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Pen & Penelope

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Every morning for the last four five weeks I’ve woken up with the best intentions. I would write a blog post. A blog post of such searing erudition and delight that every knitter who read it would never more see knitting in the same way. A blog post of such hilarity that there would be knitters everywhere giggling at the most inopportune moments of daily work, causing chaos in traffic and disrupting important meetings. Every day I’ve been blindsided by trivialities such as driving lessons, dentist appointments, gardening, a trip to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, several inspirational TED Talks, guitar playing, the snooker, bright shiny objects, impromptu cinema visits, too many good books, etc, etc. Which only compounds my belief that it’s the small, insidious, day-to-day things that you need to watch out for, and be on your guard against. And now here I am, writing this rather humble, vaguely uninteresting post… But thank you to all you lovely readers who wrote to inquire after my absence; it was entirely unintentional!

Penelope & the Suitors by John William Waterhouse

When I haven’t been very blatantly procrastinating, I’ve been a bit like Penelope (excepting the suitors, oh and the weaving), knitting by day and undoing it all by night. I’ve been pretty patient about it though, and I presumptuously attribute this to the fact that I am now no longer a “beginner”. Ripping out huge chunks of knitting, or knitting an enormous swatch just because you don’t feel like stopping – these are not actions that non-knitters or “persons who knit”, seem to understand. They stare at me in horror when I tell them it’s all got to go. All that lovely work! So I’ve taken to ripping alone and unseen, because I’m a little bored with explaining… “No really, it’s OK. It’ll save me work in the future. Besides, this is one of the best things about knitting!” I secretly suspect that Penelope loved the process of weaving as much as she loved Odysseus, or why would she hit on such a solution?

As to why my knitting wasn’t working out… It was really amazingly simple, when I stopped trying to do it the wrong way. Fortunately, Rowan Scottish Tweed is a hardy yarn that doesn’t mind a good deal of frogging and re-knitting. It’s also very rustic & well-suited to keeping warm in the country. I’m testing it right now. :)

country knitting

country knitting

country knitting

I took some shots today and the pattern should be up soon. It will be a perfect present for gentlemen (or ladies) for whom you can’t easily find gifts. If you can guess what it is, you can get a free copy! ;)

November is a busy month. There’s National Novel Writing Month, for a start. Writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is a feat I’ve accomplished twice before. It’s utterly mad, and utterly fun; you must join if only to receive the pep talks from Chris Baty & other famous authors. And if you do, don’t forget to add me as your writing buddy! Also in November is the illustrious WoollyWormhead’s Mystery Beret. How exciting! I think these two challenges will complement each other perfectly, and help me forget about the increasing gloom of winter…

28th October, 2009  // Life, Writing // tags: , , , .

7 Days to End (Knitting) Procrastination

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work surface

Although this article talks specifically about knitting, the ideas can be implemented on any projects, whether craft-related or not.

First, the difference between ‘procrastination’ and ‘hibernation’

Most knitters and crocheters have a few Zs floating around their project pages. I’m no exception, and there are many more projects that I’ve never even got around to logging on Ravelry! I think it’s important to differentiate between two categories of projects: ones you feel guilty about, and ones that are simply ‘waiting for the right day’. It’s the former sort of project that I want to help you with in this article. If thinking about the project makes you uncomfortable, or (heaven forbid) it turns you off your knitting completely, then you need to do something about it. You knit because you enjoy it; you enjoy making things and you find it relaxing, fulfilling, and worthwhile. You shouldn’t be filling yourself up with little anxieties instead.

So here’s one approach that’s worked for me. The idea is to do one small thing every day that is very simple in its own right. If you spread each step over a week, it’s easier to detach yourself from what worries you about the project, and stops you from finishing it.
(read more…)

19th May, 2009  // Life, Technique // tags: , .

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