Sunday, November 06, 2005

Most knitters have a lot of projects going at once. If you want to get some of them finished, how do you do it? The secret is to to work on small amounts of your knitting at a time, and to do it regularly. Remember that knitting is portable:

You should always have at least one project in a stage where you don't have to think very much, so you can work on it for short periods in distracting situations. And you should use that portability to its advantage.

The truth of the matter is that you should only knit for short periods anyway--usually no more than about 10-20 minutes. It's not good for your body to do repetitive motions for long periods of time. You want to be able to keep knitting for many years without pain.

If you're an obsessive knitter (are there any knitters who aren't?), you can sneak it in many times during the day.

Start with breakfast time. Cooking eggs takes 2 minutes. That gives you time to do a row on a sock, or to knit a few stitches on a sweater. Not much, but more stitches than you had when the eggs were raw. (No need to knit at the breakfast table unless you have a very serious knitting deadline. Enjoy your food and family.)

Do you have a slow e-mail system, or do you dial up and have to wait a long time for web pages? If so, knit during the slow parts.

Do you work and have a lunch break? Knit at lunch every day for 10 minutes.

Knit during TV programs--almost too obvious to mention.

Knitting during theater movies is harder if you're a stitch dropper (which most of us are) and if you like to be able to see what you're knitting (not completely necessary if you practice not looking)--but there's always time before the movie starts. Concerts? Intermission is a bonus. Rock concerts--why stop? (Whom could you possibly "distract"?) Meetings? Determine whether you will be fired or repriminded, and go with your best judgment. But conferences? Go ahead and knit.

Take your knitting everywhere, whether or not you think you will be able to work on it, and it's surprising how often you can. You can knit at the bank drive-through while waiting for the teller. You can knit if you are having dinner with friends for the chatting before and after. (If you are awake and talk to them as you knit, they usually aren't offended.) If you run across road construction and have to wait, pull out that knitting. Maybe your car will break down, and you will have to knit while you wait for the tow truck. (This actually happened to me just this afternoon, and my friend Chuck's scarf is quite a bit longer now.) If your Significant Other has to run into Radio Shack for 5 minutes, stay and knit in the car (like so many men who read books in cars outside our shop). If you're on car trips with another person, knit in the car. Do you ride the bus? The train? Guess what to do.

And that is how you get your knitting done. The secret is to keep it with you at all times in a knitting bag.

Rather than getting angry because you're being held up, you'll probably find that you're usually a little bummed when things start moving again. The famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmerman once got into a driving situation where a man doggedly refused to move his car out of the way for her. All she did was smile and hold up her knitting. He moved.

Many knitters are impatient about waiting, and knitting can occupy us--and as a bonus, we get our knitting done. Knitting is not only a pleasant thing to do, but it also can make wait times seem like valuable moments for accomplishment.

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