The Underground Crafter asked a question on her blog about why we knit the things we do. And I’ve been pondering it over and have started to formulate an answer or two.
So, I present:
A Very Short Essay on the Psychology and Philosophy of the Creation of a WIP as put forth by a Serial WIP Creator and Polygamist Project Knitter.
First, I feel that for the purposes of this essay we should start by defining a WIP. Henceforth and hereinafter, a WIP will refer to a knitting, crochet, or spinning project that has been begun, but is not yet in its finished state. We will be considering the two most common categories of WIP: The Active WIP, meaning a WIP that is still receiving daily/weekly/hourly attention, and the Forgotten/Neglected WIP meaning a WIP that has been sitting so long it’s collecting dust (or dust bunnies, or just bunnies. AKA moth bait.) or one which has been purposely stuffed into the bottom of a basket or the back of a closet (to stop it from looking at me like that. Really, if that thing could just learn to stop glaring at me, it could stay in the living room with the rest of the knitting. OK, with most of the knitting. Some emergency knitting has occasionally been found in the bedroom. And of course my travel knitting stays by the front door. Where else should I keep it?) A WIP, for the purposes of this document, does not include gestating babies, remaining in marriages, dealing with the teenagers that your lovely children have suddenly become, completing home renovations, or schooling. If it’s not about fibre, it’s not part of this essay (if you’re conducting home renovations entirely with fibre, that’s a WIP. And a sign that your knitting has perhaps reached the point where you need to decide whether it’s a pathology or a career) .
Reasons for WIPS:
1. The Overenthusiastic Cast On
Also known as the I Really Like Pretty Things Cast On. I have fallen prey to this project many, many times. And I know that I am not alone in that. I think it’s fair to say that for most of us, almost all our WIPS fall into this category. Think about it: are you really going to knit with something that you find ugly? Probably not. (Unless you have to because your mum/daughter/aunt/BFF would just absolutely love those mittens in lime green and fluorescent mauve eyelash yarn and by God you will make it for your mum/daughter/aunt/BFF if it kills you (and realistically it might.))
2. The Necessity Cast On or the OMG! What do you mean the baby is due in two weeks!!!!!!!!! Cast on
This type of cast on is a commonality among all fibre people. This is the deadline knitting, the crunch time knitting, the knit-as-fast-as-you-can-until-you fall-asleep-over-the-needles knitting. This is the WIP that induces panic and mayhem and knitting marathons. Often there are tears because the deadline always comes too fast. The baby comes early, suddenly it’s Christmas, and you really thought that birthday was still a month away. Those WIPS.
3. The Boredom Cast On
You know those moments when you think you have nothing to knit (despite all evidence to the contrary, and the fact that the coffee table legs don’t touch the ground any more because the whole thing rests on a cloud of wool and needles?) and that nothing that is on the needles actually interests you in the slightest? That what creates the boredom cast on. You know you have them. Most of us do.
4. The Distraction Cast On
Have those days or weeks or months where life is out of control? Can’t afford to go on vacation? Couldn’t get the time off even if you had the money? Running off to live in the forest and having sing a-longs with all the lovely (and always friendly and helpful) furry woodland creatures not really in your cards (despite how amusing it would be to watch squirrels and bluebirds actually try to work a spinning wheel. Come on, seriously. Have you ever thought about what it would take to keep tension and twist constant if all you had were tiny little claws or maybe a beak)? Well, cast on something new and take a knitting holiday in your mind. Better to focus your energies on something pretty and wooly than stressful and nasty. I’m sure it’s better for your blood pressure. (Certainly better that trying to help a skunk unwind an overloaded spindle. Again.)
5. The I Have no WIPS Cast On or: The Mythical Cast On
I’ve been told this does exist. That there are people for whom casting on something new only happens when their other project (! One. One other project. Actually, not one other project. The one project that they cast on, knit up, and bound off before they started a new single project. That’s just not natural.) is all finished. For me I have a better chance of a leprechaun presenting me with a pot of gold while I’m riding a unicorn through the enchanted forest after having just had tea with the Mad Hatter then I do of ever knowing that kind of WIP. I would need to only have one set of needles for this to happen. Even that wouldn’t work. I could knit with pencils. Or chopsticks. Or twigs, brought to me by my forest friends. That skunk still owes me for all the spinning tips.
It becomes clear to the fibre person that there are many reasons why we do what we do. And I am willing to admit that this is an incomplete list. Even as I write these words I can think of a few more that I could have easily included. Maybe one day in the future I will include a few more in attempt to create a more comprehensive list. But, right now, I think I have more knitting that needs to be done.