The Bog of Lost Scholars

March 19, 2011

Lessons from Cast-On Mania

Filed under: Crafts — castiron @ 12:01 am

There’s a group on Ravelry that does Cast-On Mania once or twice a year. The goal is to start one project every day for a month; the next couple months are spent working down the projects started. This year, I decided to participate.

Why would I do this when I’ve already got numerous projects in progress?

I was out of my mind.

Actually, given the number of projects I’ve bought yarn for but haven’t started, or that I’ve wanted to make for a while but haven’t gotten around to, Cast-on Mania was intended as a kick-start. Instead of putting them off and putting them off and putting them off, I’d start them and get them into my regular project rotation, so they’d at least be moving forward.

And in that, it’s succeeded. Sweaters and vests, toys and bags, socks and dishcloths that have been on my to-make-someday list are now on my work-in-progress list.

Sadly, they’ll be there for a long time. Adding 28 projects to my existing works-in-progress — well, it finally threw off the habit of working on projects as they turn up, because when I have ten projects come up on a weekday, it’s very hard to do even a row on each. However, I took a leaf from David Allen’s book and rescheduled the overdue ones, most with longer repeats. It’ll take longer to get them all done, but I’m getting back on track. (And honestly? Learning to spin has actually done more to hurt my knitting productivity than starting 28 more projects has; I’m spending more of my leisure time making yarn and less using it up.)

The biggest thing I learned from Cast-on Mania, though, wasn’t that I have the willpower to stick with it for a month, or that I’ve hit the limit of how many knitting projects I can reasonably keep going at one time. It’s that I have far too much yarn. I could’ve kept starting a project a day for at least two more weeks, and that’s not counting the multitude of sock yarn skeins. Needles and hooks were the limiting factor, not yarn.

I can see myself doing Cast-on Mania again someday, but not until I get my WIP quantity back into single digits.

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