Lion Brand Notebook ®

Free to Good Home

Home/HumorFree to Good Home

Free to Good Home

franklin_400x400Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

Welcome, good people, to the Franklin Habit Home for Neglected Knitting Projects.

You’re in luck. It’s Adoption Week, during which time we waive all fees, background checks, and paperwork. It will be my pleasure to show you around. Petting is not only permitted, it’s encouraged. If you see anything you like, simply speak up and it’s yours.

If you don’t see anything you like, we will stuff something in your bag and force you to take it home. We’re that desperate. No backsies.

You’ll find the home is divided into a series of pleasant, airy pavilions, each devoted to a different sort of neglected project. Let’s begin with Slow Haven, where hours upon hours of patient knitting have brought these sad creatures no closer to completion.

May I interest you in…

One quarter of a blanket cunningly intended to use up the odds and ends of 150 partial balls of sock yarn? Such a charming concept. Not merely a blanket, but a blanket full of memories. All those different yarns jumbled together in one joyous samba parade of wild color. Who could resist?

Reasons for Surrender: Color mix looks less like samba parade than political riot. Grows at the rate of one inch per week, forcing the knitter constantly to contemplate how old she will be when it is finished.

Or perhaps…

A Shetland cobweb lace shawl comprising one repeat of center chart and six untouched balls of eensy weensy yarn. Purchased on impulse at spectacular fiber festival; best friend purchased same kit so that “…we can knit them together.”

Reasons for Surrender: Chart has vanished. Pattern is out of print. Best friend finished hers in six weeks. (No longer speaking to friend.)


Now, if you’ll please follow me over the hill, we’ll take a peek into Twilight Garden, the shady grove wherein we place projects that have outlived their usefulness without leaving their needles.

Have you room in your heart for…

A baby sweater minus one sleeve and the button band? Such a promising beginning. Look at that darling two-color yoke. I’d go so far as to say the work is perfect. A small bag containing the perfect ducky buttons is included.

Reason for Surrender: Baby is now thirty-six years old, and like the sweater has failed to live up to its early promise.

Take a look at…

An unspecified amount of the bottom of a bottom-up sweater.

Reason for Surrender: Instructions state, “Work in stockinette until piece measures fifteen inches from cast-on edge.” Somehow, knitter has never managed to get both this project and her tape measure into the same room.

Or please consider…

In white fingering-weight yarn, a charming congratulations on your wedding baby divorce retirement funeral shawl, lacking only the knitted-on edging.

Reasons for Surrender: The clue is in the name.

We shall now make several wrong turns and come to the Salon des Whoops. This, by far our largest building, is a secured area for projects that were pretty much doomed from the start. We don’t tell them that, though. They’ve already suffered enough.

 Perhaps you might have some use for…

The half-finished body of a wool cardigan in eighteen colors?

Reason for Surrender: Upon returning from extensive tour of Shetland Islands, maker suddenly remembered that she lives in Miami Beach.


A single sock with an un-grafted toe?

Reason for Surrender: Maker suddenly remembered why she hates knitting socks.


Pattern, four skeins of top-quality merino/silk, wound into balls, and one circular needle. 

Reason for Surrender: Cast on for pattern is 537 stitches.


Afghan Block-of-the-Month Club January block, completed; plus half of February block, and two rows of March block, and all the yarns for April through December.

Reason for Surrender: If you have to ask, you must be new here. Excellent. You really should try a block-of-the-month club. Hold still while I stuff this thing in your bag.

Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep. Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Cast On: A Podcast for Knitters, Twist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for

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

Share this post


  • One of the problems with a knitting blogger who writes humor; you are never sure if they mean it or not. Meaning “free to a good home”.

    I do have projects like these myself but would love to take on the: Pattern, four skeins of top-quality merino/silk, wound into balls, and one circular needle.Reason for Surrender: Cast on for pattern is 537 stitches, it is is a genuine offer. Simply because I am a crazed knitter and do not know my boundaries!

    • That should have read, IF it is an genuine offer.

  • the whole time i read this I was overwhelmed with the desire to frog all of these described projects and then organize your stash and get it all written down…. its a bit of a sickness, must be because spring is coming

  • So funny, I wish I had written this. It is the story of my life. A few years ago I committed to finishing every project I ever started. I am making a dent in my stash and unfinished project but I am a procrastinator to the core so I don’t know if I will ever “tame the beast”

  • I would love to have any of these projects, or to at least see them. 3>

  • I see that you absolutely “get it” and you have a great sense of humour about it. Love. But seriously, most of those UFOs already live in my home. Nice try, though.

  • This has the quality of “my Secret Sin” For years I thought I was the only knitter that did.Such a relief that I’m not alone.

  • Don’t forget the Antique Room including the mystery shawl started by mother-in-law in the mid-40s, a baby layette never finished started about the same time, and my favorite, the collection of small squares waiting to be sewn together.

    • I also have a collection of squares waiting to be sewn together. And since it’s a scrap afghan of granny squares it requires the laying-out to make sure neighboring squares do not clash horribly (or worse, match almost identically!), and with cats in the house I’m sure that “laying-out” will result in 120 cat toys of assorted colors.

  • This hit home all too much! Very funny (mostly because I know exactly what all these are).

  • Ha! My project of choice lately is a blanket using up a bunch of sock yarn ends. Which I quickly used up. So I asked around at the knitting group and got many donations, which I’m quickly using up. I think I’m going to have to start buying sock yarn soon to feed it. It’s about a foot and a half by five feet so far and when it’s done, it’ll be for a twin-size bed.
    I wish this were a real ad! I’d take the sock yarn blanket apart and feed it to my blanket!

    • There are great sock yarn mini groups on Ravelry for this.

  • Franklin – I didn’t know that our Neglected Knitting Projects were so similar! You could have almost been describing the contents of my wip stash pile. I may be able to assist – I have lots of Shetland Cobweb shawl patterns, many are out of print if I have the one you need it is yours, especially if you’d like to visit and collect it in person!

  • oh my, you are living my life again, Franklin!

  • I will graciously give the Cast on 537 stitches project a new home. And I will cast on ALL 537 stitches. (I will count extraordinarily carefully, so as to have to do this only once). Pray tell are there also beads involved? (please say they aren’t part of the cast on row!)

  • See, this is why one of my favourite recent projects was a blanket I did for charity knitting. I found a huge bag of squares in a charity shop, then spent the best part of a month crocheting them together, and I swear that the best part, besides the warm glow of finishing a project, was taking all those squares someone spent so long knitting and making their project real – with the added bonus of something that would keep someone warm and cosy. Adopting WIPs is surprisingly satisfying.

  • Thank you, I SO needed this giggle today! (This, also, is the reason I don’t make baby clothes.)

  • Leave A Comment