The knitting bucket list

I was looking at the most beautiful knitting on Ravelry the other day.  The project page in question was owned by a lady whose knitting currently spans over 50 years.  She has knitted quite a number of beautifully complex projects that I have intentions to knit too, and I was very envious.  “I still have time” I thought.  “There will be time when I don’t have to work, and don’t have kid obligations.” And then I realised that I won’t be here in 50 years.  I don’t have 50 years to knit.  I probably don’t even have 40 years left of my life to knit.  If I’m very unlucky, maybe I only have 20 years left.  Or less!

And then I thought about the most beautiful projects of others that I have seen, knitters who are much younger than me, and have even more years of knitting left in their life than me.  And suddenly, I felt very, very, depressed.  I’m probably experiencing what is a typical mid-life crisis, but just in a knitting sort of way… the meaning of my mortality has finally sunk home.

This realisation has caused me to shift the focus of my knitting.  I feel I can’t fritter my time away knitting projects that I don’t enjoy, or knit just because they’re quick and look sort of cute.  I must use my time wisely and use it to learn and knit the things I actually want to do.  Knitting is such an enjoyable activity.  One can derive an enormous amount of enjoyment out of knitting something even as simple as a garter stitch scarf.  It’s easy to get distracted…  Don’t misunderstand:  I am very proud of a number of the projects that I have knitted.  It’s just that there are things I want to knit that I haven’t got to yet, mainly because they represent significant investments of brain power and time, and I’ve been telling myself until now that I don’t have the time for those projects yet.

So, although there is no cause for me to think that I might ‘kick the bucket’ in the near future, I do think I should start to make a concerted effort to commence that ‘wish list’ alongside the other projects that are really fun too.  (I am pragmatic enough to know that it won’t be possible just to knit only the wish list.)

The beginning list is:


Celestarium (I don’t think this will be hard to knit, but I haven’t done a pi shawl before, so this is a good learning project. Plus, it’s gorgeous, and I have always wanted a shawl of night sky.  You can see I’ve begun preparation already!)

Moontide, 100% alpaca

Irish Moss (I don’t think you can beat Alice Starmore for beauty in cabled sweaters.)

Aran Duffle Coat  (This will be the perfect replacement to a current commercially bought long cabled cardigan that is looking tatty.  I’m not sure it’s a truly difficult pattern, but it’s in my list of ‘want to do’.)

A lace shawl.  I really want to complete a full lace shawl this year.

If I can include at least the above four projects in among the others I do this year, then I will consider this a year well spent.

(And if you’re wondering what’s happened with those jackets… they’re done.  I’ll show them to you in the next few days when the recipients can model them for me.  I’m very happy with how they’ve turned out.)

19 thoughts on “The knitting bucket list

  1. That’s one of the reasons I periodically go through my queue on Rav and pull out anything I’m no longer in love with, even if it’s linked with a yarn in my stash. I figure when I want to knit that yarn I’ll go pattern hunting then and the right pattern will turn up. I’ve really enjoyed my last few knits, I’ve got one that’s taken ages and it’s because I’m not as in love as I was when I started; I like shaping and it has none aside from what’s created by negative ease.

  2. A knitting bucket list sounds like a good plan. Guess once you start knitting any of that gorgeous projects, you’ll forget all about mortality, too… 😉
    ( besides, it wouldn’t surprise me if knitting turned out to be some sort of life-prolonging thingy… 😉 )

  3. I remember when you were knitting your wonderful red jacket and it was great to see a photo of it the other day. Such a beautiful, beautiful garment and it was wonderful watching it grow way back then!! I am older than you and I have projects planned for myself, for my grandchildren, my 88yr old mother, my daughter and for once I have put myself up there at the head of the list ……so I know where you are coming from and I can’t even knit at the moment LOL but there I am buying some wool and hunting through Ravelry for patterns. A knitting bucket list…..hmm-mm……actually a bucket is a good idea, I could fit a couple of projects into one of those 🙂 You are right though about prioritising ones knitting list……I will make one and then find a bucket for it too. what yarn and what colour will you knit the Aran Duffle Coat in??

    1. The Clasica Coat is definitely one of my happy projects. I’m going through yarns for the Duffle Coat at the moment but haven’t yet decided. It will depend on which one can give me the right look. It will be pure NZ wool though. Watch this space for which one!

  4. I love your plan, and will definitely be checking out the patterns you’ve selected. I often pick smallish projects partly because, like you, it’s unnerving committing to big projects that might require though, but also because I do like nice yarns, and they are often expensive yarns, but my big thing at the moment is trying to finish off a selection of projects that I have started but not finished over the years – then I’ll be thinking what I’m going to make next!

    1. Good on you! I find that once I walk away from a project, there is usually a reason for it. I’m looking at a couple of half-done projects at the moment wondering about frogging or restarting. Unsurprisingly, the frogging is looking far more attractive an option…

  5. I think all you knitting is lovely. But I agree, life is far to short to knit things you don’t enjoy knitting. Or to use yarn you don’t like. I’m so honored that one of my patterns would make it on your goal list!

  6. Yes, it can be depressing when you think of all the things you “think” you want to do. I had a similar experience with Pinterest. It’s very tempting to think I’ll earmark that and that and that, but when you have a serious look at it you realise there are probably only 10% you would actually make. Given the labour involved we should never proceed with things that aren’t enjoyable. Mind you, that applies to everything really. Stay with the positive and jettison the negative stuff.
    Above all, keep knitting! My friends are beginning to talk about leaving their friends their stashes!!! 🙂
    Here’s to a long and productive life.
    Bimbi x

    1. Very good advice. Thank you. And here’s to a long and productive life to you too. Your weaving is amazing – definitely another thing I want to add to my bucket list!

  7. The shawl is pretty stunning. I’ve probably (hopefully) still got 50 years of knitting left myself, but I’ll still never get to all the projects I want to. I think that’s just the nature of The Knitter.

  8. I am overwhelmed with the amount of patterns I want to knit. I just can’t think about it or I get short of breath and sweaty. So much to make, so little time 🙂

  9. Im sorry you did make me giggle about having years left to knit and then i did a double take and realised I am in the same boat!! I too do not want to knit stuff just for the sake of knitting, I would like to make beautiful things that challenge my knitting techniques. Bring on the bucket list! xx

    1. You read it in the right light. 😉 I think one of the biggest frustrations I face is being so tired most of the time. I want to knit complex things, but the brain is so fogged that all I can manage is stocking stitch. Much to my chagrin! So the question that revolves in my head is “when will I have time (ie. mental space) to knit what I really want??”

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