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.

Two sweaters…in time for summer!

Owlet sweater

Needle blocking and lace scarf gifting aside, the needles have not been quiet these past two months.  I also finished my Ribby Cardi, once an Olympic contender but we failed our qualifying round, took our time recouperating and in the end emerged victorious because I still only took two months to finished this adult sized garment and that is a personal best.

Ribby Cardi

It is finished–not counting the fact that it needs the zipper installed and some grosgrain ribbon facing to tidy up the inside.  Sadly the zippers I ordered did not match at all and, given the hot weather, I’ve just chucked the whole thing into a basket.  I’ll be motivated to do the finishing work as soon as it gets cool.

Owlet sweater

I also made an Owlet for E.B.  What a wonderfully quick knit and the wool I got for it was more marvelous than I realized at the check out counter: Shepherd’s Wool by Stonehenge Fiber Mill (local for me, to boot!).  It is squishy, non-splitty, has good stitch definition, and feels great in the hand.  One word sums it up: delicious.  At $10 for a 250 yard skein of aran-weight deliciousness–well, I am looking forward to making a sweater for me!

Owlet sweater

Sadly, E.B.’s Owlet is in time out next to the Ribby Cardi.  I made the 18-24 month size with additional body length of 1 to 1.5 inches because this is normally what would fit my daughter this winter given the size she’s wearing now.  But no.  This pattern either runs small or my gauge is off (or both!) because the pullover fits her perfectly NOW.  Le sigh.  Thus I have not sewn up the underarms or put eyes on owls. We’ll see how it fits in September at which point I can rip and reknit this in a week.  For now, I need some emotional distance from this disappointing result.

The silver lining: the size I did knit, which was at the larger end of the baby sizing, took just over one skein of Shepherd’s Wool – and remember, I added length to the body.  You could totally make a delicious baby sweater for $10, just sayin’.  No acrylic trees will be harmed in the knitting of that sweater, either.