Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Diary of a UFO (or 4)

Or, "Why I Have 14 Projects On Needles At All Times."

Here's a quick overview of my knitting for the last two weeks:

I went to Stitches with two projects packed: a top-down sweater with the body finished and one sleeve on needles, and an unstarted sock.

When I got a moment to work on the sweater, a colleague looked at it and confirmed what I'd suspected for some time: the yarn is defective and the sweater will never look right. I'd been running on denial for weeks, but it's harder to ignore that little voice saying "That's not going to block out" when it's full-grown and outside your head.

Fixing it will require extensive ripping. I didn't have the heart for it, and there wasn't much point, since I didn't have any more yarn with me and will have to contact the manufacturer.

Let's call this UFO #1. I put it aside.

Then I picked up the sock needles and cast on for a rolled cuff and a simple two-color diagonal stripe pattern. The cuff went fine, but before I'd even started the stranded part, someone said, "Do you really think those two colors are going to read together?"

I kept going for an inch or two before admitting that no, they wouldn't. I considered a larger-scale stripe, which would be easier to read, but it still wouldn't be great. I decided maybe that yarn wanted to be lacy socks instead. I ravelled it out and put it aside, since I didn't have my stitch dictionaries with me. We'll call it UFO #2.

Now I was at Stitches and I had nothing to knit. There are, I know, worse predicaments. I found a beautiful skein of laceweight that I thought would go well with the #3 needles I'd brought for the socks. But it was a small skein (500 yds), and I didn't want to get involved in a large project anyway, since I happen to have two laceweight projects on needles at home already.

After some consultation with colleagues and books, I decided on Swallowtail from Knits sometime last year. With further help (thanks, Wendy!), I procured a copy of the issue in question, and cast on.

Swallowtail went beautifully over the next few days. I worked on it mostly on the bus. Then came the moment when I had to make some calculations about enlarging it. For this, I needed a postage scale and half an hour of good concentration. Getting either one was going to take a few days, so -- I put it aside. UFO #3.

Next, I cast on for a gift that has a definite deadline. Things have been going just swimmingly: I'm on gauge, on schedule, and I'm not using up the yarn too fast. But meanwhile, I got what I needed to continue with Swallowtail, and for a few days, I worked on both: Swallowtail is great for the bus because it's so compact; the other sweater is bulkier and mostly stays at home.

Then came the next stage of Swallowtail: the part where Wendy and Courtney had said, "Go get some beads. No one wants to do nupps." At the time, I thought, "Hmm, I like beads. But I know a trick for p3tog that will probably work for p5tog. And I don't think I have any beads the right color. So I'll try the nupps."

I got through almost half a row before giving up on that idea. Another couple days of working on the sweater while waiting to get to the bead store.

I got the beads last night, and they're great. But Swallowtail is now most definitely an at-home-only project.

Tonight is Knitting Circle. No problem, you say -- bring the sweater. But the recipient of the sweater is going to be at Knitting Circle, and I don't want her to see me working on it. So . . .

UFO #4, and I'll be casting on for something else tonight.

How do you one-project-at-a-time people do it?


Sherry W said...

If you unravel it, is it still a UFO? IMO, that goes back under stash.

I'm not a one project pony but I get twitchy if I have more then 4 or so projects on the needles. I have 3 now and it seems just right.

1) a big or complex one to leave at home (right now it's a big old sweater in stockinette wasteland).
2) My small KIP project (socks, etc)
3) Crochet project

Spinning is another matter! Only bobbins limit me. *sigh*

Laritza said...

I "usually" have 2 projects going. One complex at night one and one "portable" one. The portable one is either lace with reasonable stitch pattern repeats, socks or stockinette something. When the portable one turns into not portable when the problem starts :D

Bridget said...

I can't even knit right now, due to my hand surgery! This truly sucks ...

knithappy said...

I have so many unfinished projects that when I actually finished knitting the pieces of one of them I declared it "Finished!". However, it is in pieces, I have no tapestry needle at home (how does that happen?) and I don't have the needle for picking up for the edging. Still, i declare it finished! Quite an accomplishment.

karleary said...

If I ever only have one project on my needles, I'll let you know.

Krafty Like A Fox said...

Lie. Lie lie lie. If you are knitting a gift in front of someone, say it is for another. Usually they buy it. (I grew up in a small house with three sisters--we all have our little techniques.)

I also agree with having at least one portable and one at-home project. It just feels right.