The case for polygamy

My Husband has what, up until now, I have always called a “bad” habit. His night table is littered with books, all of them in some stage of being read. He doesn’t pick up a book and read it from beginning to end and then move on to another book, rather, he picks up a book and starts reading it then puts it aside for a day or two to go back to another book he started some other time then goes back to the new book…and back and forth and back and forth.

Literary polygamy I’d call it and, as with any other form of polygamy, I can’t figure out how he can keep track!


I like to start something and then finish it before moving on to the next thing. This is how I knit. I start a project, finish a project, start another project, finish it etc… Now, the good thing about this process is that it doesn’t leave a lot of unfinished business in ones life but, on the other hand, it can be a little stifling. You know that section that comes in every knitting project where all you can think about is finishing? The section where you start swearing at the yarn and calling said project nasty names? It’s usually the section between the armholes and the hem or the section where you knit the lace repeat for the umpteenth time. That’s the section where I get a little bored, but rather than cast on a new project, I’ll put my project down and waste time trolling through Ravelry for (yet) another “perfect” sweater pattern. “The one I’ll start next”, I tell myself. This is rarely true though, as my Ravelry queue is already full to bursting and there are many, many things on there that I’d truly like to make.

One day last week I read an article on the “knitting daily” website by Kathleen Cubley. Kathleen had this to say:


I also love starting projects, and I let myself start new ones while old ones are still in progress. I find that new projects keeps my enthusiasm for knitting at top speed. To me, looking at yarn and patterns and starting new projects is the lifeblood of knitting—there’s always something new to work on!

She then goes on to quote knitting master Vicky Square on the same topic.

Yet recognizing that creativity is fluid, I want to keep a steady stream of new experiences flowing with as many different kinds of projects as I can manage.

And it occurred to my that I’ve been missing out here. I do love the process of starting a new project and, sometimes, I feel quite “locked-in” by my current WIP. I  do, after all, have masses of yarn that can be started on and, truth be told, could easily undo anything I start and don’t like. I usually allow myself to start the swatching for a new project when I near the end of my current WIP but what’s wrong with doing more than that? I think I’ve always been afraid that, if I don’t charge through to the end then I’ll never get there, but so what? What if I took a little more time and decided I just didn’t like the project? Wouldn’t it be better to stop half way through and frog than to keep pushing to the end only to find I’d spent precious knitting time on something I don’t even want?

Part of this is guilt, I’m sure. Once I buy a new pattern I feel obligated to knit it. Heck, I feel obligated to knit a pattern that’s been gifted to me! I think it’s time to reevaluate my knitting philosophy. Henceforth I shall  throw all caution to the wind and knit whatever I like, no guilt involved,and just see what happens.

Starting today. I now have two (that’s right two) knitting WIPs going and one crochet project. It may take me a little longer to finish each project but then I’ve never considered myself a “project” knitter anyway but more of a “process” knitter (not that you’d know based on my knitting habits). So far I’m really enjoying this new found freedom and, who knows, I might even go for three one day.

How many WIPs do you currently have going? Do you have a knitting “philosophy” that relates to this? Let’s hear about it!

If you’d like to read the complete article “Don’t be a knitting monogamist” you can find it here. And, if you don’t already subscribe to the knitting daily blog you should check it out. It’s one of my regular reads.


  1. I have at least six crochet and knitting projects in progress varying in difficulty. Some that are easy to pick up and take out with me and others that require concentration and have to be done without distraction. I find it keeps me interested. My mother used to start a knitting project and finish it before she moved on to something else. 🙂

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