Q for You: How many WIPs are on your needles?

Q for You: How many WIPs are on your needles?

My knitting bag overfloweth again and I was trying to figure out why, since I’ve been so much better lately about not casting on new projects willy-nilly. As usual, what’s taking up space is detritus of finished projects — swatches and yarn ends, and gloves and hats waiting to be blocked. But I do have several works in progress — four sweaters (one for Bob), a hat, and the vest front I cast on in a class at Squam — plus one big swatch and sample yarn for a pattern I hope to someday get back to. But basically six WIPs. I’m sure this is “better” than some people and “worse” than others, but I also think we all have different ideas about whether having a lot of WIPs is a good or bad thing. So this is my Q for You: How many WIPs do you currently have going, and if it’s different from the norm for you, what is your norm?


PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What else do you do while you knit?

57 thoughts on “Q for You: How many WIPs are on your needles?

  1. Ha! Can I estimate? Let’s see…..new yarn came in the mail Monday, so I “had” to cast on for the scarf. I have a huge cardigan project underway and a tiny baby sweater that needs just one more sleeve. I have a baby blanket going on and a pair of socks for me. I have the ongoing dishcloths. I guess that’s all except for the old/confusing/trying-to-figure-out-the-pattern bits and pieces.

    • Hi you sound like me, although I am almost at the end of the latest batch of goodies, just got the toe to finish on my eldest grand daughters birthday socks and put the lining into a jacket for a friend once I work out how to do it.then it’s more socks.

      • Just looked at my table again and there is a small knitted mouse waiting on her skirt and a meerkat to sew up and dress. A quilt that needs finished and them the embroidery projects and there are several of them.

  2. I have no WIP’s at this time, and I likely won’t until fall. I have a ton of pending stuff that I need to do, but I have too much other stuff on my to do list right now. I am itching to knit something, but my days are already beyond full.

    • Forgot to mention, I usually have only 1 or 2 WIP. I like to finish what I start, I’d feel sick and too overwhelmed if I have more than 2. One is usually my limit, unless I need to knit something for someone else.

  3. I have a pair of socks, 1 complete, the 2nd to most likely never be started. I have 1 sweater to be ripped out, and 1 pair of socks, After thought Heel socks, just cast on. I love the After thoughts so much that I will devote almost all my time to them. I am much more a monogamous knitter, actually panicky when I have a couple of wip. I do have yarn just purchased for a summer tee, but I almost start shaking when I think of casting on and how I will divide my time between that and my socks!

  4. I have an embarrassing number of things either started or planned. I believe it is because there are so many wonderful patterns to choose from. Before you are finished with a sweater, you see new images of other sweaters that you want to own. In the old days, we had very few sources to obtain patterns and were not tempted as often with new designs.

  5. On the needles projects are a vest for my grandson, a tie for my husband, a hemp ponchette for my daughter, a lace shawl for me, and “lucky” socks for my son…these will be finished by tomorrow to be worn when he takes his med boards on the 23rd.

  6. I usually have one pair of socks, a stalled sweater, an active big project like a sweater or blanket and something mid sized like a shawl or wrap. Hats and mittens tend to fly off the needles. Right now I have a few projects that aren’t WIP but really need to be tackled. I need to frog an unsuccessful sweater and rip out a skirt to repair an unbelievable bit of damage in a complicated spot.

  7. I was just telling myself I needed to get a grip on things… Two half-beanies, a quarter of a baby blanket, one glove that needs a partner, half a dishcloth, a panda amigurumi that’s missing a limb and a body, another that’s still waiting for it’s face to be embroidered and another still that barely has a head, a big heap of bulky yarn that’s supposed to be a scarf but has been ripped apart so many times I’m not even sure it is still usable… I could go on. And the stash is ever growing. Worse part is : none of it is for me! I’ve got loved ones still waiting for their Christmas presents! How I wish I could be paid just to knit and crochet!!

  8. I have 3 active WIPs–a chemo hat, a Veera Valmki wrap, and the dishcloth that lives in the car door (which hardly counts IMO), but there are 4 WIPs in the way-back–a sweater, a shawl, a shawlette, and an afghan/throw that needs to be finished because it’s been around since dinosaurs walked the land. I’m trying real hard right now to not cast on ALL the yarn/projects but to finish a few things.

  9. I have 11. 11! I actually cast on to the 11th in order to try to start and finish something to cleanse my pallet, so to speak. Many of my projects are in a place where I need to sit alone with them to concentrate, but much of my knitting time ends up being social or on the bus. The project that requires the most attention from me right now is the Tapezoid Tee by Sarah Wilson. I have a day off coming up soon, hopefully I can clear some needles then.

  10. Oh, I start thinking I’m in trouble when I get around 5, but I’ve gone up to 8 before. My problem is I like to have various projects going at various stages. There’s nothing worse than finishing up all your projects, left only to cast on as your only option for knitting. For me, I have to be alone in a room to cast on, with no one bugging me. If I cannot achieve that, I cannot knit, and if I cannot knit, my brain gets mushy. I like to have at least one project in the “easy” phase of stockinette or garter stitch that I can just pick up and go with without much thought. I like to have at least one project in the complicated phase, so when I do get some quiet time, I can feel like I really accomplished something beautiful. Also, as a designer, there are many, MANY times where I’m just not sure how I’m liking how a project is going. I’ve put WIPs on the back burner to simmer and just process how I like it for up to 8 months before moving forward with it.

  11. One set of fingerless gloves, 4 sweaters in various stages of almost completion, all put on hold to play in Rowan’s pure wool worsted Afghan KAL, in which I am on pace and was totally pure whim. Committed to finishing all before casting on any thing else. I’ve reached my limit!

  12. Ha! I took two hats OFF my needles yesterday – done! (Happy me!) Four more hats on needles, my beautiful Guernsey scarf/wrap (my summer project for me), probably three pairs of socks. That’s about it and probably a bit below “normal” for me. I can pick the best one for my mood – a run to the store, a wait at the ferry, a quiet hour at home (anything with a more serious pattern), color preference.

  13. Only two, really not much (My maximum so far has been six). One cardigan, and a sweater that needs assembling. But I’m about to cast on for a lace tunic, and probably a linen sweater as well. Things are too quiet on the knitting front these days. I found six a bit much though, because you cannot make progress on all every single day, so it can become frustrating. Three or four is usually a good number, provided the projects are quite different. Especially when you’re deep into a long sleeved sweater.

  14. 1 top-down raglan sweater, 1 Knit-Swirl sweater, 2 pair of socks, 1 infinity scarf, 1 shawl – and I agree with earlier comments that each seems to serve a different knitting need. Knitting for concentrating, for relaxing, for “quick’n’easy”. I really need to finish more before I cast on another project. I have an addiction to casting on!

  15. How many past years are we talking? Recently found two different lone socks with needles I don’t remember owning and also they were being done in two different techniques, it was such a surprise! Also a shawl, a baby sweater,( baby is now three), a cowl, a scarf and a sweater from a class I took at least 30 years ago, the class ended and I had not reached the part where the neck was to be picked up, never did get it done. We are all guilty.

  16. Only one! Last May I moved from a 5 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment. I am so happy with my decision, but I lost my sewing/craft room.
    In January, I committed to using my whole yarna nd fabric stash before I buy anything new. I am doing this one project at a time. So far I have emptied one trunk

    • Oops posted too soon. I have learned that I shouldn’t buy or keep yarn I don’t love. I have knit two sweaters with cheap yarn my mum found/thrifted and gave to me. I knit patterns I loved, but still disliked the sweaters. Despite repeated efforts I just couldn’t wear them…so I gave them away. Keep in mind that the yarn took up space for years and had to be moved, then knit before I gave it up!
      I am at the very end of a cardigan from a japanese pattern. This is the first Japanese pattern I have used. I know I will love this one! The yarn is a beautiful vintage yarn in a forests green. I thrifted this years ago and have finally used it up. Sucess one ptoject at a time.

  17. Pretty sure more than 100, but I haven’t counted in a while. How long does it have to hibernate before it’s not technically a WIP anymore?

    Personally, I don’t think having many WIPs is a bad thing (obviously). Knitting is my hobby, and I do my hobbies for fun and pleasure. Casting on and starting projects is fun. Sometimes slogging through a sleeve is not. Most of my work is very deadline-oriented so I don’t see the point in imposing deadlines on my fun thing.

  18. At the moment there are seven projects going on. I try to limit myself for six though. I have always an easy one to crochet and knit, something I can do at the same time when my man explains the universe to me… I always have two big, huge everlasting projects going on, one again crochet and one knitting (at the moment a fair isle pullover and a big crochet blanket) and then two fun ones, semi difficult and often one more or two more I instantly, immedeatly have to make (I went hiking and for the first minutes in the morning my wrist were a bit cold so when I arrived home I HAD to knit wrist warmers. I wish everybody lots and loads of fun with their projects!

  19. Four–two that really should be excavated from the depths of the knitting baskets–a pair of socks with an unusual sole construction that I tried to marry to the heel construction of another pattern. I know I can do it, but it requires patience and quiet, neither of which I have except in late summer. There’s the green wool cardigan I started three years ago; I figured out how to fix the waist so it nips in, but again, it’s a tricky construction (for me!) with cables and ribbing, so I need time to recall the pattern and get back in the groove. Then there’s the stranded, two-color Mythic Mitts (Wendy Johnson’s pattern, heavily adapted) that I’m making for my daughter’s birthday in two weeks. One is almost finished, the second needs the two-color pattern work started. Color work was my New Year’s resolution, and I’m working on that and suffering with two-tight floats.

    And then there’s a hat, the on-the-go knitting I take everywhere so I’m never bored while waiting in lines.

    Do the 4 unquilted, unbound quilts count as WIPs?

  20. I have 36 WIPs right now–thanks Ravelry for helping me keep track! Down from 50 at the beginning of the year. I like having lots of WIPs–I always have knitting options.

    I’m trying to do a WIP assessment every few weeks to see what’s close to being finished and could use some particular attention. I’m hoping to have a ton of new things to wear next winter!

  21. I have at least 3 pairs of socks in varying stages of knitting…then there are at least 2 stalled shawls (Little Colonade and Lonely Tree) off the top of my head. Always new distractions between patterns and yarns. Oh I need those blinders….

  22. It doesn’t bother me to have a lot of WIPs. I generally work on 2-3 at a time (one small project for commuter knitting, a larger but simple project for TV knitting, and a slower more complex project for when I want to block everything else out). But, I have several projects OTN in each of those categories. Sometimes I will go on finishing binges and other times I’m seized by a fit of Start Everything Now! — either way, I just go with the flow. :) Off the top of my head, I know of three pairs socks, 1 shawl, 2 afghans, 1 tank top, 1 sweater, 1 cowl. There’s also a stack of things that need finishing (buttons sewn on, ends woven in).

  23. I have three at the moment. I’m working on a Farmstead cardigan, a Ziggy cowl/scarf I was planning on giving as a present, and I started a Flax sweater from the Tin Can Knits’ Simple Collection. The cardigan only needs a collar and finishing, but I’m so frustrated with the collar it’s been hibernating for months! I’m planning on modifying the collar. The scarf is a little boring right now, but the Flax sweater is coming along well. I miss the feeling of finishing a project, but I haven’t been able to make time for it. Instead, I live vicariously through all the knitters I follow on Instagram.

    Does anyone know of a good guide for making a shawl collar?

  24. One. Only one. I’ve discovered I can’t work any other way. Too much stress having all those projects nagging at me.

  25. I surprisingly only have two WIP projects right now! A chunky cowl and a spring scarf. I get a bit overwhelmed if I have a ton of WIPs going, but I’ve definitely been there!

  26. It looks like you are doing pretty well to me. I have two dresser drawers full of works in progress. I do end up completing them eventually, but it takes a while. I need the variety. Also I seem to stop at points where more of my attention is required. I pull them out when I have a quiet chunk of time to figure them out.

  27. Karen,
    I’m soooo impressed – blogging in the midst of packing up for the big move! I can’t handle the stress of multiple WPI. I can handle only 2.

    Take care,

  28. there are wips, and then there are the ones which are hibernating. Real WIPs I have usually 4 or so. a pair of socks, a shawl or two and a sweater. Right now I have 2 Myteriosas, which are waiting for the next clue and I have just finished a simple linen cardigan. I have a almost completed sock, and I blame you for the other two WIPs, a spire blanket and a Bosc hat. :) I am thinking I need a linen top next. I really enjoy your blog, and quite often your pattern finds end up in my queue as well

  29. I have three pairs of socks – a winter pair on hold until the fall, a summer pair that are up to the toes, and a handspun pair. Also have a handspun sweater, fingerless mitts, and a moebius scarf. Two pairs of socks, the moebius, and fingerless mitts should be finished next week. And then there’s the spinning. I wondered why I have no time for anything else.

  30. Like a lot of people who’ve already commented, I can really only handle one knitting project at a time. I do like to always have one on the go, so I’ll start the next as my last is blocking. I’ll also generally have a quilt and a garment going. I guess as long as I can compartmentalize my projects, I can get along just fine with multiple WIPs.

    It does also seem to be a matter of definition – I have technically in-progress projects that I don’t ever see finishing – frogs in progress?

  31. I have two right now: a baby blanket that needs to be done by the 22nd and a pair of socks for DH. Sometimes I’ll have 3 WIPs but that usually makes me start twitching uncontrollably so 2 is much more manageable for me.

  32. I don’t think I have a “normal” number of WIPs, but like many others, I like to have projects that fall into these basic categories: somewhat mindless, (read: TV or road trip knitting), something a bit more involved, and then something that can be done in a relatively short period of time so I can hopefully get some instant gratification when it may seem like endless hours to finish certain projects.

    Right now I’ve got a total of five active WIPs: two pairs of socks, one garter stitch shawl, one lace shawl, and a swatch for a lightweight sweater as I’m trying to land on which pattern to use. (Perkins Cove is one of the options, btw, so thanks for that recommendation.) But of course, I’m also dreaming of starting some new ones: a Liesl tunic by Julie Weisenberger (Cocoknits) and the new Sandshore cardigan by Alicia Plummer.

    The scary thing for me right now is that during a recent two-month break from knitting after injuring my hand, I started to look at resuming my sewing and now I have a whole ‘nother category of WIPs! It’s called washed-fabric-waiting-to-be-cut-and-sewn-into-new-clothes. When will I ever learn?

  33. Wow! I was so surprised by this I only have 1. I also don’t have a yarn stash. I buy the yarn for a project, knit it and when I’m close to finished Ill buy the yarn for my next project so it’s ready to cast on as soon as I cast off my last. The only time I’ve had two WIPs was when I was knitting a jumper for my father in law who comes to visit once a week, I wanted the jumper to be a surprise so I had another project to work on when he was here so I could hide his jumper. I sew a lot as well, so if my knitting project is boring me I sew something and that gives me a bit of instant gratification.

  34. A question that makes me feel embarrassed! I have underway: crochet – a ripple blanket, a scarf and a tablecloth; knitting – a baby cardigan, 3 pairs of socks, a cardigan for my sister, a cardigan for my Mum, a cardigan for me… *draws breath*, two shawls, and a poncho… And I’ve had a spate of finishing things recently. I’m currently on a self imposed yarn buying ban as I have to knit or crochet from my stash. Only one exception allowed and that is to buy yarn to finish a project that’s nearly done.

  35. I have so many WIP that I’m lucky no one has taken my needles from me! It’s part of the fun. Sometimes I’ll stop if I’m not happy with the way something is going and think about the project. Eventually, I get back to the fun and creativity. :)

  36. oh ! I wrote a blog about exactly the same “problem”! you should read it :)! I think 3 projects is getting too many but it looks like you can manage more! so I am impressed !

  37. Right now, 3 big projects (2 sweaters and 1 dress), and that’s around the norm for me. Those 2 sweaters have been hanging around for years (literally), so it’s usually 2 or 3 more large projects added onto that. Some shawls or gloves every once in a while. But I also have spinning projects (2 of them) on the go, one more sweater in the planning stage (swatched! So it’s going to happen soon!), as well as 2 sewing projects. So more than enough to keep me busy!

  38. I blogged about all my WIPs a few months ago, and since then have finished three of the longest-standing things (one of which was over a year old.) I usually have two or three things on active rotation. I like variety and being able to choose a project based on my mood. I always have a pair of socks, and lately there’s always been a sweater in progress. The third slot tends to rotate between more socks (so there’s a “fancy” pair and a plain pair) or a shawl, or a gift, or whatever. Looking at it now, I guess that translates to a few short-term WIPs and one or more long-term ones.

    I feel pretty comfortable with three things, but I can easily handle more if nothing needs to be finished in a hurry. I have been trying to curb my startitis, though, since sometimes I cast on on a whim and the project is destined to remain unfinished, since it was the casting-on I wanted and not the knitting or the finished piece.

  39. I have 2 shawls that need to be blocked and a crochet bag that I’m finishing. I prefer to keep to one WIP at a time, but it doesn’t always work out that way! ;)

  40. Heh, depending on your point of view its either ‘1, 2, 3, Many!’ or ‘1,2, skip a few, 99, 100’ (our house’s unique way of counting.) Many of them were from before I realized I don’t like doing large items. I think doing 4 or 5 afghans in one year killed it for me. The others vary in reason from dislike of the yarn, dislike of the pattern, exhaustion with that particular craft (knitting or crochet) or gift distraction. When I get a series of gift items, for whatever reason it just makes anything else move to the back burner. Usually I can finished the pre-gift items later. Right now I have shawl to block, I’m almost finished with a pair of slippers (having to adjust the pattern in process for the specific feet), and a long scarf is 80% done, to match a hat for my oldest.

  41. Pingback: New Favorites: Alicia Plummer’s clever summer cowl | Fringe Association

  42. Too many to count. Will hopefully finish some more very soon. I am knitting the Wrapagan; have a summer shrug to finish; a lovely capelet to block; a vee-neck for my husband to finish the neck on; and a burgandy chenille cardigan to finish for me.

  43. Dear Karen, I thought I had written down where I could get the pattern for the blue sweater in the upper right hand corner….I remember it on your blog….and that you’ve made some changes….but I can’t find it….could you please tell me the pattern? Thank you…..have a fabulously knitfilled day!!!! Leslie

  44. Thank you, Karen! I love your blog and my Bento bag….oh my….traveled on the plane from VA to CA and back. It was so easy to stick in the top of my purse, on my lap, on my sons lap – ha, in the pocket on the back of the plane…. Sooo excited about your move! :)

  45. Off the top of my head, I counted 6 – which makes me think there may be more ;) It’s a larger-than-usual number for me but includes a typical mix of easy social knitting of a cowl and hexipuffs; 1 shawl and 1 cowl that require attention because the yarns are fiddly; a sweater that’s too big to carry around now; and a lace shawl. I think the lace shawl may be the first one finished. Even though I have a fair bit to knit, each of the remaining rows is different so I get to check things off, a guaranteed way to move me along.

  46. Pingback: WIP Parade | Der gemeine actionmole

  47. A bit over a year ago, my 8 year old daughter shamed me by asking why I have so many projects in my knitting box that I haven’t completed. Remember, you must finish what you start mama? So I started finishing one project in between each new one I took on. I now have plenty of baby gifts ready to go! With the exception of one, incomplete sweater that I think I may just pull apart, I can freely work on new projects.

  48. Pingback: (not so) mindless knitting | ella gordon

  49. Your picture inspires me to make my own. Looking at ravelry I have 20 wips, though 7 are there because I wanted to share pictures of my swatches or keep instructions. I’m currently working on two projects, one with a deadline for the outfit along, the other because it is a fun project to take along. I was a bit surprised by the number of projects but it doesn’t really bother me. In my ravelry destash group we have a finish or frog challenge for this year: decide what to do with longterm projects. Some of those 20 projects will end in the frog pond, like others have done earlier. But I must admit I have cast on for other projects with that yarn the previous months.

Comments are closed.