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.

Proof that Dr. G’s Memory Vest Makes People Happy

Dr G's Memory Vest

Mission accomplished!

Dr G's Memory Vest

Being a goal-oriented person, I am pleased to have not only finished my husband’s Dr G’s Memory Vest (pattern by Kirsten Kapur of Through the Loops), but also to have accomplished my goal of knitting a sweater for each person in my immediate family this season.

Except myself.  I am not neglecting myself.  I do not buy into the Martyr Mother role!  And winter is not over yet.  I will cast on for my new sweater any day now.  I just have to make a decision on which pattern…  Isn’t sifting Ravelry for a pattern the best part anyway?

Back to the vest.  On a friend’s suggestion, I went with Aslan Trends Del Cerro yarn.  It was one of those yarns that seemed like it would work, but so did not – at first.  I wanted to make a medium, which would have given Matt some negative ease in the fit, but after casting on and knitting for a few inches, it was clear that it was coming out way too small.  So I threw my naughty knitting into the corner for a few days ripped it out and knit the vest in the extra-large size.

close up of Dr G's Memory vest

 

Well hallelujah and all that jazz because it ended being a great fit!  It’s approximately 43” around the chest, which is about what size the medium was supposed to be.  I’d like to claim awesome knitting ninja powers, but I suspect I just got lucky.  The false start made for a good gauge swatch as well.  The one tricky spot was the v-neck; I had to rewrite the decreases because of the difference in my row gauge.  Row gauge didn’t give me a problem in the other parts of the sweater.

Don’t get me wrong about the Del Cerro, either.  It’s a great yarn.  It is comprised of many small plies and it is very bouncy and squishy.  It was just a bit splitty in the knitting up, but not so much that I am put off using it in the future.  The important feature of this yarn: It has GREAT stitch definition for all those cables.  I hope down the road that it doesn’t fuzz over so much that the cables become blurred, but if it does, oh well – there are more vests to be knit and there is a life-cycle to all these knitted goods.

Coincidentally, Matt’s first opportunity to wear this was on his birthday last week.  We had to go out and get a new white button down and everything.

 

Happy Birthday, Matt!
Donut Mondae at Zingerman’s Roadhouse ~ what more could a person ask for?!

Dah-ling, you look mah-velous!  Happy Birthday!

Mental Note: Remember this Forever

This morning my almost-three-year-old daughter climbed into our bed, vaulting herself into that much coveted nook between mom and dad.  As she snuggled in deeper, she beamed at both of us and said: “You guys are my BEST FRIENDS … ever!”

Goooooood morning!

What a nice way to wake up in the morning!

If you’re here for the knitting, rest assured I have good news.  Spiral Yoke is DONE, has been donned and found worthy, and took a trip to the spa.  After a lavender-scented bubble bath, she is now resting (and drying) on the dining room table.  Photos to follow.

Swirly

I am now into the yoke of the Spiral Yoke Sweater.

Spiral Yoke detail
my stitches are a travelin’
another crappy, “oops, where went my daylight?” photo

I could be done (this is a theme, no?) if I weren’t distracted with some quickie knits here and there.

For example, I made warmish socks for my skinny boy:

worsted weight on little feet makes quick work

These are knit in leftover bits of Lion Brand Wool-Ease for washability and warmth.  They may be only 20% wool but that’s 20% more than all of his other socks.  The couple of handknit pair he has are in intense rotation so I decided to help a boy out.  These made a good traveling project for the month of December now that I am done knitting sleeves (ahem) for my sweater.  I think I could make a pair in 2-3 evenings of knitting if I weren’t busy with a sweater.  And I don’t sit still much while I knit.

I have been abstaining from resolutions and major project declarations so far this new year.  Not because I think it’s a useless exercise.  I am seeking clarity.  December was too busy for inward reflection.  I am a gal who appreciates a little naval-gazing, so I am at least glad to have finished December and begun January.

Now, back to my sweater and my Harry Potter movie marathon. (I’m halfway through.  The movies, that is.)

Sleeve-Sweater Coupling Achieved!

project bags

At Knit Night last night I finally joined the sleeves (#2 and #4 for those who are counting) to my sweater body for the Spiral Yoke pullover.  Squeeeee!  I’d be knitting the yoke right now if I weren’t writing this.

The big question is: Will it be ready for Hanukkah/Solstice/Christmas?  Stay tuned for further developments.

My drawstring, lined bag sewing continues.  A few nights ago I cut up some old button-down shirts to use as fabric (saving the buttons, of course).  It’s an experiment.  Pros: cheap to free and I get bonus buttons! (I have a thing for buttons.)  Cons: Butchering a blouse is more work than a roaster for dinner.

I should use my rotary cutter.

Where did I put that thing?

On a completely unrelated note, I am still searching for the perfect productivity app for my phone.  I suspect that “perfect” does not exist.  I am currently enjoying Remember the Milk but am irritated by some of the limitations that are only available to pro members.  While I don’t mind paying for something useful, RTM’s terms are steeper than what other apps charge: $25 per year as opposed to a one-time fee of a few dollars that most apps that cost anything charge.

Nevertheless.

I may be sadly widget-less, but RTM is my favorite so far.

Back to knitting!