Knitting procrastination is a real thing. For all my knitters out there, procrastination is something we all know intimately.
Getting started on a new knitting project is not as simple as it sounds. There’s the great effort of choosing just one pattern from your mountain of knitting patterns. Then you must choose a yarn weight, fiber, and knitting needles.
The need to decide can feel so daunting and permanent. I mean, you want to create something amazing and it has to be perfect. You may even spend the whole day agonizing over what to knit and for whom. Then, you have to decide if they’re even knit worthy.
Some of the items shown above:
Needless to say, there are a lot of decisions to make. Still, it's important that you don’t get so lost in the details that you don’t knit at all. I know because I speak from experience.
Today we’ll talk about ways we self-sabotage our knitting time. I’ll even help you find ways to stop procrastinating and get back to knitting.
Why Do I Procrastinate?
Here are some things you might be doing:
- Searching for one knitting pattern only to find other project ideas.
- Too much yearning for more yarn, knitting notions, or tools.
- Fear of learning a new knitting technique.
- Too much self-criticizing your talent or abilities.
- Overthinking the knitting project.
- Not having any fun.
These are just some of the ways you might be encouraging your knitting procrastination.
Now, let’s talk about how you can overcome it.
5 Tips to Help You Start Knitting
The following five tips will help you to realize where you're procrastination comes from. I also include tools and ideas to help you kick your procrastination out the door.
Let's get started.
1. Get Off Your Computer
Ok, you can go ahead and finish reading this post but after that, get off the computer. Seriously.
It can be hard to stop searching for Ravelry patterns or ideas. It’s normal to be curious about what your fellow knitters are knitting on Instagram or Facebook. You may even want to check your local yarn shops to see what’s in stock or what’s on sale.
I get it. It’s hard. There are just so many distractions. Personally, I work from home so I know all about distractions.
What helps me stay focused is making a plan for the days of the week. Nothing too severe, just something to keep me on track and rewarded.
To keep my procrastination at bay, I like to use Trello which is a free, online tool. It helps me to stay organized for the work week. If you've never used it, it's a lot like using digital sticky notes but better.
You can make cards, color coordinate your categories, and customize things the way YOU like to do things. Check it out. Did I mention it's free?
In my everyday workweek, Mondays are always for working. Period. No excuses.
Tuesdays through Thursdays are more flexible, but are primarily work-focused. By Friday, all bets are off.
Afterwards, in my post social media high, I can get back to work and tie up any loose ends before the weekend.
Find what works for you but try to figure out a way to set some time limits to allow more time for knitting.
You could also use Trello to keep track of your current works-in-progress (WIPs) or future knitting projects you have in mind. You can create cards for each project and add a to-do list to each. How useful, right?
This would be a great way to keep track of what you've accomplished throughout the year, too. At the end of the year, it's a real boost to see how much you've accomplished.
2. Work with What You Have
As adults, we have to make hard choices. Knitters, too. Two of the hardest choices we have to make are choosing a knitting pattern and yarn for the project.
Before you run out to your local yarn shop (LYS), start by looking in your own yarn stash. You know the one.
Take a good hard look. Next, pick a color from your yarn stash that speaks to your mood. Believe it or not, certain colors affect our moods.
Our color mood board shows the different mood colors and meanings associated with each.
When choosing yarn for your pattern, pick a color that speaks to you. If your yarn stash is epic, try and silence the lesser voices and hear the ones that speak the loudest. This is just one way to beat procrastination.
If you love the color, you’ll be more inclined to continue knitting than with a color you feel just meh about. It’s true. It’s science.
Colors can have an effect on your mood, can increase performance and, potentially, help you heal emotionally. Fascinating stuff, I know. You can learn more about color psychology here.
Need more color inspiration? Check out our Yarn Mood Board on Pinterest.
3. Get Out of Your Own Way
Have you ever started knitting something for someone and then started second-guessing it? Or worse, maybe you gave up on knitting that gift because you felt like they would hate it, judge it, or find flaws with it?
I know I have.
Sometimes when we are left alone with our own thoughts, we can be very cruel to ourselves. This feeling can be chalked up to suffering from Imposter Syndrome.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome “[is] that nagging feeling that you’re not good enough, that you don’t belong, that you don’t deserve …[a] seat at the table.”NYTIMES.COM
With social media, we now have real-time access to lifetime knitters and true experts in their crafts. We may envy how fast they are, how skilled they are, how perfect they appear to be. It can certainly make one feel less-than within our own skills and experience.
The long and short of this is this: don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you. Don't let it be the cause of your knitting procrastination.
The best way to overcome imposter syndrome is to simply stop being your worst critic. Period. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
So just start knitting. The more you knit, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the more you’ll learn. Over time, you’ll become more confident in yourself and your knitting abilities. Give it time but you’ll start to notice the progress you’ve made.
Here’s an idea that will help you cure your knitting procrastination. Start a knitting journal.
My knitting journal is made up of:
In my journal I like to keep detailed notes on the project or stitch pattern I'm working on. I'll save knit swatches for each and include dates and info about the pattern. I'll be sure to list if I used circular knitting needles or straight needles, needle sizes used, etc.
Your knitting journal doesn’t have to be elaborate and certainly doesn’t need to be something bought. It could even be digital.
The important thing is to write down what you’re working on, what skills you’re tackling, and what you’ve learned from these new skills.
Over time, look back on it and see what you’ve accomplished. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. You'll also have a tangible way to show yourself how to overcome procrastination.
4. Surrender to the Process
If you didn’t already know, perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand.
Many knitters, myself included, tend to have incredibly high standards. That, in itself, is not necessarily a flaw, but being self-impeded by our own expectations is.
When perfectionism anxiety prevents you from getting more accomplished, one could say there's a problem.
Mistakes are a part of learning and growing.
If you don’t allow yourself to fail, you aren’t allowing yourself to grow.
This cycle of perfection or death can create unhealthy tendencies. These are not only destructive but dangerous if left to run amok.
“Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating irony: making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of growing and learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career and relationships and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals.”BBC.COM
Forget About Perfection
So forget about perfect. Forget about expectations. Forget about all those things that take away from the pleasure of knitting.
Brené Brown, whose best-selling books speak of overcoming imperfections and self-expectation, says it best:
“Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Check out these popular books by Brené Brown:
- Just start knitting.
- Surrender to the process.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes.
- Be kind to yourself.
If your knitting is not perfect, that’s okay. Call it creator’s license. Just strive for excellence, not perfection.
And if, along the way, you realize you don’t enjoy knitting after all, there’s no shame in finding a new hobby. Just make sure that it’s one that DOES make you happy.
5. Have FUN!
Speaking of happy, do you remember when you were a kid and the only worries you had were simple ones? Like, do I want to make mud pies in the front yard, or the back yard? Hmmm.
Yeah, that’s what knitting should be like. It should be fun! It shouldn't cause you to procrastinate. I know you didn’t decide to learn how to knit just to be tortured by it.
Like Groucho Marx said, If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.
So don't let procrastination get the better of you. You have all the tools you need to stop procrastinating now and start knitting.
I hope these tips and tools on how to kill your knitting procrastination helped you. If so, I'd love to hear all about it. Drop me a note and tell me all about it.