My husband Sean, who is an excellent runner, often jokes that he has a difficult time making himself go running unless he is signed up for a race. I'm kind of the same way with knitting projects; I love to plan them, I love to work on them, but I am terrible at finishing them unless I have a very specific deadline.
Case in point: I recently knit up this little acorn cap and matching swaddle for a gift for my cousin Suzanne's baby. I found the pattern and bought the yarn well in advance, but I was still up until 2 a.m. the night before the baby shower. It turned out pretty sweet, though; I'm particularly fond of the acorn hat and will probably stitch it up for a few more babies I know.
I have two projects on the needles right now. My niece Caroline is dressing as Hermione Granger for Halloween, and I long ago promised her a Gryffindor maroon and gold scarf. Suddenly, Halloween is just around the corner, so I've got to finish it and send it off. Not a particularly stimulating project, but it is always fun to make a gift that will be adored, and Caroline is the biggest Gryffindork I know.
I'm also hard at work on a retirement/going away present for our close friend/superstar babysitter Patty. It's a felted yoga bag that I found in Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts (there are a few pics on the Ravelry description). Let's just say that Joelle and I have a really different idea of a last minute gift - I've been working on this all summer! I love this project because it allows me to use up bits and pieces of wool that I have laying around. Felting projects always take a while, since you have to knit them so much bigger than the finished size; this particular piece needs to be 45" long before beginning the felting process. I'll post some pics when it's off the needles and ready to felt; she's moving in the next few weeks, so I know it will actually get done.
Even though it takes me longer than the average knitter (or so it seems), I love the process. I'm pretty sure that I have had something on my knitting needles since I started knitting fifteen years ago, and I hope I always do.