Posted by: jinniver | May 9, 2008

(Knitting) Polygamy is good

Recently, Genuine of The Lumpy Sweater was feeling guilty.  She’d been working (mostly) steadily on a sweater. There’s nothing wrong with Basic Black, but it was beginning to feel…comfortable. Safe. Predictable. The excitement was gone.

Then, a chance meeting at her LYS changed everything. She found a yarn that was so beautiful and touchable that she was drawn in despite herself. She’s not usually the type of girl to take a strange yarn home with her, but this time it just felt right. And she found the perfect pattern to knit: Nothing But a T-Shirt. The excitement is back, and she just can’t put the yarn down. But…what about poor Basic Black? In knitting, is cheating so wrong?

In a word, no. When my husband Steve was in Salt Lake City for a conference, he and his thesis partner got the chance to sample the Polygamy Porter beer, with the tagline “You can’t have just one.” Well, it’s the same with knitting projects.

There are people who can start one project, see it through to the end, and then put those needles away and start the next project. I don’t know any of those people. Me, I need variety. I am a knitting polygamist and I’m proud of it. And it’s not about an inability to stick with a project and complete it (although I do have that problem, as I have freely admitted)–it’s about keeping the brain involved and engaged.

Any time you do the same thing over and over again, you run the risk of getting into a rut. When things are too routine, your brain starts jumping ahead to what comes next instead of actually observing what’s happening, and you miss what’s in the here and now. You already “know” the broad outlines, so the detail is lost. Picking up a new project in the middle of a previous one is the knitting (or crochet, or quilting, or…) version of stopping to smell the roses. You rediscover the delight of learning how a new yarn knits up, feeling a new texture under your fingers, seeing the depth of color created by a different knit stitch. And when you do return to the original project, it’s new all over again, and you can tackle it with a new enthusiasm.

I’m about to whip up a couple gauge squares to practice what I preach. I’m still plugging away at Lexie’s Fair Summer Isle dress but now that I’m past the Fair Isle part it’s becoming a little too routine.

I’ve signed up for 2 knitalongs (KAL)–the Zombie Sock KAL through the MCY group on Ravelry, for which I had to buy the perfect gray-and-dead-flesh-green yarn.

Then, to help Genuine feel a little less guilty (oh, and because I really liked the pattern), I agreed to a Nothing But a T-Shirt KAL. I have two totally different yarns I want to make this in.


Lastly, my son Jeffrey was getting a little jealous over Lexie getting things knitted for her, so I promised him a sweater of his very own, and even told him I’d take him to the LYS and let him pick out the yarn.  I might have rethought that offer if I’d know he was going to chose eye-bleed green; I picked out a nice denim blue for the edging in order to tone down what my friends at the LYS are already calling the Frog Sweater.


Just blogging about it has me excited about all of these projects, so I need to go pick me up some needles.  Genuine, don’t worry–you’re not alone.  And I think Basic Black will understand.



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