I teach a lot of people to knit every year. I’m guessing over the past nine years that I have been teaching I’ve probably taught maybe 100-200 people to knit. One thing I have come to learn is that new knitters ask mostly the same questions. When it comes to the technical aspect of knitting they always ask if the last stitch gets knit the same way, they are concerned that the first stitch on the new row always looks weird and so it goes. I always like to reassure them that the things they struggle with and the questions they ask are very normal and all new knitters worry about the same things. Once my students get more comfortable with knitting part way through the class they start picking my brain. And even though every new group asks the same things I really love this part. It makes me feel good that I have aquired such a vast knowledge of a specific art form that people seek out my opinion and knowledge but I also love to see the spark and desire in them to get to that point. They always ask about whatever I’m knitting during their class…is it hard, how long have I been working on it? They ask what kinds of things I like to knit, how long would it take me to knit a hat, a sweater, socks, etc. ?How do you knit the pattern on so and so’s sweater? And then they ask how many projects I have going right now.
This is such a tough question. Do I talk about the two that I have been alternating between that week? The ones I have worked on that month? And what about the ones I haven’t touched in months? In YEARS? In the knitting world we call those UFO’s (unfinished objects). So let’s look at my current stash of knitting projects.
Starting at the top at twelve o’clock and working our way clockwise we have a shawl, a scarf, the band for a sleeve to a sweater for my husband,the beginnings of a cowl, the top of a Christmas stocking for my youngest, socks on the Magic Loop, a baby blanket for my son , an Afghan for a class I’m teaching and dead center another pair of socks. NINE projects! 9!!! When I went to find them all I was actually suprised at how many there were…I was thinking more along the lines of 5 or 6. And this isn’t counting my UFO’s…there are AT LEAST 4 of those (more are popping into my head as I type this).
To someone who is not a knitter or a die hard knitter this might sound crazy. You are probably thinking, “This girl has commitment issues or ADD or something. She can’t finish anything!” But I assure you as far as knitters go I am completely normal. I went away on a knitting weekend with my friends for 48 hours last week. As I packed and had the kitchen table literally covered with yarn my MIL asked if we really knit when we are gone. I think I may have literally laughed in her face! I barely moved all day. Those wearing Fitbits laughed at their steps being under 1000 for the day. A few girls let that make them feel guilty and went for a walk but I refused to be guilted away from my precious kid free, husband free knitting time. I had taken about 6 knitting project for the weekend and darn it I was going to knit on all of them. But I wasn’t the only one. The average amount of projects brought by group members was around six. I would venture to guess that if you asked any random serious knitter you found on the street they would have at least three WIPs (work in progress) going on at that moment
Part of the reason for this is a knitter must be prepared for any kind of knitting situation. While with my knitting group or teaching I need a mindless project that allows me to talk a lot and not really pay attention to what I’m doing. If I’m waiting in the lobby at my daughters dance studio I need a mindless project but it also needs to be small to fit in my purse…socks are great for this! And then there is the project that is challenging…that keeps you interested and really works your brain. The kind of knitting you need a silent room for. The kind that can make you cry and cheer with a rush of adrenaline for figuring out the pattern all in the same town. Then throw in any other mandatory projects like the baby gift you need to finish, the charity hats you said you would donate, the tiny mini mochimochi gnomes, mermades and chickens you just have to knit because they make you smile like a fool and make for adorable Instagram pictures and the projects really add up quickly.
No this isn’t crazy. Not crazy at all. Ask any knitter…they will most likely agree with me. What’s crazy is I will let this stress me out. I will scold myself. Every January I set the resolution to finish all projects before I start new ones and by February I’ve got my eye on the next trendy pattern. But I’m turning over a new leaf. I want to knit all the patterns and I want to knit them now! I will start a new pattern every night until I run out of yarn (HA!) if that makes me happy! When it comes to knitting I am a loose woman…a falanderer…I’ve got a project in every port (or room in the house) and I don’t care who knows it!