Friday, November 28, 2008

in which I suffer an attack of a recurring disease

No, not the rhinovirus although that's still keeping me company.

I'm talking about "startitis", a widespread condition afflicting many people, but especially noticeable amongst any sort of crafters. 

It's the urge to begin several different projects at the same time. I suffer from the specialized condition "startitis knitterati". Outbreaks typically occur four times a year, coinciding with the release of the latest Interweave Knits  magazine. Sometimes I am completely immune and the latest issue will come and I am absolutely not affected. Not even the faintest urge to start a single featured project. (This is usually followed up by a feeling of why I'm subscribing to said magazine and then checking the mailing label to see when said subscription expires.) However, usually this period of immunity is followed by a severe outbreak when I want to cast on at least twelve different projects.

You'd think that I knit fast or something. 

I still have a few WIPs ("works in progress") and I've been masterfully resisting the urge to start something new. The problem is that I'm not interested in either of these projects, so instead of protecting me from startitis, I feel like I'm losing my resistance. Nothing like working on an uninteresting project to make you want to start something new. 

My friend's scarf continues. It's about 1/3 done. It'll look nice when it's done but right now it's boring as all get out. I don't like making scarves. I like having made scarves. Past tense. 

I'm also working on a pair of mittens which have been on the needles since last summer. 
I'm not that happy with them. Do you see how thick the cuff is? The pattern calls for knitting a long length of ribbing before the cuff area. The ribbing is tucked under the cuff, which makes for a very warm and secure mitten. (Without the ribbing, the mitten would probably slide right off. If I unfold the ribbing, it reaches almost up to my elbow.) Now, if I lived in Minnesota or Finland, this is probably an advantage but I live in the Pacific Northwest where it doesn't get all that cold. Since these mittens use two colors, they are essentially double thickness anyway (as the color not being knitted is carried behind the working color) so they are already double warm. And being that I'm not used to working with two strands of yarn at the same time, the tension is really wonky and some parts of the mitten are incredibly tight. This has nothing to do with the mitten or its design and everything to do with my technique.

I really like the mittens' design and the yarn. The pattern is based on ancient petroglyphs found in Finland, and the wool is from Finnish sheep and handdyed using natural dyes. The wool is minimally processed and is full of lanolin and has a "stickiness" which is really great. But I still think I should frog it and start it again. For the third time. (I completed the mitten once but it came out so small that I was in danger of cutting  of blood supply to my hand.)

So when comparing a mitten that I'm unhappy with and a scarf that I'm bored with, is it any wonder that I want to start at least thirteen other projects right now? 

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