June 12, 2016


Making Time For Making: momentum in my knitting projects vs. my sewing projects

Knitting v Sewing Project Momentum

Lately, I’ve been playing around with the idea of “making time for making.”

I’ve been doing this because I have a lot of projects vying for my attention at the moment – writing projects, and making projects, and website projects, and work projects, and personal projects.

And I started noticing that one of the first things to go when my calendar gets full, is non-deadline “making” projects (aka my personal knitting & sewing projects).

Hence, the desire to make time in my schedule for making, because when I go too long without knitting or sewing (without a deadline) I get crabby and then everything suffers.

Not all making time is equal

So I’ve been blocking out time to “make time for making.” Sometimes it’s 15 minutes in the morning, sometimes it’s an hour or two in the evening, sometimes (rarely) it’s a whole glorious evening.

The time I block out is simply in my calendar as “making time for making.” I don’t specify a craft or a project or anything of the sort. At the moment the two projects I’m focusing on are my Lady Bat Sweater, which is a knitting project, and my No Longer Really An Anna Dress, which is a sewing project.

And I’ve been noticing that (for me) not all making time is equal.

Sometimes I strongly want to knit. Sometimes I strongly want to sew.

And I feel like – though I am not certain and it may not be true – that I end up knitting, (during my time set aside for making), more often then I end up sewing.

So in an attempt to bring a little more mindfullness to my making, I thought I’d take a bit of time this morning to try and understand more about what plays in to this – mostly in an attempt to slip a little more sewing time into my life, because looking ahead to July, I don’t really need sweaters at the moment.

Off the top of my head, my first thoughts about knitting are…

  • knitting is contained.
  • it’s done sitting.
  • there’s close to little set up.
  • projects can take a long time to complete, meaning you can keep momentum going.
  • when it’s smooth sailing, you can make progress in 15 minutes.

Off the top of my head, my first thoughts about sewing are…

  • expansive. sewing has a habit of taking over every horizontal space.
  • movement. sitting, standing, walking, moving from the sewing machine, to the iron, to the pins.
  • it takes time to set up and take down. not a lot of time, but a couple minutes on either end.
  • needs at least 30 minutes. otherwise the set up & take down isn’t really worth it.
  • preferred sewing time (for me) is at least an hour or two.
  • projects (can be) done in one or two sittings.

I think it comes down to mindset

When I sit down to knit, I’m sitting down to make progress.

When I sit down to sew, I’m sitting down to finish. Even if it’s not finishing the whole project, I still sit down with the intention of completing a part of it. Maybe that part is the cutting step, or the sewing step, or the finishing step. Maybe I’m sitting down with the goal of finishing the skirt of a dress, or the lining of a top, or tracing/drafting/altering a pattern. Or maybe I really am sitting down to start and finish a project.

Regardless of what I’m sitting down to finish when I sit down to sew – I am sitting down with the intention of finishing something. It’s rare that I walk away from a sewing project with a step half completed (a half sewn together skirt, or a half drafted pattern).

By contrast, in my knitting projects – I sit down to make progress, and always stop in the middle of a row. While some knitters always stop at the end of a row, I’m the opposite – I hate stopping at the end of a row. I prefer stopping in the middle, because (for me) knitting is easier to pick up and put down and remember my place in, if I stop in the middle of a row.

Mindset plus Momentum

In my mind, starting something with the intention of finishing it is more of a mental hurdle to overcome than starting something with the intention of simply making progress.

Sitting down with the intention of finishing is more of a mental commitment – even if it’s exactly the same time and energy commitment. This is definitely true for me.

It is also true that my knitting projects seem to have a momentum that my sewing projects do not.

From writing this all out, I’m getting the sense that, because I sit down to sew with the intention of finishing the part or piece I am working on – I also make a mental check mark when it is done. Mentally checking off the part of the project that is complete.

This mental checking off means that when I next pick up the project I am in the mindset of starting, rather than the mindset of continuing, which means there is no continued momentum from the last time I worked on the project.

With all this in mind…

With all this in mind, I think the next time I come to time in my calendar set aside for making I’ll try to look at the next step in my sewing project as the next step in a larger project – rather than as merely self-contained project.

My hope is that by doing this, I can keep the momentum going in my sewing projects – rather than letting them sit by, while I keep reaching for my knitting.

And maybe, just maybe, if I can keep the mental sewing momentum going, I’ll be able to add some new handmade pieces to my current suitcase dictated capsule wardrobe, which is in desperate need of some new summery pieces.