Knitting Sarah’s Tips for Healthy & Happy Productivity
by Sarah Chy
As you turned your calendar from October to November last week, I’m sure many of you may had that moment of panic where you realized that Christmas is just one page turn away. Yes, we definitely are in the throes of holiday knitting crunch time. As you assess your to-knit list this year, I wanted to extend some tips that I employ for finishing projects in a timely manner with joy & in good health in the hopes that you might have a little less stress and a little more happiness as you knit away on your gifts this year. If you aren’t knitting gifts, no worries! This list serves as a general guide to getting your projects from WIP to FO in a timely manner, too.
1) Set reasonable goals.
This is really where success begins. If you are just starting on knitting Christmas stockings today and your plan is to make 20 before Santa comes around or hospitalize yourself trying, you might want to put your doctor on speed dial. Knitting 12 intricate lace shawls between now and New Year’s? It’s probably not going to happen. While it’s OK to push yourself a little, it’s important to honestly look at your free time and make realistic plans. You’ll be more efficient, you will enjoy it more, and the FOs will be better quality if you set reasonable goals for yourself from the start.
2) Be organized.
Nothing will slow you down faster or be more irritating than not being able to find your tools when you need them. If you miss a deadline, I promise that 35 minutes you spent hunting for your yarn needle will haunt you. Keep your needles tidy, your notions within easy reach, and give each of your projects its own project bag containing everything you need to work on it. Having all the things you need at your fingertips will insure your time is spent on the knitting, not trying to find your knitting or things you need to be able to knit.
3) You can take it with you.
Be a mobile knitter. Take your knitting with you when you’re out and about because you never know when you’ll find yourself stuck waiting. Even more importantly though, keep your knitting nearby at home. If your knitting is within arm’s reach, when you have 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there – like when the water is boiling on spaghetti night — you’ll be more likely to pick it up and work on it. Those random odd minutes will add up over time. I’m a firm believer that it’s what you do in these in-between moments that make or break the best laid knitting plans.
4) Prioritize for when life happens.
Maybe you’ve done everything right; you’ve set realistic goals, you’re hyper organized, and you’ve been knitting in your allotted time plus all those in-between moments. You’ve been diligent and on target and you’re feeling great about finishing that to-knit list on time this year. Then your sister’s car breaks down and she asks if you can carpool with her to save a on rental. Your kids come home and beg you to help them make handmade gifts for their teachers. Oh, and could you also make a dozen cupcakes and a help organize your daughter’s holiday party at school? And then, to add insult to injury, the dog breaks out in hives from the new dog food you bought him. In the waiting room at the vet you have to face the facts: either you won’t sleep for the next 3 weeks or the to-knit list will have to be slashed. It’s disappointing, but these things happen and you have to be prepared for this eventuality. Have your projects prioritized so that if/when the time comes you can easily bump the lowest priority projects to a later date. Knowing what your priorities are before you hit roadblocks makes it quicker and easier to move on when you do.
5) Knit happy, knit healthy.
It’s always important to remember that at the core of our knitting is love and joy. When you’re rushed and knitting on deadlines, it’s easy to forget this simple fact. We all start with this idyllic vison of wrapping those dear to us in our love-filled stitches, but when you rush and push too hard you’re actually knitting that stress right into your work. You’re more likely to wind up with overuse injuries, to make mistakes that thwart your knitting plans, and to miss out on important moments with friends and family out of an obligation to your to-knit list.
Take a deep breath and enjoy those stitches because that’s what it’s really all about. If your body gets sore or tired, take a break. When you have a social engagement, go and have fun. Take care of yourself, knit happy, and if you’ve made a reasonable, flexible, prioritized list, you’ll get everything you need to finish done. And the results will be those love-filled stitches you envisioned.
Guest blogger Sarah Chy is a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog, http://knittingsarah.com