Finally: A Finished Object! Plus, 6 Tips for Your Crafting Life

My cardi is done! I finished seaming up the Farmer's Market Cardigan on Sunday, gave it a final steaming, and ta-DA! I haven't stopped wearing it since that last end was woven in.

I'm very pleased with how it came out. All the attention to shaping, measurements, and gauge truly paid off (although, truth be told, at times I wanted to gnash my tape measure to shreds in frustration). My husband, who took these photos, stood back and innocently said, "It looks like it was made exactly for your figure!" I stared at him, and said, "Dude, haven't you been living with me all this time? It WAS made exactly for my figure!" He laughed. I laughed. And then he took a few more photos.

Only two weeks ago, I was lamenting my inability to finish this cardigan…so what changed? I changed, I suppose. I just made up my mind that I wanted this cardigan, and I wanted it NOW, while the chill of spring is still in the air. Once I made that decision, I found that what I really wanted was to take my knitting, and indeed my other beloved crafts (spinning and beadwork), much more seriously. But how to do that: How to make space, serious space, for crafting when my days are so crazy?

Here's a few tricks that help me squeeze knitting and my other crafts into my chaotic life:

1. I schedule my crafting. Literally. I enter craft time into my computer calendar, block out specific times, and set up reminders to be emailed to my inbox. Sounds a bit dorky, perhaps–but it works.

2. I keep my appointments. No canceling on my knitting dates. No standing up my spindles. These craft times are commitments and I treat them as such.

3. I gather everything I need for each project and put it together in one place. When I say everything, I mean every single thing: Pattern, needles, extra yarn, notions, scissors, measuring tape, the whole burrito. (I have lots of measuring tapes. I bet you do too. Check the cracks in the sofa cushions.) I put each project's supplies into a portable bin so I can carry the project to the best location for the day's task, whether knitting, spinning, seaming, or beading.

4. I let those around me know I will be (generally) unavailable during my scheduled project times. I turn off my phone, close my laptop, and kiss my husband on the cheek as I leave the room on the days he works from home. Now, I know that many of you have kids, and kids are impossible to ignore. Maybe Mr. Knitter can bathe them and read them a story so you can go work a few rows of your knitting? (What do I know? If you'd like some tips from an artist who is also a mom, that link takes you to an interview on our sister site, Quilting Arts.)

5. I choose a specific work area, and clear it of distractions. I trying to keep the top of my desk and studio table (relatively) tidy. This is a big effort for me. (I think I must be part Chaos Demon.) And when I simply cannot focus on my knitting or spinning any other way, if the weather is nice, I banish myself to the front or back porch.

6. I make sure I have music or a good audiobook on my iPod. Music and audiobooks help me focus, so that the Little Voices In My Head do not ramble on with distracting comments while I am trying to work.

That's it. Those are the main changes I made the past two weeks, and they have worked like a charm. I have spent several happy hours on my front porch, sharing the unexpected April sunshine with my dog, knitting up the last bits of sleeve and collar. Then I spent more happy time sitting at my studio table, seaming and weaving in ends as I listened to a new audiobook by one of my favourite authors. And once the cardigan was done, I wore it outside on the porch while I spun on one of my hand spindles, enjoying the sun, and the breezes, and my pretty new sweater.

Knitting, spinning, and beadwork are my passions, my arts, my meditation, my mental health workouts. Relegating these activities to spare cracks in my time is rather like saying I will only exercise after everything else is done (i.e., never). No wonder I feel as though it takes me forever to finish my projects! After I wrote that post about UFO's two weeks ago, I realized I needed to seriously re-evaluate my priorities.

And so I have resolved to reserve more time for knitting, spinning, and beading in my daily life. Compromises have to be made, of course. One concrete change I am working on is to spend less time on the internet reading and chatting about knitting, so I can have more time to DO the actual knitting. I give myself time limits for my online endeavors; I have pared down the list of blogs and Twitterites I follow. (Don't worry. It wasn't any of you I stopped following. YOU, of course, are endlessly fascinating and witty and therefore I follow you with a glad heart.)

How do you make time for knitting or other crafting in your daily life? Leave a comment and let us all know. If you have a great tip, I might include it in next week's blog entry!

I know it's challenging sometimes, but I hope you can find time for yourself, and your knitting, every day this week.

Go forth and knit!

– Sandi

P.S. See that last photo? Guess what other project is nearly done now!


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily every Thursday. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, follow her tweets: alpacasandi.



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22 thoughts on “Finally: A Finished Object! Plus, 6 Tips for Your Crafting Life

  1. Sandi, Your sweater is BEAUTIFUL and that color is perfect for you. I have enjoyed
    all the blogs you devoted to the making of this sweater and the detail you went into regarding the adjustments you made, It was very helpful. I look forward to your columns!

  2. That sweater is BEAUTIFUL. Really, really stunning. Excellent work! I knit on my lunch hour after eating–I usually have about half an hour to knit. I also knit in front of the TV. Baseball season is a great time to knit!

  3. Sandi – your cardi is so pretty. The color is perfect for you and the fit is fantastic! I’ve been so interested in following all the details and seeing how they paid off is great.

    You are an inspiration. I like your tips for fitting in more craft time. For me I find knitting during the evening news is a good excuse to hear what’s going on and have some craft time. Any time on public transit it good too, as long as the person sitting next to you can stand it. For me that can be up to 3 hours craft time a day and I have resolved to do that more often this year.

  4. Sandi – I’m soooooo happy for you!!!! And the sweater looks wonderful on you. The color is just right for you and the fit … ohhh, the fit. It looks like it was made just for your figure. 🙂

    I’m here at home celebrating with you!!!

  5. Sandi, I am so glad I found your blog. Have been following you since your first days on Knitting Daily. The sweater is lovely.

    I, too, set aside blocks of time to knit. I tease myself with things like…….if you pick up the house and do a load of laundry, then you can sit and knit for an hour or so. Also, I get up early (about 30 minutes), have my coffee and knit.

  6. Sandi, it’s beautiful. All that attention to detail, which I admit I thought just a bit fiddly, really paid off. I’ll remember this lesson when I’m tempted to not do something “just right”. Thanks, and congratulations.

  7. You did a nice job, and I love the color, I especially like the picture with you by the tree. I like to knit during a movie, it goes a lot faster, but probably only for easier projects.

  8. Great job Sandi! To get my crafting going, I plan my day so that my work (SAHM) is done when baby goes to bed. DH works 9-5. I work from 7am to 7pm! So, after 7pm is my time. I might load the dishwasher, but that’s about it. That gives me 3-5 good hours every day for my various craft projects – depending on when I plan to get up in the morning. I have an audio book ready if DH doesn’t want to talk, or we don’t have a movie. My friends all think I’m an amazingly fast knitter. Really, I just work at it for several hours a day!

  9. I always knit when my children are watching their age appropriate movies – I mean I don’t need to see Princess and the Frog for the 15th time, even if they do. It allows me to spend time with them and with my projects.

  10. Sandi, my compliments and congratulations! Great that cardiagn! You’ve done an amazing job with it! And – you look sooo happy. This is definitely the best thing about any knitting project 🙂

  11. I commute to work by train. That time is sacred, and can only be used for pleasure reading, or pleasure knitting. That way, I get at least a little in each day.

  12. What your husband said is exactly what I said when I first saw the picture of you in your sweater, even while I realized that of course it was made for you. There are clothes that keep us warm & clothes that cover us up, & then there are clothes that make us beautiful! This sweater certainly does all of the above!

  13. thanks for sharing these thoughts. i can relate totally. i have come to rename my relation to organization as being a professionally disorderly worker (PDW). See, now it is official: there is an alphabet soup insignia to prove it!

    Btw, i hit the Rhinebeck festival last week for the first time. It is definitely overwhelming but there were some gorgeous yarns there. Found some great colors for ongoing mental drooling (much cheaper that way) but treated myself to some utterly delicious autumn colored yarn for my new grandbaby. Did a carpool with several other knitters which was lots of fun and made getting through the traffic much more bearable.