Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Upsides and drawbacks

Over the past few months, I've been a pretty monogamous knitter (mostly). Yes, I've had the occasional fling with a project or two, but the point is that I've been knitting on one project fairly consistently until its completion (mostly) before moving on to the next thing in the queue. That's how I define Project Monogamy (PM): when you only really have one active WIP at any given time. I find there are several upsides to my new strategy:

1. Things Get Done Faster

Don't let the tally of 2011 FOs on the side bar fool you. I've also knit 2 pairs of plain vanilla socks, two baby gifts, two shawls and a hat. I just haven't photographed them yet.

2. I'm less anxious about my projects when I'm only knitting one at a time

Yup, you read that correctly. When I've got too much on the go, it freaks me out. I get antsy, I feel like I'm knitting and knitting and knitting and never actually getting anywhere. Sort of like those dreams where you're running down a corridor/away from a monster/towards your kid in danger and you're just... not moving? Like that. And dudes, I don't know about you? Life is hectic enough. I don't need my hobbies giving me a wiggins, you know?

3. It gives me an illusory sense of control

I like structure (Really Tara? You? Structure?) . I don't deal with unforeseen changes of plan very well (I can't tell you how trying our family's recent ordeal has been for me on that front). I like things to be ordered and predictable and just so. Project monogamy soothes the anal obsessive-compulsive in me. Sure, there may be a few bumps along the road (no, the yarn for the brown socks still hasn't arrived), but as a rule, I know where I'm heading. It's just me and Project-X, banging it out, steadily heading toward the finish line.

4. Practice makes perfect

Not only have I learned new things with my recent projects, but by working on them exclusively, I hope think I've really been able to internalize the new techniques. For example, two-handed colourwork isn't exactly the Everest it once was after working on the Estonian socks and the Bohus hat (which I totally finished last weekend, by the way).

Nature seeks balance in all things though, even in my knitting. Project Monogamy, as I'm coming to understand after a few months, also has a few drawbacks:

1. Temptation

Only knitting one thing at a time means that other projects in your queue (Rav or otherwise) have to wait their turn. Yes, you can get totally psyched about a pattern and even buy the yarn for it right away if you like. However, true commitment to the PM lifestyle means that you can't cast on right away (mostly). You can keep the shiny new yarn close at hand, somewhere it can be alternately petted/admired/sniffed at your leisure, but you're going to stick to the project you're working on right now. That's not for the faint-of-heart.

2. Too many options make me nervous

I know. I just said that PM makes me less anxious. And it does. Except for the part where I think about what I'm going to knit next. That part sometimes freaks me out. Too much pressure.

In a perfect PM world, this is how it would work:

  1. Finish your project;
  2. Cast on glorious new pattern and with shiny new yarn,
  3. Move on.

End of story.

The trouble is that there are glorious new patterns every day, and all of them use shiny new yarn that you probably don't have in your stash (ever notice that? How the pattern you Must Knit Now just happens to be with something you don't already own? What's up with that?). And much as you'd like to, they can't all be next in the queue. (cue Keanu Reeves: What do you do? WHAT do you DOOO.)

3. Been there, done that

An important component to developing a healthy obsession with a pattern is anticipation. You spend a good long time thinking about knitting a particular yarn/pattern, you work on your current WIP and dream of being done so you and your new imaginary project can begin your wondrous journey together.

Only, if you're anything like me? By the time you reach that glorious casting on moment, you've spent so much time obsessing pondering about said project that you're... um... sort of... sick of it.

You've been there and done that, and you want to knit something else. Probably something that you don't have the yarn for yet (see drawback the second). For instance, today I want (and by want, you should read that I am consumed with a passion that burns as brightly as a thousand suns) to knit Akoya out of Quince & Co. Tern, which I don't own ('natch). Ooh, baby. Kerrera who?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!


sapphireblue said...

I understand. I need to keep my hands off the Ravelry Pattern Search.

Alrischa said...

Actually, I really do get number 2, though I didn't realize it... I like having a few WIPs but it does give me some "not-getting-anywhere" anxiety, now that you mention it.

Wish I could catch monogamitis! lol.

dawn said...

Hmmm I'm not so much into the monogamy...unless we're talking about a particular kind of yarn (*cough* Hazel Knits *cough*). I like to explore my options ;) Oh and that cardigan would look lovely in Bugga or Hazel Knits.

Sinéad said...

I'm telling you, we're long separated sisters. I am SO in agreement about PM for all the same reasons as you. I just get panicky when I've more than one project on the go. But, once I cast on, I want it finished, like, NOW. I'm already thinking about what will be next. That's my one failing, no patience. BTW, I joined Carol Fellers test knitters group the other day. In case you fancy seeing future designs early. Check out her blog on stolenstiches.com if you fancy it.

cauchy09 said...

gosh, i am totally horrible at PM, but found that 40 works-in-progress is my limit. heh.

good luck!

Laurie said...

What?!?! Keanu Reeves is in your queue?????? Can he be in my queue, too? LOL!

You make some very good points (she of the bazillion WIPS says). Still, I don't think I could ever be happy with fewer than three projects at a time: a long slogger, a fancy challenger, and an instant gratification.

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Project Monogamy makes sense. It does. Really. I must try it sometime and not stress out over the uh, I don't know 10 items I've started but not yet finished. LOL. Though, stuff like crochet squares for a potential future blanket... well, that just is a continuous project, right?

Send some monogamitis my way too!