I had an opportunity to discuss the dreaded Second Sleeve Syndrome with noted knitting psychologist Snorri Culversdottir, PhD, over the weekend. She shared with me the following list of warning signs, which I felt could be of benefit to my readers:
1. Knitting an abnormal number of socks (see small size of second sleeve relative to the socks):
2. Purchasing more sock yarn (even if the yarn is on sale).
3. Planning future projects.
4. Making public promises to complete the sleeve but not following through (for example, the April 27th entry: "But I'm now in California for a week--Twizzle was too big to cart around on this trip, so I've picked up Sashiko. My goal this week, which promises to be nice and rainy and perfect for knitting, is to finish both sleeves and start the yoke shaping.")
5. Joining insane knitalongs such as the Knitting Olympics.
6. Starting more charity knitting projects (the Dulaan deadline is coming up!).
7. Buying books at the Mother's Day sales.
8. Knitting for imminent babies.
9. Spinning pretty singles yarn for an undertermined project.
10. Spinning even more yarn for an undetermined project.
11. Joining the Dye-O-Rama secret pal sock yarn exchange.
13. Being abnormally conscientious about work (you remember: work is what you do to support your habit).
These avoidance techniques are characterized by having deadlines, being relatively small (leading to the infamous words of denial: "oh, I could whip up that hat in a few hours"), and having a complete lack of relationship to the stalled sleeve project, which has by now been buried in the knitting basket under layers of socks, hats, scarves, and fiber.
Luckily, as Dr. Culversdottir pointed out, the knitter's inability to break through Second Sleeve Syndrome does not alter the family's love for her: