I know most of you expect a “Knit Hack” to be a technical skill or suggestion, and usually that’s what I’ll post about, but today we’re going to exercise the right side of our brains. The pleasure we derive from knitting and/or crochet is a bit more nuanced, and substantially more mysterious. It’s true, there is a chemical component to our fibre addition – repetitive movements release serotonin. Maybe it’s brain chemistry that facilitates our “constructive addiction”, or maybe there’s more to it, but whatever it is, it’s our happy place. So what do you do when you’ve lost your knitting mojo and you’re feeling flat about your happy place?
This condition usually manifests in the spring, and symptoms may include:
- The pervasive sense of not knowing what to knit
- The abandonment of unfinished projects
- Second Sock Syndrome (see above)
- A profound lack of imagination
- Feeling conflicted, or out of balance; you want to knit, but you don’t want to knit
So what’s to do? Well, I know this is going to sound silly, but you’re going to have to look inside yourself. Whatever it is that gets you going (in a knitterly way) is personal, a list of suggested projects won’t clear this roadblock. We can, however, go over a few tricks, suggestions and exercises to help break the log jam.
Lets start with the most pragmatic and work backwards ….
Change Things Up
Sometimes a change of context helps to pull you out of a rut. If you’re a knitter move over to crochet, and vice versa if you are predominantly a crocheter. Try Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, lace, cables, short rows, fair isle, intarsia, etc. The same goes for your materials; if you normally work with bulky yarns try using lace weight, if you like some thing with lots of shmoo (squish) check out something denser.
The K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) is applicable to most things in life, but it’s especially when recharging. Don’t take on anything that’s overly complicated (for you). That said, if you’re extremely left brained (analytical) something complex might be just what your need. Whichever side of your grey matter is dominant, don’t get yourself into an overwrought, complicated project. This exercise is intended to stoke the fires, and once you’re going you’ll want to move on again. If you’re playing around with new techniques try it with a small project.
Rekindle An Old Love
What kinds of projects have you been putting off? Lots of knitters & crocheters start the fall season making garments for other people, and as the holidays draw near we do less and less for ourselves, and compromise more and more on the types of things we make. Sometimes we get so locked into this pragmatic mode it follows us into the next year, and even if we start to work on things for ourselves they’re still not our first love.
1. If you are a Ravelry user, go into your Ravelry account and browse through your “Queue” and/or “Favorites”. (Click on the “My Notebook” tab at the top left of the screen, they are also on your “Project Page”in a a floating menu in the upper left corner of the screen. If you are not already on Ravelry or using Ravelry you should – it’s Mecca for knitters and crocheters. The site is very intuitive, but there is a Ravelry 101 page for newbies, and a Meta Guide.)
2. If you are not on Ravelry, or haven’t been making use of it, explore your old knitting & crochet books and magazines. We usually buy them because there was something we thought we wanted to make, but gets put off for “later”. Later is NOW.
3. On the subject of Ravelry and old patterns, if you have a favourite designer try looking them up in the Pattern Search in Ravelry and browse their other, older patterns. People tend to be fairly consistent about the things they like; including colour, style, and texture.
Some popular favourites:
- Purl Bee
- Veera Valimaki
- Hannah Fettig
- Isabell Kraemer
- Heidi Kirrmaier
- Tin Can Knits
- Carrie Bostick Hoge
- Ysolda Teague
- Joji Locatelli
- Jared Flood
- Kim Hargreaves
My personal favourite sources of inspiration (they might not do anything for you, but you get the idea) include:
Go Back to Your Happy Place
Yeah, I know, the title of this section sounds a little patronizing, you’re probably thinking “how do I get to my happy place when getting to my happy place is my goal?”. We’re going to do some time travel in your memory.
Think about your favourite projects, the ones you’ve made that stand out, that you really enjoyed. What was it about that project that was so appealing? Was it the yarn? Did you like the texture? The colour? Do you use that yarn over and over? Or maybe it was the pattern. Was it simple? complex? Did it use skills that you really liked. Maybe you really dug the needles? Hold on to these thoughts.
Nothing comes to mind? Focus on the projects, buried in the back of your head, whose memory still sparks joy. If you’ve cataloged your work in Ravelry browse your work. Don’t worry about the stuff that brings no joy, they are irrelevant, just focus on the ones that create that spark. If you’re still stuck go to your LYS and casually browse the yarns, feeling them, holding them, and take note of anything sparking joy.
My personal happy place is often a Noro yarn, usually some variety of Noro Silk Garden. Noro always seems to help me get my groove back. For the last week I’ve been knitting mini sweaters (Cheers!) with Noro Silk Garden Solo. I don’t really have a plan for them, maybe a garland or holiday ornaments (around the holidays I always want to make decorations but I never have the time). The more of these I knit the more I love looking at them and get into it. It’s my path back to what I love about knitting – what’s yours?