When Too Many Projects Overwhelm

Photo of knitting the Flax sweater

Fall, fall, we all fall into fall.

I am in a snarl of too many projects and can’t seem to find my way out.

The problem with too many projects is that nothing gets done. My projects are like reflections of my moods and whichever pulls me at the moment is the one that gets worked on. But when I have a lot of projects, it starts to feel narcissistic. Or like a form of multiple personality disorder. How do I feel RIGHT NOW? What project is the perfect match for my state of mine in this genuine moment? Which garment type? This stitch complexity? That color?

And when I catch myself tangled up with indecision that granular and, frankly, insignificant, that’s when the herd gets culled. It’s for my mental health after all. I want to work on my projects, not just think about them. I want the satisfaction of finishing in a reasonable amount of time.

Here’s a pic I posted to Instagram this weekend:
A photo of knitting works-in-progress

So here’s the list of things on the needle (which I have touched in the past month; never mind the things that are already back-burnered) — clockwise from top left if you like a visual, with links to Ravelry project pages if you want more info:

  • Gift socks for the holidays. I started a new pair of socks last week. I’m trying to work on it when the recipient isn’t home. By which I mean I’m trying to not work on it when the recipient is home. Those aren’t the same things.
  • A sock sample for Washtenaw Wool Co. in our half-stripe/half speckle dye application.
  • Sockathon #2, my neverending quest to knit up scrappy socks with leftover sock yarn. I still love working on this and it’s small enough that I almost always have it with me.
  • Cowl design, long overdue, half knit up.
  • Wheaten scarf in Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, my impulse purchase at Northern Michigan Lamb & Wool Festival. This yarn is so delicious (100% BFL) and I have been wanting to knit this pattern for a long time.
  • Susanna IC’s Yarn Crawl Mystery Knit-a-long, from August/September. I’m about halfway done. I was really enjoying this project, but had to set it aside for some deadline knitting. It’s a relatively easy knit and the yarn—old Koigu KPPPM liberated from my sister’s stash—is delicious.
  • Flax sweater in Shepherd’s Wool, started for a class I was teaching. I screwed up the sleeve garter panel and need to rip and reknit the whole thing. Sigh.
  • Thrummed mittens for a class I’m teaching, pattern of my own devising. (Not pictured; don’t know where they’re at! Somewhere in the house.)

I am harsh at this point. No matter how many projects I am considering, I always narrow the list to two, one that takes concentration and one that doesn’t. With focus, things get done quickly — sometimes even just a day or two — and then I can get back to other items on the list. Or, with the distance of time, I’ll decide something isn’t working for me and I’ll rip it out (usually precipitated because I need the needles or the storage space).

I know which two projects it needs to be.

Snow Day

Moss Stitch Scarf

The Orphan Foundation of America Red Scarf Project is wrapping up in the next month.  The deadline on the OFA is December 15 (two more days!) but the Ravelry group lists in bold letters that the deadline has been extended until the first week of January.

I am going with the extended deadline, otherwise there is no hope for me.

Moss Stitch Scarf

I am making a moss stitch scarf in a heathery burgundy shade of Patons Classic Wool.  This is actually a picture from October – the scarf is now about a foot and a half long. I had hoped to make more than one scarf but so far this looks to be it, even with the extended deadline.  Too many chilly heads and hands and feet in my house need attention also (I am on fire to knit myself seventeen different hats and five cowls).  I might churn out a garter stitch red scarf if fancy strikes me after Christmas, which is also after my last work deadline for a while.  I know, I KNOW a real vacation at the end of the year for once.

To my surprise, all schools in our county were cancelled today.  The snowfall yesterday was not tremendous compared to what we have seen (4-6 inches in our neighborhood) but the temperature dropped quickly in the past 48 hours to just above zero degrees F (-10 windchill).  Sadly, we still had to pry ourselves out of the house to go to the dentist today.  Dentists don’t have snow days, far as I can tell.

Neither do stay-at-home parents.  Or freelancers.

Back to working on my hat (Lisa’s Beret in Yarns of Distinction Licorice Twist “Meadow”).  Toddlers don’t sleep for long and tomorrow morning will be a bitter walk to school in the morning.  Maybe I should drive.  For my daughter’s sake.  Yeah, that’s it.

The much anticipated results

Lace Ribbon Scarf

I know you are all dying to know.  I know because you’ve asked.

The needle blocking experiment was successful!

Lace Ribbon Scarf

Successful in that the scarf laid flat and the lace was open.  It was not a tight lace blocking but I didn’t think that was necessary for this little ditty.  My only concern is that the blocking will wear out over time and need to be redone.  Hopefully its new owner will not be shy about asking me.  If she notices.  If she cares.  About blocked lace, that is.  I’m not wallowing here.

Lace Ribbon Scarf

Well, life continues it complicated, convoluted, not to be anticipated route.  Entangled indeed.  I am all astonishment that it has been two and a half months since my last post because I compose posts in my head nearly every day.  Blogging in general seems to be falling out of vogue in favor of other social media but I find that doesn’t make me want to do it less.  I am a writer and therefore journal by nature.  The public journal thing weirded me out at first (as a writer not a reader; I love reading them) but I find I am warming up to it quite nicely.  Not that one would know from my infrequent posts.  But I feel the shift.

The Great Needle Blocking Experiment

Lace Ribbon is all done (details on Ravelry).  All done but for the blocking.

So block it we must.  But what’s a gal to do with a big lace rectangle and no blocking wires?

Luckily I have a jar full of 14″ knitting needles in all sizes.  I stuck to US 3 and under. I think this would have been easier to pin out if it had points to pin but no, it’s just a rectangle with lace inside.

No, it’s not a perfect solution but this is a scarf, not a state fair entry.  And I figure if it comes out really wonky then I can just reblock it.  With wires.  There’s a welding supply store just down the street from my house and the talk out in the ether is that stainless steel welding wires work and are cheaper.  For me, perhaps easier to acquire as well.

Can’t…stop…casting…on…

Entrelac Scarf by Allison LoCicero

My Castonitis has gone critical.

Here’s my latest symptom:

Mitered Mittens by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Mitered mittens; pattern by Elizabeth Zimmerman; yarn is Malabrigo.  What can I say?  My hands were cold Friday and Saturday.  By Sunday all arguments that I at least finish my scarf first–because I could use the leftover yarn and have matching accessories, a thing unheard of in this house–were broken down by my stronger self and I even took the DPNs away from the entrelac (they are happy on straights so there’s no project abuse going on here).

The project I was going to write about next that was trumped by mittens:

Entrelac Scarf by Allison LoCicero

An entrelac scarf for moi using yarn my brother gave me for my birthday.  As Matt said, “It looks like that yarn was made to do that.”  By “that” he means “entrelac,” I’m pretty sure.

But since this is a post about my Castonitis, we’ll move on to the next symptom:

Jelli Beenz socks

Yes, in fact, that is the same photo from last post.  Because that was probably the last time I touched these. Uh… Out of sight, out of mind?  I have no excuse.  I am weak.

Then there’s this beauty of an excuse to buy yarn for a project that was begun to bust stash:

Around the World crochet afghan

I do actually pull this out and work on it a bit here and there because, turns out, the only thing more mindless than stockinette is shell stitch.

It breaks down from here because I cannot find all these pictures again….they’re too old…hah… So I direct you to pictures on my Flickr page.  I’m sure I could embed them somehow.  (Resolution #491: learn how to do technical stuff on your blog.)

An overdue gift and socks I started one year ago to this day:

Lace Ribbon Scarf and Jaywalker Socks

And this, my birthday gift:

Hourglass Lace Stole

So that is … seven unfinished projects I am copping to.  And I am dying to start my Ribby Cardi.  Gulp.