Well, they say that the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. As I've been knitting today, I've come to the realization that there is something seriously wrong with me.
I'm not a knit-a-holic; before yesterday, I hadn't touched the needles since finishing my Father's Day gift. While I sort of missed them, I wasn't suffering any withdrawal symptoms. I kept myself occupied with other activities, and I enjoyed myself.
I also don't suffer from "start-itis." I'm actually a very focused knitter, and with one exception, whenever I've started a project I've kept at it until it was finished.
A lot of knitters have an obsession with collecting more and more yarn, and their stash size increases until it takes over their house, if not their lives. Not me... most of my "stash" is leftover balls from projects, since I always figure that it is better to buy too much than too little.
So, what is my problem? I've discovered much to my chagrin that I'm what I term a "knitting masochist." I have a compulsive need to try harder and harder projects. I know full well that along the way I'll get frustrated with not knowing what I'm doing, but I'll push myself to keep going until I work things out. I'd probably end up pulling my hair out if I hadn't shaved my head a couple years ago.
I'm thinking about my current project. I look at the finished picture, and I think "well, it isn't exactly my style, but it isn't bad. I'll wear it a couple times." Thinking about the construction, though, makes me shiver with excitement. Before starting this sweater I had knit exactly three stitches continental style, just to see how it felt. Now, I'm doing stranded knitting with one color in each hand. I've never done steeks before, or had to do any real arm shaping, but both are integral to this sweater. Heck, I'm not even sure I weave my ends in properly, and this sweater is going to involve several dozen of those. Oh, and I shouldn't forget Kitchener stitch, as that is something I'm looking forward to trying out.
I think part of my attitude comes from another realization... I'm a craftsman, not an artist. Many folks around here can look at a ball of yarn and see endless possibility. I just see it as a lump of wool, and the most I can say is "I like the color." I don't just blindly follow patterns, but generally I start from there and modify the design to match my personal tastes. Since I don't get the fulfillment of creative inspiration, my satisfaction has to come from personal improvement.
What worries me most about all this is that the more I learn, the harder it is going to be to get that rush of excitement as I learn something new. I'm still inexperienced enough that there are lots of techniques I've read about but never put into practice. Already, though, I'm looking at patterns with a snobby air of disgust. There was a sweater in "Charmed Knits" that I really liked the look of, until I read the instructions. "Knit front and back separately and sew them together? Done that, boring. Armhole shaping is just binding off stitches? Yawn. The sleeves have some tapering to them, how is that done? Oh, the sleeves are knit flat and just use M1s to increase. Sigh. I guess I'll pass on this one." All that, despite that it is still more complicated than any sweater I've done before.
So, am I alone in this attitude? What sort of knitting neuroses do other people have?