The Beautiful Simplicity of One Knitting Project At A Time

I’ve often had as many as four or five knitting projects going at a time. I’ve had my “main” knitting project (usually a sweater) and my “travel” knitting project (something simple and mindless – usually a dishcloth or place mat I can work on in the school pick-up line).  I might have another project or two that involve lots of counting or an intricate pattern that requires complete silence and absence of all distraction, something you can’t work on while maintaining any social skills at all. 

But lately, I’ve discovered the beautiful simplicity of only having one knitting project going at a time. Maybe it’s the revived pandemic scares. Maybe it’s the implosion of the schools (again). Maybe I’m just figuring out that focusing on one thing at a time is crucial to my emotional well-being during this stressful time.

Whatever the reason, I’ve quite enjoyed working on one knitting project, rather than have several knitting projects scattered all over the house and in my car. I seem to enjoy knitting more when I don’t feel like I’m struggling to get one project moving along, with six others in an unfinished state. And – duh! – I get projects finished much, much faster when I direct all my efforts towards one project. This gives me a sense of accomplishment, seeing a completed sweater, shawl, or cowl I can immediately wear and enjoy, and on a regular basis of every week or so.

We’ve all seen the memes online, ridiculing ourselves for having way too many knitting projects (or WIPs – works-in-progress). Maybe it’s time to listen to ourselves and realize that more is not always more. For every WIP that’s left languishing in a work basket, there are unfulfilled aspirations and a sense of giving up. You don’t need that, not when you have enough stress in other areas of your life.

Enjoy your knitting. Enjoy that one project you chose and for which you have high hopes. Feel good in a few short days or weeks about what a great job you did on that one sweater you worked on to the exclusion of all other crafting projects.

Appreciate the simplicity and quiet time of meditative crafting that knitting gives you.

Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe

Knitting in Florida

After a long, long hiatus from blogging, I’m back! After some major upheavals in my life*, I’m now a proud parttime resident of Florida – and still knitting. My knitting projects have given me an hour or so of quiet, peaceful, solace every day during this past awful year, and for that, I’m profoundly grateful.

As I packed my car for the trip down to Florida this past week, I – of course – made sure I had enough knitting projects for my time here. I had just gotten two project kits, bulky weight yarn for a cowl and a scarf. Those would be good, easy, do-able projects for my time in Florida – or so I thought.

But when I arrived, knitting scarves and cowls in bulky weight yarns was the last thing I wanted to do. The temperature was in the high 70s here in Florida, with the sun shining and the beach waiting for me to take a nice long walk in my bathing suit. I didn’t even want to touch heavy wool, much less hold it in my lap while I knitted. Those projects got stuffed back in my suitcase within minutes.

But I still wanted to knit – just something light and at least somewhat “beachy.” I settled on some lightweight, DK weight wool yarn in a cream color with blue speckles. I started a shawl project, but really, I’m “knitting-just-to-knit” with this project. I want something that weighs next to nothing, can be tucked into a beach bag, and requires little or no thinking on my part. 

So I’ve happily worked on this small, lightweight project for a week…until this morning. The temperature dropped like a brick. As I walked along the beach this afternoon, hugging myself against the cold wind, the cold water licking at my bare feet, I thought, “maybe that scarf project with bulky weight yarn might not be such a bad idea.”

Stay warm and keep knitting, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe

*My husband of 37 years was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in May of 2020 and died in December of 2020. I sold the family farm, moved, and had huge responsibilities to deal with. And…I suffered writer’s block for the first time ever. Back in the saddle, I hope!

How Many Knitting Projects Do You Need? 3. You Need 3.

How many knitting WIPs (works-in-progress) do you currently have going? In looking at the online knitting forums, the answers vary widely. 

Most of us knit for several reasons. It calms us down in an overly busy, wired world. It gives us something to do while we’re waiting to see the doctor, waiting in the pick-up line for kids to come out of school, waiting for a meeting to start or the bus to come. Most of us start with something simple, but eventually, we need to bump up our skills and learn something new. Portable projects are great for on-the-go knitting, but many of us will want to knit a blanket, sweater, or other project that takes up to half a room. 

So for those flummoxed by why some of us have several projects going on at one time, here’s (generally) the three kinds of knitting projects most of us really need in our lives:

  1. A Meditative Knitting Project (also known as “Medknitation”): Mindless knitting just to knit and unwind requires something simple, something we don’t have to think about. Prayer shawls, simple blankets, scarves, or even a simple placemat can fill the bill. The idea here is to tune out, knit, and rest your mind. Repetitive patterns requiring little or no counting work best. Knitting while watching TV is included.
  2. A More Challenging Knitting Project: Meditative knitting can get monotonous, so we need something to challenge us once and awhile. Everybody needs to keep growing and expanding their skills.  Working on a new knitting technique or stitch keeps us mentally fit and interested in the craft. These projects might include learning to make socks, learning mosaic or brioche knitting, or making a sweater with challenging stitches or techniques new to you.
  3. A Portable Project Kept in Your Purse or Car: For a knitter, nothing is worse than finding yourself in a waiting room for more than ten minutes without a knitting project to work on. No, you don’t want to read the magazines on offer. You want your knitting needles!!!! So most of us keep a small project in our purse, tote bag, or even in the car for such modern inconveniences.  Personally, I keep a placemat project in my tote bag, using circular needles (harder to lose than straight needles) and cheap cotton yarn. If it gets stained, dirty, or lost, it’s no big deal. 

Many of us, of course have lots more projects than three on the needles. There’s that project you lost interest in, the one you ran out of yarn for, the one you somehow misplaced or forgot about. No judgements!  

And if you just have one project on your needles, consider another one. For those who do meditative knitting, try something challenging. As if you’re lost in a difficult project, slow down and knit something simple. But always have a project you can pick up and take wherever you go!

Knitting Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe

What to do With All That Clearance Yarn?

Tis the season when the Big Box stores run their yarn clearance sales. We’re all enticed with clearance sales notices popping up in our emails and texts, letting us know of the 70% off sales we likely won’t be able to resist.

So more than a few of us head off (or sneak off) to the yarn store and stock up. If we’re lucky, we pick up that yarn we found too pricey a couple of months ago and get to work on that sweater we envisioned. Or we might find some colors that will work for the fall and winter, and we happily get to work on Christmas gifts.

But what about that yarn at the unbelievable price, in bright summer colors? Well, some of us buy it anyway and figure out what to do with it later. If you’re like me, you can’t just pass it up.

You’ve got a problem on your hands: what to do with all that clearance yarn? I’ve found myself in this dilemma lately. In knitting through my stash, I’ve come up against a plethora of bright, happy colored yarns – bought on clearance in years past – and no discernable plan for any of it. Here’s what I’m doing with it:

  • A Sampler Shawl. I’ve got six skeins of pastel colored cake-type yarn that looked good in the store but turned out scratchy and not-so-nice. I’m using it to try out some new stitches. This shawl may look okay when it’s finished; it might not. That’s okay.  I’ve tried out lots of new techniques and stitches I’ll use in other projects.
  • Mini Prayer Shawls. I’ve used up the Caron x Pantone mini-skeins to make small, coaster-sized squares to hand out as “thank you” gifts. I’ve been asked to speak at a local Book Club, and I’m planning to hand out these mini Prayer Shawls to those lovely ladies who bought and read my latest book. They could probably be used as coasters, phone charging pads, or some other household use.
  • Something wonderful and unexpected. Several years ago, I bought a huge plastic bag full of blue, green, and white yarn at a big box sale of manufacturer rejects and remainders. Just for kicks, I made a long and skinny shawl that’s become my favorite go-to early morning wrap. The yarn tuned out super soft, and the shawl is vibrant and looks terrific. Who knew?

I know you creative knitters will have many other uses for clearance yarn. Feel free to drop a comment to share your ideas with me and other readers!

Happy Knitting, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe

Psssst! The e-book edition of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles will soon be on sale! On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 13 & 14, The Prayer Shawl Chronicles will be on sale for only $1.99 at this link from 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday until 11 p.m. on Wednesday night. Give it a try and help me out by reviewing it on Amazon!