Sunday, March 18, 2012

Knitting time management

The line between time management and time loss can be as slim as laceweight.  Or maybe I mean the line between neglecting everything else to knit, and neglecting knitting for everything else.

Take for example my usual policy of neglecting everything but knitting, which means messy things like dealing with dust rabbit colonies and orange peeling fall by the wayside in favour of having a thirty-sixth hat, or twenty-fifth pair of socks.

Versus my current policy of doing everything but knitting so I will be much more efficient with my knitting time by being healthy, fit, and resident of a dust-resistant home.  Which is crazy, because what gets left out is Zen, which is what happens when you knit (assuming it's going well, but more on that later.)

* * * * *

Brief pause for a pretty, and partially relevant picture:

And... back to today's topic...

* * * * *

Knitting Does Not Equal Guilt

You have to make time to do what you love - you just do, and you can't feel guilty about how much you do that because guilt isn't warranted in such a situation.  Think about it:  if doing what you love happens to make your life better, great.  If it makes somebody else's life better, for example by way of suddenly owning your twenty-sixth pair of socks, fabulous.

But realistically, doing what you love is going to make you a happier person, which makes you nicer to be around, which is SO much more important than being the person who keeps the dust under control.  And ever so much more important than feeling guilt.

The Role of Organization

Still... being organized can make it easier to have more knitting time.  We have all learned the hard way that the time spent searching for cable needle X or laceweight needle Y could have been better spent knitting shawl Z.

And who - as a passenger, though I know some drivers also indulge, to which I say GAH - hasn't benefited from travel time with progress on a project that was enough in one place to be scooped up into a tote-able bag on the way out the door?

Other short- and long-term ways to cheat more knitting time can include:

Requiring less sleep (and if you figure out how, do tell).

Buying previously-chopped veg and a prepared chicken for supper.

Setting out your next-day's clothes while folding laundry - and if you can manage it, a few days' worth, so as to scrape up some early-morning calm knitting time.

Planting perennials in front of your house rather than annuals, and enjoying the floral show at your non-crafty neighbours' houses instead.

Opting for a low-maintenance look of minimal makeup and hairstyling (this saves on shopping and salon time too.)

Knitting Time is Special Time

Speaking of which, when I finally had time to get a haircut the other day, Rob asked me what big knitting project I have in hand at the moment and I -

didn't know what to tell him.

Me: speechless.  This never happens.  (and this time, it only lasted milliseconds.  still.  speechless!)

I've been so focused on Zen-ing up my day, letting go of manufactured deadlines like writing a blog post every morning before 8am or having all the clean laundry put away by 8pm, I haven't put any thought into knitting at all, and have been working away at random plain socks for purely functional purposes.  Useful, but hardly uplifting.

Fortunately, I did give way about a week ago to the lure of the Sugared Violets crescent shawl, and I also had a few movie nights and car trips since then.  So I have something happy to look at every day.

Avoiding Disaster

Given the terrible lighting you would be forgiven for thinking I have included that picture of the shawl  in all its crescent-ness to say Look! I'm nearly done!

In fact, I expect that experienced knitters will look at that picture and say one of two things:

a/ Wow, Mary must have a seriously long circular needle; or

b/ Whoops, Mary messed up and has taken most of the stitches off the needle to rip back.

If you're keeping score, that's a chocolate to you and none for me, because I need my hands clean to rip back.  Yep, I messed up on the lace while watching yet another movie (The Brothers Bloom, which started well and got disappointing very quickly).  I checked my count; knew I'd erred; couldn't find the err; decided to fake the count at the end of the row since it was the first of a fresh pattern; knit, increased, and decreased another 416 stitches and discovered where the mistake was.  About 609 stitches beforehand.  It's just easier to frog than pick back 609 stitches with a minefield of yarn overs in it.

The moral of which is: the best way to manage your knitting time is: don't mess up during your knitting time.

Or, you know. Use a lifeline when knitting lace.


UmmRania said...

I have been reading your blog for while and just wanted to tell you I love it! I love that you post so often and I love you writing, for me its up there with yarn harlot's blog--so thank you and keep it up!

Mary Keenan said...

Ohhhh - thank you so much UmmRania, what a nice start to my week!