As with any hobby, it becomes easier and easier over time to accumulate the tools and notions that you
crave need to continue working your craft. I started collecting needles of all different sizes before I even worked up a stash. Then when I started whipping the stash into shape (humor me, ok?), and I started collecting online pattern links instead; all with the intention of lining up a nice comfortable queue of Things to Make Next. Over time, I found that it wasn’t just what I was buying that would change, it was also how I was choosing what to knit and why. Initially, I chose every project with one rule in mind, it must be a project that would force me to learn and use a new technique, no repeats. That fizzled when I ran into things like steeks, and entrelac, and other skills that I still need more gumption to try.
Last year, I worked myself into a frenzy about knitting gifts for everyone I could think of on my gift list, so my decisions about what to knit next were all based on finding things that those recipients would like. That chaos died down earlier this year (phew!) when my stash reached the Reality Check point and I started my stashalong Yarn Diet. At that time, I decided to choose my next project based on what stash yarn I had. Once again though, to overcome the withdrawl of not buying new yarn for months, I turned instead to stacking up a formidable pattern stash;and so the cycle continues. As a result, my current mehtod is to control my queue by only knitting from(a) patterns I have already purchased or downloaded and (b) yarn I already have in my stash.
How about you? How do you decide what you’re going to knit next? Is your To Be Knit list already so long that you’ve got things to fill the needles from now until the sheep come home? Or are you more inclined to serendipitous stitchery – choosing whatever project strikes your fancy next? What usually dictates your choice – your stash? Your pocketbook? Your slightly overbearing, but ever so charming and always-seems-to-be-right local yarn store owner? Are you a follower of a particular designer, or are you more inclined to make multiple projects from your favorite knitting magazine/website? What about a quest for skill? Does anyone out there knit according to a list of specific techniques they want to conquer?
Along these lines, what kind of projects take priority in your queue? Do you mostly knit any gift items first before considering what you’d like to snuggle up in next? Or are you more concerned with the influence of the season? I know plenty of us here in the south can’t even consider the brush of wool against bare skin in our laps from the months of May until September.
And lastly – what is it about a pattern that makes you say at some point – “Yep. That’s it; that’s the one. Time to cast on!”? For me, a good set of photos and some well-planned styling for a pattern will at least make me read further into the materials, gauge, and size information. If something in my mind says “Hmmm. I can see that on <>", I’m already a good part of the way to adding that item to the list. Recently, I do find that I’m even more compelled by pictures of “real” people in their handknits. Some things that I would never have considered before have since been added to my queue because of FO shots from a blog, or from Ravelry.
So clue us in…How do you decide