I’ll just take that too

My little Pretty Thing is finished and blocking (I forgot what a super fast knit it is, the chart’s only got 62 rounds) if by “blocking” you understand that I have washed it in the bathroom sink and tossed it on a furnace grate so it dries fast. It’s going to be fantastic.  I’ve turned my attention now to my suitcase – throwing in some clothes, a few sweaters, all the stuff that doesn’t matter, and now I get to think about what knitting I’ll take.  I’m suddenly between projects.

Now, you have to understand that “between projects” is a technical term that when applied to regular people always means that you don’t currently have a project on the go.  When applied to knitters, however, this term has several possible meanings, depending on the nature or mood of the knitter in question.

A) I’m in between projects!  Translation – I actually have nothing on the needles.  I just finished something and I haven’t started something, so for the next three minutes, I’m in between projects. Likelihood: Rare, but possible.

B) I’m in between projects! Translation – I have finished my main project. I still have a few other things on needles kicking around that I could be puttering away at,  but this was the big thing I had on the go. Likelihood: Not unusual.

C) I’m in between projects! Translation – I have nothing on the needles right now – except socks/a hat/some other sort of accessory, and I don’t count those.   Likelihood: Common

D) I’m in between projects! Translation – There’s actually about seven projects on the needles in this house, but I don’t care about the other ones and I may or may not ever finish them, and frankly, I don’t like your tone. I don’t want to knit those, and therefore, they don’t count.  Those bags?  Those are socks. Everyone knows you don’t count socks. I am clearly between projects. Did you see my new yarn?  Likelihood: Yeah. That’s probably it.

Today, I’m using it that last way – I’ve got about 5 big projects on the go, and two pairs of socks (whoops, three) and I literally just looked straight through them all and thought “well isn’t this lovely. Nothing on the needles” and decided I can put whatever yarn I want in my suitcase, and plenty of it.

After all, it’s not often that I’m between projects.

96 thoughts on “I’ll just take that too

  1. My Pretty Thing was called in to service in Yellowstone Park in October, tucked around my two year old grandson’s neck. It didn’t come home with me. I went looking for the pattern last night and I can’t find it. That means I will be ordering it again from Ravelry today. Such a lovely thing to have on hand.

  2. “And frankly I don’t like your tone”…lol. Yeah. Anyone that lives with knitters should know there is always A New Yarn Project that is considered the Primary Project.Sheesh. *eye roll*
    The yarn that is in a nonskein state is what I refer to as Stash Art Installations.
    They should also remember one can just as easily be “between husbands” as between projects.lol.

    • Bwaaa haaaa haaaa! Funny and almost everything i was about to comment (except the husband bit – hilarious). Great comment.

      Have an awesome ski trip, Steph. We Aussies are positively boggling at minus 35. Are you sure we all live on the same planet? Crazy!!!

  3. I am that rare knitter that almost always falls into category A, however, at this time, I have…
    … one active pair of socks.
    … one hibernating pair of socks (I have issues with the pattern, but I intend to finish it… *soon*)
    … one scarf/wrap that is still in early stages with a long way to go.
    … a bunch of intent to start a new sweater, but if I don’t keep that in line, I will start that tonight, and everything else will fall by the wayside, and we know that socks & accessories don’t count, so that technically means I could be category C at this time.

    My question to you is this: how many of those things are destined to be holiday/birthday/Christmas gifts?

    • Me too! For the first time, I’ve got 3 things on the needles. One of my friends all but passed out in shock. (She very skilled, fast and regularly has 10+ on the go but it makes sense. There’s everything from “no brainer” through different levels of concentration to “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” lace. Then there’s the kindness of helping older clients with vision problem.)

      My stash now all fits in one bookcase. A friend had a look – I think it was pity.

      • Do we really know if she ever washed the rest of the fleece and spun it? I keep thinking it may have become moldy or something so that there was no more yarn to be had to finish the Gansey. Then again, by not mentioning it ever, it has become one of those great mysteries that knitters love to share with newbies around sheep pens everywhere.

  4. Oh my gosh. This has EXACTLY been my yesterday and today. We’re leaving on a big road trip tomorrow morning. I thought I was ok with socks and a shawl in progress, and then realized I was “between projects” and needed something else. A lot of anxiety later, I have my next project picked. Just have to wind the yarn.

  5. Everyone knows socks, and by relation sock yarn, doesn’t count. It’s like an appetizer. That doesn’t really count as food. It’s more of a something to do while waiting for the main course. If I tried to tell my family I had nothing to knit, I’d probably bust something I really need from holding in the laughter. My code words,,,,,,,, I can’t get into the chest just now for a UFO. So this means clearly I have to start something new. Maybe I should try harder to get into the chest and finish some of those things. Maybe I’ll suddenly overcome some of my phobias about heights and openings in the floors too……….. OR NOT.

  6. I am a D style knitter all the way. Plus the startitis that plagues me when I get close to the end of a project. I start looking at Rav and at my pattern books and planning the next knit, meanwhile ignoring the last bit that needs finishing. :/ Trpuble is, I like it that way! LOL

    • If knitter catagories were bra sizes i’d Be a double D! Haha. Maybe that’s why I have so many needles. Many multiples of 8’s, 7,s etc. If I have a project on my fives and NEED to start another on fives I go get another set of them! My hubby thinks I’m obsessive compulsive but now I can let him know I’m normal.

  7. I suspect that many of us who knit, sew, crochet, quilt, or do any kind of art or craft work are slightly delusional in this same way. I don’t think I’ll tell anyone about my: toddler sweaters, placemats, purse, cross stitch, etc., etc. You get the picture.

    • I also scrapbook so have many pages in progress. Sometimes I look at the “old” stuff & weep at the terrible style of those pages. How can I finish them now.
      I can relate to your comment above

  8. OK, OK, you can pack whatever yarn you want, BUT: 1) put some sock yarn in there, because Elliot; and 2) if there is a yarn shop within 250 miles of your destination, LEAVE ROOM FOR MORE!
    (Joe, she’s “between projects” again — better pack a book.)

  9. I think you may have omitted the most significant translation of all: “I’m between projects,” could mean, ” I don’t have anything on the needles, and there’s no knitting in sight due to circumstances beyond my control (the power is out, I’m stuck in an airport and all my knitting is packed or otherwise inaccessible, etc.), and I’m about to go into full panic mode”.

  10. About 25 years ago one of the airlines, to promote added service between SJC and NRT, ran an ad translating what YES meant during a meeting in Japan. There were 8 different definitions- Yes, I hear you speaking, Yes, that is something to consider, etc. (Of course none were Yes, I agree and will take appropriate action.) Very true based on my experiences.

    I will supply your 4 definitions of ‘between projects’ to help my husband’s eye roll induced whiplash from recurring.

  11. Dare one mention it, but did you ever finish the sweater for Joe that used to get mentioned every so often?

    (Profound apologies if I have forgotten the finish. BTW, do projects count if you started them long enough ago that you are no longer even that size anymore?)

    • This is starting to happen to me. I am choosing to see it as a sign that I should donate more yarn/patterns to the World’s Largest Textile Garage Sale. If I can’t have it, it should go to a GOOD home!

    • I’m avoiding finishing a sweater in your mentioned category. Maybe I should figure out who I’m going to give it to and then just sew on the neckband and get it out of the basket.

  12. Love this post; exactly how I always feel but so many people don’t understand, even some knitters, though not any of my close friends, for obvious reasons, haha!

  13. Normally, I start worrying about the knitting packing about two weeks out. The clothes just far enough out to make sure things are washed. Of course, I don’t vacation to places where multiple layers of clothing are a survival skill, so maybe that’s where we differ. Have fun.

    • First she’d have to wash and spin the fleece for the rest of Joe’s gansey, assuming it would still fit him, which might be a bit much for vacation knitting!

  14. Made a Pretty Thing for my Mom a few years back, and ever since have had a lovely, similar little skein of cashmere and something set aside to knit one for myself…your post inspires (still giggling over “and frankly, I don’t like your tone”) and I may start that one Tomorrow! …yeah, am all about Knitter D, with maybe a million projects in progress about the house, but I actually do finish plenty of pressing things such as baby booties and cardis, 35 Pussyhats, several Offspring sweaters, Friend shawls and scarves, and one gigantic bobbled sheep for Dot the 2-year-old over this last year…each to its own perfect moment in time, you just have to let it all unfold…

  15. My goal in life is to finish all my WIPs and reach the A) state listed above. I have done it before. Well, once before. Possibly a long time ago.

    Um, maybe I should borrow the title from your last blog…

  16. Love, love, love the definitions – I’ve been in all of those places but normally it’s D. Okay 99% of the time, it’s D….Now so many things on needles that I’m having trouble packing to take them to my in-laws for the weekend! Note that I did NOT say “too many” but “so many”…and it’s a wonderful thing to have choices. I think it will wind up being one bag of about 5 small projects and one bag, probably the Dr. Who scarf that DH requested a year ago and is still languishing around due to it’s size….only for him would I knit this. Time to get packing…

  17. I am flying to Florida, from Maine in April, and in the back of my head there is a debate on what to take knit-wise. There is a local yarn store. I am only allowed a ‘take on’ sized suitcase. I’ll be down for about 4 weeks, visiting my mom. Now I am a size 18/20. So my suitcase will be fairly full with just the bare necessities. Because of lack of room I will be starting a shortie sock on the airplane. I keep telling myself I can buy yarn there. But I also keep saying maybe I should take at least one skein to tide me over till I can shop! Help what to do?

  18. You are so right! I don’t usually have tons of projects on the needles (too many and I get crazy), but it’s rare that I have literally nothing in progress. Usually “I’m between projects” means something like “I don’t have anything in progress that I’m really interested in working on.”

    Have a great trip!

  19. Nailed it! I’m almost always D, I now have a basket of yarn just for these-don’t-count projects to cast on when I get a queued or planned project done. It seems to be working for the stash-down.

    Have a fun trip!

  20. I’m pretty much a D. Always. I do love knowing people who find it perfectly normal to agonize over the knitting packing and throw in clothes as an afterthought. My peeps!
    Have a lovely trip!

  21. HAHAHAHA! In addition to knitting I quilt and stitch. This hierarchy applies to them as well. enjoy your new project and your time away.

  22. This year I am finishing two sweaters that have been WIPs for a long long time. (One was finished yesterday!). I took both on a recent week long trip. Did I work on them? No, I bought yarn at Stitches West and made 3 hats instead…. Sigh…but I’m working on the last one now. Speaking of SW, someone in my knit group asked if I had specific projects in mind for all the yarn I bought…..I just stared at her

    • I have so much yarn for unspecified projects that it feels like a burden. I’ve come to realize that at my (somewhat advanced) age, I should buy yarn for specific projects only. Unless it’s a really good deal at Value Village.

  23. I live inbetween projects. I do this as a habit. I am NEVER without a project…ever. This time it’s shoes. Yes! I am making shoes. Got the leather today and have handspun, woven fabric to do some tests with. Yep. A shawl and a pair of socks and a warp on the board that needs to come off so the other half of the warp can be wound for a rag rug project. There, there is the spinning that is “in between” all of that. Yep. Me toooooo…many projects to be in between of…..

  24. OMG Steph, I just read the entire article to my husband and he laughed so hard! He says I am a dedicated “D”. I always have something(s) on needles, but am always looking ahead for what I’ll do next.

  25. Finished knitting a chameleon scarf this morning, and at that point usually put it aside because I’m less fond of the non-knitting parts, but because I didn’t want to go upstairs and possibly wake up my sleeping son (who is at my house a couple of nights a week) I actually snugged up and tied the fringe ends, and found the ruler so I could cut the ends evenly, and, magic, the whole thing was completely done, and gosh, didn’t that feel great. Only . . . what shall I work on now?

  26. Uh-haa!

    I am buried under UFOs but I am always between projects. I really need to get organized but there is always something else I want to knit. My WIPs on Ravelry are very under reported and my wish list, like list, to purchase list grows and grows and SQ of yarn numbers in the double digits!!! I am very, very so not worried.


  27. Yep. Good one. But you left out some that mostly is me. I have 6 projects on the floor beside my bed, but they are unsuitable for travel…stumped on one, working about a million ends on one, ran out of yarn in one and the replacement ball is slightly off color, colorwork that isn’t travel work. Probably more, but that’s all that comes to mind at present.

  28. There must be something wrong with me, I’m 99% of the time an “A” and nobody else seems to be, or even think that could be a possibility for them. I’d hate having a UFO hanging over my head, nagging in the background, while working on the next project. Color me dull, I guess.

    • I’m mostly an A too! Or at least I used to be, but I may be drifting to the dark side.
      At the moment I have a sock for simple knitting (like the wheels on the bus, it goes round and round) and a lace shawl for complex knitting (third or fourth attempt; have finally learned to count at end of every row) and a hat which is pretty much finished, just waiting for my husband to make a pompom for the top, i.e. finished as far as I’m concerned, but not technically finished.
      Of course, that’s just the knitting. Let us draw the veil of charity over the other projects I’ve had nagging about for years!
      I say don’t be ashamed to be an A 🙂 Some with piles of UFOs may secretly envy you.

    • There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are knitting the way that works for you.

      I am a D most of the time, however sometimes I think being an A would be kind of nice – I would feel lighter.

      As someone famous said, “there are no knitting police”, so knit the way you are happy.
      Chris S in Canada

  29. That sounds great to me. I’m dangerously close to being underyarned, so pack away.

    (I just realized that, no, I’m not really “underyarned.” What I mean is that I didn’t bring enough yarn for the project I WANT to be working on. I do have plenty of yarn for the other project I COULD be working on.)

  30. Most often, no more than seven projects in any “string” discipline at one time. Knit, weave, spin, crochet, etc. If it’s stale, I’d rather re-use the “string” or let it return to stash. Take-along is always a fresh idea. Knit ornaments in crochet cotton are in the car, chemo hats for appointments. Fleece and supported spindle for trains. Let’s be on adventures. No plans or schedule, just extra hooks, needles or fluff.

  31. I’m going to Italy and England in April. I have to take wool to Italy but what was it I got sent to my brother and what else can I order to pick up when I go There ?

  32. While admittedly socks and mittens don’t count, I think there is another example of nothing on the needles – inbetween projects, etc. I find that I have to have several projects going because of their nature vs. where I’m knitting. When starting a one-piece afghan, it’s great until it gets too big to haul around. Then it’s an “at home” project only. Mindless garter or easily memorized patterns are great for meetings, social occasions, etc. Things that need charts (lace, fair isle, etc.) or beads can’t be taken out in public (no place to spread the chart or be sure the beads don’t end up everywhere). So while I may have a multitude of fair-isle or charted mittens/socks, an afghan half finished, and a lace shawl with beads, I am still “between projects” because I don’t have anything to take with me for the gathering I am attending!

    Otherwise, you have totally nailed it.

    Have fun on your travels and enjoy your new project!

  33. There we go. Just back from a writing conference where one sock got to the final decreases and the other heel got turned and is several inches into the foot and I, too, am between projects, since the Bliss Blanket only has one more row of rectangles and the final triangle row and the loose ends tucked and blocking and the boring white sweater the granddaughter requested (and picked Scottie buttons for) has the second sleeve almost done and ready to join to the body, so the yoke won’t take long, which only leaves the box of amusing baby hats (brain, yoda, R2D2, Jayne) for a baby not due till April, fer crying out loud, so while spinning the merino/silk my youngest brought from NZ and wondering what to make and how it should be something for her, now she’s in Chicago but it’s pretty lovely and would make a great scarf but could I part with it and YAY you remind me of Pretty Thing which is just the thing for the leftovers — I mean for those cold winters. Since I’m between projects. Thanks for the reminder.

  34. I have had “Pretty Thing” in my queue ever since your first mention of it here, but I was afraid of charts and kept putting it off. With a snow day looking very likely tomorrow, and a beautiful skein of Cashmerino in the stash, I’m going to tackle “Pretty Thing” even though I have a giant yoga shawl that has been a WIP since before Christmas and Lakefront just came off the needles last week and needs to be finished and blocked. I’ll face the added challenge of using a DK instead of fingering weight, but I saw a few on Ravelry knit with this yarn.
    My favorite line in this blog is the one about not liking your tone.
    Enjoy your vacation with Joe!

  35. I am endlessly amazed on how you can take a mundane project, like packing for a trip, & turn it into a humorously outrageous adventure. You *drag* us willingly into your world & we keep coming back for more. You are a gifted writer, a fabulous knitter & a Canadian treasure. You always brighten my day!

  36. Gosh, you just saved me there! Thanks for reminding me of Pretty Things! I’m sitting in a hotel room realizing I didn’t bring enough knitting. But I have Pretty Things on my computer, the friendly guy at the front desk can provide print service for a small fee (just seeing his face when he prints a knitting chart is totally worth the fee!), and there is a lovely little knitting store not far from the hotel. Trip saved!

    “Between projects” is short for “Between projects appropriate for the current situation, be it size, level of difficulty, weather, mood or something else”

    • Love this definition. Though I likely shouldn’t admit how often “mood or something else” is the determining factor. Today, I will chose the take-along sock based on colour. Not feeling teal right now. But socks/ hats/ mittens don’t count, so in a few days when I am finished the cardigan on my needles, I, too, will be between projects despite those various socks/ hats/ mittens. That’s how it works, right? Shopping time!

  37. I have a traffic knitting project that I knit on at stop lights and in stopped traffic. That one lives in my car. I rate the severity of the traffic problems by how many rows I complete in one commute. The record has been four rows on the four foot blanket. Thank goodness that doesn’t happen often!

  38. I’m really enjoying your pictures on Instagram. You are about an hour’s drive east of us, although you are getting WAY MORE snow. I particularly loved the picture of driving in a snow storm and the rainbow coloured knitting. Tomorrow we drive 8 hours west to the coast. We are hoping that it won’t snow. And I plan to knit the whole way. Happy skiing, and knitting!

  39. My definition of being in between projects probably is best described by selective amnesia… something is forgotten (but really almost actually forgotten, until I come across it a year later and wonder why it was set aside!) and something (momentarily more exciting) begs to be cast on immediately. It’s like my brain conspires against me… maybe I will have to start handing myself out yarn credits, but only for projects that are washed, blocked, finished properly, and actually make their way to the person intended? That might skew things in the right direction… and help out with the stash storage situation!

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