Startitis is the constant and unrelenting need to begin a new project before completing a current project. This can lead to a long backlog of projects, lack of proper supplies (because they are always in use elsewhere), clutter and overstuffed project bags and/or spaces, loss of patterns, regular UFO (UnFinished Object) sightings, and stitcher's remorse.
There is no cure for Startitis, but some cases are acute and resolve on their own, usually after an extended time period dedicated to one or two WIPs (Work in Progress). Completion of these projects may lead to a longer string of project completion as one's satisfaction level increases with each job well done. Vacations, extended family stays, and regularly scheduled times of stitching while waiting, such as lessons, doctor's appointments, or a commute, are often cited as project completion inducing activities and therefore may reduces one's symptoms of Startitis or resolve it completely.
Most of those susceptible to Startitis will have multiple acute episodes during their stitching life. This is normal as life ebbs and flows through it's different stages and one's stitching ebbs and flows with it. For some, however, Startitis is never fully resolved and may simply go into remission between episodes. Often, you can tell a chronic case of Startitis by the ratio and/or rapidity of ones project completion and the starting of new projects. Many with chronic Startits will begin a new project immediately after completing one, or more often, while they are still working on other projects. This usually creates a relatively high number of WIPs, often more than they can keep track of.
Startitis can be highly contagious and often spreads rapidly through stitching groups and communities. It seems to spread more quickly when new yarn or patterns are made available to the group or after one member successfully completes a project and encourages others to try the same pattern or yarn.
Some common symptoms of Startitis include (but are not limited to):
Collecting project bags and notions so that you always have what you need on hand and ready to go.
Carrying larger bags with multiple smaller project bags inside of it.
Not being able to recollect where the project you wanted to work on is located. (Did I leave that one at home, or take it to work?)
Not remembering what you were doing, what row/round you're on, or what stitch you were using on a project because you haven't worked on it in a long time. This is different than simply losing your place or row count in your pattern.
Purchasing yarns and needles/hook on a whim because you have to start that project right now.
Finding needles/hooks with yarn in your stash, with a few stitches completed, but not knowing what pattern you were intending or why those stitches are on the needle/hook.
This is not an inclusive list of symptoms, and occasionally these symptoms may be experienced by someone who is not dealing with Startitis.
The key to dealing with Startitis is management. Often, when well managed, the symptoms will subside and Startitis will resolve or go into remission on its own. There are many things you can do to manage the symptoms:
Don't start a project until you finish one - one in, one out. This doesn't cut back on your WIPs, but with time, you may find yourself finishing 2 or more projects before you start a new project, and that can be key to one's recovery.
Keep a list of projects. For some, the simple act of listing their projects can help limit their WIPs, and therefore help recover from Startitis. Notebooks work, as do many apps and websites like Ravelry. Choose the method you're most likely to use.
Only carry one or two projects with you at a time. This forces you to concentrate on those projects more, and thereby complete them sooner.
Join a group. That sounds counter intuitive, since Startitis is contagious. But groups also offer accountability. Group members watch each others progress, offer encouragement, and are just as excited as you are when you complete a project.
If you, or someone you know may be suffering from Startitis, don't panic! Startitis isn't life threatening. Most people with Startitis go on to live normal lives, creating beautiful, functional, and one of a kind items along the way.
And if you ever need someone to talk to about your Startitis, we're here. After all, I have a chronic case. I wish I could say it was acute and would resolve itself shortly, but I've concluded that my case is hopeless, and there is no cure.