Tuesday, 9 April 2013

New Beginnings and a Rule of Three

There are few things more exciting to a knitter than starting a new project - this is in fact SO exciting that the temptation is to just keep starting but never finish - I have always been really bad for this, casting on, then casting aside to cast on something else! I know I am not alone in this and it seems that behind every keen knitter is a scarily large number of UFO's (unfinished objects) - go check your pile before ye judge ;-)

UFO, from a distant galaxy........started long long ago...!

Until very recently I found my UFO's were well into double figures, surreptitiously stashed in various hidden locations around the house like dirty little secrets. I could remain in denial as to the true extent of  my serial hit & run approach , but I had a niggling guilty feeling knowing there was all that beautiful yarn gathering dust and going to waste. So I decided to come out as it were, gather all these abandoned projects and 'half finished sentences' and put them all in one (large!) space so I could take stock. There's more than a few, and spanning across several decades so I'm in the process of deciding what I'm actually going to finish, what I'm going to frog, and what really should go (GO??!..... hyperventilates at the prospect).

I know I'll never be one of those tightly disciplined knitters who only ever work on one thing at a time, never giving in to the lure of ripping the label off a plump skein of lush new yarn until that project is absolutely finished, (including blocked and stitched up). For one thing my resolve is as strong as a wet tissue in the face of  gorgeous looking new yarn, but more importantly I think it would seriously constrain my creativity. I need to be able to quickly follow up on some new thread of an idea before it evaporates, and if I wait until I've finished the project that creative impulse would be lost. However, there has to be some kind of balance here, as if I set off unrestrained with every new idea the moment it is glimpsed, all those other ones will wither as sure as my house plants do when I inevitably forget to water them. And then we will be back to the shameful stash of UFO's....

Crescent Shawl designed by  Sarah Hatton
I am learning that restraint is an important factor in the creative equation, and although apparently contradictory, both restraint and freedom are needed if any of my creative ideas are to ever come to fruition. So I've come up with a compromise - my Rule Of Three.  I like things in 3's, so I'm going to allow myself 3 projects at a time - 1 UFO from the pile, 1 new project on the needles and 1 working design......let's see how long I can stick to that!

So at the moment my 3 projects are:
  1. finishing a modular knit cushion that's been on the needles for .....mmmmm...a wee while...
  2. a lovely crescent shawl by Sarah Hatton, 
  3. swatching with Rowan Summerspun with the intention of making a small accessory - not sure what yet, but possibly a shawlette. I have just 3 balls (coincidence or what!) so this will have a major influence on my design decision making.

So Summerspun, what y'a gonna be???
Does this all sound a bit familiar to any of you? I'd be really interested to hear how you approach the UFO issue, and what helps your creative processes - don't be shy and do leave a comment :)

I'll post with progress - both regarding the projects and how I get on with keeping to my new Rule of Three!


  1. Certainly sounds like a plan! I keep one corner of my workspace for a UFO - so it's in my face and i can't ignore it. I have to do someething about that one before I allow myself to start a new thing. Once done, I put out another UFO etc.

  2. I don't think I could stick to one thing at a time but I definitely like your idea of keeping it in view so you can't forget about it .