As the year draws to a close, each late December I make a vow to myself to finish all those sad, abandoned, lonely, dust-covered, unloved projects stuffed in the back of my closet. I’ve done this for probably 10 years and I always kick off January with good intentions, fervor, excitement (sometimes faked) at getting back into a discarded project when suddenly it hits me. There was a reason I kicked that project to the curb in the first place and after reacquainting myself with said project and a diving back in, I swiftly remember why I hated it. Determination does a 180 degree turn to loathing.
The reasons vary, and any knitter knows exactly what I’m talking about. I disliked the yarn, hated the color, the texture bugged me, the stitch pattern was annoying, it was taking too long, the style wasn’t my taste, the pattern was overly complicated and poorly written… Honestly, knitters come up with the best excuses and whatever the excuse ended up being, the project got unceremoniously shoved to the back of my closet, silently mocking me whenever I laid eyes on it.
I put my foot down in late 2011, determined NOT to make myself some lame “I’ll finish everything” promise for 2012 that I knew I’d abandon come February or when I came to my senses, whichever happened first. Then something odd happened…
In early February something lit a fire under my butt. I don’t know why but those abandoned projects not only continued to mock me, but they started chanting my name. I literally began to avoid that part of my closet because I was ashamed I had ditched them there. Was I going crazy? Perhaps. Had my knitting taken on a life of its own? Hopefully not. Whatever the reason, I grabbed the project on top, shook it out, read the pattern, found my place and finished that sucker, hating every stitch.
Behold, my finished Earth Stripe Wrap:
I don’t know what it was about this project, but I literally did a jig around my living room when I unpinned it from the blocking board, wrapped it up and sent it to my mother for her birthday. Started 3 years ago for her 2009 birthday, this sucker languished in my closet for years. I was never a huge fan of mohair and each line of this is 2 different colors. Don’t even get me started on the weaving in of the ends of the making of the 75 multicolored fringe. Today is my mother’s birthday, she loved it, goodbye striped shawl and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
But that wasn’t all…
Back to the pile of shame in my closet. I finished up another project that was monopolizing my size 4 circs (and since then I’ve just bought a new pair) in 2 days. WHY THE HECK DIDN’T I FINISH IT YEARS AGO? It wasn’t a hard pattern and I liked it! I liked the yarn and the colors, I adore Kirsten Kapur’s amazing designs… I have no idea why I didn’t knock this Joni hat out back in 2009 when I started it. The ribbing was already done so it was a quick knit. What was it about 2009 and ditched knitting projects?
I had 12 abandoned knitting projects in my closet. The one I found most offensive, most unbearable was literally haunting my dreams. Like the hat, I liked the yarn and the color especially. The pattern wasn’t difficult and it was a lovely design. But I hate knitting socks. I will only knit socks for my mother and only when she’s guilt-tripped me so much I find it in my best interest to just knit her up a pair. It takes a lot for my to succumb, but like exercising, you feel better afterwards when it’s done.
Behold, the Hedera. Started in mid-2007 during a really weird time in my life, this sock came with a lot of mental baggage. Every time I looked at it, it reminded me of what was going on, who was making my life hell (oddly enough, this person is still making my life hell, I’ve just learned how to deal), a particularly awkward vacation and the worst airplane trip of my life. I wanted nothing to do with it, but deep down felt bad for the lonely sock that needed a friend. Without even flinching, I started the mate and within a few days of night knitting had that sucker done. I felt like I lost 20 pounds when the sock was done and they were blocked. It was such a mental thing, finishing those darn socks, finishing all those projects….
Apparently, I’m on a roll. I’ve already grabbed the next of the 12 projects. 3 down, 9 to go. There is a particularly offensive mitten in there that I know I’ll never finish. I’ve never hated a project more (and it may have something to do with the fact that I knit that mitten during Jury Duty) and chalk it up to an occupational hazard. So really 3 down, 8 to go.
Abandoning knitting is interesting. Why do we do this? Boredom? Freedom? We all have our own excuses and it’s interesting talking to people about it when the conversation turns to UFOs (unfinished objects). Yes, sometimes it’s just the simple fact that we hated the pattern and have decided to move on. Or is it? I think if I was a psychiatrist and knew my patient was a knitter, the first thing I’d make them do is go through their banished pile of knitting and pick them off, one by one. It’s like a cleanse and I didn’t realize until I started making my way through them how each project carried with it such mental baggage. I know I won’t keep a single one of those abandoned projects because of the memories they hold (and many of them were meant for other people originally anyway). I want them finished, done well and out of my life.
I feel like by going through this sad little pile I am solving a lot of old problems that have been eating me up without even realizing it. I’ve been much better about letting things go over the past few years. Watching these projects getting bound off, blocked and sent out into the world to make someone else happy makes me feel like I’ve just saved thousands of dollars in therapy by just FINISHING THEM.
Try it. Bet you’ll be glad you did.
Now back to the pile.