I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the types of projects I choose to knit.
For a long time I found that my knitting appetite was quenched at any given moment when I had three projects on the needles.
- A pair of socks
- A shawl or cowl
- A sweater or other garment
Socks satisfy my need for portability. A small project bag with a sock on the needles is easily pulled out during faculty meetings, long waits in line or my weekly knit night.
For the past year or so I’ve been leaning towards knitting vanilla socks (you can find my recipe here) which has added a nice autopilot quality to this portable project.
The shawl is always my thinking project. Usually incorporating some sort of lace, in fingering weight yarn, this project usually is not one I can knit at knit night. This is a home-by-myself-watching (listening to)-TV knit. For a long time I had a little ritual of listening to Paula from Knitting Pipeline over coffee on Saturday morning while I knit my shawl. Just lovely.
Sometimes the project that fills this category is not actually a shawl. I recently finished a lace hat that served this function in my knitting diet.
Because sweaters are larger projects, I don’t usually take them out to knit. But because the knitting on them is usually simple, they are great to work on when I’m watching something on TV that needs my attention (like football — Go Ducks!) or when it’s late and I want to work in a few rows before I nod off.
Limiting my WIPs to these three projects has proven very useful for me. I always have something I’m in the mood to knit and I don’t have so many projects on the needles that I feel like I never finish anything.
Which brings me to the dilemma of my current list of WIPs. Here’s what’s currently on my needles.
These are my Cookie A Friendship Socks in Sweet Georgia tough sock love yarn in the cayenne colorway. The pattern was part of the 2014 Cookie A Sock Club (October). You can probably tell by the computer screen that is next to the sock in this photo that these are not exactly your autopilot socks. I was a member of the Cookie A sock club in 2012 and 2014. I’ve done a pretty good job of knitting the patterns from the club (I’ve probably knit 7 pairs from the patterns), but I felt that I couldn’t really justify the 2015 club without more fully dedicating myself to knitting those patterns. So, I bought a bunch of solid color sock yarn (mostly from Knit Picks) and have set to work. I’m enjoying it, but mindless it is not.
This is the Eiregal shawl by Romi Hill. This pattern is the product of another club that I am in. I belong to Romi’s Seven Small Shawls club and I must confess that I have been pretty bad about knitting those patterns. I tried the first pattern that was released, but I wasn’t happy with it and it’s taken me awhile to get back to looking at the other patterns.
I cast this one on because I really wanted to use the Jojoland Cashmere yarn that I bought at Madrona last year. This yarn is an absolute dream and I can’t wait to have the finished product of this shawl ready to wear! My intention is to have it finished by Madrona this year.
This is my Central Park Hoodie knit out of Berocco Blackstone Tweed. I really like how it’s turning out, but it’s not particularly fun to knit. There is something about how the slubs in tweed yarn work around the needles that messes with my tension. It’s not the smooth knitting experience that I truly enjoy.
Still, I’m going to be really happy with the finished product and I’m sure it will get a ton of wear.
So, what’s the dilemma with all of these fine, beautiful projects? Not one of them provides the mindless, autopilot experience I sometimes crave.
If these projects were food . . .
- The Cookie A socks would be an Indian curry — delicious and pleasurable to eat, but containing a delicate balance of flavors.
- The Romi Hill shawl would be a fancy soufflé dessert topped with carefully-placed strings of spun sugar. Delicious but eaten with care.
- The Central Park cardigan would be granola — simple, delicious but super-crunchy and not always what you’re in the mood for.
- None of them are potato chips.
If these projects were shoes . . .
- The Cookie A socks would be wedge heels. Fashionable and pretty comfortable, but you really only wear them when you care.
- The Romi Hill shawl would be strappy sandals you wear to a wedding. Beautiful — nothing looks better — but small doses only.
- The Central Park cardigan would be hiking boots. Not the most comfortable, but good when you’re ready to work.
- None of them are my favorite Vans slip-ons.
So, I’m knitting away, trying to wrap up one of these projects so I can cast on that potato chip, Vans slip-on project that I’m craving.