Every year when winter arrives, I find myself scrambling for wooly winter accessories. And, each year I promise myself that I'm going to knit a pile of scarves, mittens, hats, cowls, etc... for NEXT YEAR. I've really been caught in a loop on this since I started knitting. I'm not sure why. Compared to sweaters (or sock weight dresses *cough*) knitted accessories are simple, satisfying and QUICK.
My latest string of sweater knitting provided the perfect opportunity to break the cycle. If knitting was running, sweater knitting would be a half-marathon. You need to train for it- build-up to it. It's a big commitment and consumes large portions of your free-time. A cowl is much more like a 5k 'fun run'. It's relaxed and easy. It doesn't require much training- there are people walking the whole distance. You cross the finish line and you can still feel your legs. You finish the race and feel pretty ready to run again immediately.
When you're preparing for a half-marathon you do shorter runs leading up to the race as a way to condition yourself. That's exactly what this cowl is. For a while, I was knitting a half-marathon every time I started a new project. It was fine for a while, but the effects started taking a toll on me. For the first time in my knitting life, I was feeling a little burnt out.
I started working-in smaller projects between sweaters: cowls, mittens, baby gifts (lots of babies lately). And, I started to feel better. Strangely, I started working through projects even quicker than I had before. AND, I'm happy to report, I have a growing pile of winter woollies. Two birds. One stone. How do you combat creative burn-out?