Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Every knitter knows it, and lots of us suffer from it. It’s the uncontrollable urge to put down whatever project you’re working on right now and start something new. Maybe you want to get your hands on a different color, yarn weight, texture, something sparkly, something not-sparkly, something bland you can knit in the dark, or just something NEW. Even knitters of extraordinary character and will power may hear the siren call of Startitis – they’ll hang onto their current projects like moray eels until they’re finished, but they hear the wilding call nonetheless.

I kind of gave up fighting Startitis a decade or so ago and decided to call it either Knitting BiPolar Disorder or Seasonal Affective Knitting Disorder. Mine cycles, and, fortunately for me, while I don’t spin fleece, and can spin words and ideas. My KBPD/SAKD (see, it’s official – it has an acronym!) goes like this…

September: It’s still warmish out, but the leaves are starting to change color, so it must be time to knit. I start and finish sweaters in September. I finish up leftover projects from earlier in the year.

October and November: I start thicker sweaters, the kids start asking for them, and then I want to knit them. I think about knitting myself a sweater and may even go buy some faboo yarn for one. (Years later, it will wind up being a sweater for someone else.) I knit hats and scarves and work on trickier sweaters. I get a Great Idea for using up oddball yarn in Yet Another Afghan. I finish up the last of the hangover projects, but I still have four or five things on the needles.

December: I knit things that are not for Christmas, but that I can put down easily without forgetting what I was doing, such as socks for myself, mittens, hats, and Knit for Kids sweaters for donations. I do not take requests for knitting during the month because it’s already completely knuts around here.

January: I start hating all my works in progress. The scarf is bulgier than I like and doesn’t show off the yarn right. The thick sweater p*sses me off because the yarn is color pooling or I found twigs in it, or I’m running short. I have so many pairs of socks that I don’t want to start another pair, but then I find really excellent yarn that I’ve been looking for all my life, buy it, and cast on a sock. I’m tired of the afghan for some reason – too heavy, too random, the stitch is too fussy for my short attention span, something. I don’t like any of my yarn and start window shopping on Ebay and online yarn stores.

February: I’m depressed. I have all these projects and nothing’s really DONE. I’m still convinced they’re worthy, so I don’t frog them all, but I can’t stand to work another stitch on any of them. I buy another skein of sock yarn, just to look at and touch. I eat too much chocolate and cook comfort food. My whole family sleeps too much from carbohydrate overload. Right about the end of the month, I’ll pick up some project I sidelined last fall and finish it.

March and April: I realize I need to finish the heavy, winter stuff before it gets too warm, so the mojo kicks in and I knit like a bat outta hell to get the afghan, scarf, sweater, and fancy patterned thing done. I set aside lighter weight projects to work on later. I might buy more needles, “to complete my set of…”

May: I’m depressed. I still have at least one project that I know I won’t get to until the thermometer dips into the 30’s, so I put it in the Naughty Closet. Sometimes projects go there because they were naughty and ticked me off; sometimes projects go there because I was naughty and didn’t finish them during the “right” season. I notice I have too much yarn and way too many patterns. I sort through the yarn and match it up with patterns. I throw out a few patterns. I think really hard about getting rid of some pattern books. I rummage through all the rest of my yarn and realize I have some nice stuff, so I move it to the front or top of its storage zone.

June and July: Mornings are mindless knitting. I knit things from cotton or non-wool – dishcloths, coasters, mini afghans of washable fiber for my dogs, small clothes for Bunny’s beloved Theodora bear, and maybe a couple hats from sock wool.

August: I’m out of cotton, which is good because I hate it now. I can’t stand the sight of another hat, another mitten, or another sock. I cast on a shawl to work on because by the time it gets heavy, it’ll be cold out, or so I tell myself. I box up donations and ship them out.

And then it’s September again....

My family thinks I have wooly caterpillar DNA because they watch what I knit and when. If I’m already starting a sweater in late August, they start airing out their parkas and checking felted hats and mittens for pest damage because they know there’s a cold winter coming. They want to get their requests for repairs or replacements in early.

Me, I’m just glad I’ve learned to find a way to make my KBPD/SAKD work for me – stuff does actually get finished before people grow out of its size, and I do cycle through my yarn pretty well.

I’ll be posting pictures of what got knitted after it gets washed and blocked. We already wore most of it since this has been a right nippy winter so far.

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