Don't be a knitting monogamist!

Anyone who knows me knows that I have many knits going at one time, in various stages of progress. Some are comprised of wound balls in a bag with the pattern. Some are half-done sweaters or scarves. Some are completed except for the seaming. And some are seamed and just need to be blocked. I rotate these projects, sometimes going on finishing kicks where I pull out the "almost-dones" and finish them, one after another. I really love those—instant gratification!

Dollar and a Half Cardigan by Véronik Avery, Interweave Knits Spring 2007
Bauhaus Fair Isle by Mary Jane Mucklestone, Interweave Knits Spring 2007

I also love starting projects, and I let myself start new ones while old ones are still in progress. I find that new projects keeps my enthusiasm for knitting at top speed. To me, looking at yarn and patterns and starting new projects is the lifeblood of knitting—there's always something new to work on!

One of my knitting idols, Vicki Square, decided to become a starter, too. Here she is to inspire you to do the same!

"Start as many new projects as you can!"

That's my new motto, and I'm sticking to it. I'm not talking about mindlessly and indiscriminately knitting any old thing with any old yarn you can get your hands on; instead, I'm talking about choosing new projects wisely and for very specific beneficial reasons. Yet recognizing that creativity is fluid, I want to keep a steady stream of new experiences flowing with as many different kinds of projects as I can manage.

My old motto was "Finish as many projects as you can." Although finishing projects was a functional goal, it wasn't any fun. Don't get me wrong: I like to finish things and wear them, use them, and give them as much as the next person. But as a primary goal, the focus on finishing brought forward momentum to a halt. I ignored the insistent need to create new and fresh ideas; I trampled all over my enthusiasm and enjoyment. Well, I finished . . . and I learned a valuable lesson. Then I traded up on my motto.

What design? What yarn? What colors? These Big Three questions form the central force of knitting inspiration. Contemplating all the possibilities is the core thrill of a new knitting project: a design idea prompts a quest for the perfect yarn to bring the vision to life.

ZickZack Tunic by Melissa Wehrle, Interweave Knits Spring 2009
Fitted Dolman by Annie Modesitt, Interweave Knits Spring 2005

Join me in the freedom my new motto offers and realistically evaluate your knitting and yarn stash. You may have yarn to give away—to friends who need a boost, to kids learning how to knit, or to a local charity knitting group.

Some projects in progress you will definitely complete, simply because you are still connected to the initial inspiration. Some projects started with fabulous yarn, but the design no longer holds interest; it's time to ravel and reuse. And frankly, some projects deserve a decent burial, perhaps on the far side of the moon. You won't finish the knitting, and you know it. What can be done?

First, with a mental flick of the wrist, get rid of the little gargoyle who sits on your shoulder chastising you in whispers for not finishing your knitting. Second, pretend that all your half-done knitting belongs to someone else and you have been given carte blanche to update or redirect the original vision. A large pullover or cardigan can be cut down and made into a pillow. A half-finished Fair Isle sweater can be lightly felted and sewn into a hat.

Whatever you do, refuse to make yourself a hostage to the undone. Enjoy the creative flow of having many knitting projects going simultaneously, just as you enjoy a car ride without worrying about each individual moving part. I find I can place my knitting projects on a scale much like a speedometer. On the 10 mph end of the scale are the projects that have no time parameters, so I can relax and take as long as I want to finish them. On the 120 mph end of the scale is power knitting: a specific project with a specific deadline. Laying aside all else, I power through to the finish line and find doing so spectacularly exhilarating. Most knitting projects, of course, lie somewhere between a crawl and a drag race.

Knit anything and everything you want—and enjoy the scenery!

—Vicki Square, from Interweave Knits Spring 2009

If you need ideas for some new projects, and who doesn't?—check out The Ultimate Interweave Knits Collection CD Kit! Get every issue of Interweave Knits from 1996 through 2001, including the Holiday Gifts special issues.

As you can see from the sample I've selected, the projects in Interweave Knits are as fresh now as they were back in the day. Inspirational and so usable!


P.S. What's your favorite Interweave Knits project? Share it with us in the comments!

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