Knit 101: The Joys of Taking Your Time
It’s been about two months since I last wrote about my Killarney Sweater and I’d like to be able to say I’ve made excellent progress, but I don’t want to lie to you, dear reader—I’ve actually made very little progress. As you can see, I’m still working on the ribbing at the hem.
The good news is that I only have about half an inch to go! The bad news is that at my average rate, it will probably take me another 2 weeks to finish that last half-inch. My initial goal was to knit 2 rows every day so I could get through this sweater quickly, but that clearly hasn’t happened.
Here’s the thing: I can’t do anything else while I work on this ribbing. I can’t have a conversation or watch TV or participate in meetings or even listen to a podcast. For some reason, this pattern really trips me up if I’m not 100 percent focused on it, and not being able to multitask while knitting this ribbing really limits my ability to work on it. I just don’t have many opportunities during the day to focus solely on this one thing.
When I realized that last week, it brought me up short. Why do I feel like I don’t have time to give all my attention to one task? I’ve given it some thought, and I think it speaks a lot to how we live in this day and age. How often do any of us focus on just one task? There’s so much pressure to do everything that there’s little opportunity to give all of our attention to one thing. The more I think about it, the more I realize I hardly ever unitask: I listen to podcasts while I cook, I read while I exercise, I check my phone while I’m watching TV. I’m sure many of you are the same way.
There’s a lot of information out there about how to do more—heck, we’ve written blog posts on how to be a more prolific knitter. That’s great information; we all have a lot to get done, and being able to work quickly and efficiently is important. And it can be great to work on a project while watching a movie or chatting with friends (knitting is the original fidget spinner!). But for me, doing a bunch of things at the same time often means doing most of them poorly, and that especially applies to my knitting.
So maybe I’m going about knitting this sweater the wrong way. In my quest to always be multitasking, I’ve sometimes viewed my sweater as something that keeps me from doing other projects at work and at home. But what if I changed my perspective and viewed working on this pattern as an opportunity to slow down, focus, and truly enjoy the task at hand? Would that change my relationship with the project?
So far, the effects of slowing down and focusing have been really positive. I love this sweater so much more when I’m not pressuring myself to get it and everything else in the world done simultaneously. When I tell myself it’s okay to just knit, I remember that this ribbing is really fun to work and that I actually do enjoy knitting this sweater.
If, like me, you often find yourself frantically multitasking, I urge you to give yourself permission to focus on just your knitting. Put aside the million other things clamoring for your attention—they’ll still be there when you’re done. Focus up, get in your zone, let the distractions melt away, and be fully present with your project.