Lately I feel like my knitting is all a bit on top of me. From the stash to the projects. There’s too much of it. Some people I know love having a heap of projects on the go but I describe myself as an obsessive finisher. I need to finish things regularly or else I feel like it’s all a bit out of control and pointless.
Does that sound like I over think it? I’m sure it does. It’s only knitting after all, right? It shouldn’t be a chore, and it isn’t, but I need a certain amount of momentum in my creative life, a certain amount of feeling like I’m being productive, otherwise tedium sets in. I suppose it’s a Protestant Work Ethic meets Creative Living kind of problem. It’s why I respond so well to deadlines. Give me a point not too far away on the horizon and suddenly the wheels start turning a lot faster, or, in this case, the needles start working faster.
Deadline knitting is easy to sort out when you’ve got a birthday gift to finish or a baby’s imminent arrival to strive for, but what about when it’s just for yourself? How do you apply deadlines to that?
For me, I just pick a point and stick to it. For instance, in just over four weeks, I start my first ever period of Long Service Leave. It blows me away that I’ve been working for the Government long enough to have accrued Long Service Leave. How on earth did that happen? It wasn’t supposed to be like this. But it is what it is and I do my best to just get on with it.
In four weeks, I’ll have five weeks’ leave to do with more or less as I please. There are some big jobs lined up (kitchen cupboards! A cluttered garage! Garden beds!) but there are also going to be long stretches of good stuff. So that’s my deadline. Knitting projects that are weighing me down with the utter endlessness of it all will be finished so that I can plan some great projects to begin. Two of the projects weighing me down are serious long haul projects. One of them I’ve never shown before.
First, the Featherweight cardigan in baby blue Patons Dreamtime 4ply. This is baby wool but after I procured a huge bag of it from Wangaratta Woollen Mills last year I knew it was going to be a Featherweight. I have a much loved pale blue lightweight cardigan I’ve been wearing for years and I saw my chance to replicate it. But oh how I’m bored.
It wasn’t until I tried it on this morning that I realised how far I’ve come. It’s much longer than I realised, thanks in part to being too tired to knit anything else at night and a day trip to Sydney on the weekend where I worked in it for about six hours straight, there and back.
The only thing that’s keeping me going with this is knowing that it’ll be a lovely, soft, everyday kind of cardigan when it’s done and I know I’ll love it. But someone throttle me next time I say I want to make another one?
A note on boring knitting: in truth I actually love a good solid run of plain knitting. It’s great for car knitting, for working on when watching TV shows that require attention or for just plain tiredness when you want your hands to be busy but your brain isn’t engaged. It’s just the thing. But the problem occurs when you don’t actually work on it. Boring knitting is only useful when it comes out of the bag you stuffed it into in a fit of boredom one day, otherwise, it’s just an albatross.
Here’s my other slightly less boring but generally tedious project. I’m up to the border on the Shetland Tea Shawl. Don’t get me wrong. It’s lovely and I think the border is stunning but good grief could it be any slower?
For me, it’s not an easy to memorise chart, even though it’s only 17 stitches across. It’s frustratingly challenging. Just irregular enough to mean I have to watch it constantly and there are nearly 600 stitches in the last row. It’s painful but I’m determined to get it off the needles by Easter.
I think I’ve got my work cut out for me.