10 Ways to be a More Prolific Knitter
Tired of being stuck in Area 51 with all those UFOs (unfinished objects)? Ready to move past your PHDs (projects half-done)? I have compiled a list of tips that will take you, struggling knitter, from drowning in unfinished projects to being an organized knitting machine. And the best part is that you can do it all without dedicating all of your time to knitting.
1. Have 2–3 projects on needles at a time.
I like to have one complicated and long-form project that will take me a few months to complete, one that is smaller and makes me excited about knitting (either because I’m learning a new technique or I can’t wait to see the final product), and one that’s an easy knit for travel and mindless knitting. This way, you always have a variety of options and won’t get sick of working on a particular project. You will be surprised by how many projects you can get done when you’re procrastinating on one project by working on another. Keep in mind that more than three projects will cause you to stash and forget. Try to keep it focused.
2. Keep your stash lean and mean.
I get it, we all love buying, feeling, and looking at yarn. My stash is quickly growing out of control. But try to only buy new yarn when you have a project in mind for it. If your stash overwhelms you, it can discourage you from picking up the needles. Having a plan—even a loose one—for your yarn will keep you on track and accountable.
3. Listen to audio books and podcasts instead of zoning out in front of the TV.
If you have a project that takes a little more concentration or are not comfortable watching a screen while you knit, try listening to your entertainment. I was a podcast naysayer until I started my first lace scarf, and I am now addicted. You’ll also feel incredibly productive if you listen to educational podcasts while you knit.
4. Always ask yourself: could I be knitting right now?
If you have some free time on your commute (if you carpool or take public transit—don’t knit and drive, guys) or in between tasks at home or work, knit! The best way to make progress is to actually work on your knitting. The project does not knit itself in your bag.
5. Bring your knitting outside!
Are you going camping, out to a local brewery or winery, or maybe to a lecture, class, work, or doctors appointment? If you’re sittin’, you can be knittin’. I love being out and seeing fellow crafters, and there’s no shame in showing the world how talented and creative you are.
6. Use knitting as a reward.
Did you clean the kitchen? You’ve earned 30 minutes of knitting! Finish a task at work? Knit a couple rows! You will be surprised by how much progress you make by working on it a little bit at a time—you don’t need to set aside hours to knit to make progress and you will be more likely to get that chores list done.
7. Don’t get discouraged when things aren’t going perfectly.
Remember that you knit because you enjoy it and that frogging and tinking are both part of the process. Don’t get disheartened, ask for help (from your LYS or a friend), and just think about how great that completed project will be.
8. Use Ravelry to assign yarns to projects and have an ongoing list of projects to work on.
Keep thinking about what you would like to work on next. Having a rough plan for future projects will motivate you to finish current ones. And Ravelry allows you to add multiple project ideas to yarns in your stash. You can keep patterns organized IRL with this Yarn Hack!
9. Set deadlines or goals
This is the most important one. If you set a hard deadline for a project, you will knit faster than you thought possible. Set a calendar reminder on your phone to finish it at a specific time. If your project needs to be seamed or blocked you don’t have to finish it right off the needles, but the reminder will motivate you to finish knitting the piece. If you are new to knitting, keep in mind that it might take a little while before you understand how long a project should take. Start with later deadlines than you think you’ll need and shorten them as you get more comfortable.
10. It’s okay to take breaks!
If you get frustrated with one or all of your projects, you can browse Ravelry for future ideas, swatch, or wind skeins. You can get projects done without knitting constantly, so there’s no need to put unnecessary stress on yourself. And you can use breaks to get familiar with yarn you want to work with, add your yarn and needle notes to your Ravelry queue so you don’t have to rely on memory, and spend some time doing Ravelry maintenance. I am constantly adding possibilities to my library and weeding them out later.
Do you already use some of these tips? Have any to share? Show us what you’re knitting on Instagram @InterweaveCraft.
And as always, happy knitting.
Assistant Editor, Interweave Knits