Wanted: The Will To Finish What I Start

I know some people who say that any more than two or three works in progress (WIPs) would drive them completely around the bend. Before starting one more item, those things would either be finished or frogged. Would that I were so disciplined. Witness the following items in varying states of incompleteness:

Forgotten knit and crochet projects

There are two single socks, the beginning of a cotton blanket, two sweaters, one hat, two scarves and the tip of a Clapotis. How did things get so out of hand? The bigger question for me is, how do I regain some control over this startitis run amok? It feels so overwhelming at this point that I’ve sunk into a kind of inertia. In my mind, knitting has become something akin to crossing the Sahara on foot. All that lies ahead is more sand.

I’ve tried the “Let’s Make A Deal” approach, as in finish just one thing before casting on the latest pretty that caught your eye. A small thing like a sock will do. Another approach? Limit the number of needles and you limit the number of projects that can linger simultaneously. Right. This turned out to be bad idea that was easily overcome simply by buying many more needles.

I’m coming clean with this because maybe, just maybe, somewhere on the Internets someone can corral this project magpie and help her to clean up her act. I want my mojo back!

20 comments to Wanted: The Will To Finish What I Start

  • Wanting to be in control of everything, WIP’s are really not my cup of tea! Finish 1 project and then start the next. Ohh, I am to organized!

  • oh boy! i know that feeling. i have a few WIPs myself and i’m trying desperately to finish them all. i did a great thing this week by finish a wip i had since december.

    here’s what i’m doing – NOT casting on for another project. and that’s so hard to do. take one of the WIPs and finish it, then on to #2, #3, etc.

    good luck. 🙂

  • haha, I totally cannot help you solve this dilemma. I’m right in the boat with you!
    I had thought about getting strict with myself and finishing all the wintery wooly projects before I’m allowed to cast on for silky springy goodness. But you know what? This is my HOBBY, it’s supposed to be fun and if I’m sick of knitting on wool, it can be set aside!

  • I lurch back and forth from lots of WIPs (more than 4 for me) to one project. Provided all else in life gives me time and energy to knit, I only get stalled out when I start making rules about how many WIPs I should or shouldn’t have or how quickly I should get a particular project done. So now I work on not sweating all that sort of thing. It’s knitting, and I want to enjoy it independent of the WIP count.

  • meg

    Thanks for posting this! Of course I have the same problem & reading all the comments gives me new ideas, too. Especially the “treating myself like a toddler” one ;o) Of course, sometimes I just spin . .

  • Move in with me 🙂

  • I do understand about feeling overwhelmed to the point of inertia. Are you still completely in love with every single project? You might want to revisit with each one and see if you might want to frog one or two of them. Just a thought. 🙂

  • I now have a rule that I cannot have more WIPs than I have GoKnit bags. Unfortunately, I just ordered two more bags……

    I was in a similar situation over Christmas — and had to take dire steps to get my WIPs under control. If I hadn’t touched it in several months, I frogged it — thinking, probably rightly, that I’d never finish it. They were projects where the yarn or project just wasn’t doing it for me, etc.

    For the stuff I HAD touched within those months, I did a hard look at whether I would wear it or if it could be donated. If I didn’t have an answer to either, the item was frogged and the yarn is marinating in the stash.

    That left me with about 4 items, and I put them in priority of finishing them — and started work on them in that order — WORKING ON ONLY ONE AT A TIME. It helped that this was near the start of Lent, when I went on a self-imposed NO BUYING YARN ban.

    And I decided that I could only reasonably manage 2 WIPs at a time, and I would have to finish them before I could start something else. I could fondle yarn, look at it, but not start a project till those 2 WIPs were done.

    So far, so good — but I’m deleting the WEBS emails without reading them and staying away from yarn shops to maintin that discipline……..
    Peace,
    Chris.

  • First, I made a list of all my UFOs. Then I determined the amount of time it would take to finish each of them. For projects in the less than a day time frame, I decided that I would have to finish two before I could start a new project. That got all the small things out of the way. Then it was just a matter of spending equal time. If I spent 1 hour on a new project, I HAD to spend 1 hour on each of two UFOs. It works well because after an hour on a UFO, most often you are in a place where you decide to just finish this sleeve, or finish the repeat you are doing. It has worked wonderfully for me. Good luck.

  • First, I made a list of all my UFOs. Then I determined the amount of time it would take to finish each of them. For projects in the less than a day time frame, I decided that I would have to finish two before I could start a new project. That got all the small things out of the way. Then it was just a matter of spending equal time. If I spent 1 hour on a new project, I HAD to spend 1 hour on each of two UFOs. It works well because after an hour on a UFO, most often you are in a place where you decide to just finish this sleeve, or finish the repeat you are doing. It has worked wonderfully for me. Good luck.

  • uh oh. i usually never have more than one big, and one small on my needles. because truly i loose sleep over knitting and it can be CRAZY!
    i have an idea. give each a number. draw the number out of a hat,(a hand knit one would be nice) and work on that until completion!
    repeat with remaining knits.

    hey. it might work??

  • Eh. I think I have 13 wips. And none of them are holding crucial needles, so I can cast on for other things if I need to. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be had by finishing a long neglected UFO. Unfortunately it’s hard to remember that when tempted by all the other shiny pretties. Good luck!

  • Ufff I have the same problem! I look at it more now as less of a problem and more of a chance to explore new projects etc. I tried making a list to keep myself contained but it was so short lived that it just seemed pointless after a while. Good luck in your search for knitting monogamy 🙂

  • Oh the other hand, if I don’t have several projects going, I don’t do anything. My hands like the difference in sizes of needles and yarn, the difference in yarn consistency…
    So I don’t have a problem with many projects, because sooner or later I get them done – can you adopt that attitude? Probably not. I’m very much into the process…
    🙂
    (((Hugs)))

  • Jen

    I start a lot of things too. I think I have it under control, and then all of a sudden I have, like, 10 WIPs.

    I finally frogged a couple things and put some things into hibernation so I feel less pressure. Pressure from who, I don’t know. 🙂

  • Get a little notebook. Or just a Stickie on your desktop. Every morning after breakfast, write down a knitting goal for the day. At the end of the day, check it off if you did it. It need only be as little as one round on whichever WIP you promised yourself you would work on.

    Now, on another Stickie or page of your notebook, set up some rewards, such as “Reward for knitting green socks 5 days in a row”–and then pick something you will give yourself if you meet the goal. Keep the rewards small and inexpensive but things you really want. Maybe your rewards will be free things, like a walk on a nature trail. Don’t make the goals impossible to achieve, but don’t make them a piece of cake either.

    Anyway, I find treating myself like a toddler who needs rewards for desired behavior gets results! 🙂

  • Kim

    If you can’t fight it, maybe you could embrace startitis.

    I usually focus on how much time I could spend knitting one project instead of 3 or 4 and then how quickly I would have a finished item. Beleive me, it takes a lot of focus sometimes!

  • I have the opposite problem. Not enough projects and STILL no mojo. Hope you get a plan and get it into action soon!

  • Think of it as a Project Stash: all those items nicely past the dull swatching point, ready for you to pick up anytime you have a snow day, long plane ride, or boring visitor. Like a nice fat comforting yarn stash: it’s not a problem, it’s an asset!

  • I sympathise. I have several things on the go, including one big chunky “quick” knit. Perhaps assigning an important deadline to one of your projects, eg a birthday present, will give you a kick start and then you might feel more inspired.