Thursday 10 November 2011

one thing at a time

warning: long wordy post!

It has been a long time since I worked on one craft project at a time as my normal modus operandi.

Way back, when I was a child, my mother bought the materials she needed for a project and worked on that project until it was done.

Understandably, that was the way I was with my knitting!

Like mum, I would knit in winter and when the weather started to warn up, finish the project in hand and that was it - until next winter.

Until someone gave me an embroidery kit. I can't remember who or for what reason; but I clearly remember that, although I had never shown the slightest interest in embroidery, I decided to open that kit and give it a go as a summer project.

I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't know about embroidery hoops - I just did what I always do, read a bit (in this case the instructions in the kit) then got started.

It didn't turn out so bad, if I do say so myself. A couple of summers later, we were going away for a week and I wanted a small project to do in the car. Knitting was out because people don't knit in summer, do they?

I bought a cross stitch kit of some violets. Quick and simple, I was hooked! (Oops no, that would be the small "rug" I made from a kit when I was a teenager - I still have the latch hook; I told you I am a hoarder).

Anyway, that kit led to another, then to bookmarks for gifts and finally to the purchase of large patterns. But, I digress... I think I'll save those for another post!

So, in winter I worked on one knitting project (usually it took all winter to knit one jumper anyway) and in summer I worked on my cross-stitch.

Then, in the early years of this decade, I got involved, briefly, in scrapbooking. It didn't take me long to realise that working on, and buying supplies for, one project at a time was very limiting and I began to collect papers, card stock and embellishments. I didn't know the word "stash" back then - but I still have a stash of scrapbooking supplies (you're not surprised, are you?).

In 2004, I was tired of working from other people's patterns in knitting and cross-stitch, some something deep inside me was trying to get out. I was inspired by the knitted works of Kaffe Fassett, so I decided to design and knit my own jumper (sweater). I started collecting yarn; to quote Kaffe: "if in doubt, add more colour". It took me two winters to finish; it used 63 different yarns and weighs a ton!

Inadvertently, I had started a stash - I had left overs of all 63 balls plus the ones I had decided not to use. I immediately went on to plan my next fassettesque project (which has never been started) and began collecting yet more balls of yarn. At that time, I used only natural fibres - wool, mohair and a little alpaca.

In 2007, I was introduced to the world of knitting blogs and, of course, I just had to have one. But my blogging was infrequent and I mostly only wrote about knitting.

By then, I was a member of knit4charities so buying discounted yarn (usually acrylic) seemed sensible given that I was knitting much more - even into summer!

Reading blogs introduced me to the concept of "stash" (up until then I had leftovers and a collection of yarn for the next project plus some discounted acrylic which would be used soon). But, more importantly, reading blogs introduced me to the radical idea that one could work on more than one project at a time!

And so, dear readers, just like every other knitting blogger I know, I almost always have several projects on the needles.

Last year I stumbled into quilting. DD and I bought too much fabric for our first quilt so we made two quilts from the same fabrics. We made the first quilt top and then cut out the pieces for the second! We had already succumbed to polygamous quilting and had only been involved in this fantastic new world for less than a month!

I'm pretty sure everyone who read and comments here works on multiple projects at once, but were you ever a one-project-at-a-time crafter? When, and why, did things change?


  1. Oh boy, I have done this too. Blogging has a lot to answer for. Pity its so much fun

  2. Hi Lynne,

    Picked up my tapestries yesterday and am very pleased with them.

    My mum would only buy wool for me when I was younger, one project at a time. It took forever to finish one thing. Now I have several on the go at once and work on different things according to mood or need. Four is about my limit at a time and preferably three. Any more and it's a bit chaotic.

  3. Great post! I really enjoyed reading your story. I actually got into quilting around the same time I found blogs, and that inspired me to work on a lot at once, so I don't think I've ever been like that! Though I'm sure it must be nice and not stressful :)

  4. I have always worked on more than one project at once. I also read more than one book at the same time (not at exactly the same time). Right now I am in the middle of a big quilt, a middle sized tote bag and a small table topper. I have promised myself that I will not start the next big quilt til I finish the one I am on. I almost forgot - I have one sock to knit :)

  5. Oh yes - I was a "one project" quilter for quite some time. And actually stopped quilting for more than a year when I started a project that was over my head. When I finally said that I would go back to when my skill level improved, I put it away, and started something new. It was only about 5 years ago that I began doing multiple projects at once, although I'm not sure what prompted the change.

    Great post!

  6. I don't remember ever working on just one project except when I first started sewing clothing. I had to finish it to wear the next day!

  7. I have always loved all the hand crafts; some I retire after one try (needlepoint) but others become life long friends-spinning, knitting and quilting!

  8. I used to be a one project girl when I did cross stitch but now that I quilt I have many projects going. Not sure when or why this happened but it is okay. Makes the hobby more interesting.

  9. Aha a girl after my own heart!
    When I first started quilting I only worked on one quilt at a time and couldnt understand why people had ufo's - till I began to have them too!
    I always have several things on the go at a time - two or three or four knitting things and the same (actually probably more)in the quilting department.
    Oh! and Ive just started making my own cards - another slipperty slope I believe!

  10. Yes yes yes this is sort of my story too. In the beginning it was one thing at a time. And just leftovers, no stash. Then I read a book about the Australian knitting scene - what was it called?? - and it talked about buying yarn on eBay. Which I did for quite a while. Hello stash! And once you have more than one amount of yarn a time, well you can knit more.... So I did and then I met RoseRed.....the stash is what it is today because of her!

  11. I would like to think of myself as a one project at a time crafter. I prefer to have finished a project and ticked off the list as oppose to having a few projects on the go. That is probably why I haven't started on any quilt tops yet (even though I want to) until I finish quilting the ones I have first. It seems that most tend to have many projects on the go though.

  12. I was a one-project-at-a-time person when I was little and B.I. (before internet) ;-)

  13. When I was a teenager, I did a lot of embroidery and counted cross stitch. In those days it was just one project at a time because that's all Mom would buy for me. When I started quilting about 11 years ago, it was pretty much multiple projects from day one. How could you choose just one?

  14. I was much the same - one project and no stash, and then I discovered blogging and eBay and it went from there!


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