Jan 22, 2017

WIPs: What's Your Magic Number?

Facts are facts. I'm a slow knitter with limited knitting time, so achieving a reasonable WIP balance is essential. Otherwise, I quickly become overwhelmed, which prompts frenzied flurries of knitting followed by bouts of indecision, where I simply can't decide which project to tackle.

When this happens the results are completely predictable. I find myself facing a daunting lineup of WIPs in various stages of half-doneness (that's a word, right?), desperately seeking signs of progress. But because my time and energy is spread across so many projects, progress is difficult to spot.

Which brings me to my point. Around Thanksgiving, the last time we took a serious look at WIPs (COAT Weather Returns), there were 10 projects on the needles, far too many for me to handle comfortably.

To restore some semblance of sanity, I adopted a ruthless focus, finish, fix or frog strategy. With the holidays on the horizon, I focused first on finishing these:

Christmas Tree Ornaments
This is just a sprinkling of the many trees knit in the final weeks leading up to Christmas.

Holiday Home Dec
These were fun, whimsical projects, and the finished pieces can be used as placemats, serving mats, wall hangings or pillow covers. They're completed, but I've not yet taken photos.

Kintra Mitts 
I'm diligently working to replenish my fingerless mitt supply, so these were a priority. As an added plus, they've quickly become favorites because they go with just about everything.

Wyndfael Mitts 
In worsted weight, these mitts are wonderfully cozy and perfect for winter, plus the combination of turquoise and purple always makes me smile.

Once the holiday and mitt projects were safely off the needles, I turned my attention to larger things:

Tikkyn Afghan
The first FO of 2017, Flagstone is light, soft and warm, so it was the perfect start to the New Year. At the time, there were three afghans on the needles, so it felt especially good to finish one. It's still unblocked in the photo, but I promise to get better pics if and when the sun ever comes out. (Unfortunately, the skies have been relentlessly grey and overcast.)

Finishing these projects brought the WIP tally down to five, a much more manageable number. I'd promised to be ruthless, however, so I decided to take things to the next step and frog these:

This yarn (Champagne by Grignasco) is luscious and soft, so I'm going to save it for a shawl or scarf and hat set.

More Mitts
I love this stitch but not in this yarn, so into the frog pond it went.

Multi-Color Afghan (bulky weight)
Here, I loved the colors, but not the stitch, so I decided to face facts, frog it and swatch to find a more appropriate combination.

Whew! Between finished and frogged projects, the number of WIPs clamoring for attention dropped from ten to two. As you can well imagine, my knitting world was beginning to feel much more balanced.

In fact, it felt so good, I had to cast on something new, a cozy shawl in soft worsted weight wool:

Why? Because for me, three is the ideal number for active projects. Which brings us to the critical question: Where WIPs are concerned, what's your magic number?

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  1. Great question! My magic number is 3 to 5 WIPs that include a mix of small, quick projects with 1 or 2 larger ones.

  2. Bravo! I usually have 2 on the go - one mindless and the other a bit more involved with lace or cables :)

  3. For me it's one per category - at the moment I have a crochet blanket, a pair of socks and a jumper on the needles and that's fine but I couldn't start another pair of socks with one pair still needing finishing - that makes me far too twitchy!

  4. I love the stitch you've used in your afghgan. Very effective. I have to actively limit the number of projects I have on the go, otherwise I finish nothing.

  5. I wish I knew what my magic number is. I think mine would be cross-stitch, one crochet, one knit and one quilt. I have much more than that right now and it sometimes feels overwhelming. I love your mitts, the afghan and the shawl.


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