A Curious Thing

albert's picture

I've noticed a curious thing- when I have a limited time available for knitting, say ten minutes until it's time to leave for work, I find myself attending to and savoring each individual stitch. I'm more aware of the color, loft and softness of the yarn as it slips through my fingers, and feel a general sense of serenity. On the other hand, on a Saturday, when I have the whole of the day stretching before me to knit each passing hour if I choose, I find my mind drawn to all the things I "should" be doing: I should be mowing the lawn, should be doing the laundry, should be doing a thousand other things. So rather than easing into the sheer pleasure of the knitting, I'm sitting there mentally "shoulding" on myself. But give me just ten minutes to knit a few stitches before heading out the door, and those are the sweetest stitches.

Comments

mrossnyc's picture

It took me a while to get

It took me a while to get over all the 'shoulds' that would run through my head when I had a block of time available. Now, I tell myself that I should focus on my knitting so that I can get to my next project. The cooking and cleaning fits in around that.

Multitasking is also great. I started knitting so that I would feel like I'm accomplishing something while watching TV. Yesterday I was reading a script and listening to songs for a new musical and my hands were too idle, so I picked up the swatch I'm doing for my next sweater and made great progress. Now I'm done with the swatch so I guess I have to get back to sewing my latest sweater pieces together. Did I mention that I'm not doing flat-knitting ever again?

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Great posting, Albert. I

Great posting, Albert. I guess it's all about "Getting into the Zone", Zen, or something like that. I have a bit of the same thing...I can always find lots of things to take the place of (UGGH) housework. As to knitting and doing TV: I can to some extent, but find most of my meaningful work is when I'm reading. Plain knitting versus patterns, naturally. Or talking to other people. Freaks their minds, watching me knit away and carrying on with a conversation. (Or book.) Only a matter of practice, of course. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

albert's picture

Paula Simmons, the Grande

Paula Simmons, the Grande Dame of spinning, advocates a one-handed spinning method; one of the advantages she touts: she can read a book while she spins!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I forgot that quote from

I forgot that quote from Paula Simmons. It's been quite some time since I read her book. Tried one-handed spinning, but didn't like the results (I'm too uncoordinated). -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Jerry Moore's picture

Albert -- Thanks for

Albert -- Thanks for starting this thread of knit-talk. I'd guess there's a great variety of knitter-specific brain activity in our hobby. I've found that I really do need to pour at least 90% of my attention into the knitting part. Otherwise, I find myself doing the unknitting part.

One of my knitter quirks is that I'm driven to re-write every knitting pattern I run across. I have too many editor genes to ignore what one politely might call the popular writing styles seen in knitting patterns. I use the Select All/Copy/Paste functions so often that I have to take them in for oil changes way too often. Sometimes I'll re-write using only abbreviations instead of whole words. Or I'll do some presentation color-abuse tricks. Or I'll find myself using graphics so slick the pattern slides off the printed page. This compulsion produces a lot more writing and a lot less knitting.

Dave/Istanbul mentioned that he watches movies as he irons. I knit while I watch TV (stockinette recommended.) The "watching" I find most compatible with knitting is TV sports. Baseball works best for me. Then soccer. This double tasking becomes less rewarding as the average pace of a sport speeds up.

But I work hardest trying to slough off guilt whilst knitting instead of "doing something useful." No doubt there are many doctoral theses about our un-called-for guilt leanings, all of them moldering away in the closets of academe.

albert's picture

I wish my guilt leanings

I wish my guilt leanings were moldering away! As to rewriting patterns, I translate charted motifs into written form- kind of defeats the purpose of charts, but it works for me! P.S. Try the synthetic oil- more expensive, but it lasts longer.

daveballarat's picture

The guilt is soooo catholic

The guilt is soooo catholic .... I do the 'shoulds' in reverse... I want to knit, I should just get down and do it but ... instead I wash floors, vacuum, do all the housecleaning I can, check emails... I have it in reverse... and then I get annoyed with myself for neglecting the knitting... but have a clean house....for a while at least.
So I knit while I am waiting for my computer to open up. I knit as I'm checking emails... I knit in conjunction with other things so that I am not feeling that I am wasting time.
I would knit while watching tv if I had the concentration for it... I have issues with just doing one thing at a time... I do ironing while watching a movie for example otherwise I never watch movies and never do ironing so the combination works....

On the other hand, sometimes the best quality work is done under duress... in my lunch break I used to race home, put the washing on, mow the lawns, doing any odd jobs and eat... but when I was unemployed the same jobs that took me an hour to do would take me all day...So enjoying knitting in short doses may be more similar than different.

Hey but there is the downside to multitasking ... as I write and knit at the same time I am observing that my sock here is looking really strange... I think I have the gusset upside down... and if the recipient has a club foot it will fit just fine!

Dave
Istanbul, Turkey

purlyman's picture

If you're really going to

If you're really going to appreciate knitting, maybe you'll have to work 7 days a week and never have a day off. ;-)

albert's picture

I'll take that under

I'll take that under advisment.

cashmere knight's picture

Yes. I agree. As you say,

Yes. I agree. As you say, the 'shoulds' do seem to throw a little something on the scene. How come the creativity side of things can't scream louder on our behalf. Maybe it is, because I just usually tell myself, I'm sitting right here and doing my knitting.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." --Albert Einstein

ronhuber's picture

You probably find the first

You probably find the first ten minutes of knitting on a Saturday very sweet as well and then as it becomes routine you start thinking with the other side of your brain. Those ten minutes, as you say, are very special.

vsidart's picture

Amen! Very well said. We

Amen! Very well said. We agree.