Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Tyranny of Resolutions!

Or, Embracing my UFOs.

There's this idea out there that when January 1st rolls around we should make promises, otherwise known as resolutions, for implementation in the coming year. The ever-popular New Year's resolution is certainly "I will lose weight," which is why gyms and fitness equipment companies do so well during the holiday season and watch their profits shrink as the months progress. Some folks make blander resolutions, such as "I will be a nicer person," and "I will spend less money." They are the Burger King resolvers--"have it your way" when "your way" is essentially meaningless--and to their lack of imagination I say, "Whatever." But a lot of knitters, it seems, resolve to quickly dispatch their UFOs, aka UnFinished Objects. (I base this surmise on the Knit Chatter that comes across my radar screen.) Whether they do so or not isn't clear, but it's worth considering why UFOs hang heavy on some knitters' minds.

Surveying the two unfinished sweaters, one-and-one-half socks, one-half sock, and several incomplete scarves that dominate a section of my living room, I almost fell into this trap. I told myself I should resolve to finish these projects before I undertake any others! And then I ruminated on the purpose of UFOs and decided there was no need to hurry up and deal.

UFOs in various receptacles, Lola, and Rufus
The basic question is what purposes do UFOs serve? To this I answer
  • They allow for the creative process to unfold slowly, and this has various merits.
  • They allow someone like me, with Knitting ADD, to hop from one project to another. 
  • Certain knitting projects require more attention than others do. For example, I cannot talk or (in rare cases) watch tv when knitting instructions are complex. It's important for me to have ongoing several projects that require varying levels of engagement.
  • Sometimes I am not in the mood to knit a particular project.
  • Sometimes I stop knitting something because its instructions are aggravating, or I've come to a place where I need help. That project goes on hold temporarily. In the meanwhile I need something else to knit.
  • Etc.

Kit and mitts

Last week I put most of my knitting aside in order to make a pair of fingerless mitts in a beautiful alpaca yarn. The pattern, "Susie's Reading Mitts," is a free download on Ravelry, and honestly, I think it's excellent. Designed by Janelle Masters, it knits quickly, has elegant details, and feels wonderful on the hand.

This pair's for a friend, but I just might have to make another pair for myself. And so the list of projects undertaken grows ever longer, providing ever more possibilities.

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