Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finding Your Limit

I'm one of those people that has a need to multitask. I have always been most productive when engaged in more than one project at once. If I have too much idle time on my hands I tend to accomplish very little. And I have little patience for the people in my life that cannot function in this same manner.

With the end of summer in sight, (yes, I'm obsessing about it) I am starting to feel a familiar, quiet anxiety creep back into my thoughts. This is the time of year that I start to experience insomnia; laying awake until sunrise thinking about all the projects that I want (need) to complete before the school year commences. Some are personal, others home related, but most focus on preparations for the upcoming school year and our knitting business.

In a desperate attempt to capture all of those brilliant ideas that I come up with in the middle of the night, I now have no less than six projects on the needles. Three custom orders, a giveaway item, and three different hat designs. So, make that seven total. I probably would have more in the works, but I ran out of the appropriate sized needles.

Now this may seem overwhelming to most people. In fact, my mom (and business partner), commented that she likes to finish something before starting something else. But I actually do much better work when I have several different things in progress. And I have a completely rational reason as to why I would have seven projects in the queue.

Sometimes a design gets tedious, and I need to step away from it before completely frogging it. There was this skirtie I was recently working on, and it actually made me mentally itchy at times. Poor Megs waited nearly three months to get it. It's probably a good thing we are friends, or I may have given up. Incidentally, I try to get most custom orders done within three weeks.

Some projects are good for knitting when watching TV, because they don't really require too much mental concentration. The physical act of knitting becomes zen-like in these instances. Sort of like driving a familiar route, and finding yourself there without really remembering the last three miles of the journey. Those typically involve sweaters and longies, when there are large body volumes of straight stockinette to be worked.

Other knitting techniques and patterns have become second nature to me, and they can be worked on in the dark. There are nights that I sit in Boog's room waiting for him to go to sleep, knitting by touch, with only the faint glow of The Turtle Light. Some tiny hat designs can be worked this way, or leg cuffs and waistbands.

Then there are those projects that require my undivided attention. They contain complicated stitches, or unfamiliar pattern. They projects, while daunting, help to keep my mind from becoming total mush. I have this custom sweater in the works for a fisherman friend. I can only work on that when everyone else in the house is asleep, otherwise I have to frog several rows. Not something you want to do when working on cables.

So I don't really think it is too strange to have seven different things going at once. It keeps me interested in what I do, and I believe that helps to maintain the quality of our work.

The waistband for a pair of medium longies. I originally used the brown as trim for a custom order that I just started, but I didn't like the way the warm undertones of the brown contrasted with the cooler tones of the green. So I paired it with a heathered red, which should be perfect for a late September stocking.

The new trim for the custom longies mentioned above. A much better compliment. The colorway is Cathedrals from Three Irish Girls. There are some really rich tones in this colorway, with subtle hints of blue and grey throughout. This heathered grey trim was purchased from a LYS, and is a near perfect match. The waistband has already been cast on; once it's complete and there are a few rows of the main colorway done I'll post an updated photo.

The trim and body color for a new hat design that I am configuring. The oatmeal colored trim has been seed stitched. The body of the design will be done in half linen stitch in a gorgeous pumpkin color. This is hat will be perfect for the Fall. I have a surprise up my sleeve for this one, and it will be unlike anything else we've stocked thus far.

Another new hat design, in it's initial stages. I'm about three rows into it here. The finished design will be for my Facebook Fans giveaway winner, Christie, a professional photographer. I may frog it and start over though, because I've changed my mind on how I want the finished piece to look. I'm also playing with sizing; this needs to fit a new newborn baby during a photo shoot. The yarn itself is a beautiful baby alpaca tweed in a natural base, with red, yellow, blue and green flecks throughout. A perfect choice for gender neutral baby items.

There are three more projects cooking, but I'm not quite ready to show them off yet.


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