Get thee behind me

I took a picture of Siren Song today, and I had the post all planned out. I was going to tell you how I feel about the fact that no matter how much I knit on this thing, nothing changes. That the ball of yarn is getting smaller, time is passing, but that the knitting isn’t any further along. I was totally going to say that I was in the black hole of knitting. Then I looked at the picture.

sirensong3 2016-01-28

It’s bigger! It’s most definitely bigger, and you know what? I’m on the last section of the three charts, and even though it was feeling a little hopeless, I think I’m actually almost done. I looked at that picture and realized that it’s possible that I might even knit something else some day. I started to get excited about that idea. I thought about maybe a sweater, a cowl.. oh, there’s a few little baby things that need making and I could totally bang out a pair of socks on the subway and I was halfway into the stash, pulling things of of shelves, looking at books, contemplating Ravelry… and then I stopped. Stopped dead with a sweet little ball of merino in my hand, and I put it back on the shelf.

Those feelings, I know what they are. They are the unclean sprout of knitterly infidelity poking a tendril of temptation in front of me, and I  know what I have to do. I squashed them. No way. No way am I knitting anything else until this thing is done.

No way.


(PS. I found the kitchen. It was sort of buried, but still there.)

68 thoughts on “Get thee behind me

  1. I am also searching for my house.
    With a deadline.
    A friend and her one year old are visiting tomorrow.

    Love that shade of green, by the way. The perfect antidote to the endless gray and white outside.

  2. I usually start there as well. The whole house feels better when one no longer feels a visit from the Health Department to your home could result in citations!

  3. Come on, keep with it, you’re almost there. There’ll be not guilt when you start something new if this is done. I say this as a pretty much monogamous knitter (monogamous reader/listener too, if that makes any sense). I know the colour you’re knitting isn’t the best for the time of year, so at least go and choose what the next project will be, but please, please, stick with the current one and just GET IT DONE!

  4. I”m working on a shawl that is getting too big for the needle and the company I ordered a needle from sent me the wrong size.
    I just found out I’m going to be a grandma and I’ve got yarn for a baby blanket all ready (I bought it before the wedding!) . . . and the only thing keeping me from dropping the shawl on the too-short needle and launching into the blanket is the suspicion that the yarn I bought is a little too girly after all . . .
    So it’s back to the shawl, muttering imprecations against the company while I wait for the longer needle. Unless I think of something else to knit.
    Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

  5. I, too have startitis– last year I thought about taking a chainsaw to the kitchen……Be brave for both of us– finish the shawl-that -will-be-beautiful

  6. Yes, I think getting it done will give you a warm glow of accomplishment, and then you can justify casting on three new things in various degrees of complexity and anti-winter colours. The shawl looks lovely now, and will look even better when finished. (I had to touch the clip; hope you clip to it and get it done.)

  7. I salute and applaud your steadfastness in the face of temptation; in this case stick with the job in hand and get it finished. You can scheme all the while you are completing this project, which is mostly my cerebral knitting.

  8. Oh, I know what you’re describing. It’s Startitis coming to call. She’s been lurking around my house the last few weeks too, trying to get me to start a new project instead of finally finishing up hubby’s socks. (They’re grey.) But since she usually heralds the coming of spring, I’m not complaining too much. Stay strong and finish your shawl. It will be lovely.

  9. You’re a stronger woman than I!
    Started one new project this week (shhh, don’t tell the other wip’s), and I’m going to go home in a bit and begin another. Startitis is in the air!

  10. When you finish you shawl and while it is getting a wash and block you can cast on as many projects as you want or need! Of course, I would have used up all my needles by now casting on.

    • Oh you can always put a WIP on spare yarn and steal its needles. Or buy more. Running out of needles never slowed down my Startitis.

  11. I finished a sweater yesterday and felt so virtuous that I started a shawl, a pair of socks, and another sweater today. Knitting monogamy is overrated.

  12. While you are tired of the Siren Song right now, it will be so fun to wear, will look gorgeous on you and goes with your coats. You are getting it done at the perfect time of year – something new to cheer you through the last weeks of nastiness that winter throws your way. Hangeth thou in there.

  13. First. Take-out was invented for those moments when the kitchen disappears. Second. After Christmas knitting we ALL deserve casting on and on and on. I am glad you are recovered.

  14. Hooray for being almost there! And congratulations on locating the kitchen. I am pretending cleaning will magically happen if I just ignore it for a while. (Hint: doesn’t work)

  15. Yay, that shawl is going to happen!!! Gotta say, I lose my kitchen table pretty regularly to mail, projects, groceries that need to be put away, random stuff. Always pleased to get it clear, but it never lasts long…

  16. That’s exactly how I feel about the Bohus I’m knitting: now, the fun part is over, it seems to be just endless stockinette on 2,5mm needles. My appartment, however, is fairly tidy. Am I allowed to brag about that?

  17. The housework isn’t going anywhere. It is very patient, and it will wait for you to finish your project. It looks lovely, and I am looking forward to seeing it all blocked out.

  18. When this happens to me, I have to plop myself down with a movie or a Netflix marathon and just plow through until it’s done. And then I reward myself with a nice skein of something. Knowing you, and the speed at which you knit, you will be back in the stash before too long, plotting your next project.

  19. This is why I love bottom up shawls. The cast-on is insanely tedious, but by the time you’re sick of looking at a WIP, the rows are really REALLY short!

  20. Glad you are gonna keep it, not frog it. I do think it will look great once it is blocked.
    However…. It IS winter, and ’tis the season for working with livelier colors than these. So for mental health reasons, I would start a colorful project(s) and switch back and forth between them.
    I have a project in every location in my house where I might sit, pick it up, and work. They all get done, but I don’t get bored.

    Please come see us again in central North Carolina. And bring Lucy Neatby with you. We loved your visit in 2013!

  21. Kudos to you for crushing the urge (AND finding the kitchen)! I am presently proving Mr Rochester’s advice to Jane Eyre: Dread remorse when you are tempted to err.
    I started I don’t know how many things, half of them projects of insane size and/or ambition, and now I have to finish them all. Oh, and we might be downsizing in a couple of weeks, from 4bed/2bath/2living to a 78m2 (840 sq ft) gem. But who knows?

  22. I know what you mean. I’m slogging away on my son’s sweater that was meant to be his Christmas gift. But, those socks I started to be an easy to travel with option are tempting me so badly.

  23. Now you have completely made my day. Beautiful knitting (keep at it and it will be gorgeous), funny blog post, startitist just like me (I just have to sew, yuk, up a brim for my son’s walking cap but NO I have to start my starry night hat) and it is my birthday. How could it get any better?? Well, I could be turning 22 and not #$&#.

  24. I am actually scared to get things too neat and tidy….I’m afraid that the Housekeeping Fairy will come and see a clean house, decide I don’t need her, and never come back! And as to startitis, why does it hit me all year long and not just in January?

  25. I have mad cowl-itis at the moment. The Isadora cowl from Louisa Harding is singing to me, and I’ve just started the Crazed Scandinavian cowl which is awesome.

    I don’t even wear cowls.

    • Last winter I also had a bout of Mad Cowl Disease. Those cowls are sitting on a shelf in my closet…never to be used again. Startitis results in, at least for me, abandoned FOs.


  26. Well, after all there is a reason for your self applied alter ego 🙂
    I still remember reading your first column in Knits, and so many aspects of it struck me already way back then. I thought:
    1. This woman writes really well.
    2. This woman is funny.
    3. This woman is smart.
    4. I too have balls of yarn looking at me and luring me from every corner/basket/drawer/bin/cupboard.
    5. This woman knows how I feel and how to express it.
    6. I never knew it before, but I too am a yarn harlot!
    Thanks for all your great writings and all the other stuff.

  27. Hang in there. You can resist the siren song of startitis (see what I did there?). I made the cowl version of this shawl and it’s so pretty. I think you’ll be very pleased when the shawl is done. Pleased with the FO and pleased at your inner strength!!

  28. “the unclean sprout of knitterly infidelity poking a tendril of temptation in front of me”

    The January Knitter’s Dilemma, perfectly expressed. I have four nearly-finished projects in the basket right here, but still caught myself prowling the patterns section on Ravelry last night. It’s a siren song, shipmates!

  29. I’m sorry you’ve been sick. Thanks for continuing to write to us. What is the yarn and the color you are using for Siren Song?

  30. Siren Song is GORGEOUS. However, I don’t think it is aptly named… because a siren song is supposed to be irresistible, and all of that knitting just… isn’t. I am glad people like you have more discipline and intestinal fortitude and can tackle such things. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  31. It’s a beautiful shawl, however, I know how strong the temptation can be. I’ve just cast on a sweater while in the middle of many other things, and to tell the truth, I’m not sure why…

  32. At my house it is not even the tendrils of knitterly infidelity that lure me away from my project. My 10-year-old granddaghter chose to entertain her 4-year-old cousin my my craft room. They came out with a book of Fairy Tale Knits and now I have to knit a mermaid dress. In Cotton Classic. Cotton Classic is not my best friend. And then there are the eight hats with animal pompoms I planned to knit for Christmas. One hat is started . . .

  33. After reading your blog for the first time almost 8 years ago (as a fresh knitter), I had the dream of joining a lovely knitting group on a random night. I lived outside the city where such things didn’t happen. I now live on the subway line (North York) and cannot find such a group to knit away with! HELP! Can someone please recommend a knitting group in the North York area that meets in the evenings? I have tried scouring the internet with no such luck. I was initially going to email you directly and realized other posters may be of some help.

    Happy knitting everyone!

  34. You give me hope. I have been knitting a little shawl, the lovely Tartessos from Knitty, for the last millennium, working and working while it never grows an inch. I’m using a lovely wool and silk from the Woollen Rabbit, so there really is no reason for this. I am trapped in the vortex that you first documented with, I think, Birch. Maybe someday I’ll make it out, as you have, although since I’ve now started knitting a mitten on the side, my prospects are bleak.

  35. Wow. This is an inspiration! I have resolved in 2016 to improve my knitting fidelity. Last year I was blind-sided by two babies and left a trail of 1/2 (or so) finished projects in ziploc bags. I will be finishing those with gusto before I am allowed to venture into the stash. At least that’s my plan 🙂

  36. One side of my kitchen is immaculate and the other side looks like the bottom of a shoe! And, I’m glad to see that I am not the only one feeling the need to start things. For the sake of my sanity and the pile of knitting that lives next the couch, I made a deal with myself that I can start new things on Feb. 1. And I have declared that winding the yarn and swatching is not starting so I can do that if I need to take the edge off.

  37. I have the opposite of startitis. I finished everything I needed for Christmas (very proud of myself) and started the new year with a sweater cast on for my very own self – The Colman’s “Gin and Tonic’ – EXCEPT THE Brooklyn Tweed Shelter I was using just didn’t drape as much as I wanted, making me think the sweater would turn out kind of boxy. So I ripped it back and made a hat with it, which is not exciting, but necessary in Toronto in January. And then….and then….I just can’t think what to do next. Nothing is calling to me. When in doubt make socks for gifts. But there’s this little niggling, truly horrible thought nagging at the back of my head. What if you just wake up one day and find you’re not a yarn harlot any more?

  38. I know that feeling of knitterly infidelity. I too am working on something that has been going on for too long. Now that the end is in sight, every night before bed, I go to admire the yarn in my stash and plan new projects. Oddly, I feel a bit like I am at a yarn peep show. I admire and drool, but I feel guilty because the admiration and drooling should be focused on the current project(s), not the ones in my dreams.

  39. Haha! knitter infidelity.. oh yeah.. I have about 20 wips I’m trying to plough through and the funny thing is that I started with only 6 or 7.. The night before my niece’s birthday I decided I totally needed to knit her a fair isle-ish mini skirt.. then I decided I hadn’t knit any socks for my brother (so I cast on a stranded sock..), then of course I felt bad about felting an older project and felt the need to cast on.. At the moment I’m denial knitting on the most recent project (in the hopes of casting on for a new one tomorrow.. please somebody take my knitting away :P)

  40. I have these exact feelings about starting something new. My New Year’s resolution is to finish my UFO then start a new one–to alternate. I think it’s so validating to see that you have similar feelings. I have to regularly discipline myself to finish!

  41. “the unclean sprout of knitterly infidelity” is a phrase that just might stay with me the rest of my life. It’s perfect. Keep writing. What you do will stay with the knitting community far into the future.

  42. Thank you so much for posting how you fixed your mistake! I had never seen anything quite like that done! I used your example to get myself straightened around last night ~ it took FOREVER (could have frogged and re-knitted three times) but now I have it, so was worth the time and effort. Thank you again.

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