Start or Not

Step 1.  Decide to knit your baby nephew a sweater because he only has one.

Step 2. Realize your other nephew has no sweaters, and decide to knit him a sweater too.

Step 3. Decide that you should consult the nephew who can speak about what he would like.  Ask him several questions about sweaters, like what colour, pullover or cardigan and his preferences for anything else.  Find out that he wants a purple sweater. Dark purple.  Also, maybe a zipper sweater, or a pullover, but definitely not buttons, and maybe a hood, or no hood, and maybe pockets, or no pockets, but definitely not too warm. 

Step 4. Decide that sounds like a pretty simple hoodie.

Step 5.  Start ripping up the stash looking for any yarn that is "purple, dark purple".  Try to figure out how it’s possible that you don’t have a sweaters worth of dark purple yarn.  Contemplate the light purple yarn with 40% angora and realize that no matter how desperate the times are, the nephew in question is twelve, and that is really probably too old for a fluffy purple sweater, even if you really nail the hood.

Step 6. Realize that although Hank wouldn’t like that yarn, Sam would, and spend 45 minutes looking at pattern possibilities for a hoodie for her.

Step 7. Remember that you’re knitting Hank a sweater. Go back to looking in the stash.  Find green yarn. Reflect that green yarn is pretty nice.  Remind yourself that green yarn is not purple yarn and is therefore no good for purple hoodie.  Admire green yarn, and think about other nephew.  Other nephew is too small to pick colours, and would look sweet in green. Consider starting little nephews sweater. Spend an unreasonable amount of time looking for sweater pattern for wrong nephew.

Step 8. Realize that there is enough of the green yarn to make an adult sweater, and that means that after you make a little nephew sweater, there won’t be enough for an adult sweater, and so it’s stupid to use it up on this. Decide this means that you should make yourself a sweater, and spend time looking at patterns that would be good.

Step 9. Remember that you’re knitting nephew’s sweaters. Give up on purple, and look for something for Lou. Find cashmere laceweight. Start looking at patterns for lace scarf.

Step 10. Remember that you’re knitting nephew’s sweaters. Put cashmere back, but find orange roving as you do so, and consider how good you look in orange.  Take roving downstairs to wheel.

Step 11. Remember that you’re knitting nephew’s sweaters. Take roving back upstairs and put on shelf next to magazines. Vogue Knitting fall 2010 is on top.

Step 12.  Look through magazine, see great sweater for Megan.  Pull apart stash looking for enough red yarn to make sweater on page 27.  Find blue yarn. 

Step 13. Remember you’re knitting sweater’s for nephews. Put magazine back, but take out blue yarn and check yardage.  Get on Ravelry to see if that’s enough for Hank’s sweater.  Discover it is not, but see really cute vest that might fit Jen’s daughter Fenner.   Take yarn downstairs to ball winder.

Step 14. Start winding yarn, but see red and green fingering weight you bought at Verb for Keeping warm and remember good idea for scarf.  Take blue off wider.  Wind red. 

Step 15. Remember you’re knitting sweaters for nephews. Wonder what word for sweater is in Spanish because Lou is going to be bilingual.  Look it up on internet.  See a link to a Spanish sweater.  Follow link – find pattern a lot like something you saw on Knitty.  Search Knitty, and don’t find sweater but see really great hat.

Step 16.  Check gauge for hat and wonder if blue yarn already wound would be good hat.  It’s not, but that stitch pattern would make good socks.

Step 17. Realize that yarn is bad for socks.  Go looking for blue sock yarn in stash that would work for new stitch pattern and the socks you’re going to make.  While in stash, see dark purple sock yarn.

Step 18.  Remember you’re making sweaters for nephews – and wonder if there’s such a thing as Knitter Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Step 19. Repeat from step 5.

Step 20.  Wonder what the hell happened to your day. 


PS. Here’s a little heads up that our November Knot Hysteria retreat will be live for registration on Monday. We’ll be in Port Ludlow, Washington, and the retreat will begin the evening of the 9th of November, and continue until Monday night. (that’s the 12th.) The theme will be Colour (because, that was a really good time last time) and once again, its a Dye, Spin, Knit retreat. Details to come on Monday, but I’m knitting, Tina Newton is in the dyeroom, and Judith MacKenzie will be in the pretty room over the water, teaching spinning. For the first time ever though, we’d like to give alumni (at retreat we call them repeat offenders) a chance to register first. They’ve been great customers, so if you’ve been to a retreat before, and you’d like to come to this one, please email us, and we’ll try to get you in. No promises, because we’re leaving a certain number of spots for the new kids, but you can try to beat the rush. The price is about the same as the last time, $745.

If you’re a business, and you’d like to contribute something to our goody bags, you can email us at that same address. We’d love to hear from you.

135 thoughts on “Start or Not

  1. I’m so step 18 it’s unreal, i currently have maybe 20+ wips, half are for christmas though. but attention span is eased when allowing yourself to flit between projects already on the needles. Good luck

  2. This is why I absolutely forbid myself to start another project while one is still on the needles. And why it’s virtually impossible to get any project on my needles at all.

  3. Indeed, been there done that. Sometimes I even remember what I wanted to make when I bought that green/blue/purple yarn and get distracted all over again.

  4. That kind of thing totally comes in waves for me. Thankfully, I’m currently swatching (please remember to breathe) for a project I really want. It is keeping the “start something else new” vibes at bay!

  5. I totally believe there is either a knitters’ A.D.D. or that knitting is a common behavior of those with A.D.D. The knitters I know (and I’m including myself) are often distracted much as you’ve described, not to mention that attraction to a variety of colors/textures, etc. causes us to manifest in stash enhancement and UFO’s. Good luck keeping on track!

  6. Finally,a perfect description of what I want to do when I retire (from 28 years of teaching in a middle schol)!!

  7. Your Nephew in Step 3 is my #2 Grandson. Are they the same kid? Are we related? Am I your mother? If so…I’m proud of you, Steph. xox mom

  8. This is a huge part of why I love being a knitter. All of my ADD behaviors that are outside of the norm in most parts of life are completely normal knitter behaviors. There’s no worrying that a knitter is going to think I’m nuts if I tell them about it. Muggles on the other hand… gotta worry about them.

  9. I sooo love to hear that other knitters have the same ‘issue’ I have. Total attention deficit when around wool…I blame the wool fumes.
    Carry on…

  10. Are you sure you aren’t spying on me? It’s like you live in my head. Hilarious! Thanks for the fun!

  11. LOL! Enjoyed reading about your day….made me feel somewhat more normal to know I’m not alone.

  12. Honestly, your day is exactly how I am hoping to spend tomorrow! This was such a busy work week, I’m hoping I can convince myself (and the rest of the family) that I’ve earned it.

  13. I am SO glad I’m not the only one. I swear it takes me forever to start something because of this exact reasoning – or lack thereof.

  14. Wow – totally impressed that you kept coming back to nephews’ sweaters. I would have been lost well before step 10!

  15. With a day job, 2 kids and countless things to do, I rarely have the luxury of a day like that. However it didn’t stop me from spending an hour like that last night, as I tried to start the second in a set of mittens. But I did frog 2 old projects. And organized my leftover Cascade 220 bits, put 2 sets of needles away in the right spot! AND I found my missing book Ocean Breezes: Knitted Scarves Inspired by the Sea. All in all, a lovely knitty hour, although no knitting got done.

  16. “Sweater” in Spanish is “suéter”, pronounced as though it were spelled “sweater” in English. Awfully convenient, isn’t it?

  17. Totally. my. whole. life!
    My DH always wonders why on my days off, when I am at home alone, not a great deal gets finished…but lots of things get thought about, lists drawn up, plans made and projects…begun! Even Ritalin doesn’t completely help in that regard….oh look, a squirrel!(I hate squirrels!)

  18. Maybe this means you don’t want to start sweaters. You want to FINISH BOHUS APPLES. Yes, that’s it. You want to FINISH BOHUS APPLES for yourself!

  19. Put pockets in Hank’s sweater. He’ll miss ’em if you don’t. And… I’m seeing why I DON’T keep a big stash. I would be lost, too.

  20. I love this story. It combines three of my favorite things:
    1. Numbered lists.
    2. Yarn.
    3. Having my [day-in-the-]life choices justified by other people’s life choices!

  21. Sounds like you need an excuse to go shopping for enough purple yarn to make two sweaters for nephews.

  22. This happened to me during the babes naptime today. I definitely have K.A.D.D. and it leads to more surfing about knitting than actual knitting. Gah! Good luck!

  23. Knitter Attention Deficit Disorder? I think you paid attention to knitting for a heck of a long time, by the sounds of it…

  24. OMG! It all goes downhill for me if someone asks me for something specific. I can only shop at one LYS per day and if they don’t have what I need, there’s collateral damage in the form of more yarn. Stash diving always unearths a yarn I forgot I had and now need to work with immediately which results in an online hunt for the perfect pattern, meanwhile I shop online for the yarn I need – more collateral damage.
    It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you!

  25. I have so done this lately. I just finished cleaning up the “crap” room, oops I mean “craft”. And almost got sidetracked every 5 minutes. Why is it we have yarn for other things but not for the things we want to do. Is there some kind of unwritten rule about this? If we go to find the yarn we need we can’t find it, it has been sold out, doesn’t exist in that color, not enough yarn. If it is the right color it is the wrong fiber, oh well.

  26. Dare I mention you are going to Rhinebeck and will probably want to knit a new sweater for yourself too.

  27. Yep, this is what happens absolutely every time I try to make something – and – even when I’ve found yarn and started a project, if I leave the pattern near a different yarn, or if there is another pattern near the one I’m knitting – I may just be side tracked by that as well…Good luck with the purple, zipped hoodie!

  28. Thanks for cracking open the mystery of why I have inspiration and UFOs galore, but precious few completed garments.

  29. Ha, this is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while… It’s funny because it’s very, depressingly true. 🙂

  30. This sort of thing happens to me when the season changes or the weather changes.
    The weather has been changing a lot around here lately (sometimes cool and foggy, sometimes warm and sunny, sometimes back and forth in the same day). All these weather changes plus the official beginning of fall (school has started!) means I have had an excessively short attention span in recent weeks.
    The other thing that happens during knitting ADD time is if I get within sniffing distance of a yarn shop and happen to walk in (even with the intention of only buying ONE set of sock needles), pretty soon my arms are filled with yarn and I have at least four new projects.
    This happened a few days ago. Twice (the first shop didn’t have one tiny thing I was looking for). It was so bad at store #2 that they asked if it was my birthday (it wasn’t).
    Then the yarn fumes started pouring out of my computer and before I knew it, I had bought multiple projects from two online vendors.
    They were both having sales, after all…
    See, Stephanie, it could be worse. At least you stuck to your existing stash.

  31. I am so with you sister. If I spent half the time knitting that I do daydreaming and thinking about patterns I would be a lot further along.

  32. K.A.D.D. – common affliction of knitters, mostly those with a “stash” (see definition for “stash”).
    That is hilarious! My issue is I rarely get that far along in the process. I look at yarn*, look up patterns for that yarn, see patterns that I like but for other yarn, go look at the other yarn, see it doesnt look right*, repeat from * to *.

  33. Sounds like an arrested case of the dreaded “startitis”!
    Did you make notes on the other ideas?

  34. Oh yeah, there’s definitely a Knitter’s Deficit Attention Disorder!
    It’s similar to Creativity Overload, I think 😉

  35. The girl who owns the coffee shop attached to my lys commented the other day on the fact that I seem to always have a different project everytime she sees me. I told her I have Knitting ADD. It’s the only place in my life it exists and I’m embracing fully!

  36. Have you considered The Wonderful Wallaby sweater by Carol A. Anderson? It comes in all sizes, and would be adorable on Lou and way cool on Hank. There are several variations with or without hoods and pockets. It is my all time favorite go-to pattern. You could make yourself a green one, and Sam would love the fluffy purple. Problem solved. Stash busted…except for the dark purple.

  37. It’s obvious that our dear Harlot has x-ray vision — just another aspect of being knitting’s Superwoman.

  38. And I can just picture the following steps:
    Step 21: Realize you haven’t given a thought to dinner. Phone place that delivers and place an order.
    Step 22: Phone place that delivers and cancel order when Joe comes through the door with carry-out.
    Step 23: Eat dinner with a beer/glass of wine/some screech.
    Step 24: Settle in for some TV and petting of cat. See issue of International Knits on table. Find pattern that would be great for your mom.
    Step 25: Repeat steps 5 through 19.
    Step 26: Joe announces he’s going to bed. Repeat step 20.

  39. My son (8) wants an orange & grey striped sweater – 2 colors my stash does not have. But Purple? Purple I’ve got. Too bad I’m too far way to run it down the street to you & save you from repeating a few of those steps.

  40. The same thing that happens to my days pretty much every day, and it hits warp speed on days my dh is home or the kids are on a school vacation…
    My guys have made it easy on me… they want fingerless mitts…. in Wool Ease… and have already picked out the yarn, which is currently in my stash waiting to be knit… the problem is that there’s this really cute baby hat pattern that I’ve made more than a few times that keeps calling my name…. and this pretty blue yarn (yes, acrylic, I’m enough of a Mommy Veteran to know that acrylic works well when it comes to gifts for other people’s babies, especially considering besides myself, my wonderful Mother In Law (no, I’m not being sarcastic) is the ONLY other person I know who will hand wash knits (even ones I tell her can go through the washer and dryer…. she gets double points for rubbing her sisters’ noses in the fact that her DIL, meaning me, will knit her socks).

  41. There’s just something about finishing projects and venturing near the room that holds the yarn stash: it’s like there’s some kind of magnetic force field in there that scrambles the brainwaves. I finished knitting the last project on my needles last week, stepped too close to the door of ‘The Room’, got sucked in there and when I resurfaced…I had five pairs of socks on the needles. I just finished knitting 7 pairs of socks! Why on earth would I now need 5 more pairs???

  42. Where is the “like” button?! This is how most of my UFO’s end up being UFO’s. Too many projects, so little time!!

  43. I don’t understand why this is being referred to as a dis-order when the steps are clearly ordered. Logically sequenced, I might add. Completely normal behavior.

  44. I have ADKD bad! You have described what happens each time I dive. I am contemplating a craft room and the best way to set things up to make it a little easier. We shall see.

  45. Time to go to the LYS shopping for dark purple yarn and a small amount of green yarn!
    Looks like you are in desperate NEED of yarn!

  46. I think if you try to focus, like on finding purple yarn for a purple hoodie, you’d find you either have it or not in pretty quick order. If you don’t find any, get it right away online or run out to your neighborhood wool shop. Then the rest of the time you can spend dawdling and dreaming and not feel as if your life is simply dissolving into a world of wooly colors and fuzzy ideas.

  47. My search for a simple pattern, or yarn in my stash goes like this. Thanks for making me feel normal, because if you are, than I am. Yes, I think there is knitting add, judging by the wips I have…
    And I loved the above comment, If You Give a Mouse Cookie.

  48. #3 sounds like my 14 y/o daughter’s last sweater request – not too hot, no buttons, yes zipper, with specific details (or not), and nailing the color/weight I do not have in my stash. How do they know?

  49. But where are the steps where you run to Lettuce Knits to buy purple yarn – which they don’t have in the right shade, so you buy several other colors. Then you call Tina to have her send you some, but she’d have to dye it and she has this little lack-of-water problem, so you have to settle for some more Luscious Silk to make Fenner a dress. After which you check out Loopy Ewe, which has lots of beautiful yarn, of which you order several brands and colors, but not the right shade of purple. FInally you find some really dark purple, and call Hank to tell him, but he has changed his mind and now wants scarlet….

  50. Yup, sound like my quest to make my little granddaughter slippers except I added a trip to the yarn store where I bought yarn for slippers, a sweater and another pair of slippers.

  51. OMG!!! You just described my day when I get in the mood to knit something for myself….and then I get sidetracked at every corner. Squirrel!! That’s the right expression….lol
    I feel better knowing that I’m not the only one with an attention span of a goldfish. 🙂

  52. OH Thank You for this post. I thought there was something wrong with me but as it turns out, I am perfectly normal!

  53. You just put into words the same thing i go through every year when i get the brilliant idea to make the 6 nephews something and they all end up gift cards because this will happen the entire fall until its too late to do something! We now have 2 nieces in the mix and i am a little scared of the process because there are just too many cute girl things out there!!

  54. Once again, hilarious post! The kind where I want to call every knitter I know and say “You’ve got to read this!”. Every knitter has KADD, right?

  55. I vote for piecing-out the purple sock yarn. I also don’t like too-warm sweaters so that’s what I use for myself a lot. Would he tolerate stripes? or a really cool slipstitch pattern done with 2 colors? Of course slipstitch adds just a bit of extra bulk/warmth. And I’d use my yarn for functional pockets and eliminate the hoodie which I observe is almost never worn, just hangs there. Good luck on decision making.

  56. This is why you’re the Yarn Harlot, not the Yarn Monogamist. Boy Howdy, I don’t think that would make for good blogging.

  57. Over in the Village (the Village of the Hopelessly Overcommitted) we call it ADOSS – Attention Deficit OH, Look! Something Shiny! And you nailed it. Perfectly. And I have been there oh so many times! Thanks for the laughs!

  58. Stephanie,
    If you were in my house following me around last week, why didn’t you let me know you were here and we could’ve had a beer?

  59. Thank you, thank you! I finally have an explanation for my husband when he gets home. When he walks through the door to ask “how was your day?” I’ll just hand him a printed copy of your blog and say, “any more stupid questions?” (He’s really very nice and stops the car whenever I yell “yarn store!”)

  60. Oh, this is so incredibly familiar. Sometimes I wonder whether there is any reason to leave my stash room at all. Then I remember I need to pee.

  61. Exactly. What. I. Do. Every single time I go to finish a project or I’m looking for something I get distracted by something even prettier or softer that wants to be transformed. My husband will never understand.

  62. I do EXACTLY the same thing! how does that work? is it is a girl thing or what? I still manage to get alot done though-somehow. I know; it’s a miracle truly. Eventually, all my knitting projects get finished too!!

  63. Huh. Sounds like me in the garden. Dude, you are so not alone! And now that you’ve confesse— I mean, shared your experience with us, neither am I. Hooray!

  64. Yep! Going thru that right now. Doing that right now. Knitter’s ADD is real. I go thru that every day. It is dangerous because it does indeed waste a day and causes you to start projects that you did not intend to begin. I have 3 projects that knitters ADD has begun and there seems to be no end to it.
    No cure…no stopping. Just…patience, and resistance.

  65. Yes….every day! To a tee, and is why I’m usually late for everything. It’s the knitter’s equivalent of falling down the rabbit hole, and the answer to why every knitter has a stash. I relish in my Knitter’s ADD. 🙂

  66. KADD is a very real syndrome. Research seems to indicate that it is caused by wool fumes – and the severity of the syndrome seems to correlate with the quantity of wool fumes to which the patient is exposed. There is no known treatment or cure at this time.

  67. I was laughing so much as I read that finally the hubby demanded I read it to him and let him in on it.
    He grinned. He doesn’t know anyone like that, ooooh, no…! (Busted!)

  68. Hysterical! This is what would happen to me, if I had a large stash and fewer people in my house to distract me from the distraction I would have created myself by going through a large stash. See, I’m too distracted to distract myself. 🙂

  69. My gosh, your brain is so much like mine, it is scary… there like, some sort of intervention for this?

  70. This is definitely not a disorder! This is the BEST part of being a knitter. The moments in between your old project and starting a new one are wonderful because they are so filled with possibility. You see all the stash yarn before you and all of the potential in it. I love taking a day or two to find something new and wonderful to knit. It’s almost as fun as the knitting itself.
    It’s definitely a bit of a time suck when you have an actual project to get done, but what a lovely use of time!

  71. Perfect description! Happens to me all. the. time. Including while reading this post… traipsed off to look up vogue knitting patterns! ha!

  72. First I laughed out loud (thanks again and again for your lovely blog). Then I sympathised. Now I’ll move on to the advice: while you still can, decide to never EVER take up sewing as well. Let me tell you from experience that sewing as well does nothing to alleviate the above symptoms, rather the contrary. There is one upside though, you could sew matching pants or skirts to suit your newly knitted sweaters, if you actually manage to finish either that is.

  73. LOL!!!!!!!!! and LOL again!!!!!
    I love reading your blog because it makes me feel kind of normal. Or if not normal, at least in a diagnostic cluster of some sort, because there are others out there who do exactly the same thing.

  74. Thanks for sharing your entire DAY! Go to the store. I can’t find my stash. Just moved. Big sigh…

  75. Ah, you must have ADHKD Attention Deficit Hyperactive KNITTING Disorder. I was diagnosed with it (by myself of course) years ago. Now, if you can say ADHKD fast and confidently everyone will believe you.

  76. I can’t find the bin where I put all the sweaters I knit last year so they would be safe from moths. I do sympathize with you, and appreciate all the people who took time to post really thoughtful comments.

  77. Ok it sounds like you, Steph … and most of the commentators need to join my Ravelry group … Seven WIPs In Seven Days
    You take 7 of your wips (now you know you have more than that) and assign a day to it. Amazingly much more gets done because you dont get bored. A lot of our members have 2 days assigned right now for Christmas stuff … but it can be anything!

  78. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. But it’s good knowing one’s not alone in such predicaments. Only my knitters ADD involves reminding myself I’m supposed to study, not contemplate yarn colours and patterns.

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