I have seven knitting projects in progress right this minute. In the past, it would really bother me not to work on Project #1 until it was finished, in a linear manner from A to B to C, without stopping to work on Project #2 at stage B. I didn’t feel that I could buy yarn for Project #3 until I finished Project #1. I discovered that this was wrong thinking. This was not how real knitters thought about knitting at all.
Why do knitters have so many projects in progress at the same time? For me I always want to have at least one project at the mindless stage where I can watch tv and just knit without thinking much such as the back of a sweater or the cuff of a sock. At other times, when I can have quiet, I learn a new pattern or cast on when I need to count carefully. I always have one project that I can carry with me to work on while waiting at appointments, for my son to get out of work, or in my case for the swing bridge to open and close.
Knitting keeps my mind sharp (questionable at times, I know), and provides what I think of as occupational therapy, fighting off the damaging effects of a degenerative disease like Chronic Lyme (which is very similar to MS or ALS). Some days I knit so slowly that I wonder that I finish any projects at all. Other days I just fly along. I have learned to allow myself both kinds of days without self-condemnation. I have good days and I have bad days. I can knit on both kinds of days unlike many of my other activities.
I have learned that I cannot be OCD about knitting or it is not pleasurable. I learned to allow myself to put projects down, put them aside, let them ferment sometimes, and then, when it is pleasurable again, pick one of them up and pour myself into it, making something that is totally unique. I have just, in the past month or two, reached the point where I can actually finish projects. All of my knitting experiences prior to this point have been training, learning, acquiring skills and knowledge, enough that I can complete a project, and have it turn out nicely.
So if you know a knitter that never seems to actually finish anything, so what? The act of knitting is therapeutic, healthy, and beautiful in and of itself. The fact that some of us can create finish products to share is a bonus.
Hug a knitter today, or even better yet, give them a gift certificate to their favorite yarn shop. Happy knitting!
P.S. While knitting is a fairly newly acquired skill, I learned to crochet as a 5th grader along with a sweet African-American boy who was new to our school (this was 1970). We both worked very hard that year while our 5th grade teacher spent time with us passing down a wonderful craft to the next generation. I can’t remember my teacher’s name, but I salute all teachers who go the extra mile to touch their student’s lives.