I read this post on Instagram the other day by Karen of Fringe Association and it resonated with me. I’ve been struggling to finish my Flaum cardigan and finally decided to put it to the side officially. I’m not motivated to knit it and most sweaters fly off my needles. It could be because the Fisherman’s rib is tedious or the oatmeal neutral color is just too boring. Whatever it is, I’m putting it down for a bit. And if I let it sit for too long, I may just frog it and move on to the next project. No need to waste my time on projects that don’t spark me creatively. And honestly, although I see others knitting neutrals I realize that’s really not me. Rainbows are my neutral. Exhibit A, this is a neutral sweater to me:
I knit a lot but I’ve realized that I plow through projects that spark me creatively. When the yarn is super dreamy and the pattern is interesting I can’t wait to finish it. When a pattern is tedious and the yarn is boring I don’t want to be bothered. Once people come to this blog, check out my Instagram feed or look at my Ravelry page they always comment on how many sweaters I knit. Non-knitters hear that I knit 24 sweaters last year and immediately ask me why I don’t sell them (there’s a long list of reasons why not). Knitters typically just ask HOW!?! And I’ve realized a few things that make a difference for me:
- I don’t have children. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I have 3 godchildren and a cousin I treat like my child. I just don’t have biological children of my own. If I did have children I think most of my hours would be spent with them and attending to their needs like my Mom did with us when I was growing. That would just leave the end of the day when they’re asleep to knit. Instead I have two small dogs who just want me to sit down and let them curl up on my lap or right next to me. It’s a perfect opportunity to knit, although sometimes I’m swatting a tiny chihuahua out of my face who just wants to lick me.
- I always have knitting with me. A couple days a week I commute in to work with my husband and that means I have an hour in the morning (and in the summer an hour in the evenings with daylight) to knit in the car. I can do a lot with just an hour. I knit when I bring my lunch with me or go to eat by myself at a restaurant. If I could knit in meetings I would but I feel like it would be frowned upon at work. Even my students know, when they have a test I sit at the front of the class knitting and watching for an hour and a half.
- I am a hermit. No really, I am. I relish my solitude. My husband travels for work and when I have a week or two in the house to myself, I knit without guilt of ignoring him. When I knit this pattern he was halfway across the globe.
- I don’t put deadlines on my knitting. That is a big difference to me. I’ve done one test knit and may do others but only when I feel like I have the time (usually in January or the spring when I don’t feel like I really to make myself a new sweater). If I’m making something for a baby it might not make it for the baby shower but they’ll get something from me in due time. And I’ve said I want to knit things for the holidays but if it doesn’t get finished by December 25 I know it’ll still be cold in January or February! Taking away that pressure keeps my knitting more enjoyable.
These things make a difference in the amount of time it takes me to knit a sweater, on top of the fact that I’m pretty fast and don’t have to look at my hands anymore when I’m working on straight stockinette stitch for big sweaters. I consider myself lucky that I get to make as much as I do and can hopefully keep up the pace for a bit but also know that I have to give my hands and wrists breaks so I don’t over do it (I haven’t knit anything for about 36 hours now because I just need to pause). So that’s the method to this sweater knitting madness and why I’m already on sweater number 24 this year (you can see all my projects on Ravelry here) and will most likely surpass last year’s total.
Any other questions?
28 Replies to “Motivation & My Knitting”
you go girl!!!
What an interesting post! 🙂
I get asked a lot how I knit so much so I finally thought perhaps I should explain my motivation and process.
For sure! I’m sort of a hermit too, but I’ve always assumed you’re also a MUCH faster knitter than I am. Lol!
I love this! I get asked a lot why I don’t sell the things I make. I know they mean well, but selling things would take all of the fun out of making them!
Exactly! I knit for the joy of it, not for money. And once you put a deadline and a dollar sign on it it stops being fun and starts becoming this perfect thing you have to produce.
Yesterday a colleague mentioned that she had a three hour meeting that day and I replied that I pity anyone who does not know how to knit since it is what gets me through meetings. I know that some people tell me that they cannot knit at work but I am lucky since it is acceptable thing to do where I work. Commuting and meetings are the best places to knit as long as it is a pattern that is simple.
I am by nature a hermit, too, and I am quite happy to stay at home although working and volunteering and exercising take me away from home. I love when I can spin or knit surrounded by my cats as long as my cat Petie does not chew through the yarn!
I am happy to meet a fellow hermit 🙂 I spend a lot of weekends at home when I can and take the dogs on long walks but I’m happy in my own home and perfectly pleased to spend an entire weekend knitting.
So interesting! Agree with you totally—no selling, no deadlines, and if it doesn’t thrill me, away with it! Love seeing all your colors. And guess what? I have a baby project for the new year.
I think the baby projects are the most time consuming and once I realized they will want a blanket whether they’re a newborn or 2 I’m good. LOL
My daughter and I were just wondering how you knit so many amazing sweaters so fast and then I read your blog!
Thanks for solving some of the mystery. One last thing we are still wondering about:
Do you knit continental or english style? We both knit english style and wonder if that’s what’s slowing us down.
Also, do you find that one type of needle lets you knit faster? We were also wondering where you get your yarn from?
I really enjoy your blog. It’s the first site I look at when I log on after work. It’s very motivating and I love your dogs!
Thank you! So to answer your questions: I knit English style – nothing fancy. I may post a video so folks can see my knitting. I prefer addi metal short tip interchangeable needles. I feel like the fiber moves smoother on those than when I use bamboo. And I get my yarn from lots of places! Some stuff is from Joann’s or Michael’s, I have two local yarn shops I love and I’m a big internet person. I buy in bulk for sweaters on yarn.com and littleknits.com because they have great prices when I need lots of yarn. And I follow folks like Madelinetosh on Instagram so I know when she has a sale 😊
So do you only by yarn for each project or do you have an ever expanding stash like I do? You knit beautiful sweaters so quickly. Does that keep yarn more manageable? Where do you store it all?
Oh that could be an entirely different post. I have a workroom and yarn storage and a big stash but I go through phases where I use a lot of what’s in the stash and I donate and swap with friends! You can get a glimpse of my stash on Ravelry.
I’m absolutely loving this post and the conversation in comments. Hermits unite… separately! The internet makes it possible for us all to sit quietly at home and yet be warmed by this happy community. Some things are actually better than they were in the “olden days.”
When I’m in love with a project, I can’t wait to see how it’s going to turn out. That’s when the stitches fly and I get things done in a hurry. Long ago I tried knitting to order for pay and learned very fast that a) non-knitters think they should pay machine-knit prices for handcrafted goods; and b) knitting to deadline is like any other creative effort to deadline — deadly! I knit for love nowadays. With eight family birthdays in December/January, I’ve announced that I will aim to deliver any big presents (sweaters, vests, etc.) on birthdays, while accessories *may* arrive on Christmas. Or not. There’s such a thing as being too predictable!
Who knew this would spark such conversation? I love it too!
I completely relate to you’re being a hermit! People look at me like I’m crazy! Just now, waking after allowing myself to sleep in to 6:15…like heaven…and realizing I have the whole day ahead of me with nowhere to go! Coffee, pjs, and knitting all day. Sounds like a perfect Saturday to me!
I love your blog Dana!
PJs, lattes and knitting all day is my dream!
I feel the same about boring projects made with boring yarn – even if I finish them, I usually just don’t feel the same joy as when I love the colours and the design. And I have similar sense of what’s neutral 😉
As for selling things, this is the comment I hear a lot, oh you must sell it, you can make a lot of money on it! No, I can’t, if I would like to sell it and actually earn something, usually the item would have to be much more expensive than what anyone wants to pay for it.
Yup! Sometimes the yarn is so expensive plus my time and they wouldn’t want to pay what it’s really worth.
“Rainbows are my neutral”. I love it!!!! Good for knowing yourself and deciding that the knit in progress just wasn’t working out. And I hear you about knitting time- I can only knit now after the kids are in bed, and it has massively impacted my Fo count in a given year.
Exactly! I feel like if I was a parent that would be my priority. Since I’m not knitting is my priority 😊
that previous comment was me. I wasn’t logged into my account. sigh.
Hahahaha it’s okay but I replied to that one LOL
Gosh I don’t know if one can post on a 2 year old blog but I have often asked how do you knit so quickly! I, too, have no kids and am retired. But I don’t pick up knitting until after 5pm. If I am doing stranded I don’t carry it with me as I get lost trying to follow a pattern. I love my solitude as well! I know tht boring feeling. I am on a sweater now and so desperately want to make the one with the new yarn-haha!
I love your blog too. Do you have a special way to count rows, inches, repeats? Do you have favorite tools? What’s your favorite top ten go-to patterns for beginners?