The value of monogamy?

One of the forums I belong to on Ravelry is called Shop the Stash.  Ostensibly the mission of the group is to knit from stash this year if and when possible, and not to buy any more stash yarn. Of course, the reality is that it is filled with enablers who point you towards the latest co-op, yarn club, indie dyers with stockings and people having destashes – oh, and don’t forget the E-Bay yarn bargains.  One lady has managed to buy more than 7kg more yarn already this year – and that’s with her making an effort to be good!

Anyway, I digress…  They have been chosing a theme for each month to challenge you to work with your stashed yarns. In January is was an attempt to cast on as many projects as you could – finishing them was optional.  February was  a combo month – for finishing up WIPs, knitting with some lovely yarn you are scared to use, and to knit something for yourself. I didn’t really pay terribly much attention to either theme in that I tend to let my knitting be dictated largely by what I *feel* like knitting.  But I couldn’t help but pay attention when they started thinking up themes for March.

I’m not sure what it is about the letter “M” that inspired alliterative themes, but the two that have been mentioned are “Monogamous March” and “Malabrigo March”.  The idea behind Malabrigo March would be to knit up all your stash of Malabrigo, which is not something I want to do – I bought it to stash, as it is the kind of yarn I *want* to find when I open up my stash. I’d far rather find projects for a lot of other yarn before I deliberately knit this up without the perfect project or reason. But “Monogamous March”?? That one really got me thinking. Would I benefit from working on just one project at a time? Or would it detract from my knitting? I think I’m going to give this one the slip too – and I’ll tell you why.

Do you remember way back in November I cast on for a lace weight Whisper cardigan?  It has been quietly progressing in fits and starts since then. It travelled with me to the south over Christmas and by the end of the holiday the sleeve portion was complete. It sat awaiting me to pick up the stitches for the 1×1 rib section until last Sunday. And then I finally did it, being glad I was making a smaller size than last time, as knitting 1×1 rib in lace weight yarn for 3 inches seems to take forever for some reason.  I finished the ribbing on Thursday. 

In the meantime, when I needed a break from knitting this, I knit up another tester for Tikki’s new vest pattern.

Excuse the not-so-flattering pic of a post-bath Miss 1.  She loved the vest so much when I took it off her to put on her PJ top, she stole it, ran to the corner of the room, and tried to put it back on. She ended up wearing it to bed – I’m hardly going to complain if she likes my knitting!  The fit of this vest is much better than the first attempt – it is so cute, and it was nice to knit up all the odds and ends I had of this colour of Anchor Magicline – I think this size (9 months width, 12 months length) used about120g.

But when I think about monogamy, I realise that when I was knitting this, I don’t think I would have been knitting on my cardigan. I just needed a break from teeny needles and 2 ply yarn. I wanted something plain and easy. Something that actually made visible progress as opposed to the endless rounds of rib that never seemed to grow.  And that’s where I think that there is real value in having a couple of projects on the needles at once. When one project is misbehaving, or boring, to too difficult to work on because you are in company or a small person has stolen your chart to practise their drawing on, you can pick up the other one. When 2 ply seems to drive you mad, there’s always 4 ply, or 10 ply, or 12 ply to pick up and work on. 

You might laugh and say I’m justifying myself – but when I stopped to think about it, I realised that there just might be method in my madness after all.

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9 Responses to “The value of monogamy?”


  1. 1 knitterlyanne February 28, 2010 at 3:59 am

    I completely agree with you! I know that I sometimes overdo the multiplicity of projects, but when I try to limit myself, I just knit less. I also find that sometimes my hands start to get sore while I’m knitting and if I switch to a project with a different weight of yarn, or sometimes only a different stitch pattern, it helps them feel better. I consider that (knitting) monogamy is highly overrated.

  2. 2 Pipi February 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    That vest looks so comfy and very trendy looking too. My oh my she is coming out with some wonderful patterns. 🙂

  3. 3 Sara March 1, 2010 at 4:21 am

    I love that vest!! Is the pattern available?

  4. 4 Kelly March 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Sooo in agreement with you Sheryl. No monogamous march for me I’m afraid!

  5. 5 Mazzy March 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I’m with you on the promiscuous knitting too 😀 I can never only have one project, how boring! Currently I have one simple, no think project, one massive takes me forever to do a round project and one interesting involving lace project. I actually feel like I need one more!

  6. 6 Virginia March 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Love the vest! And I love that Miss 1 loves it.

    Anyway, I’m not sure that there’s much value for me in monogamy as of right now. I’m still learning so much, and every time I start a new project I learn a new skill that helps me on another project.

  7. 7 jord March 4, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Lovely vest! I feel the same way about multiple projects. In fact, I usually have multiple knitting/crochet projects complimented by multiple sewing/quilting projects with a few painting projects waaaaaaaay on the back burner.

  8. 8 ~buzzybee~ March 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I’m like mazzy – I need a no-think project, a concentration project, a big project, a lace project, a sock, – and that’s just knitting!

  9. 9 thenuttyknitter March 9, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Totally agree with you!! I need to have several projects on the go to give me variety, as you say, when I’m getting frustrated with one it’s nice to be able to pick up my “no think” knit and make watch it take shape, makes me feel very encouraged and ready to tackle my bigger more complicated, slower knit again.


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