A little while ago Meg wrote a great post about how she decides what to knit next (or at least, the factors that influence the decision). I thought it was a great topic and decided I’d think on it a bit and post my own reflections. It ends up being a bit of a list about what I do and what I don’t do, and some reasons why I do, or don’t do, those things (and keep reading, there are photos eventually…).
1. I don’t generally see a pattern and cast on for it straight away – for example, I get the latest edition of IK or Knitty, or even my friend’s activity in Ravelry (best invention ever!) and will see something I love and must make. But not straight away. I rarely, if ever, see a new pattern and start it immediately. Mainly because I’ve already got 5 or 6 things on the sticks already, and I can’t justify starting another one.
But I think it’s also about being sure that I really want to spend my precious knitting time making that particular item. I hate frogging and I don’t want to start someting which I end up not liking. So I’ll think on it for some time before I’ll actually make it. If I’m still thinking about it a few months later, I might even buy the yarn for it. Which doesn’t mean I’ll knit it straight away, but at least I’ll have the yarn when I’m ready!
2. I don’t like to knit to deadlines. So that means I try and get any gift or obligation knits out of the way sooner rather than later. Inevitably, I usually cut it close to the wire anyway, so I’m always reminding myself of the deadline for the gift knit. So even if I’m hankering to start something new, I’ll try and hold off in order to finish the gift knit (but see point 6 below!).
3. I like to only have one big garment project on the sticks at any one time. So even though I’ve got yarn for at least 5 jumpers or cardi’s for myself, I’ll only have one on the sticks at any time. Although at the moment, I haven’t got any (exept the Lace Tee, which doesn’t count because it doesn’t really have sleeves)…but I’ll be rectifying that soon! Which brings to my next factor…
4. Stick availability. I’m pretty much a KnitPicks Options convert now. My most used stick size is 4.5mm. I’ve got 3 sets of 4.5mm tips. All currently in use. I know one of the ideas behind the Options is so you can take the tips off one project leaving it on the cable, and use the tips for another. But I just know that the minute I try that, I’ll grab the project without the tips in a rush to leave the house, and then won’t be able to knit on it. So I have to finish one of my 4.5mm stick projects before I can start Buck-along
5. I like to have variety in my projects. Generally speaking, at any one time I’ve usually got the following on the go:
I try not to start a new project in any category if I’ve already got one on the go. Of course, right now, I’ve got 3 scarves, two pairs of socks and 2 baby garments, plus (small) adult garment and lace project. And two projects in hibernation…but still have the variety! Of course, within those categories there can be easy projects or attention needing projects, and sometimes they cross over (lace scarf, baby socks socks, lace garment etc – although never scarf socks, because that would be weird).
6. If procrastination were an olympic sport, I’d win gold, gold, gold for Australia! Even with things I enjoy, like knitting! So sometimes I start something new in order to put off knitting things I’m close to finishing, or really enjoying, or not enjoying, or need to finish. Usually the new project will be something small, like a dishcloth, but not something I need to knit straight away. But that’s how procrastination works, isn’t it – you get non-urgent things done and the urgent (or important) things slip.
7. What fits in with life plans (not Life Plans, just day to day stuff!). If friends are coming over I might get some time in to knit while we are sitting around chatting. But, due to the chat factor, I try and knit something really simple, like a plain sock. Now, if I don’t have a plain sock on the go, then I’ll have to start a new one… . Or if I’m going on a beach holiday and I don’t have a cotton project on the go, then I’ll have to start a new one…
8. And finally, sometimes it’s just serendipity. A flash of inspiration, or a random idea, or the fact that Grey’s Anatomy finally started again last Sunday and you happened to have a skein of Yarntini self-striping sock yarn in colour “McDreamy” that you recently got from someone’s destash sale…
And you’ve learnt how to do toe-up socks and so want to keep practising, so you have to start a new sock, which you plan to only knit while watching Grey’s Anatomy (and also Brothers and Sisters afterwards, because watching the stripes grow is SO.MUCH.FUN!)This is two hour’s worth of tv. With a break for dinner in the middle. I think I’m a slow knitter!