My current lace-weight project, Juno Regina is silk lace is a good example of why I started allowing myself to have multiple projects going at once. Lace weight silk on size 0 needles is like knitting thread on toothpicks; I can only do it for so long at a go. Also, the project is completely unportable, so I need something else for take-along knitting or listening-to-my-gamers-plot knitting. Also, it is sloooowww. It will be so worth it when it is finished though. I've finished the intricate end section and I've started on the long middle section. It won't be done anytime soon. I expect that I will finish it in the spring, probably just as soon as it becomes too warm to wear the coat it's intended to be worn with. That's fine, I intend to get many years use out of that coat.
I started my first intarsia project on Friday. It's a dress for Margaret, the last of the four that I added to my ravelry queue last January when the doctor looking at the ultrasound was "pretty sure" my baby was a girl. Intarsia isn't difficult, but it is about as cumbersome as you would expect with ten little bobbins danging from the work, especially when one is using binder clips instead of proper bobbins. Still, I've done eight of the twelve rows of intarsia for the back, so four more rows for the back, then the same twelve for the front. The untangling is worth it -- it is cute cute cute and nothing is too good for my little girl.
Intarsia has a lot to do with my reluctance to make socks. You see, the one and only pair of sock my mother ever knit were for me. In highland dancing, once you are no longer a beginner you are expected to have socks that match your kilt. Back then the thing to do was to spend gobs of money to get socks that were hand-knit it Scotland to match the tartan you were wearing. As you might imagine, this was expensive. My mother was an experience knitter and wondered why she should pay a small fortune to have someone else knit something she could no doubt manage herself. So, her first pair of socks were a complex argylle affair done with at least a dozen bobbins, four different colors of yarn and no pattern. She quickly realized why people willingly paid a small fortune. She never ever knit another pair of socks. Luckily at about that time a technology was devised to machine-knit hose to match any tartan, dropping the cost for the socks from small fortune to simply pricey. The lasting impression that both my mother and I were left with was that knitting socks was just not worth it.
My feelings on socks have changed, though gradually and grudgingly. I'm not sure when socks became one of the "in" things to knit, as I wasn't paying careful attention. It only sort of dawned on me gradually that more and more people my age and younger were knitting. Then I started noticing all this sock yarn for sale, and I noticed that firstfrost was making a lot of socks. I wasn't interested, but I did notice that some of the sock yarn was really pretty. I wanted to make something out of the sock yarn, but not socks. I don't really wear socks anyway, since I mostly wear skirts and dresses with either sheer or opaque tights. Sadly my legs do tend to get cold in the winter. I made a couple of pair of leg warmers out of the pretty sock yarn. That helped a lot with the legs (but not the feet). Knee-high boots also help in the winter, but even if I can get them on over my calves they are a pain to take on and off. Then, finally, I got pregnant, and at around six months even pregnancy tights started getting awkward. I made socks. As it turns out, they aren't so hard if you're not trying to do them in some sort of intricate argylle. I made a pair of reptilian lace socks because it was the only free pattern I knew of that called for the one type of sock yarn I happened to have at the time. I like them, but the standard mid-calf height of this and 90% of all sock patterns out there does not do it for me. They don't stay up well on my legs (slim ankles, HUGE calves), and they don't look good with skirts. Then I made two pair of 'Vog ons. The ankle-length socks were much better for me, though they were strictly for casual wear as bare legs aren't the thing for anything but summer casual. So, after I went back to work they languished in the drawer until we hit a cold snap. Then I went for a walk one cold day with Margaret, and wanting more padding in my clogs I put on a pair, plus I wore a pair of those sock yarn legwarmers I'd made. I was wearing the equivalent of wool knee-socks, just in two pieces. It was nice. It was warm and nice. It also brought back fond memories of wearing knee socks with skirts as a little girl. As far as I know they don't make knee socks in ladies sizes, and probably not of wool ones, and certainly not ones as nice as I could potentially make myself. Having recently seen the garden gate socks, I had knee socks on the mind. Those socks called for two contrasting colors of sock yarn by the indie dyer that twe got me hooked on. Great! I was all set to make the socks, only as it turned out I didn't have two contrasting colors that went together well. Darn. The soonest I could have more yarn from the dyer is February. Double darn. At this point twe just happened to mention that she had been saving a skein of said yarn for me. It was a yellow skein, one that would go well with the dark red that I had. Better yet, she was willing to give it to me now in exchange for a skein to be named later. Yay. Now all I need to start my mad knee socks plan is the kitchen scale I ordered so that I can be sure that when the first sock is done there will be enough yarn in each color for the second sock.
Being a Harry Potter fan I immediately thought the two colors together looked a lot like the Gryffindor colors. Hey! I could do another pair in Ravenclaw colors, and another in Hufflepuff colors, and another in Slytherin colors... Then my common sense kicked in and realized that once I'd finished a pair of knee socks the last thing I'd be in the mood to knit is three more pair in exactly the same pattern with different colors. It's a cool concept, but one pair at a time, after all I'm still working on all the other stuff I mentioned in this post.