Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are you monogamous?

I was talking to a friend last week about her knitting project.  She said, "I just like working on one thing at a time.  I just want to focus on one thing and get it done!"

I couldn't agree more.  Knitting monogamy is my nature.  Sometimes the ladies at my Knit Night laugh about how quickly I finish projects, but part of the reason they seem to go so fast is that I enjoy focusing on one thing, giving it all my spare time, until it is finished and I, or someone else, can enjoy it.

My friend went on to ask me, "Do you always have a lot of projects on the needles, or do you usually work on one thing at a time?"

Up until this past fall, I would have said that I pretty strictly keep a "one at a time" policy.  But last November and December, leading up to Christmas, I let that rule slide.  I'm pretty sure that for a good part of those two months, I had 7 or 8 projects all on the needles simultaneously.

Since then, I've tried to get back to monogamous knitting, but lately I've been failing pretty miserably at that.  I have been working on a summer top, but it has been slow going, as some parts are taking multiple re-knits to perfect.  While that has been going on, I've dug up an old project that I want to write the pattern for this summer, but the trim of this sweater will need a little tweaking, so it'll be back on the needles shortly.  And then there's the pullover sweater I just started the test knit's pretty much done (I've actually worn the sweater 10 times or so), but I've decided that the collar needs a very small adjustment.  So I need to frog the rather large collar and get that re-knit while my testers are working on their sweaters.

And then there's the KAL sweater I'm working on.  This one is purely a "fun knit", so there's no real deadline (although I do intend to finish by the end of June along with the other KAL knitters), but I have been working in spurts on it.  And it's sooooo nice to be knitting a pattern that is already easy to pull it out and know exactly what to do next instead of having to plan it out and do a little trial & error to get it just so!

Finally, I have a bag of "limbo" projects.  It includes a sweater that hates me, a stuffed animal that just needs the top of its head finished, a headband that is a fully formed idea in my head, but that I need to swatch and do the math for before I can actually knit it, and a winter hat & scarf that are made, but I haven't decided if I'll write them up as patterns.  I also have a baby sweater that is completely knit, photographed & has the pattern written in one size.  It's just waiting for me to get out my spreadsheet so I can grade it for multiple sizes.

So....yeah, not so much focused on one thing right now.  And my main focus today is finishing the proofreading on a re-formatted pattern.  I got an e-mail on Friday from a knitter saying that I had some "Rows" mis-marked as "Rounds" in my Knit Purl Project Bag pattern.  She was absolutely right, and it made the instructions confusing (the part she was referring to is written flat, which it does say in the instructions, but it would definitely confuse someone to see flat knitting marked as "rounds". )

Anyway, rather than just edit those few row headings, I decided to take the opportunity to re-format this pattern to my new template.  One of my goals for this summer is to get all my older patterns put into my updated template and go over their wording so they are more in line with my current writing style.  For a long time I didn't have a "style sheet" (a document that says exactly how I will word certain things, what I will abbreviate & when, what sorts of words to use in different situations), because I didn't even know that was a thing.  But one of the Craftsy courses I took (Edie Eckman's "How to Say It" class) suggested that all pattern writers should create such a document for themselves, so I now have one!

It'll be quite a chunk of work to reformat the old documents, but it'll be nice to have a cohesive collection.  The Knit Purl Project Bag's updated document is actually all finished; I just have to give it another read-through or two to make sure I don't have any weird typos or goofy spacing issues.

Happily, I (kinda) finished that summer top this morning, and it's taking a soak right now.  I don't know if I love the hem trim yet....sometimes you just have to see how it "blocks out", right?  So in the back of my mind, I know I might have a little work yet to go on it.  Later today, I'll probably put the collar of the winter sweater back on the needles, because that fix won't take more than a day or two, and I can really put that project to bed.  Maybe there's a way to whittle down this pile little by little, but I don't think I'm going to hit my goal of being through all my 'work knitting' before the kids are out of school in 2 weeks.  At that point, I have some home improvement stuff that I've promised myself I'd work on for a bit, so anything that doesn't get done by then is going to have to be patient with me.

I do understand the allure of having multiple projects on the needles.  Need a big chunk of stockinette to knit while you're socializing?  I'll grab this vanilla sock!  Have an hour alone in the house with no kids or husband to distract you?  Where's that intricate lace project?  Going to go sit in the audience at your kid's track meet?  Take a long the sleeve of that sweater you've been piecing together!  It's fun to have knitting on hand for all occasions...different weights of yarn, different size needles, in case your hands are starting to cramp up from too much knitting on a certain size.  And sometimes, after knitting on an oppressive brown men's sweater for a week, a lady just needs to work on something in a beautiful shade of blue or purple!

I tend to get the most joy out of an idea come to life though.  So the more time and energy I can put into that one project, the quicker I get the payoff of holding my finished idea in my hands.  Maybe it has something to do with "process knitter" vs. "finished object knitter".  I do love the process, but I love the finished objects more.

How about you?  What's your knitting style?  Are you a one project sort of gal, or do you feel "the more, the merrier"?


  1. I usually like to stick to one project at a time. Sometimes if I am almost finished with one project or if it's giving me a hard time I will cast on something else to clear my head. I don't do a bunch of different projects at once it gets to confusing trying to figure out where I left off on each one and they never seem to get finished.


  2. Funny, this is sort of the same topic I had today over on my blog today. I have multiple projects on needles. I am easily sucked into every new pattern that comes my way or KAL. I love the casting on and the first few inches to see what the yarn is going to do in the garment. But then I don't have anything to show for it because I have so many. What I am really trying to do is devote myself to just a few for just the times you posted above. I need to get back to completing projects and that feeling is so good!

  3. Amanda- Getting confused about projects is another reason that totally slipped my mind! I completely understand that one...just another reason I try to keep my number of projects pretty limited.

    Like you were saying, Penny, I think I would be much more likely to have a bunch of unfinished WIPs if I had lots of things going on at a time. Case in point, the stuffed animal that I've had 90% finished since about January, but I toys aren't really my "thing", so it keeps getting kicked to the bottom of the list because I have other stuff I enjoy more available as projects. If I would just get to the point where the other things are finished up, I'm sure I'd have that animal done in a day or two!

  4. I have ADD so you totally can see it in my projects. I have the KAL sweater for my daughter waiting to graft the shoulder seams together. The Wrap and turn sleeves require more attention than I can give while taking calls at work so it is at home.

    I have the test project with me at work although I just frogged the ribbing because it looked messy. But ribbing at work is easy peasy.

    I have half my Unisox on my needles for a project that I can throw into my bag for a quick errand.

    And I started a granny square baby blanket for charity that I can crochet on date night without fear of making mistakes.

    I think having multiple projects because it makes it nice to chose between weights to decrease stress on my wrists and shoulder.

    I keep everything is separate ziplock bags with the instructions inside with the yarn. I use a cell phone knitting counter app to remember where I am on each project.

  5. I wish I was a monogamous knitter, but I am not. I have three or four things going now. Once I do get my groove into a pattern I do like to finish it, but then something else will catch my eye or I join a KAL. I do hope to get my knitting a bit more organized this year.

  6. I'm actually a little in awe of people who can have a bunch of projects on the needles and keep them all organized! Judye, you're smart to keep the instructions bagged up with each project. Michelle....when I was expecting my second baby, my goals were things like, "shower most days" and "wear clothes that don't smell like spit-up". I'm very impressed that you're making knitting goals while you're in your third trimester! :)