I finished a project this week that has been in the works for years. When my son was born I bought him a very cheap holiday stocking with the intention of making him a color worked stocking. It was to be very grand and all would come to admire it with their jaws agape. Ok, so not that grand. But this was a color worked project that was larger than most of the other color worked projects I have had the patience to finish.
You work on it with excitement for a while and then the season passes and you tell yourself that you will pick it back up again and finish it in time for the holiday next year. But then that holiday passes. And so it goes until one day you turn around and send your baby off to his first day of kindergarten and think, "Maybe it's time to finish that."
I lamented on the original color work stocking and how even if I did finish it, I would then be required to knit one for the rest of my family, 5 in total. I just couldn't bring myself to knit that many. Not right now. Not with my current responsibilities. Not when my time is so limited to knit on anything, let alone a pattern I would repeat again and again. I let the grand idea go in favor of a stocking that I'm still happy to have as a tradition for the years to come and one that also doesn't make me hate to knit it. But I felt a little like a knitting fraud. I backed down from a challenge and the new stocking almost felt like a cheap imitation.
But no one is checking your knitting credentials and deciding if you backed down when you shouldn't have. I could challenge myself to break the world record of hotdog eating at Coney Island but if it doesn't mean anything to me, if it doesn't make me happy then all I've gained is a few pounds. While the idea of a picture perfect stocking was a good one, in the end I can still see plenty of happy holidays with the simpler stocking. There is no less joy or love for each other.
While I ultimately decided to restart the stocking in favor of a more simple style, I didn't have the heart to rip out the original stocking. It is a reminder of what I am capable of, but it is also a reminder that it's ok to abandon the project if your knitting has lost its joy. You aren't losing your knitting rep on the street if you go with a simpler pattern. Know when to quit pushing through a project that is making you miserable. Knitter be free and do what makes you happy!
Some day I might restart intricately designed stockings for my family again. And if I do, remind me how many people I'll need to knit them for!