge swatch and I am losing weight so it looks even more ridiculous on. I will be working all day Saturday the 3rd so my FO-RIP may not happen till the 5th, but I will be sure to photograph the mishegoss and post it!

  2. Hi Louise,
    I recently ripped out a shawl that I’d made as part of the other Louise’s unkal/unicorn……in my head it had looked great but the shawl I ended up with was not the shawl of my dreams…I’d blocked it, worn it but then ripped it back, turned a chair upside down to wind it into skeins and washed it, and making do with what is around the house used a kitchen-roll insert as a nostepinne to hand wind the yarn into nice central pull balls and knit a different shawl which suited the yarn much better……I posted it to my sister and she loves it…so hoorah for ripping out and being able to use the yarn in a different project (as I told a friend, when you rip you’re only ripping the yarn, not what that piece of knitting has taught you.)

    • louise says

      brilliant positive story of freeing yarn and unburdening yoirself of a FO that didn’t work

  3. Ella aka GiffnockGirl says

    i recently almost finished a baby cardigan which was going to be too small for the intended baby, my granddaughter. it was lovely wool bought on holiday and i really wanted it to be special for her. i was really upset that the swatch had lied and was quite sad at the prospect of ripping out a week’s worth of knitting. one of my friends from knitting group took the pieces out of my hands and ripped them all out for me as an act of kindness. Granddaughter now has a lovely little cardigan in the same wool, different pattern and i’ll forever be grateful to my friend K.

    so my suggestion to people is that if you find it too emotionally difficult to rip out your own WIP, then find a partner and each rip out the other’s WIP.

    • louise says

      brilliant advice! and a good example of how ripping doesn’t stop you or put you off knitting similar project in the same wool. it may be that some of us need designated rippers!

  4. Ann Shepherd says

    Hi Louise, Ripping back has never been a problem for me. Both my grannies and my mum did it as a way to recycle yarn when garments were no longer fashionable or were outgrown. I’ve even been known to rip back machine knitted shop bought garments if the yarn is lovely but they didn’t look as good on as first thought. There are so many plusses to ripping, you’re recycling instead of throwing away, you’re saving money by not having to buy yet more yarn (although this doesn’t actually stop me!) and you can be more creative when it comes time to use up all that extra yarn you find yourself with.

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