Friday, December 25, 2009


Works in Progress otherwise known as Startitis or I'm Bored with This, Let Me Try Something Else For A While.

I think most knitters experience this. Surely, I can't be alone.

You start a project and you are moving along and then you are out and about somewhere and wander into a yarn shop and BAM! There is a skein of yarn in the perfect color or it feels just divine or it's on sale or ... well, you buy the stuff and come home and think, "let me see what this looks like on the needles. I'll just do a little swatch." And the next thing you know, the first project is stuffed into the basket next to your knitting chair and you are off on the new project.

Another way this happens is that someone you love needs a gift. Doesn't matter for what, it could be they are giving birth, having a birthday themselves, they've rescued your dog... doesn't matter, they need a hand-knitted gift. So you put aside this other project along with the first and pick up this third project. Now project #3 has a deadline in most cases, so you may work steadily along until it is completed. And you may actually finish this. But in many cases, while you are gift knitting, you think of other people who also need hand-knitted gifts and cast on for those projects so you can work on them as well.

Now, here it is 8 months from Christmas and you have 5 or 6 WIPs. You might pick up and knit on project 1 or 2, but 4, 5 and 6 are still sitting there. So you alternate between them. It's coming up on winter by now and you know you need a new pair of mittens, so you cast on for those. Okay, now we are up to 8. You finish project 5 because it's small and you put it away so it's safe with other holiday gifts hidden somewhere in the house.

Your birthday comes and your dear husband or mother gives you yarn or new knitting needles or a book of patterns. Well, you have to try out this new gift, yes? So, you are now at 7 or 8 projects. Husband asks why you have a pile of knitting overflowing your work basket. You realize it does look a bit insane and they are acting as dog hair magnets since they don't fit inside the basket so the next day you take one or two of the smaller projects to work so you can knit on your lunch break and perhaps make some progress there. You also buy a bigger work basket to keep the others off the floor. So you have six at home and two at work. You might stuff another small one (like a sock or hat) into your purse so you have a portable project for those times when you are waiting but not at home or work.

Now, the irony of all this is that nothing actually gets finished because while you are making progress on everything (or at least the projects you pick up from time to time), the progress is so incremental as to be one row at a time.

So you try some focused techniques. You put away everything you have started and work on ONE thing until it is finished. The problem is that you brain is now wired to feel distracted and sad with so few projects surrounding you. Something is missing and it's all your yarn and needles and projects and books, little by little, they all come out of the closet again. And in the interim, you may have added some new ones.

The solution? Don't knit gifts. They just interrupt the flow. Keep your stash out of sight (for out of sight is out of mind). Be strong. Just say no when your mind cries out for more and more. Don't drink alcohol as it lowers your resolve.

Yeah, that doesn't work for me either... but it's worth the thought. I have noticed that my knitting has improved because I can see the difference in gauge, lack of dropped stitches and other mistakes as I have S-L-O-W-L-Y progressed on Project #1. The differences are so stark from beginning to near end, in fact, I may have to frog it and start over!

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