when your knitting stalls out ...

As I move near the finish line on a sweater that has been two years in the making (but could've been finished sooo much sooner) it's got me thinking about my ancient UFOs (knitting speak for "unfinished objects") and why they stalled out. I've pondered this idea before … when I realized that I knit striped projects soooo much faster than non-striped projects. I've come to realize that some projects by design have more natural momentum than others (e.g. striped projects). In those cases, the pattern has enough variety or is broken into sections that clearly show my progress or are otherwise just fun, addictive knits. Other times the project has momentum based on progress towards completion--the project reaches what I call the "tipping point" where you are sooo close to finishing that your motivation surges and you find yourself racing to the finish line. If the project hasn't reached the tipping point or isn't naturally fun/addictive, then the smallest little thing can get the project to stall out and be stuck in hibernation.

Right now I have three different sweater projects stuck in hibernation, two dating back to early 2017. One of the three is my yellow and raspberry striped sweater pictured above.  Luckily, it's back into the "tipping point" stage and should easily be finished this month. Sometimes stalling out on a project is perplexing even to myself. This one has stripes, which I find fun and addicting to knit. It's a pattern I've made before, so I'm not anxious about fit or whether it will "turn out." So why in the world would I stop working on a project like this one?
If I think back to all the times this has happened, some patterns emerge:
  • Something didn't turn out the way I hoped and my frustration sucked the joy from the project.
  • I'm worried I'm going to run out of yarn. 
  • I feel uncertain about my color choices and am questioning myself and whether I like how the project is looking.
  • I'm in a slow section of the project and just got bored. AND something else needed to get done and I got distracted and never returned to the project.
  • No external deadlines/commitments forcing me to push through my resistance.

And in this case, it was my fear of running out of yarn and my uncertainty over my sleeve color choices that completely killed my momentum on this project. Initially I thought a contrasting, yellows-only sleeve would be fun to pair with the stripes. But I was uncertain how I wanted to combine a variegated yellow and a solid yellow yarn. I knew I didn't have enough variegated to knit the sleeves entirely in it like I wanted to. When I picked this project back up this month, I quickly knit one sleeve and realized my fears of running out of yarn were unfounded. But then I just didn't like how it turned out. And this was after knitting two whole sleeves. Oy vey. So I knit my third sleeve this morning, making it striped. And just like the saying--the third time really was the charm. So I'll knit my fourth sleeve for this sweater this weekend and start finishing seams. 

What makes your projects stall out and get stuck in hibernation?


Tiny Toadstool Cottage said...

I LOOOVE the stripes and the colour choice. I hope you can get it finished. I tend to leave a project for the same reasons you do. I have a very bad habit of leaving a project at the sewing up stage - so silly to do this as it is practically finished.

Lorette said...

For me it is the new and shiny. I see a pattern I like or find yarn in my stash that MUST be knit right now, and I’m off. Pretty soon I have four lace shawls going at once.
I love the stripes on your sweater!

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