Are you a scheduled type of knitter or crocheter or do you cast on projects without abandon?
It doesn’t matter what type of crafter you are (in a global sense) until it matters to YOU. So when you’re starting to feel like your WIP pile might merge into a yarn monster and eat your family in the middle of the night… it’s time to try a routine.
I’m fairly orderly when it comes to my WIP’s, but I haven’t always been that way. For the past couple years I’ve made it a habit to stick to three projects– a “main” (usually something bigger like a sweater or shawl), an “obligation” (designs for me!), and one “on-the-go” (typically socks). This doesn’t mean I don’t have other WIP’s… and those scrappy blankets definitely don’t count here – *wink*. These are the just the projects I focus on from day-to-day and week-to-week.
Main (fun knitting)
My main project is the one that I tend to work on at home in the evenings, at knit night, or during my lunch break at work. It’s usually the bigger or more complex projects and often for myself. I almost always have two “main” projects. But wait, if you have two main projects isn’t that more than three WIP’s at a time? Hush, my child, I will explain. The main project can ROTATE.
For example, right now I have a sweater and a shawl. Some days I’m focusing on the sweater, but this week I’m really working on the shawl. That’s because my Starflake is nearly done and I want to power through and finish it over the weekend! After I finish a main project, I’ll cast on another one. Yes, even though the other main is not done. You gotta have something else to rotate!
So, can I still have two “mains” if I really have 80 bajillion projects? YES.
You’re probably already doing this without really intending it. If you want finish off some old WIP’s, the key is to pick two to focus on and put the others into hibernation. Think of those projects you keep pulling out and set aside the ones you’ve been ignoring. I will literally put my on-hold projects in another room of my house so that they aren’t in the basket next to my couch. I will “hibernate” the projects on Ravelry too. This is a way to clear the clutter and hone in on a couple tasks. It helps me to get focused and not feel overwhelmed!
Designs (obligation knitting)
I try to only have one design going at a time. Designs take a lot of mental energy and even when I’m excited for them, I have to practice discipline to get myself to work on designs.
If you’re not a designer, you can put any type of obligatory knitting here. Maybe it’s charity projects so you’re always working on something to give. Maybe it’s gift knitting so you can stock up for Christmas, birthdays, or baby showers. Maybe it’s just anything that is not for you- knits for your children, spouse, family members.
You can put whatever you are “requiring” yourself to knit here and you’ll always have it in the works!
Socks (on-the-go knitting)
I feel like I get the most out of my 24-hour days by knitting when I’m out of the house. I ALWAYS have on-the-go knitting. Most of the time I choose socks to take on the go. They’re compact and simple– which makes them perfect for conversations or crowded places.
If you don’t enjoy socks- no worries! Your on-the-go knitting can be an easy shawl or hat, you could even bring a sweater that’s on the stockinette body. The purpose to on-the-go knitting is that you have a project ready to grab and that you don’t need to fuss with any complicated techniques.
The great part about this system is that it’s flexible. I limit my WIP’s, but I’m not forced to finish one thing before casting on the next. I can rotate out my fun knitting. My projects can actually transition to a different category. Sometimes a WIP that was my “main” turns into an obligatory knit as the deadline approaches. Sometimes my “main” project has a brief stint as “on-the-go” knitting.
The most important thing is to remember that knitting is supposed to be fun, not stressful! In case no one has told you…
- It’s 1,000% okay to only knit/crochet for yourself.
- If you don’t like a project you are allowed to give it up and rip it out.
- <insert long-term project here> does not count as a WIP.
- You are the boss of your knitting.
Love in stitches,