I want to ditch everything I am making and knit a shawl.  I am resisting.  I have no idea why.
It’s not like knitting has rules or an enforcement squad that is going to come over here and fine me if I bail on all this. It’s not even like sticking to a project has a moral imperative, I mean, it’s knitting. It’s meant to be fun. It’s what I do for fun. Tossing all this aside like the cheap rags it suddenly feels like it all is won’t hurt a fly. The world will not be a better or worse place no matter what I knit tonight. Babies will be born, people will die, wars will be waged or peace gained and not for one second will whether or not I stick the hell to a tank top that’s boring me to tears make a whit of difference.  Not only that, but it won’t even matter in my own life.  It’s not like my husband, children or friends will look at me and say "Oh my. She’s done it again. It’s a shawl.  I’m so disappointed. I’d respect her so much more as a person if she finished those socks first." (As a matter of fact, I’d wager a substantial sum of money that my beloved doesn’t even know what’s on the needles, never mind bothering to judge it.)

All of this is true. What you’re knitting when (or at least, what I’m knitting when, perhaps you possess more global influence) doesn’t matter in any way, shape or form that will influence the amount of decency or right in the world.

So why do I feel like a good knitter would stick it out, and only a bad knitter would snag something better, more interesting, else, out of the stash?

293 thoughts on “Resistance

  1. It’s the same reason we talk to our knitting, we know it is really alive and will respond appropriatly when treated nicely. If you leave socks too long on the needles with out finishing them they might just crawl out of your basket and hunt you down. You sure don’t want to have a shawl in your hands when they find you. I’m not risking it. I’ll just finish the nice pretty socks I’m working on so I can get the next pair started and keep everyone in the yarn stash happy.

  2. Definitely your choice! And I bet the tank top would be finished a lot sooner if you just cast on and start that shawl! I’ve spent a lot of time with a book or on the computer instead of finishing something boring…

  3. 100% your choice!
    At your knitting speed, you could be back to the tank top next week.
    Enjoy choosing a shawl pattern!
    We look forward to seeing the photos.

  4. Tank top? Okay, THOSE you can buy at Wal-Mart. Haha just kidding. But really, think of it this way. A shawl is much more likely to become a treasured heirloom, a bit of a knitting legacy, a piece of art…that can fit anyone!!! 🙂

  5. You’re the YARN HARLOT! We expect you to do that. If you stayed monogamous too something, then everyone would be worried!

  6. Um, hello? HARLOT??
    Don’t make me transcribe the definition. I will, however, consider putting your photo beside ‘harlot’ in the next dictionary I edit.
    (And I can do it, too. I’ve already used your name at ‘knit’ in the verbal illustration. Really.)

  7. A good knitter would do the project that is calling her. The only exception is if you are doing a gift with a deadline.

  8. Does this mean if you bail, that I can too? I’ve done a mountain of grocery shopping and housework today (don’t even get me started on the fact that I actually ironed too), all in the name of avoiding the boring WIP that is sitting staring at me balefully from the basket. I wanta start a vest, dammit!

  9. Go for it. It’s not for nothing that you are called the “Yarn Harlot”, you know! I say cast on that shawl and have a great weekend! 🙂

  10. Understand the dilemma. Sitting on the floor in a bag is enough lovely merino yarn for a shawl I am thinking of (design/pattern who knows – just the inspiration hit when I saw the yarn). But… on the needles: a knee high sock. Finished one, just cast on for the other. Only to learn it is too big in spots (who knew my calves were that much larger than the recipients). These are a must finish for several reasons:
    – I bartered their creation for an anniversary gift for Mr. Wildknits. Gift has been given.
    – The recipient may be heading to China in a month,for a year possibly.
    – I am designing as I go and if they sit too long (see impending travel above) I will have no recollection of what I did.
    So – ignoring the call of the shawl and instead working on a matching hat until I am ready to face the realities of the math I need to do ;->

  11. Am I the only one who wants to see you finish the tank? It will give you way more bang for your knitting time, you can wear it NOW and then go for your shawl. btw, I don’t care when you finish the socks, but the tank looks so cool, DO IT DO IT, as my fifteen year old would say!! 🙂

  12. STOP! You get to do what you want…. Now you know why that tank top ended up in the “unfinished” basket. The scarf is SO beautiful! Put the tank top aside (again) and do something you like. That is the rule in knitting. If it isn’t fun, you can do something else. Good luck.

  13. I suspect it is because it has been ingrained in you by modern culture to produce and that the non-knitting population only understands knitting as a hobby if you end up with a garment. Which is where knitting is completely unlike fishing. Everyone knows that people who fish don’t do it to actually catch stuff so much as hang out by a nice body of water looking busy enough to be left alone. Our muggle relations department should really take note of this.

  14. Oh, make a shawl! I have a selfish reason for being an enabler here. I am trying to decide what shawl to make and I just know you’ll find a wonderful pattern. Then I can follow suit!

  15. It’s that crazy work ethic the Puritans made so popular. But don’t let them control you! They weren’t allowed to have any fun and YOU are.

  16. that is funny. I was getting Chris to wind yarn with me because I wanted to start something (else) and he said, “How many projects do you have going right now anyway?” I said something like only 3 or whatever. He responded, “What about my socks?”

  17. I vote for the shawl. Actually, I vote for Romi’s Brandywine Shawl, partially because it is beautiful and partially because she is making a major donation with every pattern sold to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti. $12,000 so far. Did I mention it is gorgeous?
    Also because I didn’t follow the pattern and am frogging it big time to make it right. I’m learning patience in this lifetime, and knitting is at the center. Be aware k3tog is not the same as sk2p. Ask me how I know.
    Each project currently on your needles will be finished in its own time.

  18. The tank and the socks will be waiting patiently for you when you decide it is their time again. They won’t judge, and neither will I. 🙂

  19. This is absolutely awesome and true. We’re so hard on ourselves.
    I want to cast on a project in celebration.

  20. Is this the same tank top from a few blogs back? The one that was with a pattern you loved and yarn from a company you loved? The same one that you couldn’t remember why you didn’t finish in the first place?
    I’m beginning to get the “harlot” thing.

  21. It’s futile. Throw caution to the wind and knit what’s calling your name. Do you have something specific in mind?

  22. The longer you fight it, the longer it will take to begin the shawl. The shawl that you totally know you will lie awake thinking about if you do not cast on right now. Go.

  23. It’s because you feel guilty for having put it down once already. But I say there’s a reason you did put it down the first time, and go for the shawl – I would! You’ll finish the tank at some point, even if it’s in it’s in little pieces at a time.

  24. I used to be completely monogamous in my knitting relationships. Now I have so many UFOs that I can barely keep track. As long as I am knitting SOMETHING, I am accomplishing my goals of fun, relaxation and not wasting time. Cast on….

  25. It’s kind of like eating everything on your plate before you can have dessert………………….no longer true if you don’t live with your mother!

  26. I look at it this way – knitting is my hobby, – my release – it is and should be all about me, what I want. After all it’s MY hobby – it’s not a job I don’t HAVE to do it. So I say go ahead – dig into the stash – cast on for that shawl! And feel no guilt!

  27. Send me the tank, you can have my shawl. Of course that won’t last you long… it’s another week for me, but it’s about 5 inches and a border… what is that, two days for you?
    (It’s a prayer shawl for a friend having a bad year and I must get it done, but it’s taken the 4th season of Bones and now I’m working on the 1st season of Brother Cadfael to keep good thoughts)

  28. I think KatherineR has it right: Resistance is futile. Futile was, in one place, defined as “Incapable of producing results; useless; not successful; not worth attempting.” So really, just knit the shawl.

  29. Look how hard you’ve worked on the tank top! So much progress!
    Now you can have a beer and re-assess.

  30. The yarn is always greener on the other skein. And not to be a buzz buster, but if you got hit by a bus next month, what will you want to wear while recuperating–the tank or the shawl? Just trying to be helpful.

  31. I would finish the tank simply because having things sit around unfinished takes too much psychic energy for me. But I probably wouldn’t enjoy it when I finished it, either, because what I would remember was how much I hated plowing through the last little bits.
    Knit the shawl! You know you’re going to. ;o)

  32. In how many posts lately have you said “it’s knitting it’s meant to be fun”??? Even if you make a living talking/walking/breathing/teaching knitting, it’s *still* supposed to be fun!
    Go for whatever’s calling you!

  33. It’s probably because we’ve been conditioned through years of schooling that finishing projects and finishing them well is what gives a sense of accomplishment. Nothing teaches us that it’s the process that teaches us more than the result.

  34. I have a few WIP that I do during the week, then on the weekend I like a change, so I’ll work on something totally unlike the week stuff. So, when you think about it,……it is the weekend 🙂

  35. I love knitting shawls. I have a very simple one that I can do practically blindfolded. I do up a bunch of them & give them away to my friends. That way, I get to make another one ! so I say, go for it !

  36. The answer is in your June 14 entry. You’re a grownup now, and to heck with “shoulds”. Knit the shawl. Then another shawl, if you want to. It’s the best way to give yourself a hug.

  37. It’s only the twinge we get when we turn away from a project that once seemed so full of promise. That tank top that is boring you to tears, once seemed like the answer to all your fasion woes, right? Well, now it’s not. Cut it lose and move on. Grab some laceweight, cast on and cast caution to the wind. Summer is for lace, IMHO, so go for it.
    Don’t worry, if there were project police out there, they’d be headed for my house first. I have a whole closet full of UFO’s and single socks all eager to make me feel guilty at the first possible opportunity.

  38. Like you said, knitting is supposed to be fun. Knit what you want when you want, and no guilt necessary!

  39. Like you have said even in your books, knitting is supposed to be dun. You own the yarn and needles you decide what you want to knit. If there are any knitting or craft police anywhere they would head to my house first and repremand me for not finishing projects.

  40. What is the temperature going to be for the next four weeks? The tank top is to be worn in summer, right? Whereas shawls are worn in winter, when it’s cold. If you finish the tank top you get to show it off right away. If you knit another shawl, you get to fold it up and put it away, then finish the tank top in time to fold it up and put it away.

  41. It’s the influence of your knitting Grandmother, coming back to haunt you. (The one who squashed you completely when you showed her that you’d figured out how to knit backwards.)
    That’s what it is.
    So, you can freely and happily toss aside the boring tank and knit on. Which reminds me, I was going to start a baby sweater today . . .

  42. Hey, at least you’re tempted to knit out of stash.
    I am seriously tempted to go buy more (as if I don’t have enough WIPs and never starteds in my stash).
    Thanks for making feel less guilty about wanting to put my Flabella socks aside (1 sock is done and fits, but such tight knitting and constant concentration is a bit much just now) and do something completely new. I won’t feel so bad now if I start something from stash.
    Thanks for enabling.
    By the way, my WIP/UFO count is currently 60, and that is only knitting.

  43. Knitting Game for Stephanie!!!
    Gather up at least 3, but no more than 5 (to protect your sanity) UFOs. Mark down where you are in the instructions. Now, as fast as you can, knit one row in each pattern. Go go go!
    Finished? Great, you earned one tablespoon (or 15 ml) of beer. You can have it now, or you can save it up until you’ve earned a bottle’s-worth. Your choice.
    (HINT: there are 16 tablespoons in a cup, and a bottle is a little less than 1.5 cups, and 340 ml give or take)

  44. I agree with the comment in the beginning, its that work ethic thing. Resist! Do what you want! Whats a few UFOs between friends?!?

  45. Perhaps you’ve spent too much time around people who only work on one project at a time. Wait, so do you! Only one is being knit at time, after all. The fact that there are others in various stages of completeness simply means you have choices to fit your knitting to your moods. I mean, just because you open a box of cereal doesn’t mean you have to eat only that cereal until it’s all gone. 🙂 And, as others have said, you are the YarnHarlot; don’t try to be someone you aren’t!

  46. For me, I feel like I should finish the things I start because it makes the most of my knitting dollar. If I don’t knit a project it’s like I’m wasting the yarn. And I spent money on that yarn. Sometimes a lot. And $20 of sock yarn sitting in a half-knit pile doesn’t do any good.
    That said, sometimes a project isn’t as great as I thought it would be, or it’s wrong for the yarn or whatever. So I’ll rip it out and start on something else with the yarn (ask me about the Kilkenny Shawl that’s now becoming a cardigan). But I don’t like to stuff yarn, half used, into a forgotten recess of my closet because it seems unfair to the yarn and the money I spent on it.
    I’m not saying that there are no abandoned projects in the recesses of my closet–I’m only saying that’s why I don’t like doing it.
    Also, I like to have two or three projects on the needles for different occasions. I have my mindless knitting, my travel knitting, my challenging knitting. One moment’s boring is another moment’s zen.

  47. make what is interesting to you at the moment, your other itmes will still be there…. at least i haven’t seen a knitting jeannie yet.

  48. How much do you have left to do on the tank? How long would it take you to knit that? If it’s less than five hours, I say finish the tank. Then you can knit the shawl with a clear conscience.

  49. Oh, this makes me feel better. I’m all over the place right now knitting whatever I feel like. I may regret it in a few months when gifts are due and not done but it is summer and if you can’t enjoy the summer you are in trouble. Relax, knit what you like, the tank top will always be there.

  50. Ditto Cecilia at 7:58. Go for it! We knew you were thinking that the last couple of days.

  51. I think we are all better knitters when we are knitting something we enjoy. Period. Put aside the tank and start the shawl, if you haven’t already, you risk knitting bad juju if you continue with the tank. okay then, carry on.

  52. I’m endlessly knitting a Tweedy Aran Cardigan–despite the summer heat–because I committed to finish it for the WIP Cup. I think that may be an even more inane reason than “because I think I should.”

  53. The title of my blog post today is Resistance=Futile as I cast on some malabrigo laceweight for the Queen Anne’s Lace shawl.

  54. I really want to see that finished tank. It’s your knitting so it’s not like anyone expects you to knit something you don’t want to. (Although if you could get me out of knitting this baby blanket, I’d be really grateful.)

  55. We’re all bad then. Get the Puritan work ethic drunk so it shuts up (or at least sings bawdy sea shanties) and KNIT ON!

  56. I’d say, go for it. I am supposed to finish the 1 sleeve left on my cardigan and the second sock, but I prefer to do Domino knitting and making baskets at the moment 🙂
    I know I will finish both, cardigan and sock, but not today!

  57. I think it’s the puritan legacy In our culture that makes us feel guilty for doing anything that we enjoy. Really a shame, that.

  58. Was it you, or someone else, who said:
    “Remember – you’re the boss of your knitting.”
    I don’t see you as the type (Harlottyness notwithstanding) to just go on and on, piling up UFOs until you have to weave paths around your living room like someone’s unfortunate bachelor uncle and their piles of newspapers.
    A little shawl never hurt anyone. Especially if those other projects don’t have deadlines.

  59. It’s like you are reading my mind! Thanks for the permission to ditch my seasonally-inappropriate work in progress and start something summery!

  60. I am with you. Knitting should be about joy and peace and comfort. If what is in your hands right now is not giving you those things, time to swap it out.

  61. I’m not even a knitter, my brother is; I’m a beader. If you REALLY get bored with the tank top, you can always pull it apart & use the yarn for something else! At least, that is what we headers do! >:->.

  62. Your shawls are to die for-put away that tank top and knit the shawl of your dreams.
    Women are born with guilt-Damn that Eve.

  63. WTH? why must you torture yourself so? There are so many “have to’s”; “gotta’s” “should’s” that one’s knitting must a complete free zone…otherwise why do it? I have been in a weird place lately where I have probably about 6 “marinating” projects …none of which are really scratching my itch. I was recently in a bad car crash where my brain and fingers were not communicating…now that was bad. But I just put aside the multiple lace projects and did plain old stockinette..
    Anyway, I digress, I command you, oh mightly queen of the harlots, to put down those other projects that obviously need a “time out” and take up with the shawl of thy desires….

  64. I say Vive la Resistance!
    I’m a rare knitter with a biggish stash and I only knit one thing at a time. It makes me feel really productive to have things get done so quickly.
    Besides the tank you can wear this summer while the shawl is more of an Autumn wear.
    ignore my advise and go with your heart!

  65. One evening last week, I had an overwhelming urge to cast on for a new pair of socks, despite the pair (plus shawl, baby blanket, and 2 scarves) already on the needles. 24 hours later, I realized this new sock wouldn’t even fit over all five toes of one foot. So I frogged and picked up the pair of socks I was halfway through.
    Not saying you should resist the urge – but in this case, I felt like my WIPs were conspiring against me and the new sock!

  66. Wait, did you say stash? That means it’s all right. A bad knitter would go out and buy new yarn at the siren call of a new project. You’re perfectly reasonable if you knit a shawl from your stash.
    Go for it.

  67. You’re the Boss! And there’s no doubt that you’re a *good* knitter. So follow your heart!

  68. I just finished the first of a pair of socks that I had to rip out and redo. I don’t want to make its friend, as I’m sick of it. I want to make a tank top.
    You must publish the magic tomato sauce recipe, or link to it, so we can all share in the joy.

  69. Seems to me that at some point in the next year or so you’ll probably get sick again (not wishing this on you, just sayin’) and need something simple and boring that you can deal with while sick…so save the tank top til then…and in the meantime find something fun…

  70. I think you should knit whatever you want to, just because you can! i recently purchased your Casts off as an Audiobook, and been possessed with listening and knitting at the same time since. My daughters black hole of a dress, suddenly seems to be in a finishing distance because of your book, thank you!

  71. Knit what makes you happy. The WIP will still be there when you finish the shawl. Maybe use the shawl as a reward, if you knit x amount on the tank top, you can work on the shawl. It works for me when I have a boring project to finish. I will also turn the boring project into a KIP piece so I get some work on it finished at knit night.

  72. Resistance….is futile? think of all the EXCITING UFO’s you’ll find later if you ditch those projects for a new one 🙂

  73. I am in the same boat — being within spitting distance of finishing a bag (not that I would spit at it, mind you) and halfway done a first sock AND barely started a sweater, I instead cast on for a shawl, last week. When I finished said shawl, I knit a few inches on the sweater, and then cast on for a different pair of socks. Also, I’m thinking of a second shawl (same pattern, different colour.) Of course, I am fighting the shame over being so fickle. They will all get finished, sometime, and if they don’t… oh well.

  74. This is why I love you: because you can nail the crazy little thoughts that perhaps aren’t so uncommon and see the common thread, dare I say ‘Yarn” that connects us all. All these unruly thought that we struggle to surpress for fear of making a mess of our lives. I was at the Brooklyn Museum today and saw an exhibit of Andy Warhol’s late work. Mr. Warhol was a fine artist, I’ve come to learn. Excellent draftsman. Could capture the essence of a cat in a few elegant lines. He had a lithograph of some unwound yarn. Wanted it that way for an advertisement, not the balled up yarn that the company wanted to show. It was so delightful and random. Such are your thoughts captured in your blog. Why I keep returning and am rewarded! Thanks, I just think you’ll make the right decision and I think it might be the tank because it’s so unusual.

  75. If you’re anything like me, you probably grew up being told to finish what you started, so there’s a nice little slice of guilt that gets served up whenever I start something new before I’ve finished what I’m working on. Not that this stops me, just makes me feel guilty while I’m doing it. 🙂

  76. Yet…I think balance is necessary in life. While I do sometimes toss a project aside, there is also something about making one finish things even when no one is watching. Building character. Then again, only so much time one has in life and why waste. Thus, balance.

  77. “Good” girls might finish what they started, but Harlots do what they like.

  78. Abstract Fiber got in a new cashmere yarn, and I wanted socks, but, the yarn decided to be a shawl. I obeyed.

  79. My feeling is: ” I have all these needles, they should be all clothed in some yarn project” I don’t want my needles to feel neglected. That way when I switch projects they will still have some yarn to keep them warm.

  80. I suspect that if you push yourself to finish the (boring) tank it will have a negative vibe and you won’t enjoy wearing it. What’s the point of that? Wasted yarn! Do the shawl!!

  81. Bah I say, bah! I have a lovely relation who is going to have a baby and i just can’t settel to a pattern even though I’ve gone and bought a rainbow of yarn with a blanket in mind. Oh dear. At the moment looking at lots of stiped baby things, we’re all bad.

  82. I’m right there with you. I’ve got a boring “simple” lace sock in a solid pale yellow going right now and all I can think about is what ELSE I could be knitting!

  83. I don’t know about all this, but I’ve got about 47 project in my cue, many of them with yarn in the drawer right here beside my desk. I’m trying to finish some slippers for my daughter, and a pair of socks for myself before I start the next project, but you are definitely causing my resolve to weaken.
    Unfortunately, that “resolve” to finish a project before starting the next one is also having a deleterious effect on my housework. I’m just hoping the health department doesn’t decide to start inspecting homes!

  84. A shawl would look really nice over the tank if you happen to get stuck in an overly air conditioned place. Just sayin’ …….

  85. Let’s face it. A lot of the fun of a project is what I call the discovery stage, when we’re working out what the perfect match of needles, yarn and pattern will be, and seeing how it begins to come together. (Not literally come together. That’s a whole other discussion about finishing. It’s why we love shawls.)
    This stage of knitting definitely provides a rush. Finishing something, when it’s become familiar, just doesn’t do it for us in the same way.
    As for our loved ones’ possible disapproval, your Joe is like my guy: he may vaguely notice what’s on my needles, but he’s really not paying attention ( which makes it easy to knit surprises for him, hiding in plain sight).
    And certainly our guys should be grateful that the rush of starting something new is satisfied by knitting, and not by seeking new relationships. My guy and I have been married for 42 years, so we know that I can stick to something – someone – if I want to.
    Knit on, without guilt!

  86. I think this is why I have so many project bags in the closet. I start a project and then put it down for just a little while to start another project. I’m at the toe on two different socks, there’s a chevron scarf in the works, and I really need to finish a baby blanket…well, you get the picture.

  87. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way when I’m working on a project! My friends all make fun of me because I never seem to finish anything (except for socks)…

  88. Startitis – it’s contagious! I have a Drop Stitch Shawl nearly done, started a Citron & want to start another, only with beads! My mom would be appalled – “Finish what you start” rings in my ears. That said, do what your OWN heart tells you.

  89. I like Bri’s fishing analogy, back a hundred comments or so. Knit what you want to. I have yarn in the stash begging to be knit into a shawl, but I am so indecisive, I’m can’t choose a pattern. Sigh.

  90. Bah! The knitting doesn’t call the shots, the Knitter does! Therefore, if you have a desire to knit a shawl, do so without a second thought! Obviously the tank is not being submissive (being boring! How dare it?!?!) and must be taught some manners. Cast on a scrumptious shawl in front of the tank and make it watch…. 😉 Have fun making your shawl! 😀

  91. I always get the guilty feelings too. Don’t know why. But maybe it’s because we are too hard on I say..KNIT THE SHAWL!!

  92. My UFO’S sit around waiting for my knitting niece to come visit. Away they go and she is happy happy and this makes me happy too as then I can start another project without hearing the ufo’s crying in the box. She is a life saver for them as she finishes them up and uses them for gifts and herself. All is good. Off to the next inviting yarn and pattern for me. Shawl? Go Harlot go.

  93. Oh just ditch it and move on to more interesting stuff! I do that all the time with my paintings. Live it up!

  94. You should knit what makes you happy. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t want a WIP or UFO sitting around and if I stop, will I go back to the project in hand? The siren call of lace has been strong and while the sweater I knit is lace, it isn’t a shawl. I will be true to the end…but that lace and I will bed as soon as we can!

  95. Wouldn’t it be nice to finish the tank top and be able to wear it to “Knit Night” this season?
    Like I have room to talk…who is deeply resisting the desire to also cast on a shawl when I have a summer top to finish…and only a few inches and bind off to go!!!

  96. Go for it. I’m in the middle of a lace shawl I started last weekend, and last night, I cast on and did one repeat of a lace scarf. In angora. It’s something in the air, so yield already!

  97. You’re absolutely right. So I’m going to blow off my 73 WIPs (seriously, 73!!!) and start a Shetland lace shawl that’s been calling to me. Thanks!!

  98. Enabler says: Check out the pattern Birch by Chrissy Gardiner. It’s a lace entrelac shawl which probably would be less boring than a tank top.

  99. I am resisting knitting anything except those hats for the Knit Before Christmas project…small swatches of a really girly sweater do not count, and help me keep my sanity amongst all the dark colored superwash and the ribbing that wouldn’t die. Small side projects are all right, I think.

  100. Stephanie:
    You are a Master (with a capital M) at rationalization. Reading your blog over the past few years, I have learned so much about this art! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Now I must get back to stash management (e.g., figuring out what I’m going to do with the 47 WIPs I already have on the needles).

  101. Errrrr…’re gonna need something to wear UNDERNEATH that shawl, aren’t cha?

  102. Oh no! You’re making me question my entire Summertime Plan! Yeah, I planned out what I’m going to knit this summer. Why? Suddenly, I don’t know! If I throw this Plan to the wind and cast on Adamas this afternoon, it will be all your fault!! And…you know, I’ll probably be back thanking you tomorrow. 🙂 Summertime Plan. Honestly.

  103. I vote for the shawl as well. My reason is, there’s a certain dissatisfaction in wearing something I didn’t enjoy making. When I’m finished there’s no celebration, just relief.
    I have this exact choice to make once in awhile and it just seems right to go for what my heart wants. In the end, I knit faster when I’m enjoying it and I certainly handle screw-ups better. And when I get back to that boring project, I’m charged with the energy I got from the fun project.

  104. Carpe shawlem, Stephanie! I find that I have enough rules to consider in my daily existence – most of them helpful…but enough! In the fractured words of a well-known Canadian, I believe that knitting rules/the state have no business in the knitters’ lives/beds of the nation (my apologies, Pierre)! I started Ishbel # 4 last night.

  105. It’s not the voice of my mother, my grandmother or Eve…’s me. Dreams versus reality. I promised my laceweight a beach-themed shawl pattern, and that I would take it on long early morning strolls where it could ruffle romantically in the early morning light. However, 485-stitches-per-row and a cast-off I have never tried before are a grim reality. There’s a great cotton blend waiting for me to knit the perfect tank top for seashell collecting during the afternoon. And I won’t even mention the linen top yet to be made that would be perfect for travel to the beach. Ahem. One teensy problem. The beach is in a week! Sigh. I guess I’ll take the yarn so it can at least look at the beach while I wear my usual ratty t-shirts. Reality sucks.

  106. Like the Borg say, “Resistance is futile.” Capitulate, already.
    You’re the Yarn Harlot, not the Yarn Productivity Manager. How dull would that be? Who would read THAT blog? (My apologies to any real-life Productivity Managers who knit so they can have a measure of joyful whimsy and randomness in their lives).
    It’s probably just “summeritis.” I’m grinding my way through two tank tops right now and willing myself to finish them. I have trouble knitting summer things in the summer, just because they remind me that it IS summer, and down here that is a bad thing. So, I usually knit summer things in the winter and vice versa, and socks year round. But I need these two for shop models to help sell yarn. So I’m grinding through them.
    Maybe subconsciously, the tank top is making you think of beaches, and beaches are making you think of oil spills and our ruined beaches and wetlands down here, and that is depressing you. Any number of things could be the reason.
    Save the tank top for the kind of autopilot knitting you need for riding the bus and waiting at the dentist’s office.
    Start that shawl. Have you done Shipwreck yet? It’s on my “oooooooh” list.

  107. Um… it’s a Gemini thing, Stephanie. My best friend and I are both of that persuasion and laugh about it all the time. It makes us happy! Don’t fight the Gemini factor!! 🙂

  108. Because you’ll never come back to it.
    Just finished my Bohus amidst tears and screaming, but it’s done. Am winding new balls now. Cotton. small project. Let’s see if I can stick it out.

  109. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that does that to themselves.
    I say start the shawl. You can go back to the tank top in small doses. Knit whatever makes you happy! 🙂

  110. It’s that stick-to-it nature we were taught. I have the same problem with my knitting, especially if I join a KAL. And I also have it when I start a book or view a movie. I keep hoping it will get better.
    Start the shawl.

  111. So why do I feel like a good knitter would stick it out, and only a bad knitter would snag something better, more interesting, else, out of the stash?
    Because inside you really are afraid that someone will judge you and you don’t want to be found wanting. It is so hard to realize and accept that the only judge we really have to deal with is the one in our head. If yours is saying, keep knitting that tank, you have to decide if you really need to listen to it or not.
    but life’s awful short to be bored for very long at a time!!

  112. I have one word for you: Annis… very tempting Knitty pattern. I’ve reworked the numbers to use a heavier weight silk for summer shawling. I haven’t started yet because of wips, but have a feeling today may be the day. It is a perfect project I think – interesting at first, then easy to carry and simple short-rows to wrap it up. Why wait???

  113. I totally understand now. You have knitting ADD the way that I have cooking ADD…. I’ve been known to start cooking a 5 course dinner and then all of a sudden I’m sitting on the living room floor, watching tv while counting out stitches for a new lace pattern I’m designing…. and then the smoke detector goes off. I completely get it now.
    Have fun with whatever you decide to continue knitting. 🙂

  114. Wha – aht???? C’mon. I learned to let go of my knitting guilt on this here blog. There are a million socks to knit. The shawl mojo comes/goes – you have to catch the ride when the spirit moves. Socks? Are you kidding me? Do it. It won’t leave you alone until you cave. Shawls = dessert, socks = cold cereal.

  115. Which leaves us, The Blog. What, are you seriously asking us for a dispensation? Would it help to know that with only a sleeve and a half to go on the wrap sweater I cast on a baby kimono this morning, adapting it be be 7 spi instead of 5 — with no baby in sight?
    That shawl had better be well on its way by now. I don’t want to have to … well, yes, I do, actually.

  116. Hmm… I don’t have any words of wisdom to share here: I’m a hardcore Single Project Finisher.
    But you are absolutely right–knit what will make you happy to knit!

  117. It’s the innate instinct for guilt! It will find an outlet wherever it can 🙂 Enjoy the guilty pleasure of a new project

  118. Stephanie, I don’t know any knitter with more global influence than you – and I mean that only in the best way. My advice: Live is short – ditch the tank stop, stat!

  119. It’s a matter of Process vs. Project. Some people like to have a finished item in hand and will work on one or two projects until done. Others like the process of knitting and will knit whatever’s interesting until it’s uninteresting. Having a pair of socks or a sweater doesn’t matter one whit.
    I’m in a Process stage right now, just like you. Unfortunately I’ve got a deadline for one project and I’m bored to tears with it, and it’s only half done! Gotta soldier on and get it done!

  120. Guilt is a wondrous thing, isn’t it?
    And when there’s absolutely no reason to be guilty, it’s even worse.

  121. Resistance is futile! Besides…now you know why you quit on that tank top the first time. Maybe, if you pick it up again NEXT summer (having forgotten why you put it down), you will finish it.
    Speaking as an addicted lace shawl knitter, I say GO FOR IT!

  122. I’m going to be very guy-like and quote a movie: (though unlike a guy, I have no idea which one…) “Resistance is FUTILE!”
    Hm. Hogan’s Heroes, maybe?

  123. Not so much the bad knitter, but more the beginning knitter who sticks it out ~ to feel proud of the project they’ve completed.
    It’s the more experienced and already good knitter
    ~like yourself~ who wants to move on to other things to knit because there just isn’t enough time to knit everything you want to. That’s why we have stash and
    ideas for that stash ~ stashed just for these moments! Go For It Steph! I love everything you do!

  124. How long can the tank top take to finish? It doesn’t even have SLEEVES.
    I try not to let projects slide into the abandoned category because then they sit there reproachfully, taking the joy from whatever I’m working on. Better to either finish or admit that I’m not going to finish them and frog them.
    I do, however, allow myself rewards to bubble me along on the parts of projects (like endless sleeves for long-armed teenage boys) that drive me to distraction. So I let myself take a break from the interminable sleeves to swatch or dream or assemble the yarn for my next project.

  125. Steph, you’re THE Harlot. It’s what you do. If you stayed faithful to a project, I am certain that the world would stop spinning on its axis, a place not known for cool weather would freeze over, and knitters all over the world would keel over in a dead faint. Think of it — if all the knitters in the world fainted, and thunked out of our chairs onto the floors, the earth would wobble in its orbit. Possibly even shift. Think what that would do to the tides! To the winds! In the name of all wooly things, think of the planet! Knit the shawl!
    (ahem) I think you should knit what ever makes you happiest. It’s what you do for fun, after all.
    Love, Carol

  126. I have put down a waistcoat mid-knit and knitted a hat and started another one and NOBODY DIED!!! Do the shawl, the tank top will get done later – or not – you call the shots cos it’s your knitting

  127. Is it wrong that I am glad I’m not the only one slogging through what should be a lovely project & wishing I was doing something else?
    Normally I’d just cast something else on, but I am trying to work through some old WIPs & get those done first so I’d say slog on.

  128. I struggle with the urge to ditch every project I have OTN to start a new one all the time. That’s why I have so much on the needles. Life’s too short to knit something you don’t like!

  129. The only reason I do not have the fourth pair of socks on the needles (just bought pretty new – and cheap – patons sock yarn!) is that I have run out of size 1 dpns and have not had a chance to get to the store for more needles.
    Go with the shawl.

  130. Hmm, these comments have all been very helpful to me! Thank you, everyone (and you, too, Stephanie!), for helping me come to peace with my decision to abandon a summer cardigan that I was obsessed with mere weeks ago — and — possibly — to cast on for a (you guessed it!) shawl. Must be contagious.

  131. it truly is weird the rules of “right and wrong” that we impose upon ourselves, isn’t it? as i was reading i was thinking how i often feel the same way…such a twinge of guilt when i don’t see a project through to the (bitter?)end before beginning something new. for myself personally, i put it down to some sort of Puritan-Work-Ethic-Gene that lingers in my physical makeup and tries to rear its ugly head at bizarre and random moments! that, and the voice of our “inner mother” saying: always finish what you start!

  132. Okay, okay, so my type a, anal obsessive personality which dictates that I absolutely must finish every thing I start-even though admittedtly I start some stupid things–is making my knitting life nerdy. I want to have fun knitting! guess I will cast on for that scarf too.

  133. Yep I’m always guilt trippin myself about something. I rationalise knitter guilt by thinking that 30%+ of the joy of knitting and wearing or giving away. If I drag it out by starting new projects all the time I’m missing the finishing fun.

  134. Are you insane? We all know deep in the back of our minds that the yarn Gods will rise up and create havoc with all future projects if we ignore their siren call…listen to the Gods.

  135. Reframe:
    Your need to pick up a shawl demonstrates your high intelligence. Your mind craves the stimulation of variety and of challenge. It is because you are so fabulous/exceptional that having only one or two things going is like being sedated. Knit the shawl with impunity.
    (You should hear me rationalize fruit and custard tarts as nutritious)

  136. And here I am resisting starting a tank top because I need to finish a shawl. Let’s throw stick-to-it-iveness to the wind and do what we like!! I dare you!

  137. I think you should follow your heart. I felt like that at one point with my knitting and I just stopped knitting. Since this is a passion, listening to our hearts instead of artifical rules will increase our joy of knitting and our overall productivity.

  138. You will get much more satiafaction out of finishing the tank top than having guilt about the shawl. You can also alternate, they way I did in high school, 30 minutes readin Moby Dick, 30 minutes reading Sci Fi.

  139. I can relate today. I’ve been working on a hat, and this hat I believe today to be a demon sent from hell to torment me. Its an easy caston, its basic math, and still the lace pattern hath doth eluded me till I was so frustrated I got the hubby involved to RECHECK the math. Over 1000 people have knit this same hat and it came out beautifully for them. {I saw pictures.. its true and I can’t delude myself}
    We went through the simple 8 line repeating lace pattern row by row to make sure I was supposed to have no left over stitches or be short any stitches. So for the second time I ripped back and cast on again, when in all reality, a nice easy ballband dishcloth would of hit the spot. I had put this hat down so many times with so many excuses. Its so easy to blow off a project, even when its going well. {Though its much easier when you want to cast the whole thing into the fireplace}

  140. I am having the same problem. I just finished a shawlette/scarf and it was my first ever finished lace and I loved every second of it and I just bought Nancy Bush’s Estonian Lace book and I want to cast on for one of those and try out the mysterious ways of nupps.
    But I am really very close to done with a cardigan which I really do love and want to finish. But the call of those beautiful Estonian lace shawls is so sireny.
    Maybe I could get away with just a scarf. 🙂

  141. I know you are a better person than I, but the ghost of my mother tries to keep me on the ‘finish one thing before you start another’ track. I try not to listen, and trust you to provide me with the smartypants back talk to deal with the guilt.

  142. I have 3 shawls, Girasole, a pair of socks, 4 baby blankets, and 6 scarves on needles. All of the shawls are almost finished (like a day of knitting). I’m rotating 6 of these projects BUT I WANT TO CAST ON A LACEY SCARF RIGHT NOW!!!
    What to do?????
    I have knitters A.D.D.

  143. I vote for: get the tank done. Then move on. This IS tank weather, after all. This comes from a procrastinator, by the way. I may take forever to start a project, but once started, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Besides, something ELSE from the self-imposed sock club is probably closing in for July. We are in the last days of June!

  144. I ALWAYS feel like I need to adhere to those kind of rules and boundaries with my knitting. It is psychotic.

  145. Look back @ all the finishing you’ve done lately; you’re due a little startitis! Just take notes & photograph the yarn ball band for the tank so you can finish it next time the urge hits.

  146. I’m the same. I plough on, even though I would rather be knitting something else. But you should live up to your online name and be that yarn harlot. Go knit the shawl!

  147. Harlot, Harlot, Harlot. How many stitches were in your last Olympics sweater? And how long did it take you to finish EVERYTHING, blocking, sewing, hiding yarn ends? I have to side with the “grownups” here and vote for finishing the little bitty (compared) tank top. Sew it together and wear it while virtuously starting your delicious new shawl.

  148. Well, thank you, yet again, for saying what I’m thinking. Priorities, fun, work, pleasure. Isn’t knitting a metaphor for life? Sometimes you have to buckle down, but it can’t get the best of you! You have to stop and take time for something fun, or…
    Why ever do they have more needles at the store? So we can start something new! It’s that simple.
    Guilt is such a waste of time! There’s plenty of time for a tank top (and you knit fast).
    Again, thank you!

  149. Maybe you put it down before because, although it was lovely and gave you the urge to make one for yourself, it became boring as all get out back then, and maybe a lovely shawl caught your eye? Now you happened upon a leafy-green jag in your life which triggered something in the back of your mind to find and finish the lovely leafy green tank, which is as boring as all get out now as it was then! Resistance is futile! Get it done! We must all pay the piper sometime, don’t you need a cool tank?

  150. I have what I consider a lulu of yarn…too much for me to not walk by it and squirm. My psyche forces me to start a project and finish it (unless it’s going wrong: Salome cardi on standby.) I’m tough on myself, and feel as though my not finishing my projects is reflection of myself not being able to focus on life in general. I see my stash and think “work, work, work” I suspect that it might lead to burn out, and try not to panic…should start saving money for “the couch” 🙂 Oh, but the one thing I do put off….sewing buttons, by then I’m truly done.

  151. Please, Stephanie, don’t should all over yourself. That doesn’t mean I think you should just wander from project to project. It just sounds like you think you ‘should’ finish all these right now… perhaps they want a rest too and will be glad whenever you get back to them. Now, if you want to start the shawl to avoid something about them…well, that might be a different kind of should.

  152. I have what I consider a lulu of yarn…too much for me to not walk by it and squirm. My psyche forces me to start a project and finish it (unless it’s going wrong: Salome cardi on standby.) I’m tough on myself, and feel as though my not finishing my projects is reflection of myself not being able to focus on life in general. I see my stash and think “work, work, work” I suspect that it might lead to burn out, and try not to panic…should start saving money for “the couch” 🙂 Oh, but the one thing I do put off….sewing buttons, by then I’m truly done. All this to say, Harlot,…follow your heart cause your head’ll screw you up.

  153. It’s medicinal. A blog said, so it must be true. Time sharing projects across gauge is bursa-protective 🙂

  154. “Clean you plate!” ” Waste not want not!” or maybe you’re just going into green overload. Why not re-skein ( is there such a word?) the whole thing? Consider it as part of your stash (positive) and not a UFO (negative) and it can sit there being green for you eight months from now when you need something to remind you spring is on the way. (By which time it may inspire you to a whole new untankish concept. See, twice the inspirational mileage.)

  155. What is it about shawls?! There I was, cruising along on my 18th of 20 squares on the Great American Aran Afghan, and then the LYS announced a yarn swap, come one, come all. So that, of course, forced me to go through my entire stash, looking for stuff to exchange. And then at the swap, I was able to exchange some now-boring laceweight for some that really got my knitting juices flowing.
    I should mention that the GAAAaaaa is (was intended) for a wedding gift for my daughter and son-in-law. Of course, their 5th wedding anniversary is coming up in October, and I still have to finish the 20 squares, sew them together, and knit on a border before then. But is that any reason not to cast on for a beautiful new shawl?
    Go for it, Harlot–I need some company.

  156. You said “it’s knitting. It’s meant to be fun. It’s what I do for fun.” So…if it’s fun, by all means ditch the tank top for now and go for the shawl!! I know the feeling and most likely you will feel like working on the tank top at some point. In fact, I am contemplating setting aside (at least for the weekend) my shawl and starting a scarf that is a simple garter stitch (although I have had notions of knitting it differently) with openings to weave through a hand dyed piece of silk. Now, after reading your blog…I’m going for it!!

  157. Ha ha ha. Thank you for hitting the nail on the head and continuing to make me laugh. It is so fun to read your analysis of several knitting and non-knitting life matters. Thanks!

  158. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Sticking to a single project? What IS that? Today alone I have gone from purchasing yarn (one day sale, how could I NOT) for a grand baby I just learned we’re having in Feb 2011, started a dress for another grandchild (born Feb 2008), continued knitting a grocery tote and chose a pattern for a hand bag to carry at yet another child’s wedding next month.
    Stick to a single project? Really, now.

  159. The real question is – which shawl and which yarn?
    No one reading would condemn you for not finishing one project before casting on the next – glass houses and all that.

  160. I can knit complicated things. I’ve knit since I was a kid. I’v done to Alice Starmore sweaters.
    But you know, I just want to make simple stuff. I don’t want to be challenged. I can be challenged elsewhere in life. I just want projects that I can veg out or be with all the other distractions in the house or knit at playground, kid’s baseball games etc.
    Part of me feels a bit of guilt that “I can do better”, “I’m not living up to my potential”. But the other part of me just wants the sanity and meditative quality of simple stuff.
    It’s all about what need YOUR knitting is satisfying in YOUR life.

  161. You are a lucky girl! My co-workers, husband and children all give me aggro about how many projects I have going and whether I have finished any lately. It is easy to think my lack of kntting monogamy is, in fact, a character flaw.

  162. Doesn’t everyone have several projects going at once? The rule is that when you reach the age of 42, it’s okay to wander off and knit a shawl. As Tolkien said “Not all who wander are lost.”

  163. Seriously, I am my own Knitting Nazi. I hate being type A! I have only ONE project on the needles at a time. I’ve been a crafter my whole life and was renown for finishing only a 1/3 of what I started. There were 1/2 finished latch hook rugs, partially finished crocheted blankets, a bag of thread for a cross-stitch I never started, lying around. When I started knitting as an adult, I was determined not to have that be my routine. So now it’s one item on the needles at a time, and if I get tired of it, it kinda lays around and I don’t knit on it as much. STUPID.
    Ya..I have issues!
    Oh and I have a serious stash. Somehow the accumulation of yarn doesn’t bother the type A part of me!

  164. You, too?? What is about shawls just now? Is it something in the air? I am literally champing at the bit to start a shawl, but… because 1.) my current projects are baby gifts for a baby who will be a week old on Tuesday and 2.) I have been working on said projects since the 5 mo. ultrasound revealed the baby to be a girl and 3.) I really don’t want to be so long in finishing up this batch of gifts that the now days old recipient (my gorgeous great-niece, Mia!) will be able to drive over and pick them up herself…I will finish this stuff BEFORE I cast on my shawl. But only the most beautiful great niece in the universe could drive me to such heights of selflessness. Sigh…

  165. “…and only a bad knitter would snag something better, more interesting, else, out of the stash?”
    omg Steph. YOU ARE THE YARN HARLOT!! Snap out of this crazy talk! It is your right and your duty to knit whatever the heck you want, when you want to! Make a pretty shawl! You know you want to. 🙂

  166. It’s like I’m ‘stalking’ you….I’m ready to start the edging of an Estonian (nupps-a-licious) shawl, but feel the pull of socks to stash away for Christmas.
    Besides, knitting in Texas, 100+ degrees, you don’t want anything large or heavy. Laceweight’s about all you wanna’ handle.

  167. Didn’t Oscar Wilde say, “I can resist anything except temptation”? Give in to the lure of the shawl, I say.
    (If Wilde didn’t actually say that, he should have.)

  168. Well, I can safely say that sometimes I just have to put down whatever it is I’ve been working on for an extended period and do something different for a little while. I call it “Knitter’s Block”, I can’t go on with what I’m doing at the moment so I find a different project to occupy myself until I’m ready to continue the original. 🙂

  169. I’d vote for finishing the tank if you have warm weather there. Here in Oregon the spring has turned back into winter, so a shawl would be in order. There is a pattern on Ravelry called “198 yards of Heaven” It’s a shoulder scarf shawl. I made it with 250 meters of a DK weight Mirasol yarn Tupa.

  170. Well, at least YOU don’t have an imaginary Judith critiquing your spinning while you work, or a Stephanie looking at your knitting for rowing! No, it’s not a sign of schizophrenia, but I think we knitters & spinners do hold ourselves to a ridiculously high standard sometimes.

  171. It really doesn’t matter a bit to anyone anywhere what you or anyone else knits…..I think it is as long as we are happy with what we knit is really all that matters.

  172. Man, do I hear ya on this one!!! Why it is that some projects just get us so excited about them that we can’t stop knitting because we can’t wait to see what happens next, and other projects are so boring or painful that we can’t bear to pick them up again? I know that for me there is no rhyme or reason to what will get me riding the Happy Knitter Train. It doesn’t have anything to do with difficulty, except that I have more time to knit if I don’t have to concentrate on every row. I’m a ridiculously slow knitter with memory issues so I really tend to like patterns where the colors change but not necessarily the knitted stitches. I’m also very fickle and tend to suffer from a serious case of second sock syndrome so I think that you should be able to knit whatever you want, whenever you want to knit it. At least right now anyways because soon it will be time to begin Christmas knitting and then there won’t be any choice at all. (I told you I was a slow knitter LOL!) So my vote is to have fun and knit whatever you want. Life is too short for agonizing over projects that don’t make you happy, and it’s not like you have to worry about the Knitting Police coming and hauling you away for not finishing a tank top!!!

  173. I agree, you should knit what you like, what makes you happy. But isn’t there also the chance that the unfinished projects could mock you from the bottom of their purgatory?
    M(ocking)UFOs can sometimes put a damper on the knitting day.

  174. Could you claim that projects on different size needles are therapy for your hands? protecting them from eventual injury due to an exacting repeatitive motion. Just asking.

  175. Aw shoot, Harlot. Only, um… booooring knitters stick to boring knitting. No need to be mean and ditch those other fellas……..just stash ’em in ziplock bags for later, and cast on your newest idea. You can always peek over the castoffs later when yer in the mood to revisit old beaus.

  176. Oh, Stephanie, I feel your pain! I’m fighting a must-knit-a-shawl attack, too, just as I’m learning to knit socks. I think it has something to do with avoidance of that heel gusset thingie. I’m putting up a valiant fight, but I did give in just enough to order the shawl yarn. Now, when it gets here…

  177. I’m there with you! Life is short, however. Make yourself happy. BTW: Other than taxes, the only real rule in life is paying taxes. All others are self-imposed.

  178. Life is very short (remember you just had a birthday) knit what ever you want, whenever you want.

  179. Because I won’t cast-on let myself cast-on something I’d enjoy more that what I have in progress, I haven’t knit in weeks (which is the opposite of my norm). Apparently I DO seem to think there are knitting police (I have an active imagination and a few type-a issues), and I am only telling you all of this so you can see the other side of the coin. Stated in the style of old tv-ads against drunk driving: friends dont let friends knit things they don’t want to.
    Now you might find this funny, but the WIP that is keeping me stuck? It’s a silk project that I feel I need to finish in order to have something to share at the Knot Hysteria retreat (‘cuz without it, I have nothing). LOLOL

  180. I know why: I showed my sister the intricate lace shawl I am working on, and then the relief simpler shawl and she said: why do you have two projects on the needles. I looked at her and said, “You don’t get it?” At least you understand.

  181. I am of the firm belief that when I enter the black hole of the project that I am currently knitting, the only thing that gets me back to it and through it is by casting on something new. So go for it!

  182. hmm, so this was why you set aside that top when you did, and let it become a UFO?
    are you resisting because you know that if you set it aside, it will vegetate for another unnumbered months?
    think, yh, think – is it worth knitting a pretty top when the process bores you so much??

  183. I just recently “set aside” a tank top to work on a shawl. That little shawl voice was calling out to me and I had a lovely skein of hot pink merino sock yarn… It will be a wonderful shawlette and then I can get back to the tank top, which once again I can hear calling my name…
    A yarn harlot I could be as well; I am not a monogamous knitter!

  184. I went through this same moral decision last night.
    Actually, though it doesn’t matter in the universal scheme of things, I decided to finish what I started (with the exception of weaving in ends) before I started something new.

  185. It IS the knitting police! They lurk around corners and in cupboards and if something stays in the workbasket too long, they start a slow but sure chinese torture thing – pecking away inside the skull with guilt and anguish. “Finish Me, Finish ME, FINISH ME!!!!” I don’t know – I’m not sure I would chance it!

  186. Hey, there’s an article about why we should start every knitting whim we want…it was in an old issue of interweave “something”. I forget the author, but I shall try to track it down, for now…one word…inspiration. It is how we keep the creative juices flowing and there is nothing wrong with us for doing it.(I think I should frame the article…)

  187. Reading this post as i am struggling to finish a pair of socks in a yarn i HATE before i move on to bigger and better things is really striking a chord with me right now.
    If only i felt like the hubby wouldn’t judge me for abandoning them…

  188. Do not kid yourself. Your family, especially your husband, have at least a vague idea of what is on the needles (” I think it is blue, or complicated, or whatever”) if only for self preservation. Husbands try to take an interest, after all, and someone in your family is still waiting for something you started to make for them that hasn’t shown up, but they are too well-brought-up to say anything.
    That said, if they haven’t commented by now, they expect you to knit whatever you feel like. This is not a contest for your immortal soul, after all.

  189. It’s summer. It’s hot. And humid. The fact that you want to knit at all means you get to knit whatever you want. I’m in the middle of a bulky superwash size 4 sweater for my granddaughter, who turns 3 in August. I haven’t knit on it in over a week. I’m casting on for a shrug for myself later today. In fingering. In my colors. I never knit for myself, and I’m irritable from the heat. Forgive me. Pooh on the Knitting Purists. My husband is still waiting for socks. Of course, he has 19 1/2″ calves. They won’t be out of fingering.

  190. 2nd Comment: I’ve just remembered a certain sweater/jacket that sent you a long and pathetic message about the neglect it had suffered – and how much you loved it after it was finally finished. Having said that… where I live, everyone, young and old wear shawls all the time, from the most fashion conscious twenty year olds to the old ladies in black stockings. Shawls are nice. 😉

  191. Tell yourself you are taking preventative care of your hands and fingers. By switching between projects, yarns, and yarn & needle sizes, you are avoiding use/overuse/abuse hand discomfort. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

  192. Well, I’ve always got multiple WIP going at the same time. Some things are simple enough I can just knit on them without thinking, and others are more of a challenge. I float between everything, choosing what works best for me at the moment. Your knitting is there for your benefit. So, if it bores you, switch. There will be a time when “boring” knitting is all you can muster. The tank top will wait until then. 🙂

  193. I have so many UFOs and you have inspired me to finish or frog most of my projects. So far I have finished one pair of lovely socks and am starting the second sock. I ripped out one shoal that I did not like working. BUT I have some lovely yarn from Cascade called Eco Duo that is calling my name in my dreams so I figure that if you can be tempted away from your goal so can I. Thanks. See you in 2011 in Portland!

  194. Go for the shawl. Then, with a clear conscience, I can put aside the damn tank top I’m knitting and say to myself, “well, if Yarn Harlot can put aside a WIP I can too”. Then I can start on that cute baby blanket I’ve been eyeing…

  195. is is that Nora Gaughan tank? I want to see it! C’mon, at the rate you knit it will take, what, another 20 minutes to finish? Then you can feel all smug and everything and a chance to feel smug is rare enough not to be missed.

  196. start the shawl, come back to the other when you need a break from lace work….times a wastin!

  197. I feel that a good knitter knits what she or he wants to knit. A bad knitter bows to pressure, either real or perceived, and knits what she or he believes they “should” be knitting.
    If you want to start a shawl, then start a shawl. If you want to put down the current socks until next year, then do that.
    And I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that you had cast on immediately after posting this entry…

  198. Ah, well, on the pro-tank-top side we have:
    1. if you finish it now you won’t have to go back to it ever again
    2. maybe wearing it will prove quite a bit more interesting than knitting it
    whereas on the other side there might be:
    1. if you don’t rule your own knitting then who does? This should be fun, right?
    2. save this WIP for a more apropriate time like to travel with when your shawl has grown too big for that or some other practical argument
    Guess I’m not being helpfull here 🙁

  199. you know what? now I’m going to go work on that other project I’ve been thinking about. 🙂 progress is progress. :-p

  200. I’m on the last three rows of a big shawl and I find myself wanting to start socks. I think I enjoyed the process so much, I don’t want it to end.
    I’ll have to tempt myself to finish with the thought of how binding off a shawl is like releasing a butterfly from the chrysalis and the pleasure of a severe blocking afterward.

  201. That tank has been living its life out in the basket since what? 2006? It must be missing its friends and neighbours in there, by now. Send it home. Work on the shawl. You’ll be much happier.

  202. I am bit by that sense of guilt often when I think about starting something when I’m happily (until now) in the middle of three other lovely projects. Sometimes I add to the list of UFOs and sometimes I stick it out. Recently I’ve been trying to stick it out more than starting yet another project. When I actually finish things that benefit me or other people it elevates the value of my craft. No longer is it just what I do to keep from getting bored or figgity at a party I’m not comfortable at. I could play with a rubber band and accomplish that. It’s a truly productive use of my time that is worthy of respect. The other reason I try not to start too much stuff, is to keep my self as generally disciplined as possible. Sitting down for a long time to drag through a work project takes so much dicipline, and dicisipline I would argue that is very beneficial to my general well being. Doing my work well helps my career, provides for my family, etc, etc. So if i’m willing to throw in the towel on stuff that I think is FUN and relaxing, how will I ever finish the things that probably are a bit more important. Thank You notes for wedding presents, work projects, etc. Just my thoughts on what I do with that guilt. And why it’s worth it to hang in there just for a little bit longer. I find that I always find my first love for those old projects, when I force myself through a little bit of tediousness.

  203. It is that knitter’s ADHD thing. I am so happy while I am knitting along. Just following the pattern, lovingly appreciating how nice the stiches look and yarn is so . . . oh, did you see that pattern that popped out of nowhere . . .
    Seriously, this morning, I put not one, nor two but three projects in my bag for work. I have a 30 minute commute and in the a.m. it is almost impossible to knit as the bus is jammed packed with people . . . I did take two out of my bag. I just have to be realistic. I am not going to get that wee bonnet done over lunch nor the socks.

  204. I am feeling the same resistance right now. I am working on my basic three: sweater, socks, mindless blanket. I want to add a shawl too. I have some beautiful yarn in my stash calling to me. What makes it harder is that the sweater isn’t even going to fit me and, rather than start over, I’m giving it to someone. So I don’t even have MY new sweater to stop me.
    I’ve really got to stop looking at Ravelry while I’m knitting.

  205. Beware resisting the urge to do something. Folks who are watching their weight are actually encouraged to give in to temptation, with moderation of course. If one feels the need for a slice of bread, go have a slice of bread…..otherwise it will turn into cake or some gawdawful enormouse croissant with tonnes of butter.
    So…if you feel a shawl, better to cast it on. Otherwise, it could turn into a blanket or many many many Noro scarves or……..

  206. Catholic guilt. It sneaks up on us all, and infects those with whom we socialize. I can hear my Mum’s voice now, telling me to finish x before I look at something else.
    Of course, that wasn’t really effective, or else I wouldn’t have five sweaters, four scarves and another attempt at socks on the needles right now . . .

  207. It’s the thrill of the hunt, or the conquest. Those of us without the extra appendage have to make due with knitting needles for our conquests. Luckily no one gets hurt and the world is a better place for it. AMEN!

  208. I have boxes and bags full of needlework stuff — knitting, crochet, cross stitch — because I seem to always go to the Next Most Interesting Thing, like some ADHD kid. I’m trying to fight the good fight, by working on a Halloweeen cross stitch bell pull that I started two years ago and am only 2/5 done with, because I can’t stand the thought of knitting the felted bucket hat pattern I got last year in 90+ degree temps. But I feel your pain of resistance, because weekly I see something else that I REALLY want to do RIGHT NOW. Good luck. And go with the shawl.

  209. It could be worse– you could be contemplating purchasing yarn for a new project rather than yarn from the stash. I say knit what pleases you.

  210. You might have been born and raised Catholic. We’re great at taking on guilt for any reason.

  211. I know how you feel. I have a sweater, socks, a lace shawl, and more socks I should be working on. Instead, what do I do? Start another sweater, of course. THE GUILT

  212. This post made me think of Reason #1,457,821 Why I Love My Love.
    My previous boyfriend gave me a gift certificate to my LYS for Christmas. I opted to buy a shawl-sized amount of a beautiful misty-green cobweb-weight wool. Within days, he was asking “When are you making that shawl?” If I started a new project that wasn’t the shawl, he’d say “Why aren’t you working on the shawl?”
    My new love also gave me a gift certificate this past Christmas, to Knitpicks. I commented the other day that I really needed to use it. He wasn’t aware I hadn’t used it yet, and asked why the sudden rush. “Is it going to expire?” No, I just really want to use it because I think I want to make a summery cardigan, and I’d like to be able to wear it this year. “Oh, okay.” That was it. I told him I was having trouble finding a pattern that was as awesome as the person who gave me the gift certificate. His response? “Awww. Well take your time, sweetie, I’m sure whatever you decide will be just right.”
    He Gets It, and that’s why I am keeping him. 🙂

  213. I find my brain gets saturated with the one color I’m working on, and then it starts to run around and everything NOT that color looks really, REALLY appealing!
    Never go shopping when in this state of mind. For yarn, fabric, or beads.
    So it’s really your color sensors that need a break – embrace the moment!

  214. I still have not finished the sweater vest I promised my father for his 50th birthday. He is now 52. And a half. And never stops nagging me about it. I’m also 3 years behind on a pair of thigh-high socks I was supposed to design. So, hey, I say taking breaks from mind-numbingly boring stuff is as important as taking breaks from absurdly complicated stuff.

  215. I say “work in rotation!” That’s how I handle my many cross-stitch projects, three are WIPs and there are over 70 on my to-do list.
    And then there’s my knitting – two afghans, a child’s vest and a helmet liner, all on needles. Each day I pick and knit a different one. Except yesterday I decided to finish the helmet liner (the last one only took 4 days), and it took me ALL day to pick up 107 stitches with size 5, 16 inch needles. Guess I really didn’t want to work on it but it’s for #1 son’s birthday, which is next week.
    Well, I digress, but I find working in rotation works for me. I can work on my fun project(s) and also make progress on the other ones. Truely, they’re all fun but who wants to knit afghans when the temp and the humidity are both around 90! It gets much worse and I’m switching to my cross-stitch.

  216. You know what? There’s NOTHING wrong with knitting to suit your mood. If you don’t feel like knitting something boring, then don’t!!! 🙂 Knit the shawl!!! (I have shawl urges too… and sometimes when my brain is full, stockinette urges)

  217. I don’t know why you feel that way, but if you figure it out, let me know because I have absolutely NO stick-to-itiveness this summer and feel the same way.

  218. I know just how you feel. The guilt of starting a new project when I have one, two or fifteen already started (and no where near finished) is almost too much for me. Almost…!

  219. well, that explains what happened to the tank in the first place. boredom has meant the death/hibernation of many a knit project in my house.
    think of it this way: if it isn’t fun, will you want to wear it when it’s done?
    all that bad feeling knit right in, because you’d rather be knitting something else? not worth it.

  220. OMG you are a mind reader…just had my shawl attack last week…purchased some beautiful Rowan tweed and knitting away on Landscape Shawl & Scarf (S-2002) by Evelyn A. Clark
    have fun go for it!!

  221. I seem to recall that the reason you called yourself the Yarn Harlot is because you choose to knit what you want, when you want, even if it does mean ditching a few WIPs.
    Go for it! Knit a shawl. You can always come back to your scarf and whatnot when you get frustrated or bored with the shawl. 🙂

  222. Variety is the spice of life. I always have at least 3 projects on needles, a shawl, socks and something mindless. So I can work on whatever suits my mood or situation.

  223. I have no answers for you but I am in the same boat. Mostly because the things I am working on feel like they are keeping me from enjoying the things I want to work on. Ya know when you start another scarf…and that stupid sweater you have been working on for 10 years keeps popping in your head. Takes the joy right out of the scarf… Almost like cheating on a boyfriend/girlfriend. Too much guilt.

  224. Go on – you know you want to.
    You cast on your shawl and I’ll cast on for a Clapotis, despite the other things OTN that I’m admitting to!

  225. While Knitting is about a process that should be fun, it is also about the satisfaction of a job completed, the joy of a finished item can wore (or used) and shown off. Maybe the resistance is part of you saying in the long run you will be happier when this tank is finished.
    I treat knitting as a hobby that brings me joy. Sometimes that joy is found at the end when I stick it out through a boring section. And sometimes it is comes from the shifting gears that happens when starting a new project.
    But you are right, in the scheme of things…..

  226. I’m sure someone already said, “Resistence is FUTILE!” My husband recently told friends of ours that he moved no less than six knitting projects out of his office. The friend, (not a knitter) asked if I really had six unfinished projects. I laughed, “More like 36, at least!” Not many hobbies allow us to do that. I love being inspired to begin new things!

  227. Knitting for charity cures that. I have to help someone with cold feet, hands or other body parts and that’s what I knit.

  228. Oh, Harlot, don’t you know that resistance is futile? 😛
    It’s all knitting, it’s all good 😀

  229. If good knitters stick to the project at hand till it is 100% completed and bad knitters swan around from project to project like total sluts then I am a bad knitter and don’t want to be any other kind.
    You are, after all, the Yarn HARLOT, not the Yarn Monogamist – doesn’t really have the same ring to it, does it?

  230. I am making a shawl foray, too! For my socks this month I chose a lace pattern, and though it had just the right amount of ‘pay-attention’ parts when I started, right now my mind is craving a rest. So I cast on the lovely, simple Multnomah. Let us see what you’ve succumbed to.

  231. The siren call of the shawl has held most of us in her grip. Go with it; life is short, lace is yummy, and shawls are comfort knitting!

  232. This is like my recent dilemma – on a 201-stitch part of a shawl, I counted and found I had only 200 stitches. Would a normal person have just gone on and made one stitch on the next row? Probably. Did I unknit a row and a half (240 stitches!) to fix a mistake that no one will ever care about but me? Yes.

  233. Oh! I totally get this. And the need to “shawl-ize” – what’s up with this?! It’s 100 bleeping degrees here in St. Louis and all I can think about is needing to knit a shawl. Which I am… despite being a month behind on sock club because this month we have to do a short row heel and I’ve never done one, AND I have baby knitting with a deadline, and 2 unfinished projects. I am casting on a shawl…so there.

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