How to find time for knitting or crochet projects when you don’t, absolutely don’t have a spare minute in your day? You may be working full time, have a young family requiring your attention, have other hobbies which eat into your knitting time or are simply very disorganised and just have no clue where the time goes. Whichever way, a busy life does inconveniently take over, leaving you with a yarn craving and feeling you’d need 100 years more just for crafting to actually do anything rather than reading knitting and crochet blogs and admiring other people’s work on Pinterest. What can you do? Squeeze your day like a ripe juicy lemon and find knitting and crochet time and motivation where you thought there was little.
1. Firstly and most importantly, choose yarns and projects you are going to enjoy. If you don’t enjoy the project, you won’t be motivated to look for an opportunity to work on it. Unloved projects are not going to call your name and won’t make you squeeze a little bit of time to knit or crochet into your day (or night). Busy lives deserve enjoyable, addictive projects which help you relax, unwind, enjoy a well weighted hook or set of needles and a beautiful yarn flowing between your fingers and giving you a bit of colour and beauty therapy. Choose what you love, ditch everything else. Sell it or give it away and stop feeling guilty about balls and skeins with which you had a brief affair. Set them and yourself free.
2. Put your projects, especially smaller and more portable ones, into project bags. There are beautiful, purpose designed bags available designed specifically for knitting and crochet but any decent bag will do, really. Cosmetic pouches aren’t bad for small projects, unused smallish handbags, small kids gym bags, fabric shopping bags, or even self knitted or crocheted bag will work perfectly. Small pockets on the side and handles are useful but not essential. My favourite sock project bag is a little fabric handbag. I wouldn’t really wear it as a proper accessory, I do have a rather minimalist taste when it comes to handbags, but it is perfect for my socks. When you pack the bag include the yarn in a ball or re-wound into a cake, a copy of your pattern and any tools you’ll need for this project: all the right needles or hooks, scissors, measuring tape and possibly stitch markers, a stitch holder or stitch holders, dental floss or anything else you might be using for your lifelines and any other tool you are planning to use for this project. In that way if you go anywhere you can quickly grab your project bag and knit or crochet whenever an opportunity arises or if you have some time alone you don’t need to look for all the little bits you need.
3. If you commute, start taking your bag with you and craft while travelling. As long as you aren’t the one driving the car, journeys create a perfect opportunity for crafting. You need to sit in one place for a while and there is little else you can do anyway so you might as well busy your hands. Don’t take projects which require a lot of counting though if you are travelling with a talkative partner or loud children; unless you have mind discipline of steel and ability to switch off real life “audio” on demand, counting stitches will become the battle of wills and a “who can shout the loudest” contest.
4. Learn how to craft while watching TV and use the time already designated for vegging out. The additional benefit is that you will never, ever feel guilty about watching this guilty pleasure, total waste of time, silly program you secretly enjoy. Trust me, it works. Hmmm, shall I admit to my TV sins… In my case it’s The Voice UK and the British X Factor. There, I said it. I’m a sucker for singing contests delivered with the British sense of humour. And who doesn like a little of Dermot O’Leary… I haven’t seen a single episode without a knitting or crochet project on my lap and it made it somehow a necessary and productive time (this is what I say to my husband anyway…). When I was little I used to look at my grandmother who was watching TV as her long, pointed, pure steel needles were flashing so fast they were creating a blueish blur reflecting the light of the old fashioned TV screen, while making the faintest click-clicking noise. I remember marveling at the apparent impossibility of what her hands were doing with very sharp needles, barely looking down and yet never hurting herself.
The trick is in choosing simple enough projects with easy to remember, short repeat stitches and not much shaping. Simple cowls, shawls, main section of the back of a cardigan or a jumper – all these are good candidates for TV knitting. Work on knitting or crocheting “blind”, without looking down and instead trusting your fingers to know what they are doing. You’ll be surprised how much you can depend on the sense of touch when crafting with just a little experience and practice.
5. If you are a new or expectant mum then you have hit a knitting or crochet jackpot. Counterintuitively, early motherhood usually involves long stretches of sitting on the sofa or an armchair and feeding, rocking and generally soothing your new baby. There is nothing like a sweet weight of a new squish in your arms but it can at times feel restrictive or even, dare I say it, boring. And here lies the knitter’s and crocheter’s golden opportunity: knit or crochet with a feeding or sleeping baby in your arms. Just make sure you have plenty back and arm support and you’ll figure it out in no time. Keep anything sharp away from the baby – scissors and tapestry needles may be best put away – hold your needles or hook away from them and make sure the little fingers don’t get tangled in the yarn.
6. Make sure you have your project bag with you when going somewhere that could make you wait: a dentist or a doctor’s office, prenatal appointments, hairdresser salon, school or creche run, your kid’s football or dancing classes. You may be waiting for an hour or only couple of minutes but in that time you can do a round or a row, or perhaps more if you are stuck there for longer. But even couple of minutes mean you add a row or a round to your project and knitting and crochet aren’t a race, these quick couple of stitches added here and there add up and grow faster than you think. So the rule is: if you think you might be waiting, have your knitting or crochet with you.
7. Don’t forget your knitting or crochet project bag when you are flying. Air travel has become a part of life for many of us and while travelling with young kids makes it difficult if not impossible to have a hot tea and a toilet break, especially if you the only adult, if you are traveling without this sweet burden and nappy bags, your project bag may transform the day into a crafter’s feast. Just check first the airport and airline security policy. At the moment the restrictions on knitting needles and hooks have been significantly relaxed. Personally I wouldn’t push it with scissors and other very sharp implements, but actual knitting needles and crochet hooks should be perfectly fine to bring on board and enjoy some uninterrupted yarn time.
8. And finally the easiest and yet most difficult time steal: at the end of a busy, busy day find 30 minutes for yourself. Stop cleaning, cooking, picking up the laundry, loading up the dishwasher. Turn off the background sounds TV, put away the mobile phone, the tablet, the laptop. Stop reading about crafting, find your needles or crochet hook, pick up the yarn you love and start doing it yourself. Come on, what are you still doing here…?
I’d love to hear how you make time for knitting and crochet. Or if you want to hear more from me, subscribe to my blog by e-mail (on the right), follow me on Bloglovin’, Facebook, Twitter and / or Pinterest (links to all on the right). And remember, sharing is caring!