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Get Motivated to Finish Your Wip

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

"Finishing up the body of this sweater was easy, but I got lost in sleeve island for a very long time, then seam sewing island, then collar pickup island—good thing it wasn’t planned for a specific date!"

I read this in Elizabeth's (you can see her on Instagram, here) project notes on Ravelry and burst out laughing. What a relatable experience! As I'm writing this, I have several projects on the needles in bags around the house, and I've been putting some serious thought into why that happens and what to do about it.

Why are you getting stuck?

1. Um, you don’t actually like your project

Maybe the fit is a little wacky, the color isn’t what you imagined, or it just isn’t turning out the way you thought it would. Free yourself from this sweater! Frog it and re-skein it and wait for inspiration, or donate the whole mess to a preschool, but give yourself the gift of not having a basket of ‘shoulds’ crowding your workspace.

2. It’s tedious

This sweater will be spectacular when it’s finished, but you have approximately seventybillion more stockinette stitches to go, and you’re bored. Get a podcast, a playlist, or an audiobook. Personally, I love Christy Harrison’s podcast Food Psych. More audio recommendations are down in the Go Further.

Cucumber green child's sweater in progress, double pointed needles still shaping the sleeves. Pinch dishes hold stitch markers and a colorful project bag sits nearby.
Small circumference circular knitting? Easy, but tedious.

3. It’s complicated

This sweater requires all your attention, and it’s not the kind of thing you can simply pick up and work on for a few rows at a time. Get strategic about when you’ll knit which parts of your project. Straightaways when the kids are awake, picking up and shaping after bedtime. For more tips to keep tricky knits moving, check out my blog post, Yes to cables.

4. Castonitis strikes

Knitting monogamy isn’t a moral imperative, but juggling multiple projects can mean that a more complicated sweater gets pushed to the bottom of the basket. The longer it stays down there, the less likely you are to remember where you left off. To combat this while still giving yourself a much-needed finished-object-win, continue to work just a few rows each day. Once you’re feeling fresh and ready to make serious sweater progress, you won’t have that long ramp-up period getting your brain back into the pattern.

A mini fade kit, nestled into shells and stitch markers, ranging from turquoise to coral-peach.