5 Ways to Show Your Knitting Who’s Boss

Project funks are a fact of life. Sometimes work gets busy or life gets life-y and you come home and mind meld with the couch. Even the comfort of knitting is no fun if you have a lot of stress in your life and the self-imposed deadline to finish that hat before your friend’s birthday is just too much. Or knitting while laying down is just too uncomfortable (I’ve tried!) and horizontal wins yet again.

Why should your hobbies stress you out?

Well, that’s a question for philosophers to debate. I don’t have all the answers.

Sometimes you get in a funk because every project around you seems to fail. Your WIP pile is woolly madness.

Be the Boss of Your Knitting

Elizabeth Zimmermann taught me to be the boss of my knitting and now that’s my motto.  It’s just yarn. You can get frustrated. You can throw that POS in the corner when you find a glaring mistake 14 rows down and you don’t know how to fix it. Or you don’t want to.  Or you just want to be petulant for a while before you go back to being an adult and fixing the mistake.

You can cry. You can give up. But remember: you are still the one in charge, not the twisted hair of farm animals dyed in luscious colors that you can’t resist touching, much less buying.

Here are five options to consider when the wool doesn’t go your way:

Get Help

Be the boss of your knitting by getting help at knit night

Sometimes a pattern isn’t working and a second set of eyes makes all the difference. This is one of the awesome aspects of Knit Night!

Put It in Time Out

Be the boss of your knitting by putting it in time out

Out of sight, out of mind for a day (or more…) will help reset your expectations, or give your unconsciousness a chance to work through a problem so you can suddenly stand up and say “Ah ha! I’ve figured it out!”

I often go from Time Out to the next option…

Rip It Out

Be the boss of your knitting by ripping it out

Knitting is your hobby, not your job (probably). If what you’re making isn’t bringing you joy, make yourself a comforting beverage, sit down in front of your favorite TV show and rip, rip, rip. It might seem scary at first, but it is VERY cathartic.

Give It Away

Be the boss of your knitting by giving bad projects away

If you can’t bear to look at it, give your project a new home, finished or not. There are always knitters grateful for something new to play with, or non-knitters happy to score a handmade item.

Get Creative

Be the boss of your knitting by getting creative with things that don't work out

That hat coming out too small and you’re not sure you like the yarn anyway? With a sewing machine and some moxie, you can turn that . . . thing into bean bags or microwavable hand warmers or cat toys or . . . well, if I gave you all the answers, there’d be no room for creativity.

Be Sentient and Proud of It

I am a big fan of #2, time out. My WIP basket is currently at ## projects — and that’s just the knitting.  Once a year or so, I take an inventory and discover what I’m ready to let go of and what I still love and want to finish.

What are your solutions to misbehaving projects?  Share in the comments!

When Too Many Projects Overwhelm

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.