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Topic: Sticking it out: some encouragement?  (Read 2535 times)
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« on: November 07, 2007 01:09:28 PM »

Maybe this could evolve into a knitter's block encouragement thread, I dunno...

I keep trying to start larger projects [sweaters, capes, etc.] and I just can't seem to push myself through them.
I'm just so tired of making scarves and hats...
And then I come hear and read about all you amazing folks who can churn out a garment in a matter of hours, and I just wonder why it isn't happening for me.  Undecided
I'm usually a very fast knitter for the length of time I've been doing it, but I'm kind of discouraged and annoyed with myself for not being able to finish things.

So for those of you who pushed your way through your first garments like I'm trying to do, any encouragement or wisdom you can offer on how to finish things?
[or maybe some projects that will knit up quickly I can start with?]

and remember that [depth] is the greatest of *heights*
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2007 02:38:18 PM »

my mother just discovered my hiden stash of yarn and not finished projects and gave me a big lecture about how i never finish anything... what makes it all worse is that the weather here doesn't allow me to make hats and scarves, so everything i make has to be bigger. mind you, these are crochet projects. as i knew she would do that if she discovered it, i didnt even let her know that i learned how to knit, and i'm keeping the needles and the knit started projects in the other hiding place she didn't discover yet Tongue
what i keep repeating to myself is, i'll finish it all. one day. don't ask when.

"I'd rather be a climbing ape than a falling angel."
Terry Pratchett
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2007 03:38:00 PM »

Actually, I think there are very, very few who can make a sweater in a matter of hours.  Maybe with big needles and yarn.

I've done a chunky sweater.  It took me a long time to finish (seams are not my friends. I started it some time in the spring and finishes in August).

Knitters have different temperaments.  Some HATE UFOs (unfinished objects). 

I have a lot (although I call them WIPs--works in progress).  When I get inspired, I work on a project.  I've frogged a few.  Some repeatedly.  I've even frogged FOs because I decided I wasn't happy with the fit (yarn is reusable!).

Knitalongs are intended to be encouraging.  Seeing other knitters' progress can inspire people to keep up. Smiley   Plus if you have trouble, you can post about it and people can help.

« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2007 03:46:13 PM »

I have this problem a lot. I always start something and I don't even try to finish it, I frog it.

I hate having things sit there so that is why I figure I will make something else, I think what works best is making something you really really are excited about.

I noticed that I get in moods where I will more than half a sweater in a day, but don't want to touch it anymore afterwards.

Just try to find yarn you love and a design you love too.

"Tell us a story, I know you're not boring"
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2007 04:38:39 PM »

Actually, I think there are very, very few who can make a sweater in a matter of hours. 

I can make a baby sweater in 8-12 hours. Does that count? Cheesy

« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007 04:43:41 PM »

I definitely agree with knittinfiasco that seeing others' WIPs and FOs is very encouraging. Are you on Ravelry? I find that keeping up with people's progress on Ravelry on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan motivated me to keep going as well, even though I found the stockinette portion extremely boring.

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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007 04:45:53 PM »

I made a little dress for my niece who just turned one and I swear it took me a full freakin' month just to make the skirt.  It was just round and round and round in stockinette.  It's what Stephanie Pearl-McPhee calls the black hole of knitting.

Basically, I just gritted my teeth and worked on it every day at lunchtime for about 30 minutes.  Then I'd put it away and work on something more fun at night because it was driving me so crazy.  And, eventually, I escaped the black hole and finished the stupid thing.

I know "persistence" isn't what you want to hear, but that's what it is.

Either that, or take up sock knitting.  Socks are small and you can do some pretty cool and complicated stuff with them.  And you can wear them year-round if you make cotton-blend ones.
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007 06:33:27 PM »

I also try to categorize my knitting into "brainless" and "not-quite-so-brainless."  I review movies and that is where I do my brainless knitting since I need something that I can drop easily when I need to write something down.  Its also a nice place to do the boring things like stockinette stitch in huge quantities.  When I'm at home watching television, that's when I do my not-quite-so-brainless knitting. 

That which does not kill you makes you funnier-Joseph Fiennes
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007 07:18:36 PM »

I find that a big pile of chick flicks and some candy (not to sticky or melty of course!) can help me get through the boring bits of projects. I also tend to have numerous things going on as well so if something gets on my nerves I can put it down and do something else for awhile. I hope that helps.  As far as people doing a sweater in a matter of hours, wow. Who knits that fast?Huh

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007 04:10:15 AM »

I know the feeling! Last november, I started a sweater that called for size 2 and 3 needles with fignering weight yarn. I didn't finish it until the very end of this august, partly because the gauge was so small, but also because I just got so tired of working the same lace repeats over and over again. Still, I pushed through and finished it. I definitely got a little bit discouraged by it, but I found that breaking up the knitting into chunks really helped. Try just knitting for a half hour to an hour per day, and I promise you, it'll get done eventually.

Another thing that helped was the fact that all of my friends, housemates, and coworkers kind of got invested in the progress of my sweater. They saw me working on it all the time, and so they'd always ask about my progress. It kind of motivated me to finish it, in a weird way.

Anyway, I hope this helps!
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007 06:46:27 AM »

back when I was hand-knitting sweaters, I would do them in pieces -- and consider each piece a finished product - then putting it all together.  That way it was like knitting 4 smaller projects.

I also started adding embellishments and things like cables and intarsia objects to make my life more interesting - nothing is more boring than knit knit knit knit /repeat  purl purl purl purl /repeat for 100 rows!

Also -use big yarn or double small yarn and big needles  - completion is satisfaction!  (or maybe in your case big yarn or double yarn and a big hook)

Good Luck!

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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007 08:51:11 AM »

I'm firmly in the "multiple WIPs at once" camp, and I pick what to do based on my mood, the situation (portability), and deadlines. It also helps if some of the WIPs are quicker (i.e. NOT a full knitted sweater).

For instance, my current WIPs are

A knit sweater for me - i.e. no deadline
A broomstick lace (crochet) shawl for me - i.e. no deadline
A crochet amigurumi for a Christmas present
An embroidered shirt for a Christmas present
An embroidered and sewn purse for a Christmas present

If I'm sitting home, watching TV, I work on the amigurumi if I want to pay attention to what's on TV (mindless rounds for the most part), the embroidery if the TV is more background noise than of especial interest. And if I'm feeling especially bored with either of those than I'll do some broomstick lace. The sweater is my current "portable" project if I now I'll be out of the house but with lots of downtime somewhere (laundromat anyone?) then that's what I'll do.

That way, I'm never stuck on the same thing for long periods of time but I still get through the projects at a fairly quick pace...it helps to have non-knit projects (like the embroidery) mixed in because they have a quicker turnaround so you get to actually complete things more frequently. 

Wisty McWist

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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2007 09:11:54 AM »

I definitely agree with knittinfiasco that seeing others' WIPs and FOs is very encouraging. Are you on Ravelry? I find that keeping up with people's progress on Ravelry on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan motivated me to keep going as well, even though I found the stockinette portion extremely boring.

I totally agree with this.  in fact, it was your tyc, landry, that kept me going-- I followed your progress in the kal and on ravelry, and knit furiously to try to catch up to you.  of course I started almost two months after you, so I didn't catch up, but I'm already working on the cables and will definitely finish in time for Thanksgiving with the bf's family.  and a big part of that was having somebody to knit with and keep me motivated (even if you didn't know it), plus getting advice from you and others on the sleeves, cables, and anywhere else I was stumbling.

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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2007 09:43:34 AM »

I have this problem in a major way, but have decided to not be upset by it.
Two ways I've been getting myself to finish projects is to
a) leave the project in a highly noticeable and slightly awkward place. Like the middle of the kitchen. Out of sight is out of mind and the reverse works just as well.
b) I've been making my projects out of recycled materials (thrifted sweaters for yarn etc). This way I don't think about the cost of materials when I put a project down for a few days (or months).
Finally, if it's not fun, why do it right? Knitting is supposed to be enjoyable and if for you the fun part is dreaming and starting but not finishing, then maybe you need to team up with someone who prefers seaming to casting on...

je suis riche, mais sans un sous.
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2007 10:03:47 AM »

I agree that most of us are not churning out sweaters in a matter of hours.  If I can get a sweater done in under a month, I think I'm doing pretty well (and I knit fairly fast--but I don't have tons of time to do it).

I find that I do eventually get to a point in a project where I'm really excited about getting it done and then any of my middle of the project doldrums just sort of fade away in the excitement about getting a new FO.  So you don't really (I think) have to "persevere" to the bitter end, just until the end is in sight.  Then you'll pick up some momentum!

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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2007 10:06:04 AM »

I use a reward system of sorts to get through tough long projects. Right now I am working on the Mernorah pillow from Handknit holidays for a gift, but it takes forever, and it kills my hands. So for every hour I knit it, I get 15 minutes to work on something for myself (right now a super easy dishcloth) Or a lace knitter gave me this idea. Dump out some M & M's (or skittles or whatever you like) into a bowl and you get one for every row you complete!

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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2007 11:59:36 AM »

I use a reward system of sorts to get through tough long projects. Right now I am working on the Mernorah pillow from Handknit holidays for a gift, but it takes forever, and it kills my hands. So for every hour I knit it, I get 15 minutes to work on something for myself (right now a super easy dishcloth) Or a lace knitter gave me this idea. Dump out some M & M's (or skittles or whatever you like) into a bowl and you get one for every row you complete!

Just make sure you don't have kids or pets (or in my case, a man!) around.  You can get REALLY screwed up that way. Cheesy

All joking aside, I have this trouble SO SO much.  Half the time I end up frogging them because I wait too long and can't remember why it was so important that I knit that project anyway.

I find that movies really help, or long telephone calls.  I put on my wireless headset and chat for an hour while knitting (usually to friends back home) and before I know it, there's a lot of knitting done.

"We need the Falkland Islands...for strategic sheep purposes."
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2007 01:44:08 PM »

Wow, even a month is shorter than I'd ever do a sweater (well, maybe a large gauge).

I just accept that my projects will take me 6-12 months to finish. I almost always pick big and/or complex things to knit, so I work on it when I have time, and if I get sick of it, I put it aside and do something smaller or different for a while. It stinks when you start a sweater in the fall and finish it in the heat of summer, but then it's ready for the next fall! Smiley
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2007 02:33:31 PM »

I'm the opposite, but its probably because I'm a relative newbie to knitting and as yet have been that tiny bit afraid to start something new whilst still having yarn on my needles. (However, I admit to being very tempted to start "one skein wonder" from Glampyre, but keep putting it off, thinking I might be too much of a beginner to work it!)

With that said however, it would probably be in my best interests to start another project as my yarn stash is getting bigger and bigger! and as of yet I haven't worked out a good place to hide the visa statement from the hubby!  Roll Eyes

Honestly, even though scarves and blankets have been the only thing I have attempted, I find that if I pick a bit of a more challenging pattern, instead of the knit and purl stitches (right now I am working on a feather and fan one from Colinette) it keeps me interested, (and I pay more attention to what I am doing) and even excited to see the item grow and grow.

Hope that helps some!

Cheers, Rava


Cheers, Rava
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2007 09:08:13 PM »

How about trying something new? If you really don't enjoy knitting jumpers, maybe you shouldn't - it's supposed to be fun!
Or if you just sometimes reach a point where you get a bit off track,  how about taking a break? Like having a sock on the go - when you get bored, you can switch. Socks are good because they are small and they have discrete points like goals to reach along the way. Once you get to the heel, you are only a couple of inches from finishing it: once you finish it, you are on the gusset, which is also only a couple of inches long: once you finish that, you are only a couple of inches from starting the toe, and the toe is just a few decrease rounds... you get the idea. Or how about a small project in a really nice and expensive wool that it a treat to work: allow yourself one row for every 5-10 rows on the main project you're trying to get motivated to finish.
You might like lace too: I find that I want to keep going to see another repeat, the shapes appearing out of wool is like magic! Some people find this with variegated wools like Noro, they want to keep going to see what the next colour change is.
Or a cute little lacy hat... anything to hold interest.

Or maybe you could a project out of sight for a few weeks - sometimes when I get an old project back out after not looking at it, I have forgotten all about it and why I was sick of it and it is like starting a new project - I'm keen as!

And maybe think about why you give up projects and realise that big jumpers on thin wool and small needles will never get finished, or intricate patterns won't get finished, or plain knit items... if you just don't like finishing long projects, think a bit more before you cast on for something that seems appealing at the time? I know I rarely do big projects, except lace because I love it. With anything else, I have to love the project or it won't get done, although I often see patterns that I like or am infatuated with, and want to cast on right then. Maybe set yourself a minimum time period to delay before casting on - if you wait for a week and don't feel the love, maybe you're not as into it as you thought.

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