For those of you new to knit and crochet, you might well wonder why anyone would have more than one work in progress and how anyone keeps them straight. I used to wonder that myself. Now I just try to keep the unfinished things to a "manageable" number. There is no set number, by the way. Manageable means to me what doesn't feel overwhelming.
When I was a kid and just starting with knit and crochet, my parents didn't invest in it because it could be a phase. Most parents didn't get their kids every last thing they wanted back then. I used the same skein or two of yarn I had to knit and re knit different things. I knit and crocheted that yarn until it was a mass of knots. Then I got new. With only one pair of needles and one hook, I couldn't start a whole lot. I also didn't care for the patterns in the one book I had. So scarves and I were "good friends".
So how did I get to this point of having more than one thing going? As I had kids and they got older, they wanted sweaters in something out of the ordinary, I would start something for son A. Son B would also want something for himself. Thus was born 2 or 3 projects on the go. I would also be working on Christmas gifts and afghans during this time as well. Also my interests in what was going on around me necessitated some quick start to finish items.
Then the kids got older and started doing after school activities and sports, there was a need born for portability in my projects. I took things with me to sports practices, drama practices, music practices. I knit and crocheted through concerts, plays, sporting events. My prerequisite was that it could not have too many pieces or be complicated. Basic stockinette, garter and granny squares went everywhere with me. When something was too big, complicated or had too many pieces, it stayed home to be finished when I had the time. Thus was born the multiple projects. Many got finished. Some languished in drawers or cabinets for a while, a long while in some cases but none at this moment are more than 10 years old.
I have finally gotten a handle on my works in progress, or WIPs, as they are commonly referred to. To date, I only have a Fleur lace scarf/necklace to knit for class, a sweater for Son B (started when he was a sophomore in high school. He's 23 now), a dishcloth, a cabled cardigan for myself, a red and tan cardigan for myself that needs frogging (rip it, rip it, rip it), two pairs of socks for myself, a pair of socks for Son B and a broomstick lace shell for me. If there are more, I don't want to know about them.
During the past year, my projects spiraled out of control. It was almost overwhelming. I was working hard to get class samples finished for my students to see, feel and learn from in class and during Open Houses or demonstrations. I also had quite a few swatches and projects that needed to get done for my class. On top of that, I had gifts I wanted to make. You can see how things take priority at times. My home projects got pushed aside to get small things for class done. Larger projects for class were scaled down to something manageable but still had the techniques that needed to be seen.
At this time, I keep one small project in my purse. I have tote bags with one project in each ready to go with me at a moment's notice or sit beside me as I watch TV or scroll through stuff on the computer. Large projects live life beside the sofa and never see the outside world until finished.
When do I find the time to do all I do? This is something a lot of family and friends ask me. My purse projects are for just such occasions now. Am I sitting waiting for a train to go through the middle of town, waiting in line at the grocery store/post office/bank? Did husband and I go out to eat and wait for the waitress to take our order/bring our food after ordering/bring the check after eating? Am I waiting for an appointment, either in the waiting room or in an office? All these are prime knitting or crocheting opportunities. Just a couple of minutes here and there add up to hours of time during the week. Is there less time now that the kids don't have sporting events and plays and such? No. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I just live mine a little differently than I used to.
So the next time you are in a restaurant or home improvement center or any other kind of store, and you see a woman knitting or crocheting, stop by and say Hi! It's probably me.