Conquering Christmas Knitting Part 2

Howdy, knitters and crocheters! Are you ready to get serious about finishing those Christmas gifts in time to actually give them to their recipients instead of a card with a sad IOU in it? If you answered yes, this post is for you. Today, I’m going to talk about the importance of making time for “selfish” knitting instead of spending the next 100 days focused on everyone, who isn’t you.

If you answered with a terrified enghh sound and are freaking out that there are exactly 100 days left until Christmas and 88 until the first day of Hanukkah, I need you to take a deep breath and read part one of Conquering Christmas Knitting. It’s your first step to enjoying the process while still making sure everyone has a lovely gift from you underneath the tree this year. You got this. After you’ve read it and downloaded your copy of the Holiday Make List, come back here and get your tips on how to keep the merry in Merry Christmas.

KEEPING THE MERRY IN MERRY CHRISTMAS

After I shared Conquering Christmas Knitting Part One last week, I noticed a familiar trend in some of the knitters and crocheters around me. Stop me if any of this sounds like you or a crafter you know:

I want to jump on the Find Your Fade bandwagon. Umm, hello, how cute is the So Faded Sweater pattern by Andrea Mowry? I’m in love with this trio that would be perfect for it, but I don’t have time. Maybe one day. I wish I had time for selfish knitting, but I have to start my Christmas Knitting.

Or my favorite, the one people have felt compelled to message Megan-Anne and I on Ravelry since the hunt for Sasquatch started 48 hours ago:

I want to join the Hunting Sasquatch Socks knit along, but I need to start my Christmas knitting.

It’s almost as if they’re looking for permission to be selfish. After we assured them that they could knit the socks later, it just wouldn’t be a mystery knit anymore, let me tell you what we told them…

SELFISH KNITTING ISN’T SELFISH

I hate the term ‘selfish knitting’, which is a bummer for me since it gets bandied about a lot this time of year. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to tell you that knitting and crocheting for charity is rewarding. We’ve been running the Geek-A-Long for four years now, and it is most definitely a labor of love. I also enjoy making things for my niece since she loves fashion and yarn almost as much as she loves Elmo. But I have news for you, this is your hobby. Yours. Anything that you produce from it belongs solely to you. When my aunt makes a scrapbook of her trip to Disney World, no one is like:

Hey, that’s really selfish. You should give that to someone instead of keeping it for yourself.

So why do you feel guilty for wanting to knit yourself a pair of socks or a shawl?

There is something about the yarn arts that evokes this mentality that if you make something for yourself, it’s selfish. Maybe it’s rooted in the fact that before Amazon and Target came along, we knitted and crocheted to put clothes on our families backs. But malls and online shopping are a thing now. When you knit a sweater, you’re doing it because you love the art. Because you want to create something unique. Because this is what you do to unwind and de-stress.

Now, if the problem is that you made set unrealistic goals, are not prioritizing, or have people on your Make List that probably shouldn’t be, go back to Part One! If you did that already and are still panicking about the length of your list since, let’s face it, some of us have big families, I want to talk to you about knitting in public.

TAKE IT TO-GO

You can knit in public more than just one day out of the year. Get a small project bag that fits in your purse and take that hat you’re knitting for Grandma on the road with you. Stuck in a waiting room? Knit. Sitting in the parking lot, waiting for your kid’s school to let out? Knit. Your friend is running late for you best-friends date at Starbucks? Knit. From now until Christmas, stop reaching for your phone when you’re bored. Whip out your knitting and start knocking items off your Make List instead of burning your phone battery looking at Facebook. It makes the time pass faster and has the added bonus of turning a dull moment into an oasis of relaxation.

ACCESSORIZE

If you’re worried about time management, the items on your Make List should mostly be accessories instead of things like sweaters, blankets, or shawls. Hats, gloves, ear-warmers, cowls, and slipper socks are quicker projects, especially when knit or crocheted with a worsted or chunky weight yarn. They’re also the perfect projects to take on the go. Plus, let’s be honest. We all know you’re going to panic in December and switch to making accessories out of chunky weight yarn anyway. So why not embrace it now? It’ll reduce your stress level, help you finish on time without any IOUs, and allow you to enjoy the process instead of growing to resent it.

ME-TIME MATTERS

Every autumn, Megan-Anne and I have to balance creating the next years Geek-A-long blanket with our own Christmas knitting as well as making samples with our yarns and releasing new patterns. It’s a delicate balancing act. A couple years ago, we tried to power through the season by sacrificing our Sunday afternoon knit-athons. (During our knit-athons we marathon a tv show, knit for ourselves, eat fancy cheese, and drink wine.) You’d think that since we focused purely on our Christmas knitting and L&L obligations that we’d get more done, but it lead to burnout. Production on squares fell behind. IOUs were handed out at Christmas. It was a mess.

Me-time is important. It’s a breath of fresh air that helps you stay motivated and excited about what you’re doing. If you’re always thinking about making a So Faded Sweater or the Hunting Sasquatch Socks while you’re working on Grandpa’s mittens, you’ll start to knit slower and slower and slower… until you realize you watched an entire episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer without making a single stitch. A pair of gloves that would normally take you an afternoon or two to finish will suddenly take three or four. If you’re excited about making something, but aren’t since you consider it ‘selfish-knitting’, do it anyway. You probably won’t make much progress on it until after the holidays, but when you get bored of your current Christmas WIPs, pick it up and knit a few rows. Treat yo’ self! You’re worth it.

I’ll see you next week with pattern suggestion for the people on your Make List and to talk about matching yarn content to the recipient.

~ Jac

Megan-Anne: I feel like you’re quoting me at me.
Me: I didn’t have you in mind when I wrote it.
Megan-Anne: Pffft, yeah. Okay. What’s part 2 gonna be? Megan-Anne, why do you hurt you this way?
Me: Keep it up with the crazy eyes and it will be.