Are You a Starter or a Finisher?

Some people are natural “starters.” They live for the creative beginning of projects, but not the day-to-day execution or the follow through. I start things but don’t always finish. My energy comes from seeing new ideas and kicking things off. Apparently Starters love prototyping an idea, but once they’ve figured it out, they’re ready to move on to something else.

That definition makes me a Starter, especially when it comes to knitting. Although there is an enormous sense of achievement when I do finish a project, I have several projects waiting in the wings along with some collecting dust because I just lost interest.

Knitting yarns are a draw to me like a bee to pollen. I can spend as long in a wool shop as many do in a book shop. Online wool shops are also my downfall and I have boxes of wool and half made projects. I suppose strictly speaking I should refer to my stash of wool as a ‘stash of yarn’, not all is actually wool, a lot is a mixture of acrylic and wool and some is 100% acrylic. I do have some skeins of alpaca because I love the feel of it but don’t actually have anything in mind to use it for – yet.

This is my stash of yarn. If you look carefully you will see an unfinished crochet Minion, which seemed like a good idea at the time and I hope to have finished by Christmas. In fairness there are a lot of odds and ends following the actual completion of projects.

There are three parts to every project, starting, finishing and everything in between. It is the everything in between bit I stumble over.

My problem is that I see a pattern I like and order the yarn without really thinking things through or taking into account what else I have on the go. A good example of this is when I saw an attractive and different cardigan pattern by Bergere De France with the wool on offer and rashly bought it. This was about 4 months ago and I am yet to start it, so on this occasion I am not even a Starter.

The other issue is my liking for unusual random dyed wools, such as Sirdar Crofter DK. Having never made socks before I bought some of the Crofter wool and pattern. I did actually finish soon after I started, but only one sock and that was at the end of August. Yesterday, the beginning of October, I started its pair. Silly really as they don’t take that long to knit.

I suppose I could call myself a procastinating finisher, I need to set myself goals. Spurred on by my imminent stay with my daughter and grandchildren, this cardigan for my granddaughter, also knitted in Sirdar Crofter, which I started in July, was completed a few days ago.

Around about the same time I was carried away with the idea of a cable jumper for my grandson, that way they would both have something knitted by Grannie given to them at the same time. You can see how far I have got with this one. I have set myself a goal for completion – It will be a Christmas present for him, that is December 2014.

I don’t always buy wool for new projects I do start things using yarn from my stash. There are some great and quick ways of using up leftover yarns, such as tea cosies. This is one I finished recently, despite the fact I am not sure what to do with it. I just liked the pattern, which was an on-line freebie. I can’t even make them to sell and recoup some of the cost of the wool, as patterns like this one specifically state they are only be used for personal use and not for commercial purposes.   I suppose I could give them away on the condition that a donation to a charity such as Macmillan is made, that’s an idea!  Anyone want a tea cosy?

Then there are the red mittens I decided to make last night for my grandson to go with his Bristol City football scarf, which I gave him last Christmas. Just one mitten to finish by Thursday but as it only took one evening for one mitten this will be achievable.

Not everything I make is knitted, I do crochet sometimes. This last photo is not only a great stash buster, jargon for using up yarn, but also started and finished with everything in between done without a break. My eldest daughter saw this on Kirstie Allsopp’s Fill Your House For Free and asked me if I had time would I make one. I did on both counts.

If this post manages anything it will succeed in prompting me into finishing my outstanding projects, whilst I wait for my next purchase of exciting wool to be delivered.

Are you a Starter or Finisher?

15 thoughts on “Are You a Starter or a Finisher?

  1. I am most definitely a starter! I have four projects on the go at the moment, one of which I have been knitting for about three years, am very near the end of but have simply lost interest. I have a stash too but am pleased to find that my most talented and serious knitting friend has one about ten times the size of mine so I am persuading myself mine hardly counts! I do finish things too, as you obviously do from your lovely pictures, but I have to be firm with myself from time to time. At the moment I am working on the basis that I can’t start anything new until I finish one of the four on the needles. it will probably have to be a knitted smock dress for nearly one year old granddaughter as if I don’t get on with it she will be too big. I am quite grateful that she is a dainty little baby. Her two month old cousin is expanding practically as we watch so I won’t get away with it in the same way for him I am guessing.


    1. How funny I am also trying to finish a knitted smock dress for my granddaughter, It is on circular needles but I did choose a size for a 6 year old (she is still only 4). The trouble I find now is that as the grandchildren grow older it takes so much longer to knit anything for them!


  2. I mostly finish except for few thirty year projects. 🙂 I have quite a stash from leftover yarn and then some people starting giving me yarn. I like to make Fair Isle type things to use it up and call them free sweaters.


  3. Yvonne Ryan Matakatia Whangaparaoa Auckland New Zealand October 5, 2014 — 10:12 pm

    I am a finisher. Over the years have knitted hundreds of garments, including lacy baby traditionsl, rainbow and very colourful kids, dresses and coats for myself – Kaffe Fasset influenced – was very silly and on my big move gave one away – stupid as really an art project – no pattern – fashions do change and no storage! Grand-kids and greats now wear easy wash etc so have pulled back – waiting for next batch of great-grand kids. I never knit for money!! They don’t realize how much work but will knit if asked. I only like using top yarn and not cheap as the work worth it. Very expensive. I also just love the colours and smell of wool, the touch etc in wool shops. Even in NZ we don’t have as many shops as we used to as the art of knitting is almost lost. Only 1 of my 5 daughters can knit well. My Mum was a great knitter also. This winter made several 1ply merino ‘spiderweb’ scarves – gorgeous colours. Took ages with big needles and had to watch every stitch. I usually can knit complicated patterns and watch TV at the same time!


    1. I recently knitted a school cardigan for my granddaughter but not sure if it will be used very often, I forgot to take into account it needs to be hand washed and being a busy working mum, my daughter needs to throw things in to the washing machine. Kaffe Fassett, goodness me, I have always tried to keep my knitting simple, I tried fair isle many years ago but only once! That’s very clever to knit and watch TV I can only do that if there is no shaping to be done.


  4. I get carried away with patterns buy the wool and then loose confidence, or I diligently labour on and hate the end product as it doesn’t suit me or is too tight. I’m so bad I don’t knit or crochet any more but I seem to be doing alright with embrodiery, well so far.

    I think all your projects look great and I am sure you will complete them. I’ve often wondered about having a go at socks but I thought they were tricky?


    1. I used to do a lot of embroidery but have arthritis in my wrists and whilst I can manage knitting needles, an embroidery needle is difficult. The socks I made were easy but they had seams, I am yet to try the double pointed four needle, heel turn variety, that’s next on my list! People do say once you have worn hand knitted socks nothing else matches.


  5. I used to be a finisher but now . . .
    I also love to gather yarns and fabric, anything tactile like paper as well, sigh!


    1. It’s the tactile feel of the alpaca wool that draws me to buying it with every intention of using it but somehow other projects take priority, I thibk I may make myself a pair of mittens with it as I rarely make anything for me.


  6. I’m definitely a ‘starter’. My house is filled with half-finished projects. I love your knitting! I’ve tried doing that and even finished a dress once but could never seemed to get interested enough to tackle anything else. As for the rest of my endeavors, I have three doll houses, several scrapbooks, a family history tree and two novels awaiting completion.


    1. That is some list of endeavours, the novels might be interesting to finish, especially in this day and age of e-publishing.


  7. Oh dear I am definitely a starter. I have a Florentine tapestry which I started in 1977 and have still only completed a tiny amount. I love choosing wool and patterns but haven’t quite got the stickability or expertise to finish things ! Maybe your post will spur me on !


    1. 1977, that’s going some! Mind you having said that I have a piece of cross stitch in a cupboard that’s about 15 years old waiting to be finished. Unlikely now with arthritic hands (difficult to hold a needle) and eye sight not as good as it was (making me sound decrepit!).


  8. Hi Ronnie,

    I don’t think I’m an anything-er lol. I should probably take up some sort of craft, but I always get side-tracked by other things such as modern technology. It’s a shame really; after all I do have an undergraduate degree in illustration. When I was younger I sewed and attempted knitting a few times but never got along with it.
    However, I would probably say I am a finisher. I stick things through and see them to the end, even if I don’t enjoy it. Take books for example. Many books I’ve read have been substandard yet I’ve stuck them out – as painful as it feels – to the end, just so I can definitely form a thorough opinion on it. Meanwhile, I know others who are more than happy to give up on the book, because life’s too short to read rubbish.


    1. Well done Liz. I am not a finisher when it comes to books either. I have shelves of books I’ve given up after the first or second chapter. They are not given away as I always intend to go back to them. However having said that, I gave away my copy of Gone Girl only to see the film yesterday and now have a desire to read the book.


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