I’ve been wading…swimming…drowning…in new knitted-thing ideas recently. And when I have an idea…I SWATCH…and swatch and swatch and swatch. Then, unable to chose between one of the brand new shiny things or one of the already-in-progress-but-I-really-want-it things, I am paralyzed. Staring at the television. My knitting things staring right back at me.
A couple nights ago it occurred to me that I might benefit from a well thought out, measured approach to prioritizing my projects. I began considering why I feel compelled to knit certain things. Why some projects grab me by the…um…skeins…and won’t let go, while others start with shiny fun, but then devolve into a sort of chore-ish experience.
Since I’m totally a sort-things-into-categories kinda person, let’s create some, shall we?
Reasons to knit a thing:
- I want to wear/have a thing
- Many many many things land in this category – e.g. the 67 items in my Ravelry queue. These are the sweaters, and sometimes squishy blankets, that I want in my life. This is usually product, not process knitting. In other words, nothing super challenging or new in the technique department, just read the pattern and knit kinda stuff. These are the things that often get started and then wait patiently to get back into rotation.
- Longline Cardigan – This fingering weight long, open cardi was cast on at the end of August, arrived at the halfway point in early October, then put aside. I do want to wear this and I LOVE the yarn, which was purchased from A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC. It’s their original hand-dye with the most excellent name, New York.
- Cause for pause: soooo many tiny, boring stitches to go.
- Shifty I have a favorite pair of comfy sporty pants. Every time I put them on, I wish I had a sweater to go with. I have a vision of what I want and Andrea Mowry’s Shifty fits the bill with a few mods (wider, lower neckline, a smidge more length). This swatch happened yesterday – there are six different yarns in there all marly and shifty.
- Cause for pause: Not much. This one could rise to the top of pecking order. I want to wear this. Now. I want to wear this now.
- Seagate I bought this kit from Patty Lyons website. Please look up Patty Lyons – she’s an amazing designer and knitting teacher. This design is so very me and needs no mods. The fingering weight, hand dyed, cashmere blend yarn is scrumptious.
- Cause for pause: Soooo many tiny stitches (again)
- Ursa This is a very popular, cropped pullover design that I dismissed until my recently acquired world view about cropped sweaters, which appeared after I knit…and loooove…my Love Note pullover. This one could also fall under the almost-instant gratification category, as it’s bulky weight and short. Has potential to be a one-week knit.
- Cause for pause: It would be a cozy, perfectly wearable sweater, but it will be fairly mundane knitting. The upside: short-lived tedium.
- Plath I bought this yummy and spendy Shi Bui yarn last January. So yummy, in fact, that it deserved its own swatchy photo shoot.
- Cause for pause: The yarn is spectacular; the design is sublime; it’s a perfect Christmas party season topper…and…I have nowhere to wear it in this stay-at-home-and-save-lives era. It really should get moved up the queue, if only because it’s been waiting almost the longest. Such a patient and polite yarn.
- I think someone else wants to wear/have a thing
- Gifts. All the time I’m seeing potential gifts. The perfect thing for so and so or such and such. The problem with gifts is timing, timing, and timing. Christmas? Birthdays? Virtually impossible. The motivation to create for that special person, who is worthy of a KnicoleKnits made thing, almost never coincides with the time needed to complete said perfect thing.
- Cause for pause: See above. I think my gifting from now on will be random acts of kindness, as the spirit moves me.
- New how-to-make-a-thing techniques
- This category is a big draw for me. I will drop everything to learn something new. The last two weeks of my knittery life has been almost entirely devoted to a new top down, structures, set in sleeve method called Ziggurat (see last post for more on this). When I’m into it, I’m into it. It’s all about process here – no product necessary – just trial, error, wonder, and fun.
- Cause for pause: Not a thing. Right at the moment, there’s nothing pending here, but this one can pop up any time and shoot to the top of the queue with a bullet.
- I have a kit or yarn for a thing
- Ho boy. This, like category #1, is chock a block with things in waiting. When I put my tiny-stitched Longline cardi aside, I was craving something, well, less tiny, so I grabbed my pseudo-bulky Wolf River lacy pullover kit and it practically jumped on the needles. The yarn is a bit rough and super tightly twisted, but softened up after blocking. I’m modifying the neck to vee, instead of crew.
- Cause for pause: The 8 row lace repeat was memorized almost immediately. Now I’m hanging out in boringville. It’s cute, but I don’t need it. However, I can just pick it up and make a fair bit of progress in a short time, so there is that.
- Reuse/recycle yarn to make a different thing
- I’ve got at least three of these rolling around in my brain:
- Harvest cardi to Merle cardi
- Vodka Lemonade to Windswept pullover
- Rylie Tee to Chance of Showers
- This category will be a separate post all it’s own, so I won’t muse too much here, but to say that not all projects are winners and they are sometimes made from recycle-worthy yarn.
- Cause for pause: Before any cast on can happen, the old project needs to be frogged, skeined, washed, dried, and wound into cakes. We’ll discuss this process in detail in another post.
- I’ve got at least three of these rolling around in my brain:
- Instant gratification thing – aka a palette cleanser
- Sometimes ya just want days, or even hours, to elapse between cast on and bind off. Especially after knitting a large, tiny-stitched project – hence the palette cleanser moniker. I find bulky hats and cowls are great for this, well, bulky anything really.
- Cause for pause: None. Just throw into the mix, as needed.
- It might be a cool thing to teach
- I spot many projects that I think would work as a group learning experience. I’ve got a few choice ones in mind right now (sorry, no spoilers).
- Cause for pause: Can’t teach in person right now (thanks, COVID). However, I am starting up my work group classes again in a virtual format, so I’d best pick up at least one of these so I have a sample to tantalize and intrigue my knitteristas.
- I thought up a thing
- Ah, designing. Very definitely all-consuming when I’m doing it. I have a long list of ideas that could become cool things. I have already designed things that need patterns written, so I can share them. My dream is to semi-retire and earn a supplementary income from knitting related sources – patterns sales, teaching, tech editing, commissions, etc. This won’t happen if I don’t get my designing butt in gear.
- Cause for pause: Designing takes lots and lots of time. And what about all those kits and want-y things in my queue? Reality check: it doesn’t have to be one or the other. I could alternate “junk food knitting,” aka cranking out product from someone’s else’s patterns, with my own slow fashion creativity.
- The only way I’m going to find my designer voice is to start chatting with some yarn.
So, help me out…
All things considered, what would you send to the top of my queue?
And while you’re at it, tell me which reasons to knit drive your project choices?
See you next week with <insert pattern here> in progress!
Until then, knit well.
1 thought on “All Things Considered”
Love your writing. Admire your skill and creativity. If I have something on hand (never like shopping or too many choices), a belief that I can make something that looks decent and friends to help out along the way, I have a fighting chance to make it. Thanks for the continued inspiration!