The new plan of attack

Last year saw a new phenomenon in my knitting basket, that of of the multiple work in progress. The Age of the UFO (Un-Finished Object) is upon us, and I have foolishly let them build up a number of troops. Currently there are 6 UFOs and only one knitter armed with a pair of needles, trying to defeat them.  Let’s pull up some stats on this mighty foe:

First up at 65% is my current knit-on-the-needles, a Damask shawl. As it is knit from the two, long bottom edges up, it is now quickly progressing as the stitch count decreases by four every 2 rows.

Next is my Citron shawl, in some lovely self-dyed laceweight. I love both this yarn and this project, and probably wouldn’t have put this down if I hadn’t been so distracted on my trip to London last year where I barely had time to sleep, let alone knit. This stayed in my suitcase the whole time, and I think it might actually still be in there. I must rescue this before it manages to infiltrate deeper into no man’s land and carry out subvert manoeuvres.

3rd along are a gorgeous pair of swirly, bright orange lace socks. My excuse for not finishing these is a poor one indeed. I lost my pattern. I mean the printed copy – I have it stored right here on my hard-drive, but really need it printed out to be able to knit properly. The day I tried to re-print it out, though, I ran out of ink, and so moved on to something new and shiny until I could get a new cartridge. There was the mistake.

2nd row now, moving onto the linen stitch scarf. I don’t feel too guilty about this, as it was always meant to be a long term work-in-progress. I love this yarn and this stitch, but my oh my is there a lot of it. I knew this would be the case and that it would take me months, but be worth it in the end. I must, however, be careful to do a little work on it now and again.

Next, and in the pink is a lovely lace scarf that I still put a few rows into every week.

Last but not least is a cushion cover I started work on and then ran out of yarn.I must pick up another couple of skeins of the lighter green and pink to finish this – it s only Stylecraft acrylic bought from the local market stall, so I should make a point of calling in there soon, and hopefully remembering what on earth I was doing with this pattern! I find that crochet stitches and instructions like to skip merrily away from my mind as soon as I put my hook down.

So, what’s the best way to fight this battalion of fibry foes? Should I seize up my needles and slog my way through them, like a prize fighter who is punch drunk but still waving his heavy arms around, swinging wildly, hoping to connect? No, Im not a slogger. I think what I shall do is this: I will allow myself three current projects at a time. This will consist of one current UFO, one new project from a book or downloadable pattern, and one project of my own design. I must be disciplined.

Of the UFOs I will work on one until it is finished, not swap between them, with the one exception of the Koigu linen stitch scarf (bottom left) which I am allowing to be an ongoing long-term project, and which can be worked on when I need a break from battling my current UFO.

And what of new projects? Well, I have a few beautiful patterns to knit – a gorgeous pair of Alice In Wonderland mittens, some stunning cabled mittens I have had my eye on for a while, and many, many socks. There are so many patterns that I want to knit from the Knitted Socks East and West book that it has been difficult not just grabbing my needles and casting on for every single pattern. And now I have further problems in that I was bought the new Cookie A. book for Christmas, so the potential for beautiful sock wear is quite overwhelming.

This book is beautifully produced, and like all of Cookie A’s designs the projects are well thought out with a lot of variation. Many of the designs are quite complex, not in that they are especially difficult to knit or the patterns hard to understand, but in that different motifs are often used for the foot, the leg, cuff and heel.

There is not so much variation in sock form as is found in the Knitting Socks East and West book. The socks in Cookie A’s book are mostly (if not all) knit in 4-ply yarn and are mostly the same length sock (however, this is the most standard length, so quite an understandable choice). There are a couple of absolutely stunning exceptions, though, and the choices given for a custom fit are really very extensive.

I of course now realise that I need, more than anything, lots of sock yarn in this stunning yellow.

Each pair of socks is modelled from multiple angles, with a full-body shot to show the socks in situ, as it were. I quite like the photography, though the Eskimister has pointed out, quite rightly, that much of the photography does rely on scantily clad girls wandering round industrial wastelands and dilapidated buildings, and though it is difficult to conceive of a situation that might find you standing in a junk yard in a floaty negligee whilst still managing to keep your socks in pristine condition without picking up a speck of dirt, it does rather highlight the beauty of the knits, and they are knits that I can’t wait to begin.

So, there are the beginnings of my knitting plans for this year. Best get cracking, then!