More than once, I’ve pulled an all-nighter to get a knitting project finished!
I love a deadline. I have to admit that sometimes it’s the only way I get things finished! What I don’t like is having to stay up half the night knitting, when I’ve vastly underestimated how long a project is going to take me – you’d think I would’ve learnt by now.
You might not often have a deadline for your knitting, but if you like to gift-knit, or wear a finished garment to a knitting event, or for me, finishing a design sample for a magazine, then you might have experienced that feeling of knitting-deadline-dread. This might lead you to procrastiknit -perhaps casting on a new project to avoid working on the deadline one?
Whatever your reason for needing some knitting motivation, my top seven tips will help you to stay focused, especially if you have a dauntingly big project to work on or a deadline to meet.
A lot of the ideas that I share with you below, require you to break down a larger task (the finished knitted item) into smaller chunks. If you complete one of these chunks every day or every other day, then you can work out how long the whole task will take to complete. Working backwards from the ‘deadline’ can be a good way to calculate out how many chunks you need to complete each day to finish the whole project, or how many days it might take to have a finished knitting project in your hands.
- Repeats | Break your pattern down into chunks depending on the number of pattern repeats you need to work in order to have it finished. If you’re knitting sleeves, you could break down the knitting into a certain number of increases or decreases per chunk.
- Counting Rows or Length | Break the pattern into chunks based on how many rows or centimetres/inches you need to work in order to be finished. This works particularly well with sleeves or bodies of garments, or big shawls.
- Time | Time yourself knitting a few rows, or a pattern repeat. How many rows or repeats do you need to work to finish the project? From this number, you can work out roughly how long the whole project will take to finish, and how long you’ll need to spend knitting each day in order to complete your project.
- Use Progress Markers | Use lockable stitch markers, to mark your progress by placing them in your knitting each time you start knitting a new chunk and/or when you finish. You could also use makers as a reward for your progress, perhaps you get to add a marker for every 5 cm of progress? Choosing which marker is next, or placing the markets into a pleasing pattern or order, could be part of the fun and motivation!
- Amount Of Yarn | Another way to break your project into chunks is to weigh your yarn and knit a certain number of grams each day. If you’re knitting with mini-skeins or leftover yarn, you might decide that knitting-up half a mini-skein each day will help you stay on target for your deadline.
- Make A Diagram | Draw a picture of your finished item (use the pattern’s schematic to help you), split it up into manageable chunks, and colour-in or tick off each section when you’ve finished it. Alternatively just colour-in the pattern’s schematic diagram!
- Make A List | If drawing or colouring isn’t your thing, then make a list of each chunk and tick it off when it’s completed. You might also like to date the section so you can track your progress, which I find particularly motivating.
Remember to leave yourself time for any finishing, blocking/washing and drying – it’s very easy to underestimate how long this will take!
The diagram photographed above features an upcoming shawl design for a knitting magazine – if you’d like to be the first to know when it’s published and see some sneaky peek pics, then sign-up to my mailing list. Click the button below!
Great tips! I’re recently taken to tracking some of my knitting, especially sweaters, in a spreadsheet software like Excel. Before I start a project, I plug in each row and how many stitches it is. It can take a bit of time, but then I always know how far along I am, and how much I can get done on an average day. It’s also helped me know what a normal amount is for me to knit in a day, so that I can plan ahead on how long things might take.
Hi Kath – that sounds like an amazing spreadsheet and it would be great for planning purposes to know how many stitches you can knit in an average day!
Breaking down projects in to bite sized chunks is a great way for me to stay on top of larger projects. This was a very helpful post Maddie.