Thursday, January 08, 2009

Single-minded knitting

Since the new year started, I've been boiling down my knitting projects to this: One project at a time, until it's done.
That means that even though I've got a sweater to finish, a couple scarves, a sweater to swatch for, three pairs of socks, ideas for something like 58 more pairs of socks, two pairs of ongoing mittens, a pair of fingerless gloves I promised somebody, an alpaca lace shawl, something to use up 50 grams of silk/wool wonderfulness I bought at Artyarns last year, a new sock book, a plan to make some flip-top mittens for myself out of leftover Malabrigo and finally, a super-cool hat kit I got from Joy in our knitting group's secret Santa exchange ... I am knitting a pair of socks in Lorna's Laces.
Why these? They were the furthest along when I imposed this arbitrary rule on myself.
Some days, I enjoy the simplicity of it. When I have time to knit, I knit this sock. When it's done, I'll knit something else.
Other days, I start making up exceptions to my rule. When I get on the second sock of a pair, wait, the foot of the second sock, or maybe the heel ... I can cast on another pair of socks.
Or, I can have as many socks in progress as I have sets of needles (which sort of explains why I have three pairs of socks going right now.)
It's a little silly. It's not like I'm taking two bites out of seven different sandwiches for lunch, or wearing six different outfits in a day.
But I'll confess: I'm the kind of person who keeps a to-do list, even though sometimes, such as before Christmas, the enormity of that list caused me some worry. The sheer number of things I thought needed to be done before the holidays (pack for Pittsburgh, make mother-in-law stew for present, knit Fool socks for present, send holiday letters, bake cookies, etc., etc. We all know what sorts of things go on these lists) was making me a little crazy, and the only way I could figure out to get through it was to keep tackling the items on the list, one at a time, until I finished or until Christmas arrived, whichever happened first.
(So, we're sending out Martin Luther King Day letters this year. What? It's a holiday letter.)
Now, though, I think the idea of doing one thing at a time until it's done and then moving on to the next is sort of my holiday list detox. I've got a list with one item on it: knit a sock.
I'm on the gusset of the second one, and I'll probably have them finished in a week, I hope. And then I'll pick something else to knit and we'll see how long this knitting monogamy lasts.
Although there's a cold snap coming next week, and I'm beginning to think I might break my own rule just so the Fool and Jamie and I have better mittens.


rosesmama said...

re: mittens

My experience is that if you intend to make mittens because there is imminent cold weather, then the length of time it takes to make mittens requires you to have cold hands. EZ suggests making mittens in the summer, when they are too small to heat up your lap, but give you enough time to be finished in time to be used.

As Jamie probably has very small hands, for which mittens might be knitted in the length of a movie rental, perhaps you should start with his.

Lorna said...


Inserting needful knitting items ahead of current knitting items is perfectly acceptable in the world of people who live by lists and follow the rules!

Looking forward to seeing pics of your finished socks

ColorJoy LynnH said...

I can't do one project at a time, because there are things I can't knit in public, and I mostly knit in public. When I get to shaping or a heel turn, I need to move to something else simple until I can get home and do the heel.

And on the MLK holiday letter? One year I sent mine in late March or early April. I had people say "gee, maybe it's not too late for me." So if you want to do a letter, do it any time you want.

My mom had friends who had a farm that was really busy at holidays (maybe Christmas trees?) so they sent October letters each year. Smart.

Whatever you do, remember that knitting is for fun. It's not for clothing, because it's faster/cheaper to go to Walmart or wherever. Knit because it's enjoyable. If that means one project at a time, go for it. If not, why make rules?