Tuesday, October 23, 2012

10 ways to get more knitting time

If I had my way, I'd be spending a lot more time making stuff.  Ideally, making stuff with yarn.


Maybe you get to do that whenever you like but I seem to be in a perpetual state of:

Why can't I just sit and knit????

I mean, it can't just be the whole Not Independently Wealthy thing.

And it's not like retirement is going to be the walk in the park I was promised either: every retired person I know is busier than s/he ever was.

So I think it's really important to try to maximize the downtime now, and not next month when the current deadlines are past.  There are just going to be other deadlines taking their place: I can tell, because it took me nearly five months to open a bag of Loom so I could start using up a ton of yarn, which is actually a priority activity for priority lists like housekeeping and gift giving and not moving to a bigger house, like, now.

And that my friends is why I am happy to say that in spite of an even crazier schedule than ever, I've been able to make some mental shifts and do some tricks to buy myself more than an hour a day of quality time with my yarn, even if yesterday's hour was achieved in part by knitting while walking home from the gym.

Simplifying your schedule for crafty gain

1. The house doesn't need to be that clean.  Seriously, #1 decision.  In the absence of allergies and asthma of course - unless you see ants or some even less palatable insect, or a yarn cake is going to be trailing through dust while you warp a loom with it, or somebody is coming over who might think you're living in squalor (and you care what that person thinks), you can skip vacuuming for a little longer.

2. If you are going to throw some of your time in the direction of housecleaning, invest at least of little of that in decluttering.  What's the point in dusting around shelves occupied with all manner of everything, if you're not going to have any more yarn storage space there than you did before?  Also: it's so much easier to tell yourself the house doesn't need to be that clean, if it's not also super disorganized.  Either way you gain yarn time, even if it's only looking at it more often.

3. If you're not lucky enough to get to wear easy predictable non-effort-requiring outfits every day, set out clothes the night before.  I know, you hear that in every article about simplifying the morning rush, but try this twist: set out clothes for the next three days.  Maybe it's just me, but working through the choreography demanded by errands, weather, length of day, and venues to be visited takes so much time, and it doesn't take three times longer to do it for three days than it does for one.  The result: two evenings with more crafty time in them, and up to three mornings that start with a row or two of knitting (or that just start a bit later, to accommodate the extra inch or two of knitting you stayed up late to do the night before.)  I am so in.

4. If a crafty thing is more fun in pictures and finished product than in the act of making, buy it.  Life is short, and leisure time is shorter, and every crafty project has to cover a lot of different functions including and especially: making you happy. There is a lot to be said for letting other people be happy, by buying stuff they made.  Or, to put it another way, Hello Etsy!

5. Outsource.  Which is sort of an extension of Point #4, though not specifically about crafty stuff.  In my experience, hardly anybody has both time and money, and some don't have either, but generally you're going to have a bit more of one than the other - or at any rate, a little more than strictly necessary.  If it's time that's super short, why spend on a spa when you can get the same relaxation plus a pair of mitts from knitting?  Or you could spend less and buy the knitting time via a prepared lunch.

6. Or even a prepared everything.  I used to go into the Posh Grocer's for a rare treat and think: If I just shopped here all the time, my life would be so much tidier and nicer.  Recently it occurred to me that that might actually be true so at the moment, I'm buying fresh, prepared foods from the Posh Grocer's every few days and not trying to stockpile the pantry which was getting way too crowded anyway.  There is SO much space in my 'frig now, and what is taking up space in it is stuff like this:

Mixed organic greens, grown locally, which cost about the same as I'd spend on two days' worth of chocolate and turn ordinary lettuce into something you actually look forward to eating.  Other great finds: broccoli salad that keeps for days, amazing homemade soups you don't have to open for a couple of months, and a really awesome steak and mushroom pie that freezes just fine if I don't get to it in time.

And instead of a ton of junky stuff when I get stressed, I'm having stuff that is just as cheery-uppy with a heavier dose of pampering, like this:

(that missing pecan tart was a taste test. review: delicious.)

Without a significant uptick in my grocery bill since I am
a/ eating everything I bring home
b/ finding time to keep up with the busier schedule that seems not to be going away
c/ sensing a lot more mental (and physical) space, and
d/ not making any less yarny stuff than I was before:
I am calling this strategy a Win.

(p.s., it turns out Carol is doing the same thing now, and this other guy I know said he found Posh Grocer salads in his 'frig the other day courtesy of his wife and is totally sold: the idea is clearly spreading. which is nice in this modern age of competing grocery stores because I would go broke if I were solely responsible for keeping this place open and selling things I want to eat.)

(and saying that reminds me that I am in fact spending valuable yarn money at the Posh Grocer's, in aid of spending more time with the yarn I already have.  hmmmm; how much stashed yarn do I have to go through before this is too high a price to pay? maybe that point will coincide with the point at which my schedule eases up, in which case I won't have to worry.)

7. Have a lot of projects on the go.

Some are going to be portable when others aren't, and the crafty downtime while you wait in line or sit in on a conference call or walk home from the gym really adds up.

8. Set up projects you aren't ready to start yet, too.  Last January I posted about the prep I did at my primary knitting space and man, the project bucket I set up then is still a huge timesaver.

9. Use audiobooks.  Omigosh.  I will often get caught up in trying to get through the next item on the To Do list before I let myself knit, and I almost never get time to sit down with a book, but if I'm dying to find out what's happening next in a story I will make myself sit down.  And once I've done that, picking up my needles or loom is just, well, virtuous.  Current knitting tool: Japanese Girls and Women by Alice Bacon, courtesy Librivox.  I've only listened to the first section (twice), and obviously: over 100 years out of date, but it's fascinating.

10. Commit to making everybody something handmade for the next big holiday.  There is no greater motivator than fear, or a looming deadline you can point to as the date on which you will once again clean the house, get out of sweatpants, open the steadily building pile of mail, and/or walk the dog yourself.

Hope one of these tips works for you.  And I hope they keep working for me!  See you tomorrow, and have a great day today.

No comments: