How Many is Too Many?

These are my ongoing projects at the moment.

A sneak preview of my ongoing projects.

Is there a limit to how many projects you can have going on at once? Some people are in the one-at-a-time school: if you don’t finish the one you’re working on before you go on to the next project, it’ll never get done. Other people like to work on multiple projects at a time. I have my own theory: one of a kind at a time.

I’m not talking about just one hat or scarf or afghan or whatever. Instead I group projects based on two sliding scales. There’s the scale from easy to difficult, and there’s the scale from mindless to involved. I like to have one project in each category so that I have choices based on how much energy I want to put into what I’m working on that day.

Easy/Mindless:

This is the project I work on while I sit in front of the television, letting my fingers do their thing while my brain takes a break as well. My gigantic stripey afghan fell into this category, and that was one of the things that made it so enjoyable to work on. I just started a new project in this category because sometimes, I just like to veg.

One of my friends had a really awesome basketweave scarf, so I wanted one too. It's warm and woolly - and I can do it while I watch television.

One of my friends had a really awesome basketweave scarf, so I wanted one too. It’s warm and woolly – and I can do it while I watch television.

Easy/Involved:

Projects like this are good if you need something for your fingers to do while your brain’s busy elsewhere, but you don’t need to watch anything. This category can include following an easy pattern/chart that hasn’t been memorized, or in my latest afghan, choosing colors of circles from the bag: I have to make sure none are too close to another of the same color, but that’s the only real difficulty.

I have over 1500 circles to choose from!

I have over 1500 circles to choose from!

Difficult/Mindless:

If you’ve got some difficult stitches, or you’re working with yarn that is small or hard to work with, but the actual pattern isn’t particularly hard, that falls into this category. For me, I have to have the most energy to work on projects that fall into this category, because the pattern is hard and needs a lot of concentration, but it’s not intellectually stimulating. I get frustrated easily. This is the project I’ve been trying to finish since mid-December and still isn’t done:

The yarn is so small it takes forever just to get a few inches done.

The yarn is so small it takes forever just to get a few inches done.

Difficult/Involved:

You can argue for having multiple projects in other categories, but this is one that you really shouldn’t have more than one going on at a time. This is the category that my lion afghan and fall leaves afghan fell into… and I’ve got another idea just waiting to happen. It’s been floating around my brain for about a year now, growing, changing, and I don’t want to start it until I know for sure what I’m doing, because I know it’s going to take a long time and involve lots of looking at pattern,  and difficult stitches, and trying to figure out how to fit everything together.

I plan for a maze made of a green vine on an orange fluffy background.

I plan for a maze made of a green vine on an orange fluffy background.

Now that I’ve explained my basic thoughts, I’ll let you know: I break my own rules. Because there are other factors as well, the biggest one being whether it travels. Having a large project is fun, and if people don’t mind your working on it when you go places, that’s a plus too. But sometimes you need a small, unobtrusive project to work on, and so you can add a small project into a category where you’ve already got a big one.

Like this wool hat: it goes into the easy/involved category with the circle afghan.

Like this wool hat: it goes into the easy/involved category with the circle afghan.

Sometimes I start projects, put them down to start another one I get interested in, and when I come back however many months later, I think “Why did I ever want to make this?” That can be a good thing too, like survival of the fittest: yarn edition.

What do you think? How many projects is too many?

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~ by oflions on February 7, 2013.

One Response to “How Many is Too Many?”

  1. I’m a monogamous knitter but I envy those who can keep up with several projects at once. If I have more than one project going, it just stresses me out so I make myself finish before starting anything new. But, I love how you have several in different categories so you can work on whatever you’d like! 🙂

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