February 15, 2008
You think you're going along just fine, and then suddenly, you find you're suffering from project creep. It sneaks up on you, silently and with a smile on its face, and you think all is well.... until you have 3 times as many projects going than you really had planned to!
Take me, for example. Remember a little while ago, I mentioned I had cleaned up my stash, put it in 5 bins, and I had resolved to work on ONE project at a time? I wanted to simplify my life and my thinking. Having 47+ projects hanging around was weighing me down, both physically and mentally, more than I knew. Once I put them all away into bins, out of sight and "filed", I felt a lot better, and actually, I knit a lot more. The more projects I had hanging around that were started but nowhere near completed, the more I just ignored them all and chose not to knit -- on anything! So the only knitting I did was to start new projects, which I would knit on for maybe one evening, and then rarely pick up again. Don't get me wrong, I loved each of these projects, and I still do; but because I had so MUCH going on, I did nothing with any of them. Starting tons of projects but never making any headway on any of them is like only ever eating dessert. It tastes sweet while you're eating it, but it doesn't make you feel very good in the long run.
Once I put all my projects away and worked on only one project, things were better. There was only one basket by my chair, with one project in it. I could breathe and move. There was a lot more room around me. I found my cats again. I knit a LOT more... I no longer had to face the decision, before even touching any needles, about what to choose to work on, and there was no longer the related guilt about what I was not working on. Projects are like children, you feel a little guilty neglecting one of them for the others. And like children, they are fun to start.... time-consuming and not as much fun to finish.
One project at a time was a dream. I could knit on it a little each night and actually see progress. I could even finish things after a week or so. Geez, just like a real knitter. But then one day I started a project that initially, anyway, seemed more complicated and was not so good to take places with me, the white lace shawl in handspun laceweight yarn. It wasn't mindless, easy knitting. I needed a project I could work on standing in line at the bank or post office ... I decided I would allow myself two projects, then. One that I *really* wanted to work on, that could be a little bit harder, more challenging, fun; and an easy, small project that I could just knit in my sleep. So I pulled out a half done glove project ..... and my project creep began.
The half done glove, cabled, in worsted weight Donegal Tweed, is lovely; actually one glove is done and the cuff is done on the second one. I decided to make this be my standing-in-line knitting. However, the moment I picked it up to take it to work with me, I realized the pattern (one that I wrote, and pretty much only had notes on, from over a year ago) might take more thought than a standing in line project required. However, since it was such a small project, I decided to leave it by the chair and work on it alternately with the white shawl because the gloves would be done *so quickly*. Yeah, right. They are still sitting in the same basket on the floor and I have never touched them.
So I grabbed a ball of sock yarn and started plain stockinette socks. I took them to work. They are perfect for knitting while standing in line. I am half done the first one, to just past the heel. They are very boring. I started leaving them in a bag in the office and not taking them to the post office with me; it is more fun to just stand in line and doze. I have not knit on those socks in a looooong time.
Then, I was bitten by the Hanne Falkenberg bug. (You can read about it in an earlier post.) So I started that project and fell in love with it and let the shawl and the gloves languish. Yes, I feel guilty, and yes, they are still sitting there looking at me all the time. Sigh. I still love them both.
One day not too long ago a skein of Alpaca Sox from Classic Elite flung itself into my arms and said, take me. I had no choice. I now have a lovely start on the Hedgerow Socks from knitty.com. And then a couple days later, a fabulous sales rep entered into a conspiracy with Victoria to make me take a sample skein of Opal sock yarn, and I *had* to start knitting that sock right away because I am evaluating whether to sell Opal sock yarn (by the way, let me know how you all like Opal sock yarn, okay? I can't decide whether to get it for the store or not...).
So let me see, that puts me at one glove, a shawl, a jacket, and three pairs of sockse. Definitely a bad case of project creep. I know the answer is to put away everything except one sock project and one "other" project, and I am willing to throw the gloves back into the bin, because even though they are so close to being done, they do not make my heart sing, at the moment. I can pretty easily pick one sock to work on (the Hedgerow Socks). But I can't stop knitting the Hanne Falkenberg and I don't want to put the white shawl away because I love it. However, if I love it that much and I put it away until the Hanne Falkenberg jacket is done, maybe that will make me work on the jacket more strenuously so I can get it done and get back to the white shawl. I hope so!
Thanks for helping me talk through my project creep problems. Now I know what to do to get back on track. I knew I could count on you to be a good listener!!!
Happy knitting :) And beware of project creep!!!