January 05, 2005

STUMBLING BLOCKS

New Year's is my favorite holiday. I love all of that "out with the old, in with the new" attitude. I am the kind of person who usually makes a long list of resolutions. (And I can hear the cynical among you snickering, so let me hasten to add: Yes, I do work on them and accomplish some of them.)

This year, I've hardly had a moment to think about what my resolutions would be. I do know that there are a couple of knitting projects that I want to finish up, and that I want to focus on getting the Master Knitter requirements completed.

One project I pulled out of the closet yesterday to finish is this tank top. It is from a Reynolds pattern, and has eyelets in the front that form a "V." I substituted yarn, did the math to re-calculate gauge, and knitted the thing in the round. (I have never been the sort of knitter who varied from the pattern this way -- this is, like, a major step in my knitting career.) I know that I started this project in late summer, and thought I might finish it while we had an Indian summer. I got past the underarm shaping, when I broke from knitting in the round to working the back and front separately. But the cool weather was upon us in September, and I put the project away.

What, am I crazy? you are thinking. Just yesterday you were writing about how heavy the frost is and how inspired you are to knit wool sweaters. There's frost again today, and snow is predicted for tomorrow. Why are you working on a tank top now?

Scott and I are going on a trip to Florida next week, so an opportunity to wear this top is on the horizon. Finishing up this project seems not so crazy, after all. (Yes, we will have a house-sitter, pet-sitter, babysitter staying here.)

The act of pulling this tank top out of the closet gave me cause to think about why it is that some projects get only so far, and then get put away. Yes, the weather changed, and that was part of my reason for putting it away. But you can see the real stumbling block in this photo --

frost.jpg

I had only a few yards left on the ball of yarn I was using, and would have had to stop knitting to wind another hank! And somehow, I resisted putting that hank on the swift. Is that not laughable? I didn't want to wind the yarn, so I put the knitting project away.

Dear Reader, what's gotten in the way of your finishing your projects?

The few yards I had left on the old ball were enough to knit two more rows. The hank I wound last night was one of those awful ones where I had to stop every few minutes and de-tangle. No wonder I resisted. Now I'm full steam ahead on the pattern direction that says: Knit armhole straight for 5 inches.



Posted by Karen at January 5, 2005 08:10 AM
Comments

What gets in the way of my finishing projects is when it gets to the point where you have to do anything any more complicated than the knitting: Major decreases, major increases, short rowing, seaming, etc. I know how to DO all this stuff and have done it successfully many times in the past; I just find it hard to make the mental transition and sometimes just find it easier to put the project aside. Which is totally stupid.

Posted by: Ryan at January 5, 2005 04:27 PM

I think working on the tank is a great idea. Every once in awhile I think about knitting cotton in the winter, so that when the nice weather comes I will have something new to wear. However, I am not that organized, and seem to knit whatever fancies me at the time, regardless of how practical it is. My New Year's resolution, by the way, is to have a "formal" dinner at my house at least once a season. Planned menu, nice china and silver...even if just for the family. I realized, with Christmas dinner, that I am way out of practice with this, and not even sure where everything is stored. So, I am going to practice!

Stopping projects because of hank-winding...is that unusual? I have one on needles right now with just that problem. A really boring raglan for my son, and I just haven't gotten around to winding the next hank. It doesn't stop me for long, it has just been sitting for 3 days. I generally put those projects somewhere that I will trip over them regularly and not forget about them. My plan is to have my son wind the hank for me!

Posted by: Anne at January 5, 2005 06:47 PM

Ryan, it's the path of least resistance, I tell ya! It was ten times easier to put that tank top away than to take the energy to find the hank of yarn (aha!), put it on the swift, and wind the darn thing. And it's soooo easy to start a new project--!

Anne -- I hope I get invited to one of those formal dinners (hint, hint!). EZ wrote somewhere that the secret to being a seasonal knitter is to knit winter things in summer and summer things in winter, but I just haven't embraced that concept (yet). Excellent idea to have William be your wind-er!

Posted by: Karen at January 5, 2005 08:13 PM

Hmmm... usually my stumbling block is a deadline for another project... I put project 1 down so I can finish project 2 in time and never go back to it. Right now I have a new stumbling block (sort of), I have lost some weight, planning to lose more, and am playing wait-and-see with a bunch of started items. Ripping and re-knitting in a smaller size (yeah!) is the projected solution, but some will probably be ripped and re-knit into some entirely different item.

What's the pretty purple yarn that was so troublesome to wind? It looks really nice in the photo.

Posted by: Karen at January 6, 2005 02:44 AM

Oh, yes--winding a new hank. This involves clearing a spot on the table, reaching down to pick up the swift, reaching up to grab the ball winder, attaching both to the table, and winding. I'm tired just thinking about the sheer labor involved...

What else slows me? I just love the point where a pattern says "knit straight for x inches" because I really dislike fiddling unless I'm firmly ensconced in my knitting chair and have some time without having to get up and down.

I get slowed when I'm unsure about where a project is going. Are the colors right? Will it fit?

I get waaaay slowed down when the project was a dumb choice to start with. I often think crazy things like, "Sure, this Estonian Lace Scarf will just take a jiffy."

Hmmm, self-deception seems to be the theme...

Posted by: Janine at January 6, 2005 02:42 PM

I will certainly tell you when I plan the first dinner. However, I am not sure it will be worth the trip. You might want to let me get a few under my belt (so to speak), so that I can get better at it!

William wound the ball for me. What a guy. I just have to finish the collar of the Raccoon Jacket (hopefully today) and then I will hop onto that sweater again! Keep us posted on the tanks progress. If nothing else, you could knit on it during the flight and wear it right off the needles!

Posted by: Anne at January 6, 2005 04:05 PM

Karen -- the pretty purple yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool.

Janine -- reaching down for the swift and up for the ball winder presupposes that one already has the hank of yarn in hand! The unfinished project, the hanks of yarn, the swift, the ballwinder, and the pattern were never all congregated in the same room at the same time. And I was too lazy/resistant/irritated to go rounding them up.

Posted by: Karen at January 6, 2005 04:39 PM

A formal dinner party once a season - what a marvelous idea! Once when I lived in Alaska, a friend of mine decided to have a "semi-formal" party. The invitations went out to a group of people who mostly lived in rubber boots. We all looked forward to it for weeks......it was wonderful to pull out that one outfit we all had but never wore, and try to remember how to use all the silverare appropriately! It was 15 years ago and I still remember it vividly as a WONDERFUL time. Good on ya!

Posted by: joan at January 10, 2005 05:31 PM

Almost anything will stop me, winding yarn, new pattern that looks interesting, miles of stocking stitch.

Have a wonderful time in Florida!

Posted by: Angela at January 12, 2005 05:14 PM