Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Decreasing the UFO Stash

Although I did not participate in the knitting Olympics (lack of time, fear of failure, whatever...) I was inspired by it. I have set a goal to complete the UFO's. Now, granted, I am sure there are collections of UFO's out there way scarier than mine. Mostly because I enjoy destroying my own knitting: Ripping out hours of work is very satisfying in a destructive kind of way. And Bonus! An increase to the yarn stash occurs without spending a cent! Ha-Hah!
Maybe you don't believe me. Maybe you think this is justification. How does one end up with UFO's anyway?

1) Projects I hate: Perhaps it is the wrong yarn, the wrong color, the wrong fit. Hopefully I figure it out before investing too much time into the work. Solution: Rip it out and recycle the yarn!
2) Laziness: Several of the UFO's have discouraging tasks I have been avoiding, usually fixing some error. Solution: Get off ass and find motivation (see below).
3) Projects I love: Fear of perfection? Self-sabotage? Both of my recent, huge, complex, beautiful sweaters are slightly unfinished. The Fair Isle Cardigan has only the clasps to sew on. The Kyoto has the embroidery to finish. I have even worn both of these objects out of the house. Theoretically, finishing them will offer a sense of satisfaction and pride. In reality... As soon as they are finished, they are open to be judged. A Finished Object can't be fixed. The mistakes scream loudly at me every time I pick it up or wear it. I love knitting because it is the only thing I can enjoy the process of more than the completed object, and the only time in my life when I am completely in the moment. I am afraid that when I finish a project, knitting will turn into another excuse to look back with regret. That perfectionism will overshadow those hours of blissful experience of the process: retrospect ruing an uneven join, too-tight cast-on, weird sizing, and mysterious holes. Solution? If it really is about the moment and the process, then maybe I must see every stitch I make as a continuation of that process, regardless of the project to which that stitch belongs. Let each object fall off the needles and immediately begin a new one.

The Olympian feats of my fellow knitters offer inspiration, but the motivation I need comes from one source:
The lure of new projects!
#1 above yields new recycled yarn. The satisfaction from fixing the problems of #2 yields confidence. The philosophy of #3 above yields the insistence that, for my own health (you understand) I must begin new projects immediately upon completion of the old.