Thursday, August 15, 2013

Open Projects

During the school year life can get a bit crazy and it can be hard to find any creative time in my schedule. I work and we homeschool, and the boys have their "after school" activities in the evenings. Then there are the daily needs of the household and cleaning and cooking and spending time with my husband... and try as we might to protect our time and keep from being busy for busy-ness' sake, we sometimes find that our collective time is gone in a flash.

I don't know about you, but I literally get a bit twitchy if I go too many days in a row without making anything. Seriously, knitting or spinning for just 5 or 10 minutes before bed can provide a big dose of stress relief for me if I have a particularly busy week. The thing is, I don't always have the mental space to deal with more complex projects so I've found that I need a few projects going at a time so that I can knit every day, but not totally screw stuff up just because I'm tired (and if I'm messing up the easy stuff then I take it as a sign to put the needles down and just go to bed).

{Project Basket. Rule: if it fits in the basket it's not "too many projects".}

For instance, I pretty much always have a pair of vanilla socks on the needles in a little project bag ready to take with me at a moment's notice. I don't need a pattern for these socks and I can easily pick them up and knit 1 round or a few inches without much thought. They are perfect "on-the-go" knitting. I also frequently take socks into the music studio with me so that if I have a student unexpectedly cancel or come a few minutes late I might sneak a row or 10 in in the middle of the workday.

I don't knit a lot of lace in a year, but I do try to knit some as I'm able. It challenges me to pay attention, follow the chart, maybe learn a new technique... and that helps me grow as a knitter. My lace projects tend to take a long time- not because they are super difficult, but because I don't often have long stretches of time to really work at them.

Most everything else I knit is a product of either filling a need, like the cardigan I'm knitting for Ellie or the Shapely Boyfriend cardigan for myself (that I really will finish!), or serving as a gift for someone. I'm not at all bothered by having so many things technically on the needles at once. Whenever I get overwhelmed or it seems like there are a lot of "open" projects on my Ravelry page I go on a finishing spree and set a limit for myself of how much must be finished before I'm allowed to cast on something else.

For example, at the moment I have 6 open projects. The Shapely Boyfriend cardigan hasn't been worked on in awhile. I'll admit to passive aggressively leaving it in my WIP basket and secretly hoping that I'll pick it up one day to find that the knitting elves have finally arrived and knit the sleeves for me. But it's starting to stay cool out unseasonably early this year (we are usually blazing around 90-100 F through August and September, but this year have been mostly in the 80s) and I'm finding myself in need of more cardigans. So as soon as I finish Ellie's cardigan and the hat for my niece, I'll pick up that cardigan and finish those blasted sleeves.[Edit: I wrote most of this post last night before knitting- I thought I'd let you know that I finished that little baby hat right up during a few episodes of Big Bang Theory. Now to resist the urge to cast on mittens.]

The thing is, in the middle of finishing those things I'm also likely to cast on for a pair of mittens or two and probably another cardigan for my little girl in another size or two up so I can stay ahead of her crazy growth. I know the boys each need another sweater for this winter since they grew again too, and at some point I should make some mittens for myself, right? After all the pairs I've knit for others, surely one pair should stay with me...

It's really the children's fault that I have so many projects going at once. That's what it comes down to.

1 comment:

  1. I like to have up to four projects on the needles anything over four and I feel overwhelmed. I like having lace, fingering, easy and complicated projects for various knitting times.


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