I think I identified the sources of the pressure: there are 6 yarns I want to use first with equal passion + I'm making a personal garment but using a professional process (more on this below) + I have a tight time limit if I'm going to wear a new design (or 6?) to TNNA!
The 6 yarns that cast a spell over me: Kollage Yummy in Foggy Dew, Sirdar Baby Bamboo in a heathery metallic lilac (see both in 3rd photo below), Tess Cascade Silk in handdyed pewter, Plymouth Shire Silk in radiant tweedy aqua (both at right), Plymouth Royal Llama Linen in 3 earthy neutrals, and Great Adirondack Sierra (see above) in a painted rainbow. (These are on my Ravelry Stash page.)
I swatched 5 like crazy (the storm part) and noticed something new about that. As I mentioned, it's been 2+ years since I could design a sweater for myself rather than for professional deadlines. The swatching resulted in a number of good designs from a professional standpoint, but none that made me commit to making one now for me. It was weird--I enjoy a good swatching marathon in its own right and I've got a stack of some great swatches now--but for future reference. Huh? I need something now! What's going to close the deal?
Luckily I didn't stop swatching. I picked up the 6th yarn, Baby Bamboo, and magic happened. My fingers and eyes tingled (a personal response to the yarn). I tried a new stitch pattern that captured my imagination (I call it "Waterlily"). After two rows I was hooked personally, not professionally. I guess that after 2-3 years I forgot that there's a difference LOL!