I have become a polygamist

Recently, Susie of the blog Knitting Knoobie asked the question: are you monogamous?

Once upon a time I was monogamous. I worked on one knitting project at a time. As a project got close to the finishing point, I would get the itch to start another, and begin my research, lining up pattern and yarn. I might even cast on, and knit a few rows. The new project, however, would then be pushed aside, not to be touched until I had completed the knitting in progress.

As my stash of both patterns and yarn has become lusher and more full of possibility, I no longer keep to this virtuous and efficient pattern. I have become a knitting multi-tasker. Actually, Susie’s characterization of monogamous v. polygamous is more accurate, because no matter how many projects you have going, you can only actively knit on one at a time.

I spent most of 2010 with 3 projects on the needles. Currently I have 4 active projects:

  • socks for myself. The pattern is Cookie A’s pattern Wedge, and the yarn is a fine, hand-painted merino dyed with natural dyes by Long Ridge Farm. I had a sinking feeling that I should have used this yarn to make a small shawl, but my husband points out that shawls have much more limited usefulness than socks. One could never have too many handknit socks. The pattern is perfect for the yarn, which is dyed in short floats that are tending to create color pools. Wedge’s short rows are breaking up the pools, and shifting the color changes around the socks.
  • a shawl for my stepmother. This will replace a disastrous skirt made on a knitting machine a couple of decades ago. The skirt is nearly floor length in a bright red. My stepmom says it makes her look like a barn door, and I agree that it is a major fashion mistake. The shawl will hopefully atone for my sins. I’m knitting Romi Hill’s Maia in lovely variegated blues hand-dyed by Marilla of Moonlight and Laughter. I want to get this done by her birthday, in early May.
  • a cardigan for myself. This is the Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert, and I’m knitting it in a lovely gray shade of Ecological Wool by Cascade. I predict I will finish this as the first really warm week of April arrives, so that I will have to put it aside for months before I get any real use from it. It’s also an exercise in how hard it is to knit perfectly evenly in plain stockinette.
  • a baby sweater for a friend and co-worker who will be giving birth to her second child in a few weeks. Her first child is almost three years old and is just starting to wear the sweater I knit for her. The new sweater really is baby sized. It’s the Mexican Baby Ole pullover from Knitter’s Summer 2003. My friend does not know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, so I am knitting the sweater in colors that could be worn by either sex. It’s also a pullover, avoiding that tricky question of on which side to put buttons on a baby cardigan. This gift is very time sensitive, because my friend is leaving the area after her baby is born.
Then there are two UFOs hiding in the knitting room... long term unfinished projects. There’s the start of a cardigan with huge intarsia sunflowers that would be totally unflattering on me if I finished it. I have a plan to convert that project into a pillow for our couch. I also have a beaded sweater that needs some careful and extensive redesign work, including chopping off the ribbing at the bottom and figuring out how long the sleeves will be and how scooped the neckline. I don’t have enough yarn to complete the pattern as written.

I suspect that I would cross the finish line more frequently if I could get back to knitting monogamy. But then I also wouldn’t be able to experience the rush of satisfaction I experienced this December, when I finished three projects within three weeks.

I think I cannot allow myself to start anything new until I finish those two languishing UFOs in any case. My self-discipline is weak, and I don’t know if I can hold to my resolve.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I’m not even monogamous to knitting anymore? I have taken up spinning. A tale for another blog.


  1. How great! You've gone from one place to another and I've gone the opposite way.

  2. In my 'home group' on Rav we've been doing a "frog it or finish it"-along, looking at anything that's been lingering and deciding whether it is worth working on or should be frogged. Sounds to me like at least one of those older projects could be profitably ripped out! You get your needles back and can either reuse the yarn or donate it to a local shelter or school for crafts!


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