Sunday, August 26, 2007

Is Monogamy a Good Thing?

It feels good to get things off your needles. The sense of accomplishment is overwhelming. You've made something of use (hopefully), and now you can justify starting something new. For me that's the real draw of finishing things, truth be told. That's why last week was great for me. I actually started a project, worked solely on said project, and finished that project. The Spanish Dancer socks have officially been forked! And the second sock was knit in its entirety yesterday (er...3AM today if we're being honest)! (Pictures to come when batteries are bought.)

This morning when I woke up to the socks drying on my ironing board, I thought...I could make another pair of socks in three days. I was in a groove. A one project groove. Start-to-finish, no two-year delays. Call it a mid-year resolution. Well, it turns out I'm allergic to Tofutsies (my sea food allergy apparently does translate to yarn!). I knit about 2 inches on the new sock, enduring mild shortness of breath, sneezing, and general malaise. I was not going to be able to work straight through on these socks. And I was not happy about it. My gift knitting is now on hiatus due to allergies and lack of appropriate yarns. What to do, what to do? I was on the verge of starting something to place in its stead, when it came to me...the euphoria of finishing small, quick projects is nothing compared to finishing large, tedious, can't-it-knit-itself projects. And boy do I have a lot of those. So I started thinking. Is it better to wed ourselves to one project or work on several over a long period of time? Can one have too many WIPs? Is it really so terrible? For me, the answer sadly is yes, and I'll tell you why.

A few years ago, I started knitting my first sweater with sleeves. I bought this gorgeous charcoal Norwegian superwash wool, and picked the Sweet pattern from Rowan 26. It had a frilly edge and tons of stockinette stitch. Seemed like an easy sweater to start learning sleeves. Fast forward 2 years. At this point in my knitting life, stockinette is boring. I've also finished a sweater with short sleeves, so the novelty of sleeves sort of wore off too. I wanted to learn new techniques while knitting. So I put Sweet aside in order to learn cables, shaping, socks, hats, gloves, intarsia, stranding, lace, skirts, etc. To go back to plain stockinette...I couldn't bear it. It had been so long that when I picked this project back up last spring, my gauge was off. As in, the front was a good 4-5 inches wider than the back. I now knit looser than I used to:) I blocked the heck out of those pieces, but when all was said and done, the sleek sweater I started had turned into a comfy lounge sweater. Sniff, sniff... So, because I was lazy and let the sweater sit for 2+ years in search of more exciting projects, my hopes were dashed! If I had knit a little bit on it every week, the problem would have been much less noticeable, I'm sure. (And it would have been forked long ago!)

Many knitters jump from project to project, but few do it systematically. Most just aren't that neurotic, but (trumpets, please) I'm going to try it. No more project monogamy! No more 2+ year projects! No more wonky gauges! I will knit a different WIP everyday for at least 30 minutes. Hopefully this will lessen the boredom factor on projects that are no longer mentally stimulating, and get them off my needles so I can actually start more interesting projects. (Oops, did I say that?)

This "plan" started today. (I should mention that I like order and make thousands of lists, so this will probably turn into a formal schedule. I can't help it!). Tonight, I picked up Sweet. It only needs one more sleeve and some seaming to be forked. Even knowing that, I chose to start countless other projects in the last 4 months rather than knit that sleeve. Tonight (post Tofutsies), I remembered the front/back catastrophe. I quickly started knitting sleeve #2. I've knit about 25 rows today. Satisfied with my progress, it can go back from whence it came...for now.

In the spirit of free love, I will pick another forgotten WIP tomorrow that I will shower with affection. Most likely it will be the Aran Blanket I started when I was still in undergrad! It is so far from being finished, it makes me laugh sometimes:)

Until next time...

1 comment:

~*~Knitting Up A Storm~*~ said...

Monogamy...hmmm, great idea for marraige, but tricky notion for knitters! I personally would like to try knitting only one thing at a time, but then I feel the urge to get more things done (yeah, that totally doesn't sound rational). I think knitting polygamy is great if you can work out a schedule...deciding to knit (A) for a couple of days and knit (B), (C) and many more WIPs (ha ha)other days of the week. Or week-to-week attention to each one on the needles.

Tell me how that goes, lol, i'm not that disciplined!!