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BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  04:27:15 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Been giving a lot of thought to why I stall on a knitting project, in the vain belief/hope that if I understand the root cause I shan't do it so often. All part of my great spiritual quest for a life of perfection, of course, but also prompted by my latest Almost-UFO. It is a sock that I designed for a simply beautiful yarn: One of bluestocking's Spirit Trail Fiberworks yarns in the most stunning combination of greys, with just a hint of accent colors, I've ever seen. The yarn is inviting and springy and tempting and fun to knit with. Socks are neither brain-surgery-difficult nor Mt.-Everest-ly huge. They ought to be pretty easy to finish, right?

But I was stalled. I was stalled because I wasn't quite sure there was enough yarn to knit 2 men's socks in that particular stitch pattern. (There is, but only just barely) And the moment I began to worry about the project Not Working – well, I stopped knitting on it. Imagine – here is a sock only 3 inches from completion and I put it down. I don't want to look at it. I want to Start Something New!!! I betray my old love for the glamorous promise that This Time it will be Perfect. This new project will respect me in the morning. This will be the Perfect Knitting Project.

Every UFO in my stash is something that has a problem with it. Something that might not fit or has batwing shoulders or makes me look like a linebacker for a pro ball team – but without the high salary. Now, I know how many inches around and how many inches up and down I am, even if I am dissatisfied with those numbers. That's no reason to cast on a project that won't fit. I've been dressing myself for 40 years, so I know what looks good on me and ... what does not (drop shoulder sweaters!) Since I tend to design all my own projects, you'd think I would just design something that fit and looked good – but alas. I don't. Sometimes I'm tempted by an idea that's wrong for me, but more often it's a question of skill. And of course, once a project is in the Dread-Stash-Of-UFOs well – it's likely to live there for a long time.

(DSOUFO - Sounds like an African word for disaster to me)

I suppose I could shrink the number of disasters by knitting something that a real designer had already calculated, figured and problem-solved. I'm certainly inspired by other people's beautiful designs. I never minded sewing from patterns, back in the days when I made my own clothes. But I started sewing when I was so young that I didn't mind any less-than-perfect items. Quantity was what I was after then, which is probably a good reason to start knitting when one is young. I'm a little more discerning now.

I think, though, that since I am well past the half century mark, I'd best just accept certain personality quirks and acknowledge that:

1.I will always be more tempted to “cook up” something than to follow a recipe. (I do this in the kitchen as well)
2.I don't get bored with projects. I get scared of them.
3.It's the technical mistakes that stop me – so I ought to get more technical expertise (take more classes? knit more swatches?)
4.Too often the problem is the fear of Not Enough Yarn. I need to estimate higher - or even higher - when I shop
5.I ought to lighten up a little about my expectations. To quote the coffee mug a friend gave me, “Sometimes Finished is better than Perfect.”

And now you see why I have a blog – because I just can't stop talking - where there are photos (not all that great but better ones will be up tomorrow) of the Almost-UFO sock. And here's a link to the wonderful Spirit Trail Fiberworks website, where that sock pattern will soon be for sale.

http://www.spirit-trail.net

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com

Queen Knitsalot
Permanent Resident

USA
1331 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  05:37:58 AM  Show Profile Send Queen Knitsalot a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dahling.......are you sure you don't have a really really bad case of STARTITIS?

Suzanne

I'm not crazy.....I'm colourful. Sounds better on a resume.
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BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  06:17:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No. I certainly enjoy starting projects, and I definitely endow them with too many stellar completion fantasies, but I was thinking more about what causes the STOPITIS.

Probably asking why the sun rises in the east or why up is up, but it was a fun meander through the "wonder why?'s"

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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YarnAndCoffee
Seriously Hooked

786 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  07:05:59 AM  Show Profile Send YarnAndCoffee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You are not alone. We feel your pain, sister.

You write beautifully!

-Elizabeth in Alabama
"Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity."
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windyridge
Chatty Knitter

117 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  07:44:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit windyridge's Homepage Send windyridge a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am the queen of starting and then not finishing and I have stacks of wool that need to be washed! ACK! Maybe i get bored to easily? I'm niot sure what it is. Any knitting shrinks out there? LOL

blog: http://onaridge.blogspot.com
web: wwww.windyridgfarm.org
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2367 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  07:52:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're a Virgo?

<G>

Shelia
www.letstalkstash.blogspot.com
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windyridge
Chatty Knitter

117 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  07:52:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit windyridge's Homepage Send windyridge a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am the queen of starting and then not finishing and I have stacks of wool that need to be washed! ACK! Maybe I get bored to easily? I'm not sure what it is. Any knitting shrinks out there? LOL

blog: http://onaridge.blogspot.com
web: wwww.windyridgfarm.org
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5194 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  09:21:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do it too, Bess. And I do it with non-knitting projects as well. I turn against projects because I know that I've made a decision that will result in an item I don't love enough to keep, or because my hands got sore working on something. I have a stalled book--I know it will upset some folks who matter to me, so I don't finish it.

In some ways, I think my decisions make sense. I finished a quilt I wasn't wild about and didn't work hard enough to make sure it went far away, and now I have to see it every time I go see my folks. I know they love it, but I think it's crap, and I'm stuck with it. had I given up on the original concept earlier, I could have recut all of those scraps into something I would like once finished. That's where knitting can be most forgiving of crafts, since frogging is so much easier than disassembling sewn things.

What does help me finish stuff up (I'm down to five knits on the needles, and only two are stalled) is accepting that I won't necessarily love the finished product and deciding who gets it if I don't love it. A few friends have items I made in slightly the wrong color or not quite the right style, and I love to see those things I made so carefully on people I love. Now if only I had a similar trick I could use with writing . . .

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.typepad.com/
Join the KR Webring: http://crazylanea.typepad.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
Read poetry, silly: http://www.crazylanea.typepad.com/eating_poetry/
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windyridge
Chatty Knitter

117 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  09:47:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit windyridge's Homepage Send windyridge a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I apologize for the duplicate post, have no idea how that happened. darned technology. LOL

blog: http://onaridge.blogspot.com
web: wwww.windyridgfarm.org
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tink_r_bell
Chatty Knitter

USA
173 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  2:53:54 PM  Show Profile Send tink_r_bell a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am a Virgo[:00] and am the same way! (Thanks Sheila!) Except I cannot get off square one, and right now have tinked and frogged 5 times a silly black 100% alpaca scarf that SHOULD be done a flash of time (can you say 09.29.07???). Guess I need a new pattern and a new set of motivators.

I second the response that you write very well. What a nice talent.

Steph ;-}

To err is human, just try not to over do it.
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bakerygirl
New Pal

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  3:29:21 PM  Show Profile Send bakerygirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey All,
I'm the same way I have the epstein coat almost finished except for sewing the seams... don't I hate sewing then just add the collar. And I just ordered more yarn to knit a little sweater. I just don't know I love love love to knit but I hate to finish. I also have a vest to sew together and a another jacket. Please help!!!

Oh well I guess I'll probably not change.

Knittingly Yours,
Bakerygirl
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monnibo
Chatty Knitter

Canada
161 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  3:46:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit monnibo's Homepage Send monnibo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sometimes I just force myself to complete something JUST BECAUSE when I cross it off in my agenda (or delete it off my iCal) it just feels so good. It's that sense of accomplishment - I can show someone my scrapbook, I can send someone their birthday gift, I send out that Thank You card, I feel organized after updating my Address Book. You have to take the joy in the little accomplishments because sometimes, there's just too much to do in a day. So set ALL the UFOs aside, pick ONE and finish IT. Then do something good for yourself (mm chocolate!) Then tackle another UFO a different day. Reward yourself too!

- Monica

-----------------------------------
my blog: http://monnibo.wordpress.com
crafty creations: http://crafty.mcmiller.ca


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Ditzy Girl
Permanent Resident

USA
4723 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  7:58:32 PM  Show Profile Send Ditzy Girl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just frogged my Evelny Clark PNW Shawl. I just can not seem to get the tree section. I will try again this winter. Now I will finish up the baby sweater and the felted tote. Then start 2 baby sweaters for twins. I might start another shawl, just don't know which one.

Zola, Seattle, Wash.

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Mickey
Permanent Resident

USA
1670 Posts

Posted - 09/18/2007 :  8:53:50 PM  Show Profile Send Mickey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You answered your questions yourself. You know what to do. Now just do it.
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BessH
Permanent Resident

3095 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2007 :  04:10:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit BessH's Homepage Send BessH a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're absolutely right, Mickey.

In fact, that's what prompted this musing to begin with. I probably should have titled the post "Why I do..." instead of "Why do I ..."

Thank all of you for the nice compliments, too.

Though I tend to think of knitting as a modestly challenging sort of craft - you know - "Everyone used to have to knit her own socks", and though I've knit for a long time and known how to knit for most of my life, there's still a heckuva lot of technique I don't know. I suffer from Librarian's Disorder - we don't know everything, but because we know where everything is stored, we tend to feel like we could know everything.

Of course, it just may be that now it's autumn I'm getting that Back to School feeling. I want to Learn Something New. I've always been lured and tempted by the first half of Barbara Walker's 4th book of knitting stitches - which is all about shaping your knitting. Dozens of swatches going in all sorts of directions. It seemed that if you knit them all you'd know so much about the geometry and engineering of knitting. What's kept me from doing it is that they're all done in garter stitch - which I like to do, I think is pretty, but which I'd probably never use in a whole garment. My personal esthetics, which are just that - deeply personal - prompt me to recoil at the idea of a whole garment in garter stitch. Some garter stitch is beautiful. A whole garment in it begins to have that peasant look to me AND besides - it's so S L O W!

Oh la - here I am meandering all over the place. Sorry.

It's obvious I am yearning for some sort of structured technical lesson plan. TKGA has a pretty good one and there's an ancient post here in the archives from about April 2002 that covers my venture into that realm. But I'm not sure I want to delve deeper in that direction. I wonder if anyone else has devised such a program? ... I wonder if I could do it?

And there you see the "I can do it myself" bug biting again.

But as Micky says - I know what's the issue when it comes to technical stuff. I need to learn more.

As for those poor UFO's banished to DSOUFO? Well. One, I shall fix, 2 I shall finish, and 2 I shall frog and reuse the yarn for something else.

and really - the moral of this post is

Learn More
Buy More
Enjoy More knitting.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Bess
http://likethequeen.blogspot.com
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2007 :  08:11:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Um, well, typical Virgo behaviour if you ask me. Even though, I know that Virgos HATE being typical according to what they say is a bunch of superstitious hooey.

BessH, dahling, we have never met, but you were at least partly to blame for my spinning obsession. Hon, just sit down and knit it.

And everytime you find yourself worried about what could go wrong.....tell yourself, yes, that is the worst that could happen-won't fit, won't look goood, whatever. Now you have to tell yourself what is the best that could happen. That it turns out is a little more difficult than it seems. The truth and the results will be somewhere in between, and usually more on the positive side. Sounds crazy but it's true.

And even if it does not work out, it's knitting. You can absolutely unknit a thing and try again or try a different thing.

***waves wand*** I hereby give you permission to frog or flog the stuffing out of whatever project you would like.

But really, if you don't finish a thing, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW IF IT WILL WORK OUT. And really, this is knitting, not marriage, not a career, not your child's psychological welfare. There is truly not so much at stake. If it does not work out, you can give it to charity, frog in, recycle it. No worries.

Kelley
Check out my solar-dyed yarns at http://www.ceallachdyes.com
and my blog at http://ceallachknits.blogspot.com
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booglass
Permanent Resident

Costa Rica
1987 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2007 :  08:22:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit booglass's Homepage Send booglass a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I TOTALLY understand since I suffer from the same illness. But I have come to the conclusion that knitting is my escape. It is what I do to relax whether it is knitting itself or looking through knitting magazines, etc. I finish some stuff and others are perpetual projects that may never be completed. But I have given myself permission to just be okay with it for now.

bonnie

Check out my blog:
Tropical Knits
http://www.booglass.typepad.com
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barbaydos@aol.com
New Pal

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2007 :  9:48:37 PM  Show Profile Send barbaydos@aol.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do this all the time. Finish some, don't finish some. In fact I was cleaning out my garage today and found three unfinished projects. I forgot all about them. I quilt and found an unfinished quilt too. I'm also looking for some unfinished socks also. I think they're under a pile of stuff in my laundry room
It's fine. Don't worry about it. But I do put each project in it's own bag with the directions.
Just have fun.
Rosanne
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2007 :  01:05:48 AM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As a virgo, I too am a multi starting, non finishing knitter. I do love to start things, but one of the wonderful virgo traits is a severe fear of failure. Combine that with the knitting fear of failure and you're doomed. No matter how many swatches, samples, tests and trials I make I always end up re-starting everything 3 times before it works out. Does anyone else have that problem? I work like crazy to get to the just about done stage and then I stop! Boredom? Burn out? Who knows, good example, I have a baby hat sitting here about 10 rows from done, yet it sits for a week now untouched. The rest of the hat took me about a day. I find setting goals or having deadlines works for me, again with the failure thing if you don't meet your goal. I know I don't need the hat until Oct 6th, but ... I also needed little baby mittens before winter to match it. So now I'll have to cram for a week to finish hat, mittens and start the sweater. But I'm already my next project for myself! Speaking of knitting for myself, I never finish anything! I have 1.5 socks, the first corner of a clapotis, a shrug that enver got past a wristlet, some wristlets in various forms, none of which are working for me and the list goes on, and on, and on. I do have several felted bags, but that was an obsession![/font=Century Gothic][/font=Tahoma][/font=Verdana][/font=Andale Mono][/font=Arial][/purple]
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scraffan
Permanent Resident

1844 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2007 :  03:16:25 AM  Show Profile Send scraffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This what happens to me occassionally.
I start a project and then real life gets in the way for a couple of days.
Pick up a different set of needles a new project gets put on the new needles.
Then what I have to do...is go back and finish items. Example I have one leg warmer done. A second one to match would be nice.
I have two baby booties done. Another two would be nice as they are for twins...
I think I will start to back track through projects and find out what needs mates and start them.
Thank you for the reminder on these projects...
Karen
So much to knit in so little time
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oleredhead@gmail.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2007 :  06:00:30 AM  Show Profile Send oleredhead@gmail.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
BessH I never thought I would read something that someone else wrote that I could have written word for word. I don't know where you live or what your age is but we certainly think alike. I have an afghan in Plymouth Encore that I designed strickly for me because I knit so loosely that a regular afghan pattern just looks like yarn being knotted randomly. It is nothing more than a stockinette pattern with an eyelet border but it is in 5 colors. I am only 27 rows from being finished but even if it is in my lap, I procrastionate. Just thought I would let you know that you are not the only with these symptoms. I always tell everyone it is my ADD kicking in but you and I know different.
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